Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class Knife Review

Benchmade started over 30 years ago, and like any good story, it did not start off as the knife dynasty that it is today. In 1979, Les de Asis wanted a knife that used the newest materials and manufacturing technology to create a fantastic butterfly knife. Every butterfly knife that he had previously owned and played with was not a high quality knife. Les had been to a high school shop class, so he blueprinted what his dream knife would be. Eventually, he met Victor Anselmo who helped him work to grind this first ever prototype of a Benchmade knife. Les finished the very first knife in his garage. Les was proud of this new knife, so he took it to a local gun store and asked the owner if he could build 100 more. This was the birth of Bali-Song, the first company that would later transform into Benchmade.

By the time that Benchmade came to be Benchmade, they were producing knives other than the traditional Bali-song style that they had begun with. Les chose the name Benchmade because there were “handmade knives” and “factory-made knives”. The knives that this company was producing was different than both of these. The factory would make the precision parts, but the products were finished by hand.

While Benchmade is known to have the top butterfly knives, their other knives have the same high quality and attention to detail. Recently, the Valet has been revamped and reborn in an exclusive, limited unlimited, Titanium Gold Class knife.  The limited, unlimited designation means it will be produced to demand for all of 2017, after the end of the year, no more units will be produced.

Benchmade Valet
Benchmade Gold Class Valet

 

The Blade:

 

The steel on this blade is made out of Ladder Pattern Damasteel. This type of steel is often compared to Damascus steel, but there are differences between them. Damasteel is also the name of the company that produces this steel; they are located in Sweden and have a history of forging Damascus steel. The process to create Damasteel is a patented manufacturing method. The blade starts out with a billet, which is one single piece of solid steel. They actually create their own billet with a very unique process. They pour stainless steel into a tall tower, while the liquid passes through a nozzle, it is dispersed into droplets with blasts of gas. By the time that the droplets get to the bottom of the tower, they will have solidified into a powder. After the powder is collected, it is compacted with a cold press which allows for the subsequent HIP at high temperature and high pressure. After this whole process is done, there is a solid piece of steel with the perfect structure left over. Each pattern on a Damasteel blade is handmade by Damasteel’s blacksmiths. They take special care to guarantee the highest quality and perfect receptiveness of this pattern. Damasteel is a true work of art. Damascus steel is famous for the strength, durability, and artistry that it possesses. However, Damasteel is a more quality option if you want a high performing, stainless quality to it. Another difference between Damascus and Damasteel is the patterns. Damasteel goes through the HIP process, creating a totally different set of patterns. Damasteel is a fantastic steel option with a great aesthetic that you aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else.

The shape of this blade is a drop point style. A drop point style blade is one of the best shapes for an all-purpose knife. This style of knife can stand up to almost anything and is one of the most popular blade shapes on the market today. The back, or unsharpened, edge of the blade runs from the handle to the tip in a slow curve, which creates a lowered point. Having this lowered point allows you to have more control when using the tip, so you will be able to do delicate work. The lowered tip also adds strength to the point. The tip on this blade shape is also stronger than a clip point, but a clip point shape would be sharper. Because this shape has such a strong tip, you can use this knife for heavy duty, tactical, or survival use. Another excellent characteristic of a drop point style is that it sports a large belly—making it perfect for slicing. While it seems like there are no drawbacks to this shape of a blade, there is one: it has a pretty broad tip, so it is not going to excel at piercing or stabbing. Some people consider this to be a pro though, because you can work with it and not worry about nicking any sensitive areas, especially when skinning something. A drop point blade shape gives you great balance, control, and strength. This is truly one of the most versatile knife shapes, which is why it is such a great option for your everyday carry knife of choice. This is a blade that will be able to do it all.

