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Materials

So what’s it made of? Which blade steel is best? Just a couple of questions we are asked when people see our knives, and the answers come down to this—Benchmade uses a variety of modern materials specially selected for their superior performance characteristics.

We strongly believe that if you’re going to put this much effort into designing a custom quality cutting tool, then it only makes sense to build it of the materials which complement its form and enhance its function. And in some instances it’s more than just selecting a certain material, it’s what we do to it to bring out the extra edge which sets us apart from everyone else. Bottom line, we would much rather overbuild a knife than risk the alternative—we thought you would like that too.

Our Blades

BLADE FINISHES

Blade finishes refers to the surface treatment of the blade, which can be anything from the way in which the steel is processed, to a multitude of blade coatings which are applied to the blade itself. We use a variety of finish methods to "dress" our blades. 

SATIN FINISH: creates a low-luster sheen to the blade steel surface. Several common forms of satin finish include:

  • Stonewash: the blade surface is refined using abrasive tumbling media or "stones" that leave a pronounced random "scratch pattern" on the blade. This finish tends to mask any scratches that may occur with use. Examples- Model 805, 813
  • Scotchbrite: this finish softly blends the grinding lines on the blade leaving a pleasant "grained" or "brushed" look. Typically the graining pattern goes from spine to edge. Examples- Model 190, 4530
  • Tumbled or Vibed: similar to a stonewash finish; this finish leaves the blades bright and smooth with a faint random scratch pattern. Examples- Griptilians, Bali-Songs
  • Burnished: usually applied using non-abrasive media, whether by hand or in vibratory equipment. This finish refines the blade surface without much of a discernable graining or scratch pattern. Examples- Model 770, 941
  • Hand rubbed: a finish typically done only by custom knife makers, it is similar to a scotchbrite finish with the main exception being that the graining goes from tang to tip.

POLISHED FINISH: can be defined as any highly-reflective or glossy finish that refines and smoothes the metal surface. This finish aids in corrosion resistance as microscopic peaks and valleys of the blade surface are smoothed out leaving less surface area exposed.

BEAD BLAST FINISH: can be defined as any non-reflective finish applied to the metal surface by bead blasting or sand blasting the blade with any of a variety of media. The intent is to roughen the surface for anti-glare. The trade off is it tends to be more susceptible to corrosion due to the increased surface area exposed. This finish is also commonly referred to as a "military finish".

BLADE STEELS

(Table of Common Steels)

When it comes to blade steels, Benchmade not only selects premium grades for their natural qualities, but we also have perfected our own proprietary custom heat treat process which maximizes each steel's edge toughness and cutting performance.

M390: A super-performance blade steel with exceptional cutting ability and wear resistance. Because of its uniform microstructure and stainless properties, M390 is often used in surgical cutting instruments and other applications that require a high finish.
More info: www.bohler-edelstahl.com/files/M390DE.pdf

CPM-M4: Special purpose, high-speed steel with a combination of high carbon, moly, vanadium and tungsten for excellent wear resistance and toughness. A powder-metal, non-stainless steel.

CPM-S30V: An American-made and developed premium grade stainless steel created especially for knives. It is a powder-made steel with a uniform carbide distribution and clean steel properties. As a blade material, it offers excellent corrosion resistance and superb edge qualities.

CPM-S90V: A unique tool steel, CPM-S90V is a martensitic stainless steel to which vanadium and carbon have been added for superior wear resistance. CPM-S90V offers substantial improvements in wear resistance over 440C and D2, and other high chromium steels, with corrosion resistance equal to or better than 440C.

154CM: An American-made premium grade stainless steel originally developed for tough industrial applications. Known for its best all-around qualities, it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality.

D2: An air-hardened tool steel that offers excellent wear resistance. A good choice for hard use applications.

N680: A chromium-molybdenum conventionally produced stainless steel with the addition of vanadium and nitrogen. Excellent corrosion resistance properties, especially in saltwater. Good hardenability and high obtainable hardness. High wear resistance and ability to preserve keenness.

