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Review BM Bailout design critique (pre-release)

Discussion in 'Benchmade Knife Company' started by Pumpiron, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    When spyderco released knives in 3v.. They were built for it apparently. For example the spyderco Tuff in 3v.

    And it's funny how BM is making a case other than money to sell them. That's the part you didn't understand. It's a little knife. It's geometry is for slicing and light tasks. It's scales are not tough for hammering stuff with. I hope you understand now. It echos what most are saying.
    cbrstar likes this.
  2. mr2blue

    mr2blue Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    I would not have chosen a tanto, but I will give it a try. The blade appears to have a decent belly on it. I would prefer a bug out in M4 but the bailout might make a nice light duty work knife. Overall I like the design of the bailout.....drop point or something other than tanto would have been my choice but I think it might work out for me.
  3. Silent H

    Silent H Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2018
    Nobody is debating this. Having a tough steel means you can make a thinner blade without worrying about chipping and breaking.

    Are you arguing that they can't use 3V in a knife because it doesn't have a super thick blade?
    marrenmiller likes this.
  4. Pumpiron


    Jan 6, 2011
    For those who aren't aware, the utility of tough steels with high edge stability in thin geometries that cut more efficiently is not "highly specialized theory" up for debate, but well-established by experts. If you don't trust engineers, look it up in scientific journals, knifesteelnerds, the various forums, or even casual testers who are still able to notice the trends. Think of razors that would chip or fracture in high carbide volume steels. Consider the thinnest ground quality kitchen knives that can't afford to chip at high hardness. The Vanadium in 3V lends extra wear resistance over simple carbon steels, & typically increases toughness. 3V is good for EDC folders too.

    There are a number of good steels that can be used to good effect in varied applications. 3V can be ground thinner &/or used harder without chipping, and thus objectively serves well for fine cutting, not just for chopping in heavier geometries. On the opposite end of the spectrum, K390 is highly wear resistant but can be quite chippy without relatively thicker geometry & lighter use. Z-wear and PM-M4 are in between, with Z-wear closer to 3V on the tough side, and both can be hardened higher than 3V at moderate toughness. On the stainless side, toughness is reduced for similar hardness and wear resistance, but we see a spectrum from fine-grained AEBL & 14C28N (which perform like 52100) to balanced S35VN & XHP to wear resistant & relatively chippy M390 & S110V. There are other good steels on each spectrum, and many that generally can't compete with these leaders, e.g. 440 series and D2. Cruwear has a balanced composition, but as a cast rather than PM steel is much inferior to Z-wear, Vanadis 4E, & PD1, just as ATS-34/154CM are inferior to CPM-154. Second & third gen PM and cleaner tech (sometimes used by Carpenter, and Bohler) improves toughness for the same composition & wear resistance, thus M390>CTS-204P>>20CV.

    Unfortunately in production knives, most steels don't perform near their capacity because they are under-hardened and the grinds are too thick and low in order to save money and avoid complaints from customers who abuse their blades on hard materials or maybe even by batonning. I greatly prefer all blades to be hardened above 60 HRC and to use them properly, but not lightly. I find them easier to sharpen because you don't have to push a gummy burr from side to side. Geometry and Heat Treatment may be considered to be even more important than steel choice, within reason. Even fine-grained, cast 8Cr13MoV/AUS-8 composition could be decent if pure and hardened above 60HRC with an excellent HT, but that's not what we see in budget offerings.

    EDC knives for normal cutting tasks don't need to weigh down your pants. G10 and minimal if any liners can be plenty adequate. GRN isn't bad especially when reinforced at the lock. Excessive steel liners, thick stock, low grinds, and features like finger choils, spydie holes, certain lanyard holes, that reduce the cutting-edge-to-closed-handle-profile-ratio burn me up. So do high prices, low quality, and poor ergonomics. I want a convenient & reliable tool for cutting, not a weak folding crowbar. Still, solid locks are more than welcome, especially when opening & closing is efficient.

    Whatever the motives, seeing CPM-3V in light weight production knives is definitely a good thing. More M4 & some Z-wear would be great too, at a cost. Hopefully the community will be insightful enough to embrace such offerings and see prices drop as they become more common. I honestly expect that will eventually be the case. You can help if you wish by spreading a good word or giving steel performance, weight efficiency, and grind height & thinness some consideration as you make your purchase decisions. You can also push for HRC listings and values in the low 60s, without overblowing it into a ZDP-189 race for fragility or imagining that the useful number fully defines grain structure & performance.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  5. fishface5

    fishface5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    that's a great summary! But I still wonder about the choice of 3v as optimal for this particular knife, given the low hardness and lighter-duty handle construction.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
    mdrgn79 and Mo2 like this.
  6. Pumpiron


    Jan 6, 2011
    When I started the thread I didn’t find any hardness listed, but now REI calls it 57-59. That’s pretty disappointing, one point lower than the Bugout in S30V, and two points lower than it should be. It’s not a total don’t-buy-it disaster, but definitely suboptimal. On the one hand, most of the production competition is already soft and this will be all the tougher. On the other hand, now edge deformation/rolling are more of a concern under hard use. Why Benchmade?! You really should fix this, and drop the price.
  7. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
  8. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
  9. Pumpiron


    Jan 6, 2011
    It’s not the steel composition that leads to this guy’s observation of more edge rolling in a hard carving task here, its mostly the geometry and low hardness. Yes a higher carbide volume can lend a little more strength, but the contribution is much smaller.

