Benchmade has a rich history that dates back over 30 years. Benchmade is the result of many dedicated employees, a never quite demand for excellence, and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service, and innovation. The story of Benchmade truly begins in 1979. It was when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives that he played with as a kid. He had taken a high school shop class, so he used the skills that he had learned and blueprinted his dream knife before he eventually met Victor Anselmo. It was Victor who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali Song prototype. He paired the blade with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. With the two parts, he assembled and finished his first Bali Song in his own garage. He was proud of his creation so he took it to a local gun store and the owner asked if he could build 100 more.
When deciding on a name for this new company, Les realized that there was “handmade” and “factory made”, but it was “Benchmade” that described the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom.
Each of Benchmade’s knives go through a series of different steps. At each of the steps, the materials are carefully measured. During this process they use the bets materials and equipment because they are making world class knives for world class users.
The first step is a laser cutting step because each of the knives begins as a sheet of steel. The second step is a surface grinding which is where the blank is ground to its precise width. The third step is where the blades and handles get milled. This third step is where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high speed mills. The fourth step is beveling which is when the blade really begins to take place. The fifth and six step is back sanding and finishing. Back sanding is where the back of the blade gets special attention and finishing is what gives the blade a more refined look. Finally, the knife goes through assembly and sharpening. All Benchmade knives are assembled by hand. A fun fact is that it takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill related to the Benchmade knife building technique.
Now you can see why Benchmade has such quality knives. At BladeOps, we celebrate May as Benchmade month. We will go over the different knives and why they are such a quality knife. Today, we are going to go over the Benchmade 32 Mini Morpho.
The blade on the Mini Morpho has been carved out of D2 steel. This is considered a high end steel that is commonly referred to as a “semi stainless” steel. This is because it falls just short of the required amount of chromium to quality as full stainless, but it still provides a good amount of resistance to corrosion. On the other hand, D2 is a very hard steel, so while it does hold an edge for long periods of time, it is very tough to sharpen. With this type of steel, you do need to be a master sharpener to get a fine edge on your blade.
The D2 blade has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive. The key characteristic to this type of finish is how it showcases the lines in the steel so well. This finish provides you with a very traditional look. In terms of how reflective it is, it is a very medium steel. A mirror finish is going to be much more reflective than the satin finish and a matte finish is going to be much less reflective than a satin finish.
The steel has been carved into a drop point style. This is a fantastic blade style if you are looking for a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything. A drop point blade shape is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. One of the most common places that you are going to find a drop point blade shape on is a hunting knife, but you will also find it on other knives as well. To form the shape, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered pint that provides you with more control and adds strength to the tip. It is because of that tip strength and the ability for it to hold up to heavy use that makes this style of blade so popular on tactical and survival knives. And because the tip on the drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. One of the many reasons why this style of blade is such a versatile option is because of the large belly area that is perfect for slicing. One of the other most popular blade shapes is the clip point blade shape, and it has been confused with a drop point style quite a bit. While they are both very versatile, popular, and have lowered tips, it is the tips that sets them apart from one another. The clip point has a much finer, thinner, and sharper tip. It is this tip that gives you the ability to pierce and stab with your knife, but it is also much weaker and prone to breaking when subjected to the heavier duty tasks. The drop point blade has a much broader point, and because of that, you have exponential strength to the tip. However, because of how broad the tip is, you cannot stab well with it. It is this broad point that is one of the only drawbacks to the drop point style blade. When you choose a knife, such as the 32 Mini Morpho, you are choosing a knife that is going to be able to be used in many different situations, whether they are the expected or unexpected.
The blade on the Mini Morpho has a plain edge. This edge is more traditional and can be sharpened much easier as well as being able to get a much finer edge. The plain edge can also be used for a wider variety of tasks. The plain edge excels at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling.
The handles on the Mini Morpho are made out of G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. IT has very similar properties, although slightly inferior, to carbon fiber yet it can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger, although more brittle, than Micarta. To add texture to the handle, checkering and other patterns are added, making for a solid, comfortable grip. The production processes can utilize many layers of the amse color, or varying different colors to achieve a unique cosmetic look on the G10 handle. Tactical folder and fixed blade knives benefit from the qualities of G10 because it is durable and lightweight, non porous, and available in a variety of colors. And while it is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN.
The handles are black, with rough texturing to provide you with a quality grip. The liners are blue anodized and jeweled titanium. Titanium is a great liner material because titanium is lightweight metal alloy and it offers the best corrosion resistance of any metal. While it is a little heavier than aluminum, it is so much stronger. This material is very sturdy and still feels “springy”, which is why it makes such a great material for liner.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip is a standard pocket clip that allows you to carry your knife tip up.
The Mini Morpho is a Bali song, otherwise known as a butterfly knife. This type of knife is something that Benchmade excels at, because once upon a time, butterfly knives were all they had produced. Vance Collver has said that, “A Bali song can be best described as a “folding fixed blade”, as there is typically no mechanism. And with the exception of the modern spring latch, there are no springs incorporated in the design. All other locking folder designs require some sort of spring technology to function. with the Bali song, the handle is essentially just split in half down the middle. Each half is attached to the blade so it can pivot. This allows the tow handle halves to fold around the blade itself, action as a sheath, in a sense.
Collver goes on to explain that the user’s hand is essentially the lock for the split handle, and some type of latch keeps the handle halves from parting, though a latch is not necessary and the user’s grip maintains the position. When the knife is in use, both handles are gripped, which make the lock mechanism as strong as the user’s grip. There are no locks to fail other than letting go. All Bali songs are the same with the two handle halves pivoting at the blade tang, so the mechanism is more a question of what the best example are with this style knife. Darrel Ralph says that the considers the Bali songs one of the world’s strongest folding knives. He describes the pivot as equal parts simple and intricate. “the handles pivot on the blade independently”, he said. “This allows for offset, unique and crazy tricks or flips with the handles and the blade. The secret is to confident and always keep the safe handle—the handle that allows the back of the blade to ricochet of your hand—oriented properly as you flip.
The butterfly knife is also knowns as a fan knife. This type of knife was commonly used by Filipino people, especially those in the Tagalog region, as a self-defense and pocket utility knife. Hollow ground Bali songs were also used as straight razors before conventional razors were available in the Philippine’s. In the hands of a trained user, the knife blade can be brought to bear quickly using one hand. Manipulations, called “flipping”, are performed for art or amusement. You can also buy blunt versions of these knives, which are called “trainers”, to practice tricks without the risk of injury.
This type of knife is now illegal or restricted in many countries, often under the same laws and for the same reasons that switchblades are restricted.
The blade on this knife is 3.25 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 7.35 inches long, and has a closed length of 4.39 inches long. The handle on the Mini Morpho is 0.44 inches thick. The Mini Morpho weighs in at 2.7 ounces.
When Benchmade describes this knife they call it, “a compact, lightweight Bali-Song with a great modern look and feel. The 32 brings layered style to the classic Bali. Made in the USA.” This knife features semi skeletonized black G 10 handle scales couple with blue anodized and jewel titanium liners, a drop point style blade in a satin finish and reversible titanium pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only, but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.