Benchmade quality

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Apr 23, 2019
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23
New here, not new to knives. I tend to lurk since there are so many here who know more than I do and have become friends here. No need to upset the balance of nature.

All the same, think of this as a firestarter. I think Benchmade has whizzed in its corn flakes.

This may have been bounced around in the past and if so, please 'scuse me and let me know and I'll delete the message. We'll both move on to something else.

I tend to be loyal if for no other reason than there isn't a lot of time to research all the alternatives then use the buy and try method of getting what I want. If something works for me, then I stick with it until it is proved that something else is better. So, I have been a loyal Benchmade customer for many years now. Other than the occasional Russell One Hand Knife, or some other toy here and there, it has been BM all the way. At least in folding knives. 710, Adamas, Presidio, Griptilian, etc. in D2, 20CV, M390, S30V, and M4. I'm not claiming to be an expert, or even all that knowledgeable, but some observations are hard to ignore. Or excuse.

Thing is, in the last year or so I bought a few Spydercos in 4V, M4 and Cruwear, and a Hogue Ritter in M390 and I honestly believe that BM has been passed by. The Benchmade Presidio, Adamas, and 710 are OK, but the Griptilian feels cheap. Not inexpensive, cheap. Granted it is at the lower cost end of the BM line, but for the price they should feel more solid. Buck feels more solid to me at half the price. The Hogue Ritter is about the same price as a custom Griptilian yet their build quality feels more solid and their M390 is, at least to my perception in use and sharpening, better than BMs M390.

More to the point, the same alloy from Hogue and Spyderco is better than BM, at least for my use and purposes. Specifically M4 and M390 seem to be harder from Spyderco and Hogue. Hard to quantify without head to head testing, but the BMs seem to get dull easier and also feel softer when sharpening them. I have a terrible time getting a good edge on a Griptilian 20CV but another Griptilian in M4 takes a great edge but also feels soft when sharpening and dulls easier than I think an M4 blade should. Head to head, both the 710 and the Nakamura in M390 are softer feeling than the Hogue M390. As a matter of fact, they don't have a "high alloy" feel at all. More like an average to maybe a little above average US made hardware store knife. Good, sure, but not enough so as to justify the lofty BM price tag. Maybe BM is courting the buyers who either own safe queens or lack the knowledge, the patience, or the skill to sharpen a hard knife like properly heat treated M390 or S90V.

Others are pushing the heat treatment more than BM. Maybe BM is being careful to not make a brittle blade for warranty reasons, but if someone is stupid enough to break the blade on a Griptilian, then their stupidity needs to cost them.

As I said, I tend to be a loyal and repeat customer, but my relatively limited experience has me looking around more and more when the urge to get another knife becomes overwhelming.

For certain, all this is subjective, but I have owned and carried a pocket knife since the mid 1950s and a few laps around the block counts for at least a little bit of something.

Then again, I could be wrong.

NAH!
 
Joined
May 19, 2007
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When comparing apples to alligators its important to keep well in mind that in bodies of uniform density, the center of gravity will be strictly incumbent on the shape of said bodies.

If you have made a determination subjectively, then it applies to you, and that's fine. But this has been done to death already this year in every way possible. So are you trying to start a fire based on objective truths (which cannot be verified) or on your subjective presuppositions of what is best for everyone else?

Either way, call yourself a lurker or not, I've lost track of the number of first post accounts that have been carbon copies of your post this year. Covers are great, but the crowd wants to hear something original.
 

Comeuppance

Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary
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Jan 12, 2013
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4,765
Benchmade wasn’t passed by recently or anything. They’ve been behind in quality since at least when I started getting into knives in 2012 or so. Their assembly quality is unreliable and their heat treatments are okay - certainly nothing that makes the pricing on the majority of their catalog appealing.

BUT.