    This is probably a good illustration of Benchmade shooting the steel in the foot by underhardening. At HRC 57 folks won’t see 3V’s performance potential at all, and demand should quickly wane. I’m unlikely to purchase 3V at less than 60-61, knowing the higher end of the listed range is rarely reached in production. Of course higher alloyed steels can potentially be tempered harder, at the expense of toughness, so a balance must be struck in the low 60s. Z-Tuff is of interest because it claims to retain more toughness than 3V at 62 HRC. Z-wear/CPM-4V is a great balance. On the other end, I’ve substantially chipped thin ground M4 at HRC 64 and M390 at 61-62.

    Checknout the hardness toughness charts in this link: https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/03/04/all-about-aeb-l/
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  10. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    If you want a good knife in 3v go with something from Carrothers Performance Knives.
    Icky Thump and Pumpiron like this.
  11. Pumpiron


    Jan 6, 2011
    That’s Nate the Machinist? I respect his work and insights. He has videos demonstrating the abuse heavier 3V blades can take with minimal edge damage even at HRC 61: pounding them through cinderblocks and nails with a hammer.

    I’m happy to make fixed blades for myself, but they aren’t as carryable as the folders I lack the tools and skill to make.
    Mo2 likes this.
  12. fly36gti


    May 28, 2016
    It seems to me Benchmade has lost/loosing their way...
    Why are so many department heads disappearing or quitting, I can't find out which?
    I'm disappointed, QC was slipped badly.
    mdrgn79 likes this.
  13. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    Yes correct. But also delta 3v is a bit different than 3v at 61hrc. Just saying. The time and research put into the heat treatment is not something you'll ever likely see in a production knife.

    Until he makes a folder, your probably better off with a different steel overall. A few custom makers have been able to pull off thin fixed blades also, but again... Heat treatment you won't see in mass production.
  14. Michael Sankewitsch

    Michael Sankewitsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 4, 2018
    Ok, my three cents - I like the idea of the Bug/Bailout. It's a LIGHTWEIGHT "NEEDITRIGHTNOWTODOKNIFESTUFF" folder that will not weigh down your sweats or "athletic" shorts. It's not a hammer or a hatchet, unless there is NO other option - really? you have no other option? No imagination or practical experience? I would never use a small folder for a hatchet - but that's just me, and if there is NO OTHER OPTION, then I have more problems than having to decide what to cut some wood with.

    In the summer I carry a .380 LCP or Bersa, in the winter a 1911. Different tools for different scenarios. If I could carry just one it would be a .357M, but I would not be happy in the summer with it - good thing I have choices.

    I don't like the sharp catchy butt of the blade when folded, and I am no fan of Tanto blades. If they do a reverse Tanto or modified drop, I would be interested in the Bailout version.
  15. bruno_go


    May 19, 2015
    I think the proposition of the Bug/Bailout is awesome, a very light and easy to handle cutting tool, very nice for EDC. The only problem, FOR ME, is the price. In both cases the knife shouldn´t cost more than $100 brand new (80-85 on Bug and 90-100 on Bail).
  16. blades&wrenches

    blades&wrenches Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 11, 2014
    Pretty sure Cruwear is only offered as a CPM steel now.
  17. steelcitysixteen

    steelcitysixteen Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    I love that they chose 3V for this knife. I'm not a big tanto guy, but I would have been all over this for the 3V had they not chosen Cerakote as the ONLY finish option! :( People have been complaining about the durability of this coating for years. Why not use DLC or PVD??? Or even offer a satin version at least!

    Since this is a production knife, I am hoping a satin blade and PVD /DLC "upgrade" come in the next batch of blades. Maybe they can do a round with drop point blades in DLC and satin or stonewash as well. Other than that I really like this knife and hope to see more 3V in their folders!
  18. Pumpiron


    Jan 6, 2011
  19. steelcitysixteen

    steelcitysixteen Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    All of the Spyderco "Cruwear" folders are CPM-CRUWEAR and are top notch! It is my favorite steel and would love to see other manufacturers start using it in their flagship models. It has a cult following in the Spyderco community for its great balance of legendary toughness, easy sharpen-ability, more than respectable wear resistance, and near-stainlessness (for a "non-stainless" steel). I'd be broke if all of Spyderco's designs came in CPM-CRUWEAR.
    Pumpiron likes this.
  20. Chalet

    Chalet Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    I’m definitely in for one. Even with the tanto. Looks like a neat tanto shape, more alike an actual one kind of. I dig it! Also if the opinion not enough knives have a pommel. And I really want to try 3v.
    bruno_go likes this.

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