 

 

The Handle:

 

The handle is made out of billet anodized titanium. This means that the titanium was carved out of only one piece. Titanium is a lightweight metal, but it is heavier than aluminum. However, it is so much stronger than aluminum, so the extra weight is definitely worth it. Titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of any metal. Something that is unique to titanium is that it actually has a warm feel to it. This means that if you are working in cold environments often, the metal isn’t going to bite into your hand like aluminum would. The titanium on this handle has been anodized. One of the most obvious benefits of anodizing the titanium is that it adds color the material. On this specific handle, a blue violet color has been added. The anodizing creates this color naturally, so you don’t have to worry about a dye running off or it bleeding. Because it is natural, the titanium is able to retain its high corrosion resistance and its ability to withstand high temperature environments. Unfortunately, titanium does have its drawbacks. First of all, this is a relatively expensive material. The cost of this knife will be higher than a knife without a titanium handle. Most people think that the extra cost is worth it, but if you are on a strict budget for purchasing your knife, this might not be the best option for you. Another drawback to titanium is that it is prone to scratches. While the anodizing does help prevent some scratches because it adds strength and durability, it cannot protect the handle from all of its scratches. And, because of the color, these scratches will show up. One last thing to keep in mind is that even though the titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of the metals, it is not going to be completely stainless. This handle will still need maintenance.

The liners on this handle are stainless steel, with a Diamond Like Coating. The stainless steel liners are a great addition because they will need a little less maintenance. Especially after they have a Diamond Like Coating, to add strength and durability.

 

 

The Mechanism:

This knife sports the Benchmade AXIS lock. This locking mechanism was introduced in 1988. This system works by using a small, hardened spring loaded bar that moves back and forth in a slot that has been etched into both of the stainless steel liners. This bar is positioned towards the butt of the blade and it extends onto both sides of the knife, crossing the liners. This locking mechanism was innovative and allows for an ambidextrous operation. There is a common weak link found in many folders and the AXIS locking system works to strengthen this link. The AXIS locking mechanism increases the safety and integrity of a folding lock up mechanism.

 

 

The Pocket Clip:

 

The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry, reversible, tip up clip. Its reversible, so you can carry it left or right handedly. But, the knife has only been drilled to carry it tip up. It’s a deep carry pocket clip, so you know that this knife will be secure in your pocket. A deep carry clip also helps you conceal your knife better than a regular clip. The pocket clip has also been treated with a Diamond Like Coating. This coating helps protect the steel and adds strength to it.

 

 

The Extras:

 

The Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class knife has a few extras on it. For starters, it has a Damasteel back spacer. Second, it sports a matching anodized titanium thumb stud that sits near the rear of the blade.

 

 

Pros of the Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class:

 

  • Benchmade is a fantastic company with an excellent reputation.
  • The steel is made out of Damasteel—a unique steel.
  • The blade is made out of a single piece of titanium, so there are no weak spots on it.
  • Damasteel is strong, durable, and a true masterpiece.
  • Damasteel is a work of art, with a unique pattern that you will only be able to find on Damasteel.
  • The drop point blade shape is one of the most versatile blade shapes.
  • The lowered tip gives you better control and a stronger tip.
  • The drop point shape sports a big belly with ample cutting room, so you have plenty of room for slicing.
  • The handle is made out of a single piece of titanium, so there are no weak spots in it.
  • Titanium is a lightweight material, but extremely strong.
  • Titanium has the highest corrosion resistance out of the metals.
  • Titanium actually feels warm to the touch, so you can have this knife with you in cold environments and not have to worry about it biting into your skin.
  • The handle has been anodized to add a blue violet color.
  • Sports the AXIS lock.
  • Comes with a reversible, deep carry pocket clip.

 

 

Cons of the Benchmade Valet Titanium Gold Class:

 

  • Because Damasteel is such a time consuming, skill needed task, this is going to be a more expensive blade.
  • The drop point blade has a broad tip, so it is not going to excel at stabbing or piercing.
  • Titanium is prone to scratches.
  • Titanium is a more expensive material, so the cost of the knife is going to be upped because of this.
  • The pocket clip has only been drilled to carry it tip up.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Benchmade has a great reputation for creating excellent knives. Even though they started out making solely butterfly knives, when they branched out to creating regular folding knives, they promptly created some of the best. They recently made a limited addition of the Valet. This is the Valet Titanium Gold Class edition.

