I have some really eye-catching and good-looking pocket knives in my EDC rotation. CRKT’s Shenanigan Z is not one of them. With its plain and unadorned appearance, the Shenanigan Z almost looks a bit boring. But looks can be deceiving.
The Ken Onion-designed CRKT Shenanigan Z is a value-priced no-nonsense folding knife that features a flipper opener and 3.25″ AUS 8 steel blade. While it won’t draw as many oohs and ahhs as pricier knives, its lightweight and sturdy design makes it a great choice for everyday use.
My first impression was not very favorable, with the first two descriptors being light and simple. It also looked somewhat weak.
After spending a few minutes with the Shenanigan, my initial impression had completely changed. The Shenanigan Z showed itself to be a fluid, robust, and lightweight knife with deceptively simple looks. It showed me that a knife can be light and simple without a trace of weakness.
Blade Design and Quality
The Shenanigan Z features a hollow-ground modified drop point blade profile with a slight recurve (which improves the knife’s slicing ability) and swedged top edge (which enhances its piercing ability).
At 3.25″ the knife blade is a bit longer than I personally prefer for everyday carrying, but it’s a nice size for a utility and jobsite use.
AUS 8 is a mid-range stainless steel that offers high hardness and good edge retention, but isn’t too much of a chore to resharpen.
The Shenanigan’s bead-blast finish gives it a pleasant subdued look.
Blade Deployment (Flipper) and Lock
The blade deployment is quick and fluid via the small flipper. With time the flipper has proved itself to be consistent and reliable.
The liner lock is quick to engage, with absolutely no discernible blade play whatsoever, and easy to disengage.
I feel that I’m saying too little about the Shenanigan’s blade deployment and lock, but there’s really nothing more to say. CRKT and Ken Onion designed the knife to be a simple no-nonsense workhorse, and it is just that.
Handle & Ergonomics
I own a fair share of polymer-handled knives, and would rate the Shenanigan Z’s comfort as slightly above average. It’s not exceptional, nor is it poor. The glass-filled nylon handle is contoured with a checkered grip pattern on both scales and jimping at the top.
The Shenanigan Z feels good in-hand, and doesn’t slip. There’s really nothing else that could have been done to make the handle more comfortable, at least not without doubling the price.
I would agree with CRKT’s marketing claims that the Shenanigan Z offers high value at a value price. Its looks won’t draw envy from your friends and co-workers, but it will get the job done – again, and again, and again. The Shenanigan Z is a great pocket knife, with a sharp and useful blade, easy and reliable flipper opening mechanism, and comfortable handle.
If you’re looking for a knife with a premium stainless steel blade composition, exotic handle material, and multi-position pocket clip, the Shenanigan Z isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a sturdy and reliable folding knife for under $35, the Shenanigan Z is a nice option – one of the best budget knives I’ve seen.
If you’re more interested in a sub-$35 folding knife with auto-assist opening mechanism, check out my review of the Kerhsaw Leek.
Shenanigan Z Specifications
|CRKT Shenanigan Z|
|Overall Length||8.25″ Open
|Blade Material||AUS 8|
|Blade Hardness||58-59 HRC|
|Blade Style||Modified Drop Point|
|Handle Material||Glass-Filled Nylon|
Thank you to CRKT for providing the review sample unconditionally. Review samples are typically given away, donated, or retained for benchmark and comparison purposes.