Benchmade says, “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. We make world-class knives for world-class users and this is how.”
The first step in a Benchmade knife’s life is laser cutting. Each of their blades begins as a single 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. Of course, the blanks are measured to make sure they meet the tight specifications.
The second step is surface grinding, which is where the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand and each side is ground to its specified thickness. The tolerances that they use are within the width of a human hair because Benchmade believes that their knives have no room for error, which means that the blank’s thickness also has no room for error.
The third step in the process is milling, which is when blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high-speed mills. For every knife, the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets their tolerances. One of the holes that is cut in this step is the blade pivot, which his crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is actually .0005 inches, because even the slightest deviation at this point becomes exponential at the blade’s tip.
The fourth step in the process is beveling. This is the step where the blade actually begins to take shape. Before this step, the blade is flat on each side. It is at this step the bevels are ground into the blade and of course, a Blade Beveling Technician measures the blade to verify that it meets the specified tolerances. This is especially important because an imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function.
The fifth step is combined with the sixth: Back-sanding and finishing. Back sanding is where the back of the blade gets attention and finishing gives the blade a more refined look.
The seventh and eighth step are also combined: Assembly and sharpening. Each and every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand. An assembly technician receives all of the components—blade, liner, handle, hardware—and pieces them together. Next, is the sharpening, which takes longer to master than any other of the skills listed here. Each of Benchmade’s blades are 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. This is when the knife becomes a true Benchmade.
Today we will be discussing the Benchmade 417 Fact.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. Crucible says, “CPM S30V is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Its chemistry ha been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance. CPM S30V offers substantial improvement in toughness over other high hardness steels such as 440C and D2, and its corrosion resistance is equal to or better than 440C in various environments.” Something that is unique about Crucible is that a lot of their steels are “CPM” steels. The CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grind-ability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes. While CPM S30V steel is known for having the ideal balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention, it is also known as being tricky to work with and sharpen. It is tricky because of the high hardness, so while an experienced blade sharpener will be able to get a very fine edge on this blade, a newer sharpener might want to hold off.
The blade has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine sandpaper. This finish works to show off the bevels of the blade while also showcasing the fine liens of the steel. This is one of the most traditional blade finishes that you are going to come across as well as being the most popular blade finish that you are going to find I the cutlery industry today. The satin finish works to cut down on glares and reflections while also cutting down on corrosion.
The blade on the 417 Fact has been carved into a spear point blade style. The spear point blade style has been designed as a hybrid blade shape, which makes it perfect for using as an everyday carry blade as well as a tactical knife. The spear point is similar to the needle point blade because they have both been designed to pierce. However, the spear point has more than just piercing going for it because it is stronger and does contain a slight belly that is useful when going about your day-to-day tasks. The shape of the blade is made up of a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both of the spear point’s edges fall and rise equally, which means that the center of the point is going to be exactly at the middle of the blade. While the spear point blade is sharp enough for piercing, it is also strong enough that you don’t have to worry about it snapping when you do pierce. Plus, the spear pint does contain a belly that can be used for some cutting. However, when the belly is compared to either a drop point or a clip point blade, it is going to look extremely strong and not be as useful as the other two shapes. Overall, this blade shape has a good balance between its piercing and slicing ability. Plus, it combines the sharp point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade. Because of the spear point blade shape, the Benchmade Fact is going to be very functional.
The handle on this knife is made out of black anodized 6061-T6 Billet aluminum.
Billet aluminum just means that the entire handle is made out of one single piece of aluminum. This guarantees that there are no weaker spots where two pieces have been molded together. Because it is billet aluminum, the handle is going to be stronger and more durable.
Aluminum is a very durable material, especially when it is used for knife handles. Aluminum is a low density metal that provides for a nice, hefty feel without actually weighing the knife down. This is the best of both worlds because you are going to feel like you have the heft behind the knife to actually take on the things that pop up, but you aren’t going to notice the weight in your pocket when you are just going about your business. The most common type of aluminum used today is the 6061-T6 alloy, which does have the highest tensile strength.
When an aluminum handle is texturized properly, it will provide a pretty secure grip that is also going to be comfortable and easy for long periods of use. Unfortunately, aluminum does have high conductive properties, which means if you were planning on using this in the winter, it will feel like it is biting into your palm. Some of the benefits to having an aluminum handle is that it is going to be strong, light, very durable, and very resistant o corrosion. All of these characteristics keep maintenance to a minimum. However, aluminum can be cold to hold, does tend to be slippery, and is susceptible to scratches and dings.
According to Wikipedia, “Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used the increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. The process is called anodizing because the part to be treated forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. Anodizing increases resistance to corrosion and wear.” This means that not only does the anodizing give the handle a sleek, black look, it also makes the already durable material even more durable.
The spine of the handle is very straight, while the belly of the handle does have a large finger guard as well as an elongated and shallow finger groove to make your hold a little more comfortable.
The handle has been skeletonized to cut down on weight.
The Pocket Clip:
This is a deep carry pocket clip, which is ideal for both an everyday carry knife as well as a tactical knife, exactly what the Fact has been designed as. The deep carry pocket clip will keep your knife securely in your pocket, even if you do move around throughout your day. This comes in handy when you are using the Fact as an everyday carry knife because you don’t have to worry about the knife slipping out of your pocket. In fact, you can just forget that it is even in your pocket—until you need to use it. The deep carry pocket clip will also keep your knife more concealed, which comes in handy when you are using this knife as a tactical tool.
The pocket clip on this knife is designed only to attach tip-up, but it is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make this an ambidextrous knife.
This is a manual opening knife that employs Benchmade’s AXIS lock. Because this is a manual opening knife, you don’t have to worry about the strict laws that surround an automatic opening knife. It will also be easier to maintain, because there is no spring that can break down and ruin your ability to open the knife smoothly.
The AXIS is a patented Benchmade exclusive that has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Tow omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS bar itself.
Because of the AXIS mechanism and a reversible pocket clip, the Benchmade Fact proves to be a great option for left or right handed people alike.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.95 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.110 inches. The handle length on the Fact measures in at 4.77 inches long, with a handle thickness of 0.48 inches. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 8.72 inches long. This knife weighs in at 3.24 ounces. And of course, like Benchmade knives are, this knife was made in the United States of America.
Benchmade says, “This minimalist masterpiece won’t get in your way, but will be there when you need it, and that’s a FACT.” The CPM S30V steel makes maintenance a breeze and also gives you an incredibly strong blade. The satin finish and the aluminum handle are what give this knife such a classic look. The spear point blade shape is extremely functional; whether you are using this knife for a tactical or an EDC. Pick up this brand new Benchmade knife today at BladeOps.