440C: A high-chromium stainless steel with a terrific balance of good hardness and corrosion resistance. 440C takes a nice edge and is fairly easy to resharpen. An excellent value-priced steel for its performance.

DAMASCUS: A specially forged, layered steel made of a variety of steels. It offers remarkable toughness and edge quality. For finishing, the surface layers or lines are exposed through an acid etch which creates a very unique visual effect. Used in special applications due to its inherent high cost and artistic nature.

BLADE COATINGS

CERAKOTE: Designed and manufactured by NIC Industries, Cerakote™ has a unique ceramic structure that outperforms competitive coatings and improves performance in both laboratory and realworld settings.

BK1 ® COATING: BK1 coating is a matte black coating that provides excellent corrosion protection, which exceeds the ASTM-117 spec for saltwater while possessing higher scratch resistance.

BT2 ® COATING: A proprietary blade coating that is Xylan ® based to provide excellent corrosion resistance which exceeds the ASTM-117 spec for saltwater and increases overall surface lubricity.

BP1 COATING: Black Pearl (BP) is a PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating made up of Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN for short). It is a darker, near black, scratch resistant coating with nice decorative qualities.

BLADE STYLES

TANTO: Most tantos seen on the American cutlery market are Americanized formats. Like the Japanese tanto, the Americanized tanto has a high point in-line with the pivot. A flat grind is applied to the point, leaving it very thick and extraordinarily strong. This thick area helps absorb the impact from piercing, as the tanto was originally designed for armor piercing. The front edge meets the bottom edge at an obtuse angle rather than curving to meet it as seen in the Japanese tanto. The only negative aspect of the tanto blade shape is the cutting surface area is sacrificed to gain tip strength.

DROP-POINT: A slow convex-curved drop in the point characterizes a drop-point blade. This blade format lowers the point for control but adds strength to the tip. It is a very popular blade shape that ranges from a slight drop to a radical downward curve providing endless styles. In fixed blades this blades shape easily sheaths. Usually coupled with plenty of belly for slicing, this format is often used for hunting knives. Drop points are a great all-around blade format.

CLIP-POINT: A clip point is technically a variant of a drop point. Instead of a “slow convex-curve” to lower the point; the profile is “clipped” to bring the point down. Sometimes a concave curve will be referred to as a “clipped point”. This is usually associated with bowie styles.

SHEEPSFOOT: This blade shape has no point on the tip, very little to no belly and the spine of the blade curves down to meet the edge. It is used in applications where slicing is the main requirement, and a point is either not needed or would actively get in the way. Emergency rescue blades are usually of this design. The lack of a point prevents the rescuer from inadvertently injuring a victim who is being cut free from something restrictive.

HEAT-TREATMENT

Over the years we have developed a "special recipe" for heat-treating our blade steels. This process maximizes the steels' molecular structure for a custom toughness and Benchmade superior performance. All steels may be created equally, but that is where it stops when it comes to making a Benchmade.

MODEL FEATURE CODES

NO CODE (I.e., 551 vs 551SBK): Plain edge/no blade coating

S: ComboEdge® (partially serrated)/no blade coating

BK: Plain edge black corrosion resistant coated blade

SBK: ComboEdge® (partially serrated)/ black corrosion resistant coated blade coated blade

B: Black anti-reflective, corrosion resistant coated blade

SB: ComboEdge® (partially serrated)/ black anti-reflective coated blade

OD: Olive Drab color handle

SN: Coyote color handle or sheath

-BLU: Blue color handle

-YEL: Yellow color handle

-ORG: Orange color handle

-BLK: Black color handle

-PNK: Pink color handle

BP: BP1 Charcol color, scratch resistant coating

W: Soft sheath for safety cutter

ADC: Army digital camouflage color sheath

D2: D2 blade steel

DM: Damascus blade

CP: Clam pack

Where do I find the model number of my knife?