To create such a fantastic knife, they started out with some of the best knife steel that there is. They chose the Damasteel, which is similar to Damascus except purer and perfect. Another difference between the two, is that Damasteel will have different patterns than a Damascus steel. For this knife, they chose a Ladder Pattern Damasteel. To finish off the perfect blade, Benchmade decided to carve it into a drop point shape. This is one of the most versatile shapes that can stand up to almost anything. This is such a beautiful blade, so it might pain some people to use it as their everyday knife, but this knife has been designed as the perfect everyday carry knife. To carry on with this perfect knife, they chose the handle to be made out of anodized titanium. The anodization process on this particular knife created a blue violet color. The anodization process will also limit the amount of scratches that the titanium will develop, even though titanium has been prone to scratching. They also added a deep carry, reversible, tip up pocket clip. As a cherry on top, they incorporated a Damasteel back spacer and an anodized titanium thumb stud that matches the color of the handle.

Benchmade Knives chose to use the highest quality materials to create a perfect special edition knife. With the anodization process and the Damasteel pattern, this knife looks like a piece of art.

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Benchmade Gold Class 707-161 Sequel Knife — Quick Review

There are a nearly infinite number of amazing knives on the market.  Every week, I find at least one or two more knives that I think would be nice to add to my collection.  Just last week the most recent Benchmade Gold Class hit the shelves and this special knife is impressive.

Benchmade Gold Class Sequel Knife, 707-161
Benchmade Gold Class Sequel Knife, 707-161

Like each Gold Class, the knife is based on an existing knife being produced by Benchmade but then tricked out with all the bells and whistles you can imagine.  As Benchmade says on their website,

Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. We select premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium-grade knives and tools that provide great value for our customer.

Add to the unique design elements the fact that a very limited number of these are produced and suddenly you have an instant collectible classic every time.  The 707-161 is based on the Benchmade Sequel knife.  This spectacular Gold Class edition boasts a 3-D machined titanium handle, a custom titanium pocket clip, and heat colored hardware.   The blade is super premium CPM-S90V stainless steel with a two tone finish–mostly dark acid washed with bright polish flats.  The most eye catching feature is the copper niobium inlays.  These inlays are taken from large copper cables that were built interspersed with NbTi (Niobium Titanium) filaments which were used in massive particle accelerators such as the Tevatron accelerator used at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab which resides just east of Batavia, Illinois.  Cut, insert and then polished to a beautiful shine, this inlay adds just the right amount of amazing to an already incredible knife.

The 707 Sequel AXIS folder is a McHenry & Williams design.  Built based on the earlier 705 model, the 707 is just slightly wider and significantly thinner than the 705.  This makes, at least in my estimation, for a better grip on the handle.  The blade is also slightly wider, which I prefer, and boasts more belly than the 7o5.  A larger belly improves the blade’s ability to slice because the larger curve continually changes the angle of the blade to the material being cut as you pull the blade through the material.  This increases the efficiency of your cut because the blade stays in contact with the material being cut for more of the cutting stroke.

Additionally, the 707 Sequel AXIS folder boasts the incredible Benchmade AXIS system.  If you have never used a knife with the AXIS system, you will quickly come to love it.  Benchmade describes the AXIS system as,

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. Available in manual, AXIS® Assist or Auto AXIS® configurations.

To me, the biggest draws of the AXIS system are first, that it is truly ambidextrous which not only makes it nice for our lefty friends but also makes it nice for rightys that find themselves suddenly needing their right hand to hold something in place while their left hand does the work, and second, that the AXIS is one of the most secure systems on the market to keep the blade locked open when using it increasing your safety and security.

