At its essence, a knife is a tool made for utilitarian purposes. However, like many functional tools, there’s definitely room for artistry from a both visual and mechanical point of view. It’s why many collectors buy certain pieces merely for display. It’s why SpaceX tapped famed knife designer Darriel Caston in 2021 to create a custom series for its flight crew. The commission idea had been inspired by Caston’s initial model design, which he had made to commemorate a rocket launch prior. Now, CRKT is making a production version of these highly-limited customs.
CRKT and Caston had previously released a highly affordable $60 version of the SpaceX pocket knives (which were $500+ per unit) called MimimalX, which used more straightforward stainless steel materials and construction like the Sandvik Steel 12C27 blade. The new, higher-end production knife is a bit closer to the original series, in both materials and price. With a $225 price tag, the Mbombo — named after the Kubo god of creation — bumps up the closed length to 4.39” (from 3.25”) compared to its progenitors, while also increasing the blade length from 2.125” to 3.23” and weight from 2.2oz to 3.5oz.
Falling in line with the original series, whose premium materials included titanium, Damasteel, and zirconium, the new Mbombo is constructed using a titanium handle and billet titanium pocket clip and back-spacer, while the blade is made from a beautiful Damascus steel. Acid-etched, the blade is designed to propel open like a rocket from its handle, which itself is highly lightweight considering its size.
It can’t be overstated how spectacular of a release this is, considering this once-sold-out, highly-limited series of custom knives for SpaceX crew members is now being released in a production model for the public, and at about half the price. The Mbombo Knife is currently available for $225 from CRKT.