Benchmade has a rich history dating back over 30 years, Benchmade is the product of many dedicated employees, a never-quit demand for excellence and the de Asis family’s vision and total commitment to culture, service and innovation.
In 1979 the Benchmade adventure began when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives, known as Bali-Songs, he played with as a kid. Using his high-school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song® prototype. Paired with handles that Les sourced from a small machine shop in California, he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song® in his own garage. Proud of his creation, he took this first Bali-Song® into a local gun store and the owner asked, “Could you build 100 more?”
The next year, Les incorporated as Bali-Song®, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased from the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. Utilizing the rudimentary technology available to him at the time, Les began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song®: The model 68. Over the next seven years, the company expanded its product offerings into fixed blades and conventional folding knives, and evolving its name from Bali-song®, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp.
In 1987, due to its inability to control quality, price and delivery, Pacific Cutlery Corp. filed for bankruptcy and was dissolved. In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68; this time with a drive to produce product in the US and an even stronger commitment to product availability, quality and customer relationships. The company now needed a new name.
While there was “handmade” and “factory-made,” 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. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market- even to this day.
To this day Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.
Today we will be discussing the Benchmade Vallation Spring Assisted Knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel. This is a premium steel that is made by Crucible Industries, which is a US based steel company. Crucible is known for making steels for high end pocket knives and kitchen cutlery. This steel has excellent edge retention while also resisting rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the US and is typically used for high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. Crucible has added vanadium carbides to the steel matrix, which brings out the extreme hardness without effecting its toughness. When you look at this steel dollar for dollar, it is generally regarded as one of the highest quality blade steels. This is because it has the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This balance is a complicated balance to achieve because the harder the steel gets, the less tough it usually gets. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is a little bit tricky to sharpen. This isn’t too big of a disadvantage, but if you are a beginner sharpener, this is probably not the best steels to practice on.
The blade has been finished satin, which is a very popular blade finish choice at this time in the cutlery industry. The finish is a very classic finish, creating a knife that is not going to go out of style anytime soon. The finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The abrasive that is most commonly used is a fine sandpaper. As a key, the finer the sandpaper and the more even the liens, the cleaner that the satin finish is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, the satin finish is going to look very clean. The satin finish is going to increase the level of corrosion resistance that this knife has as well as cut down on the glares and reflections that this knife might give off.
The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade is a good all-purpose knife that is able to stand up to almost anything. The drop point is one of the more popular blade shapes that is in use today. The shape is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curve, which does create a lowered point. It is that lowered point that is going to give more control to the knife while also adding strength to the tip. The drop point is so strong that it is actually a great option on tactical and survival knives. Drop point knives do feature a very large belly area that is going to make slicing cakewalk. Of course, the drop point does have one major disadvantage: because of its relatively broad tip, it is going to be less suitable for piercing than the clip point is going to be. You should keep in mind that it is that broad tip that is going to give the knife the point strength that you cannot find on other knives.
The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a very durable material for knife handles. This is a low density metal that gives a good, hefty feel to the knife without weighing the knife down. This is a benefit of such a big knife because you can have the needed size without the dreaded weight. The most common type of aluminum that is used is 6061-T6 alloy which has incredible tensile strength.
When the knife is properly textured, it will give you a reasonably secure rip that is comfortable for long periods of time. Aluminum does have a high conductive property though, so if you were going to use it in colder months, it can be uncomfortable to hold.
The overall benefits of an aluminum handle are that it is strong, light, durable, and resistant to corrosion. The overall cons to this knife handle material is that it is cold to hold, it can be slippery, and it is susceptible to scratches and dings.
The handle on this knife has a pretty straight spine with some jimping on it for better control. The belly of the handle has three finger grooves, the first is deeper, the second is pretty shallow, and the third is very shallow and very elongated. These shapes create a very comfortable grip. There is a finger guard that will protect against getting cut.
To create enough texture, there are some grooves in the middle of the palm of the handle which gives enough texture for a good grip on this EDC.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is designed for tip up carry, but it is reversible for either left or right handed carry, which helps to make this knife fully ambidextrous. The pocket clip is also a deep carry pocket clip, which will keep your knife more snugly and more concealed inside of your pocket. The deep carry clip is a great option if you know that you will be moving around often.
This is a spring assisted knife that uses Benchmade’s AXIS assisted mechanism as well as a thumb stud to help you open the knife. An assisted opening knife is a type of folding knife that uses an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it using the thumb stud.
A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS® 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. Two 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. The AXIS assist is easily opened, quickly and with one hand; this evolution of the AXIS® includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open position once the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS® lock also has the added benefit of “suck-back,” which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS® Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.
The thumb stud is a small barrel that sits where the nail nick would if it were a more traditional knife. The thumb stud makes it easy for the user to open the knife with a flick of their thumb. The thumb stud is both ambidextrous (which, along with the AXIS makes this a fully ambidextrous knife) and easy to use. That being said, there are a few disadvantages to the thumb stud. One of the biggest ones is that it does put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are opening and closing the knife. There have been plenty of stories of someone trying to open their knife and accidentally slicing their finger instead. One disadvantage that does bother some people is that the stud does sit on the blade and protrude outward. This does sometimes get in the way when you are trying to use the knife.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.7 inches long with a handle that measures in at 5.06 inches long. The overall length of the knife measures in at 8.76 inches long, which is a larger length for a folding knife such as this one. With the extra length, you can expect extra width, and this knife weighs in at 6.4 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.
When Benchmade is discussing this knife, they say, “A duty knife that can be carried every day, this tactical AXIS® Assist takes its styling cues from our legacy line of automatic knives. A stout handle with excellent palm swell provides ample grip and positive weight for striking with the carbide glass breaker. The unique Mohawk spine design on the blade allows for great control without aggressive jimping. This knife will be your new EDC on and off the job.”
The new Vallation is an entirely new tactically inspired spring assisted model design that gets its styling cues from the highly praised automatic models. The ergonomic handle sports a generous palm swell for extra blade control and the Mohawk spine design also promotes control without the use of jimping. Each Boost spring assist knife utilizes Benchmade’s AXIS® Assist mechanism which is a fully ambidextrous operating system utilizing a dual thumb stud design to deploy a premium CPM-S30V stainless steel blade as well as integrating a slide safety on the spine. This Black Class model features a black anodized aircraft-grade aluminum handle, stainless steel liners, incorporated carbide glass breaker, a drop point style blade in a satin finish and the reversible deep carry pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. You can pick up this new knife today at BladeOps.