Benchmade knows that to make a good knife, there are a few key elements. They say, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every step in the process. We use the best materials and equipment.”
The very first step in a blade’s life is at laser cutting. Each Benchmade knife begins as a sheet of steel. A laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If a part isn’t “up-to-spec”, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.
The second step in any knife from Benchmade is surface grinding. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand (racks vary by the number of blanks they can hold at one time), and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. Benchmade says, “Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”
The third step in the knife making process is milking. Blade holes, handles and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For every job (or batch), the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets our precise tolerances. Blades and handles differ from knife to knife, so the technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. Handles require the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and ensure a smooth mechanism.
The fourth step is beveling. Now the blade starts to really take shape. Up to this point, the two sides of the blade are essentially flat. A Blade Beveling Technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time, and one of the most critical tasks here is to make sure the sides match perfectly. Once again, the technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength and mechanism function.
Fifth is back-sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets special attention. Since the original laser cutting, the back has been mostly untouched. Along with back-sanding is the finishing step. Finishing is the step that gives the blade a more refined look. When the blade is cleaned up, it is taken to lasermarking to receive its one-of-a-kind Benchmade mark.
The final two steps is assembly and sharpening. Each Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. Benchmade says, “It takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife using a standing belt sander, and this step takes extraordinary concentration. Each blade is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angle, 15 degrees on each side. The knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. And only then is it truly a Benchmade.”
Today we will be discussing the 162-1 EOD Bushcrafter knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by US based steel company, Crucible Industries. They are known for making high end steels. Crucible even designed and made this steel with high end knives and kitchen cutlery in mind, which means that you are going to get all of the best knife qualities that you could ask for. For starters, this steel resists rust effortlessly, which is significant for this outdoor and survival knife. You are going to want a knife that you don’t have to worry too much about when you are in the outdoors, and CPM S30V steel maintenance is going to be low. Second, this steel maintains an edge very well. This steel is known as having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is a tougher balance to achieve than it seems like it would be, because the harder the steel is, the less tough the steel is going to be. Crucible could achieve this balance because they added Vanadium Carbides into the steel, which brings the extreme hardness out of the steel matrix, but doesn’t reduce its toughness. This steel does have one major drawback, which is that because it is so hard, it is going to be tricky to sharpen. This shouldn’t be too big of an issue, but a beginner sharpener is probably going to have a tough time with this steel.
The blade has been finished with a satin blade finish, which is one of the most common blade finishes you are going to find in today’s cutlery industry. The finish is create by repeatedly sanding the finish in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The finish is used to show off the fine lines of the steel while also showcasing the bevels of the blade. This finish is going to give you a very traditional look that will never go out of style. The satin finish cuts down on glares, reflections, and even some corrosion.
The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is one of the two most popular finishes in the cutlery industry. The shape is created by having the spine of the edge go from the handle to the point in a slow curving manner. This creates a lowered point, which is what is going to give you so much control over your cuts and slices. The point is not only lowered, but also wide, which is what is going to give you the extreme strength from this knife. The broad tip allows the knife to take on tougher tasks, which is what makes the drop point blade shape a great option for a survival or tactical knife. Because the tip is broader, it is able to withstand things that the other blade shapes would not be able to. The drop pint knife is also very versatile, because of the large belly that makes slicing a breeze. The larger the belly, the easier it is going to be to slice. The drop point blade shape really only has one drawback, which is because of the broad point, it is not going to be super capable of piercing and stabbing. This usually isn’t’ too big of a drawback, because you do get so much extra strength from the broadness of the tip.
This blade is a plain edge, which is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge is also going to give you cleaner cuts and will be easier to sharpen. The fact that it is easier to sharpen is going to be an advantage if you are in the field and need to sharpen this knife with a rock.
The handle on this knife is made out of sand colored contoured G10. This is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass, just like many of the other common knife handle materials. This material is extremely similar to carbon fiber, except that it is a little inferior and can be made and bought for a fraction of the price. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. This process yields a material that is tough, hard, lightweight, and very strong. This process also makes it easy to add checkering or other patterns to the handle, which will give a very comfortable and solid grip on this outdoors knife. Outdoors knives especially benefit from this handle material because it is so durable, lightweight, and especially because it is non-porous, which means that it is not going to absorb any fluids that you happen to come into contact with. The overall benefits of this handle material is that it is going to be tough, light, and durable. However, it is going to be brittle and some people do fell like it lacks elegance.
The handle is a tan, sand colored. It is also very simple, with a slightly curving spine and a bulging belly. There is a large finger guard that will protect your fingers if things start to get messy. It also has an extended butt, which helps keeps your hands holding on to it. It has been skeletonized to cut down on weight with three round holes cut out of the middle. The last hole is a lanyard hole.
This is a full-tang, fixed blade knife. A full-tang knife is a knife that has the metal from the blade extending down into the handle. The G10 of the handle is going to cover the metal to make for a more comfortable and secure grip. This helps increase the strength of the knife because there is no part of the knife where the handle and the blade are melded together. Plus, if your handle scales happen to break, you will steel have the knife shape to work with.
This is a fixed blade knife, which means that there is no mechanisms that has the ability to break. Fixed blades are usually stronger, because the blade can be longer and thicker, as it does not have to fit inside a handle. Fixed blades also are easier to clean, because all you have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and it’s good to go. You are also going to want to oil the blade when needed. However, you don’t have to worry about the insides of the knife or a hinge, like you would on a folding knife. Fixed blades also make for a better survival knife, because you can use it for a wider variety of tasks, instead of just cutting.
The sheath on this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the more traditional materials that you are going to find on a knife sheath. Leather has been known as rugged, tough, and strong. Because it is flexible; it is not going to break like your plastic sheaths might. Plus, if the stitches happen to come undone, you can easily fix it yourself. This is also one of the few materials that is going to get better as it goes. Plus, leather sheaths will give your knife a custom fit once it has been broken in. This knife is an outdoor or survival knife, so the next benefit is a great one: this sheath material is going to be silent. You can easily pull the knife out of your sheath without it making a sound.
The blade on his knife measures in at 4.40 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.164 inches. The handle on this knife has a thickness of 0.92 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 9.15 inches long. This knife is a heftier knife, weighing in at 7.72 ounces, with a sheath that weighs in at 1.86 ounces. This Bushcrafter knife was made in the United States of America.
Benchmade says, “Originally a pure survival knife, the World’s foremost explosive ordnance technicians saw the value in this also as a knife for cutting plastic explosives and helped to modify the design to suit their needs.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.