We’re not Benchmade’s target audience. Benchmade, like Case and CRKT, rely on brand recognition and broad availability. Benchmade is what a rock climber who doesn’t know knives buys at REI. It’s the expensive gift for someone’s dad or graduation. It’s the gun show impulse buy. They’re easy to collect and look good on display. Many of them just look inherently expensive, and that adds to their value as a consumer. They work fine and look good on a nightstand.

Basically, value and assembly quality have never been their game. They’re serviceable and visually-interesting knives sold at a premium.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2018
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2,418
there was a thread here about hrc values; people have been testing common production folders...

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OepNr_D4lqbdTFqdqWl1rmAd4bOzPzJe6J0iEWrdJGU/htmlview

some benchmades did test slightly below spec, but only a little, and likely still within overall tolerances
they do not run their 'spec' high enough for super steels like 20cv, or m390 etc

I have no idea why they think 20cv on the anthem should be 57 hrc, but apparently that is the spec (or at least falls within the 'aimed hardness')

personally, imho, you are kind of wasting m390 or 20cv if it's under 60 hrc
 
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Korean Hog

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Mar 12, 2017
Messages
1,249
I've used them, and I'm tempted at a few.
Most brands turn me off in some way eventually.
I tend to come back to CRK and Spyderco.
Both lock up solid to where I never worry about it and are just comfortable and sharp and great :p
I thought my grip in 20 CV was too thick and didn't get as sharp as I would've liked. Gave it to one of the guys at work and he likes it.
Benchmade makes a good knife for a fair price.
I really do think if ergos and sharpness come before toughness (beating upon capabilities) Spyderco is the way to go.
If you want perfect fit and finish buy a $500 production folder like Hinderer or CRK.

If you want a quality tool, that isn't as much fun to look at and hold as a higher end ($500) knife I always reccomend ZT, Benchmade, Spyderco.

I think they all have similar quality for somebody just using it that doesn't get in to knives like we do. Knife nuts I think tend to lean towards Spyderco.
I'm not crazy about Benchmade either, but I don't see anything wrong with them.
 

jp9mm

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Apr 1, 2019
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406
I've only had 2 but both had issues with blade play, 1 minor 1 moderate.
Also seem overpriced compared to the market. I'm only a few months into collecting but I think i'm about done with the brand now.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
23
Sorry for not searching first postings complaining about Benchmade. I spent most of my time here searching for what to expect about steel performance. I should have spent more time on brands.
Wait, that is even more subjective than how many feet of cardboard a Kabar will cut or how long a HRC 60 S30V full flat grind will hold its edge when cutting rope.

I strongly doubt there is a lot of original content pertaining to knives other than news about a new knife model or a new steel. Cutting tests have been done everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Youtube, you name it. Same for field performance tests, and pretty much every other kind of test that an individual with limited facilities available can come up with. This particular criterion seems pretty hard to meet.

That said, no way am I going to spend hundreds of dollars on a pocket knife which is so easy to lose. I'll stick to the low to middle price range and leave the higher quality levels on the shelf for others. That, kind sirs, is my compromise. Not corrosion vs. no corrosion, hard vs. tough, low blade wear vs. easy to sharpen, etc. Y'all can hash all that out until the next millenium. I'll continue to be amused and bemused at the debates. From a distance.

Others, of course, are free to spend as much as they want on knives that they won't use and few besides themselves will see. OK with me and I might admire them if I get the chance.

While my views are admittedly subjective, and by your own statement are shared by many, then where there is smoke, there is fire. Therefore simply because they are subjective, that does not make them wrong. Cigarettes have been called "coffin nails" since the Civil War; all anecdotal. They did not suddenly become unhealthy when the Surgeon General's report came out in 1964. Every now and then we simple masses get it right and we don't need to wait until a researcher tells us so.

By the way, not once have I said or implied that I knew what is "best for everyone else." You are making that up. I simply reported on what I (and by your words, many others) felt was poor BM quality and on my comparative experience with a few Spydercos and a Hogue. If someone wants to buy a Reate, Cold Steel, Kershaw, anything at all, or nothing at all, I have neither opinion nor concern.