The new Gold Class 707-161 is definitely a centerpiece addition to any fine collection.  Check it out here on our website, you will be glad you did.
SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 2.95″
  • Overall Length: 6.75″
  • Blade Material: CPM-S90V
  • Blade Finish: Dark Acid Wash / Bright Polish
  • Handle Length: 3.8″
  • Handle Material: 6AL-4V Titanium / Copper Niobium
  • Weight: 2.6 oz.
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Benchmade Gold Class Stryker II Knife

Just in is the newest Benchmade Gold Class offering–the 908-151 AXIS Stryker II knife.  This knife features a Chad Nichols Starfire Damascus blade.  The pattern on this Damascus is stellar.  The blade is hand convexed and polished .

Benchmade Styker II
Benchmade Styker II Gold Class Knife

The knife also boasts hand blended lightning strike carbon fiber scales.  The pivot ring and backspacer are matched to the handle.

This knife will instantly take center stage in any fine collection.  It uses the patented AXIS lock mechanism that also has blue anodized titanium accents.  Only 200 pieces were made and each bears the serial number on the back of the blade.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.57″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.124″
  • Handle Thickness: 0.545″
  • Blade Material: CHad Nichols Starfire Damascus premium steel
  • Blade Style: Drop Point, Plain Edge
  • Weight: 5.52 oz.
  • Pocket Clip: Titanium
  • Lock Mechanism: AXIS
  • Overall Length: 8.29″
  • Closed Length: 4.87″
  • Class: Gold
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Benchmade Gold Class Barrage AXIS Assist Knife

Benchmade Gold Class Barrage
Benchmade Gold Class Barrage

Just in–the Benchmade Gold Class Barrage.  This spectacular knife is one of just 100 produced.  Each one has the serial number on the back of the Devon Thomas Razor Wire Damascus blade.  With the patented AXIS-Assist mechanism, this knife is a perfect addition to any fine collection. It has blued titanium bolsters, thumb studs and pocket clip. The handle scales are blue G-10 layered with carbon fiber.  Check it out on our website.

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Benchmade Gold Class Shoki Folder

Benchmade Gold Class Shoki
Benchmade Gold Class Shoki

Looking for a great collectible knife?  The Benchmade Gold Class line of knives are limited edition knives that have incredible craftmanship combined with quality materials.  The newest Gold Class to hit our shelves is the Benchmade Shoki.  A Nakamura design, this knife is one of a limited run of 150 pieces that were produced.  Want to know more about the knife?  Check it out on our website.

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Benchmade Gold Class 1000-101 Auto Spike Knife

As an Authorized Benchmade Plus Dealer, we have access to the occasional Gold Class knife that Benchmade releases.  Recently, Benchmade released a few Gold Class knives in a short period of time.  Included were the Dark Star, the Mini-AFCK knife, and now the Auto Spike.  Each of them are absolutely stunning knives.  The Auto Spike features a Devon Thomas Reptilian pattern Damascus blade.  If you can see from the picture, the pattern and the quality of this blade is amazing.  The handle of the Auto Spike is built from an anodized “orange peel” titanium.  It is really quite unique.  Only 100 of these knives were produced by Benchmade.  The serial number on the Auto Spike we have in stock is 9.   If you are a collector of fine knives, and are looking for a quality piece of workmanship and art, a Benchmade Gold Class knife is always a welcome addition to a growing collection.  Check out the Auto Spike, or any of our Gold Class knives at our Benchmade Gold Class page

SPECIFICATIONS:

Blade Length: 3.41″
Blade Thickness: 0.120″
Handle Thickness: 0.500″
Blade Material: Devon Thomas Reptilian pattern Damascus
Weight: 4.00oz.
Pocket Clip: Anodized Ti, Tip-Down, Removable
Lock Mechanism: Push-Button Automatic
Overall Length: 9.24″
Closed Length: 4.52″
Class: Gold

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