Occasionally we may do a limited edition of a model where the model number does not change but does get an addition to the ending, such as -01 or -02 (example: Gold Class 705-01 and 705-02).

ICON KEY
USA Proud USA Proud Patented AXIS locking mechanism Patented AXIS® locking mechanism
Ambidextrous operation Ambidextrous operation Movable/reversible pocket clip Movable/reversible pocket clip
MOLLE attachment compatible MOLLE attachment compatible  

Materials

Handles, liners, and sheaths come in all different shapes, sizes and materials. Benchmade takes care to design enough grip and stability in each model no matter the overall size so that it will ultimately be functional to a broader range of varying hands. The best way to test a handle for grip is to try it on and ask yourself, does it feel secure, is it comfortable, will I be able to use it everyday if I need to…

When it comes to handle materials it's a matter of form and function. Whether it's durability, weight, design style, or even price, Benchmade strives to select the best material for the job.

HANDLES/ SCALES

CARBON FIBER: A contemporary, premium composite of thin strands of carbon tightly woven into various weave patterns, then set in resin, which is most commonly clear but can be color tinted. It offers great looks and is exceptionally strong for its minimal weight.

COCOBOLO: A tropical hardwood from Central America known for being hard and dense. Its coloring ranges from orange to reddish-brown.

MICARTA: Layers of linen cloths soaked in resin and pressured together. Most commonly used on more stylish knives due to its rich color finish qualities.

6061 T-6 ALUMINUM: A nonferrous metal originally developed as a premium aircraft grade aluminum, it offers a solid handle form and function at a nominal weight. Most typically color anodized to spec.

NORYL GTX®: A modern engineered plastic offering high-strength, minimal flex and optimally lightweight properties. Molded to form.

G10: An extremely durable makeup of layers of fiberglass soaked in resin, then highly compressed and baked. Impervious to moisture or liquid and physically stable under climate change. Most commonly black, but is available in various colors, too.

ZYTEL®: A lightweight glass filled nylon engineered for strength and durability. Widely used throughout the auto industry in engine related components. Molded to form.

KYDEX®: A mixture of acrylic and PVC, which offers outstanding impact and chemical resistance as well as fire retardancy. Widely used in the auto and aerospace industry. Molded or thermo-formed.

DELRIN®: A lightweight and durable engineered polymer with low wear properties. Used throughout the auto industry. Molded to form.

VALOX®: A reinforced resin with excellent stiffness, strength and dimensional stability. Molded to form.

GRIVORY®: An amorphous nylon copolymer with exceptional dimensional stability. 50% or greater glass fill.

ANODIZATION: An electrochemical process used for adding color to titanium surfaces. A combination of chemical bath and electrical voltage level generates the desired color. A similar process is used for aluminum with the addition of a chemical coloring bath.

SANTOPRENE®: A thermoplastic elastomer which is molded to specification. It offers excellent flexibility with high tear strength and fatigue resistance. Resistance to many harsh chemicals. These features contribute to improved performance in a range of tough jobs.

LINERS

6AL-4V TITANIUM: Considered an exotic metal alloy (Titanium + 6% Aluminum + 4% Vanadium) with an excellent strength to weight ratio, which offers exceptional performance in a knife. Titanium is corrosion resistant to natural elements as well as many industrial chemicals.

410SS STAINLESS STEEL: A common knife grade with low carbon, high chromium content steel which offers excellent bend toughness and wear ability. It offers excellent corrosion resistant characteristics as well. Also used in handles.

SHEATHS

BALLISTICS NYLON: A heavy-duty woven nylon fabric originally developed for use in bulletproof vests and body armor. Offers great lightweight sheath durability.

LEATHER: A natural material dating back to man’s earliest beginnings in the knife world. It can be easily dyed and tooled for desired visual effect. Offers traditionally accepted levels of performance and design capability.

Mechanisms →

 
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