I've always enjoyed "guy stuff" like guns, knives, tools, etc. Only in the past few years have I become more aware of poor quality and to be honest, I think I was happier before I knew I had bad knives. (grin)

Comeuppance, that is a great summary of Benchmade's target customers. Basically people like me who can't or won't pay the price for a high end knife, who want something better than a hardware store Case knife, and who don't know any better. Until they make the purchase. I wish there was enough of an aftermarket for good replacement blades for these knives.

I had no idea that BM quality, at least blade quality, was so bad relative to the price. I had no issues with build quality on any of mine other than the Griptillians feeling cheap and even they did not break. Hurricane Michael came ashore about 25 miles from here and mine have cut, it seems like, miles of carpet, sheetrock, wires, small limbs, and all kinds of other junque. The blades could have been better, but the ergonomics, the locks, blade pivots, all the mechanical stuff works fine. No complaints and I see no justification in asking for more.

I have maybe 8-9 Benchmades, all users, and have no blade alignment, Axis spring, pocket clip, or any other issues with them. At all. Some look pretty ragged because of the use, but they still work and the blades still lock and stay closed when they need to and there is almost no blade play. Good enough for me. Other than heat treatment, I felt I got what I paid for. It is just that some, actually several, other brands give you more for your money than BM. The BM blades, though.... Sigh... What a waste of what could have been.

Over and out.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 1999
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7,737
Never had a problem with any of my Benchmades -- 710, Grippies, Mini-Rukus (a fave...) -- the Axis lock is pure genius IMHO. BM's heat treat is excellent, particularly its D2, and the S30V on my Mini-Rukus seems very fine-grained, takes a hair-shaving edge with little effort. That said, I also like CS, Buck, Spyderco, Manly, Case (well, their small Sodbuster) in too many iterations to list.
 

John_0917

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Apr 15, 2014
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Yea it’s basically a gamble to buy any Benchmade online, I have had to send back 2/3 I have bought in the last year and the one I kept has issues just not badly enough to return it.

It’s really pretty incredible that they can still be successful in spite of their horrible quality. I think a decent part of it is the result of NSN sales and also the ignorant bubbas paying full MSRP at bass pro and cabelas.
 

whp

Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
3,373
Well said Comeuppance.

Benchmade is too expensive when compared to Spyderco or Cold Steel. Benchmade s customer service is good. And one will use it more.

Op, if we worried about original post topics around here rather than repeated ideas for discussion, some would complain about half the threads started. Your concerns about Benchmade just emphasize a growing realization, and are useful for the less experienced forum members.
 
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Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Messages
154
I dunno, I have 1 benchmade (940-1) and I probably wont get another. I'm sure I got a less than stellar representation of the brand but honestly for the money I think there are better offerings. The axis is fun to play with and is certainly a theoretically strong design but I personally don't want to rely on anything with wire springs if I dont have to. There are other little bits of easily achieved detail they neglect as well. I may end up selling it at some point and I never carry it but there are tons of people who do and really love the brand. You never really know until you try for yourself I guess. Start forming an opinion after that.
 

Sigguy

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2006
Messages
252
As a lefty, I was a total fan when I got into knives. The Axis lock was perfect. I bought the hat, t-shirt, mug ect.

Years later, I have nothing but bad experiences and memories with Benchmade. Spyderco should send Benchmade a thank you card.
 

razorburn

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Mar 26, 2007
Messages
2,200
From what I understand BM doesn't do any of their own heat treating and everything is subcontracted out.

I have to say I really like their S30V in my 550.It's nice and sharp.Then again,I don't find their S90V in the 940-1 anything to rave above.
 

miltmaldo

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Feb 5, 2012
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3,348
last two years I bought more Benchmade than any other company. Some new and some from the exchange. No issues with any of them . Yea spyderco and ZT make great knives just got tiered of the leaf blade and the frame lock . And yes some Benchmade are over price but considering the price on some spyderco and ZT are they really over price ? .
 

