Designer Profiles

Form and function are the key ingredients to any knife design, and we take both very seriously. That is the reason Benchmade believes working with custom designers creates the most innovative and functional designs in the industry. These skilled artisans and craftsmen pour their passions into their work and agonize over every detail. By collaborating with a selection of world-class custom designers, we’re able to tap into the newest locking mechanisms, modern materials, and custom blending and finishing techniques. The results are innovative, quality designs that are built for performance, reliability and dependability.

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Mel Pardue

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The senior team member, Mel has been grinding sparks, making knives and creating a following for 25-plus years. His style has a class and simplicity all its own. The Pardue collaborations offer great utility to the everyday knife user while at the same time presenting an upscale distinction. Less is definitely more with Mel’s designs.

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Warren Osborne

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Being raised in the farming and ranching industry taught Warren early on what great utility a quality knife can offer. How a knife feels in the hand over extended use, blade design/edge configurations, and the types of materials used are all mandatory considerations of an Osborne design.

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McHenry and Williams

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Bill McHenry and Jason Williams. It runs in the family… Bill and stepson Jason spend their days making exquisite pieces of “art with an edge on it.” Their dedication and talents compliment one another very well, and have led to several noteworthy innovations in the knife making world. Benchmade was fortunate to be involved with one such innovation, the AXIS® mechanism. The rest is history in the making.

Shane Sibert

Since 1994, Shane Sibert's goal has been to design and handcraft unique and functional knives that will invoke pride of ownership, while at the same time perform challenging tasks with exceptional ease. He’s established a reputation for making knives constructed to hold up to the rigors of various hostile environments. A life-long avid backpacker and hiker, Sibert draws inspiration from adventurous treks throughout the Pacific Northwest’s vast wilderness and from hobbies that have included Martial Arts and S.C.U.B.A diving.

Greg Thompson

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Greg Thompson is the creator of SOCP (Special Operations Combatives Program), the first officially designated combatives program for all U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. SOCP is now the standard program for fighting in kit, and it has been adopted by all Special forces Groups. Greg also trains federal and state law enforcement, FBI, ATF, Border Patrol, and Special Contract Units. After September 11, 2001, he was one of a small group of civilians who taught Federal Defensive Tactics and Air Marshal hand-to-hand tactics.

Greg has a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University and has taken dozens of products to market. Most of his designs are for self-defense or to enhance combative training. He currently has five patents and is the author of H2H Combatives.

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Seiichi Nakamura

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Engineering was his life’s work until he retired to focus his efforts on a passion for custom knife work. He specializes in small Japanese style folders, gentlemen’s carry and jewelry knives. His eye for artistry and mechanical engineering make him a perfect fit for the innovative Benchmade team.

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Butch Ball

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Butch Ball developed a passion for knives at a very early age. After building a few fixed blades in the early '90s he decided in 2000 to begin a true custom shop. Butch starts each knife as a prototype, which he then tests, recreates and tests again. At each stage in this development process, he is thinking of ways to improve the design, whether mechanical or ergonomic. The results of this process are designs that are as robust as they are innovative.

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Robert "Bob" Lum

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The late Robert "Bob" Lum was known as the premier designer and maker of the classic tanto knife and many other Asian designs. His knifemaking career began in 1976, and he was a full-time maker until his passing in 2007. Since his passing, his Widow, Jean Lum, has continued to promote his remaining designs and prototypes for production with Benchmade Knife Company including the Onslaught. Bob’s incredible work contributed to some of the finest custom knives in the world, and he is greatly missed in the knifemaking community.

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Ken Steigerwalt

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In 1978 at the age of 15, Ken found himself at the kitchen table with some files and a vise. Three years later he decided that knifemaking was going to be his full time career. Since then, Ken has dedicated himself to wowing the industry with his innovative style and describes his work as a passion and a journey to build a better knife than the last. Benchmade has been fortunate to be involved with one such innovation, the Nitrous™ Assist mechanism.