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
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.
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
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".
(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.
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.
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-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.
D2: An air-hardened tool steel, which offers good corrosion resistance
and excellent mileage in wear resistance. A good choice for hard use applications.
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.
M390: A high performance blade steel with superior cutting ability
and wear resistance due to its high concentration of vanadium and chromium carbides.
Its unique powder metallurgical process also promotes a uniform carbide distribution
and clean steel properties, making M390 a popular steel used in surgical cutting
instruments and in applications requiring a high finish. As a blade material it
offers excellent corrosion resistance due to its high concentration of Chromium.
N680: A chromium-molybdenum conventionally produced stainless steel
with the addition of vanadium and nitrogen. Excellent corrosion resistance properties,
especially in salt water. Good hardenability and high obtainable hardness. High
wear resistance and ability to preserve keenness.
N690: An Austrian made stainless steel, which is comparable to
440C in performance and value. Keen edge qualities with great corrosion resistance.
X15-TN: This French steel was developed for the aircraft industry
for jet ball bearings, as well as the medical industry for scalpels. It has the
ability to resist rust in the worst of conditions while maintaining ample edge retention.
The capability behind this steel is in the way it is manufactured, resulting in
the finest steel for use in harsh environments such as salt water. The edge on an
X15 T.N blade is easier to maintain.
AUS-8: A Japanese made medium-carbon, high chromium stainless steel,
which offers a good balance of toughness, edge sharpness and corrosion resistance.
9Cr13CoMoV: A Chinese made high-carbon stainless steel with increased
levels of cobalt added for greater edge retention. Offers a higher level of corrosion
resistance at a great value.
8Cr14MoV: A Chinese steel with similar performance characteristics
to AUS-8. An excellent value priced steel for its performance.
DAMASCUS: A specially forged, layered steel made up 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
CERAKOTE™: Designed and manufactured by NIC Industries, Cerakote™
has a unique ceramic structure that out-performs competitive coatings and improves
performance in both laboratory and real world 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.
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.
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
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).
Patented AXIS® locking mechanism|
| Ambidextrous operation
Movable/reversible pocket clip|
MOLLE attachment compatible
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
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.
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.
STABILIZED WOOD: Select hardwood veneers are vacuum impregnated
with special dyes and resins. Sheets are layered and combined under tremendous heat
and pressure to adhere the veneers for a durable real wood medium.
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.
KRATON®: A thermoplastic elastomer offering excellent flexibility
and memory elasticity even under harsh conditions. It is over-molded onto the handle
for added grip surface and tactile qualities.
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.
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.
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.