Sharp & Fiery

Leatherworks, Ti Anodizing, Mods - Canada
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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May 14, 2012
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Yup...well said.
Benchmade wasn’t passed by recently or anything. They’ve been behind in quality since at least when I started getting into knives in 2012 or so. Their assembly quality is unreliable and their heat treatments are okay - certainly nothing that makes the pricing on the majority of their catalog appealing.

BUT.

We’re not Benchmade’s target audience. Benchmade, like Case and CRKT, rely on brand recognition and broad availability. Benchmade is what a rock climber who doesn’t know knives buys at REI. It’s the expensive gift for someone’s dad or graduation. It’s the gun show impulse buy. They’re easy to collect and look good on display. Many of them just look inherently expensive, and that adds to their value as a consumer. They work fine and look good on a nightstand.

Basically, value and assembly quality have never been their game. They’re serviceable and visually-interesting knives sold at a premium.

But...i must disagree with one part. Any Real rock climber wouldnt buy a BM, there is no ring to attach to a carabiner or harness. ;)
This I know. Maybe BM’s are for glampers and gifters?
Also OP, find a CRK on the exchange for a few hundred and you will never buy another BM.
Keep ‘em Sharp!
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
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Can't account for why so many Benchmades are sold other than a few maybes. Everyone has different things that push their buttons including availability. Here are a couple considerations.

Their Axis lock is good. Maybe not the best when clamped in a vise and hit with a small sledge hammer but for most uses it is good. The springs can be an issue, but personally I've not had a failure.
When I am working and using my knife, I am concentrating on the job and not on closing the knife, so I don't want my fingers between the arc of the blade and the handle. Simple as that. The Russell One Hand Knife is another good lock design, maybe the best overall.

Another maybe is the Internet. It is easier to get up to speed on steels than it used to be. I kept reading about M4, M390, 4V, S30V by people who knew what they were doing. BM had some good steels and the price was affordable enough. Much as Chris Reeve knives are respected, I don't see paying a $200+ premium for something that might slide out of my pocket and be gone forever.

Spyderco has good user ergonomics, at least to my hands, but it scares the liberals when you have to work around them, especially these days with so many crazies running around. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether I happen to offend or if my knife scares someone, but I don't go out of the way to be bothersome, either. To me a knife is a tool, not a weapon, but you never know anymore. A little consideration goes a long way.

So, maybe enough people eliminated everything else and the survivor was Benchmade.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
258
I have to respectfully disagree. The 57 HRC Anthem mentioned above was mine. I'm not sure why it's showing that it was in the "aimed hardness" range because it was not. I sent it back to Benchmade and they replaced the blade free of charge. As for their knives performing lesser than the competition in the same steels, that isn't what our testing group has found for the most part. They perform very similarly to their competition. Their M4 is consistently in the 63ish HRC range just like Spyderco. They advertise their hardness for their 20CV and M390. I think it is up to the consumer to research and determine if they are worth it to them.
 
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Feb 18, 2000
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I have about 9 Benchmades, and ive had many models going back t the late 80s never had an issue with any of them. I don't pay retail I find em used ,like new and save a lot of money; that way I get more value for the money. MAAP pricing is for suckers ! Ha...
 

Sharp & Fiery

Leatherworks, Ti Anodizing, Mods - Canada
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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May 14, 2012
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R RCFL

The pocket clip on the Sebenza is one of the most secure pocket clips on the market.
Maybe its time for a Sebenza and a belt sheath? Then there will be no pocket for it to get lost out of?
Why not own a great tool? I dont buy Black & Decker brand because im afraid I’ll drop my drill. I buy Hilti tools cause they are best for the job.
Do yourself a huge favor, and spurge for that sebbie. If you hate it, someone will buy it off you. :D
 
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