The Benchmade 928 Proxy fits into the well-respected Oregon knife-maker’s Blue Class of products. Along with the company’s Black Class, aimed at armed forces personnel, law enforcement, public safety workers, and others with demanding performance expectations, the Blue Class lies at the heart of Benchmade’s offerings. Within the Blue Class, Benchmade’s products fulfill the day-in, day-out objectives of people who rely on knives to support their work, hobbies, and recreational enjoyments. Like many of the products in the Blue Class, the Benchmade 928 Proxy makes a rewarding choice for people with everyday, outdoor, and tactical needs.
Benchmade extends the design reach of its in-house team through partnerships with leading custom designers. The products that result from these collaborations expand Benchmade’s palette of materials and innovations into exciting new realms of knife technology. The Benchmade 928 Proxy represents one of the fruits of those collaborative efforts.
The form and function of the Benchmade 928 Proxy come from the artisanal craft of designer Warren Osborne. With 17 designs in Benchmade’s 2015 catalog, including Blue Class and Black Class products, Mr. Osborne exemplifies his commitment to quality and the benefits of his broad experience as a custom designer in every knife he creates. The 928 Proxy stands as one of Warren Osborne’s two Benchmade designs introduced in 2016.
Warren Osborne grew up in the farming and ranching business, with three brothers who shared his interest in blades. Among the four of them, they amassed a substantial collection of cutting tools. Along with using knives, Mr. Osborne demonstrated an early interest in making them as well. He crafted his earliest creations using materials salvaged from other bladed objects, including saws of various kinds, as well as from found pieces of steel.
Working as a ranch hand in Australia and a horse trainer in the U.S., Mr. Osborne turned his interest in knife making into a pastime, using an electric drill and a file to form and sharpen his designs. When Mr. Osborne transformed his spare-time avocation into a career, he began producing pocket knives, joining the Knifemakers’ Guild in 1985 as a probationary member one year after he turned knife making into his full-time profession. From the pocket knives with which he began his career, he branched out to creating interframes as well.
His devotion to the quality of his designs, the standards to which he holds his hand finishing work, and the elegance of his creations also emerge in the production designs he creates for Benchmade. From his studio in Waxahatchie, Texas, he creates knives that are meant to be used as well as appreciated. His Benchmade 928 Proxy features a modern look built from the combination of outstanding materials.
The drop-point blade of the Benchmade 928 Proxy forms a downward curve toward its point. Part of the strength of a drop-point blade derives from the convex profile it presents. In use, a drop-point blade behaves much like a clip-point design, but the extra thickness at the tip of the knife makes the drop-point less suitable as a piercing tool than a clip-point knife would be. Drop-point blades are single edged.
On the Benchmade 928 Proxy, a generous back extension of the blade helps protect the user’s hand from sliding onto sharp steel. A small semi-circular indentation called a choil defines the beginning of the cutting edge of the blade.
You can opt for the Benchmade 928 Proxy with a plain edge or one that’s partially serrated. The serrations appear on the left side of the blade and occupy only a portion of the cutting edge.
Unlike some Benchmade designs, the 928 Proxy comes only with an uncoated satin blade finish. The Benchmade butterfly logo appears on the left side of the blade, with the name of the knife’s designer and the designation of its steel alloy inscribed on the right side.
If you’d like to personalize your Benchmade 928 Proxy with text or graphics that either identify it as yours or commemorate something special in your life, Benchmade’s optional lasermarking service can add a message or image to your knife using the same permanent inscription process that adds the company’s logo to its blades. This service carries an additional charge. No need to make up your mind in advance of purchase, however, as you can opt for lasermarking after you receive your knife.
For 2016, Benchmade introduces four knives, including the Benchmade 928 Proxy, that feature blades made from Crucible Industries’ CPM 20CV steel alloy. CPM 20CV is a high-carbon (1.90%) premium stainless steel that typically contains 20.0% chromium, 4.0% vanadium, 1.0% molybdenum, 0.7% silicon, 0.6% tungsten, and 0.3% manganese, with a hardness that measures 59 to 61 HRC on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. The addition of vanadium increases toughness, along with wear resistance, and boosts edge retention. Molybdenum also contributes to edge retention and tungsten to wear resistance. Silicon increases hardness and resistance to pitting. Manganese promotes hardness, wear retention, and tensile strength.
Five qualities quantify and describe the performance of the steels used to create knife blades. Hardness measures how well a steel or other material resists the force of an implement called an indenter that’s driven into it on a test instrument in the lab. Toughness, a less-standardized measurement than hardness, describes damage resistance, including the ability to bend rather than break, and to avoid chipping and cracking in use. Toughness and hardness exist on a continuum, so an increase in one of these two properties signals a corresponding decrease in the other. Wear resistance represents the ability to avoid the two forms of wear: Abrasive, which occurs when a surface encounters a material rougher than itself; and adhesive, in which material transfers from one surface to another. Hardness tends to correlate with wear resistance. Corrosion resistance refers to the ability to tolerate exposure to environmental elements without developing oxidation. Finally, edge retention stands as a subjective assessment of how well and how long a blade remains sharp despite seeing consistent service in use.
Along with serving as a material for knife blades, CPM 20CV also sees use in the fabrication of injection molding and food processing equipment. Thanks to CPM 20CV’s healthy inclusion of chromium, this alloy offers outstanding corrosion resistance that makes it an ideal choice for use in environments that present metal-hostile elements, including wetness as well as saltiness. CPM 20CV also ranks highly for its edge retention. Despite CPM 20CV’s vanadium content, the alloy’s toughness lags slightly behind that of other steels. Nonetheless, it shows high resistance to the kinds of lateral stresses that can flex a blade until it breaks.
The abbreviation “CPM” stands for Crucible Particle Metallurgy, a patented manufacturing process proprietary to Crucible Industries of New York. The traditional, time-tested methods of conventional steel production start when the metal melts in an electric arc furnace. The molten metal is refined in a secondary decarburization step before it moves from furnace to ladle and into the molds that form it into ingots. Molten steel remains a homogeneous mixture of the composite elements in an alloy, but as traditionally manufactured steel cools down, its granular structure becomes coarse and segregated. Additional processing can overcome some of the effects of this microstructural change, but in high-carbon steels and those with multi-element alloy formulations, segregation continues to cause degraded mechanical properties.
To overcome these limitations, Crucible’s CPM process replaces the molding step with one in which the molten steel sprays through a small nozzle. High-pressure gas breaks up the metal into tiny particles that solidify quickly, forming minute droplets. Even after they cool, these miniature spheres turn into a powder that retains the homogeneity present in the metal’s molten form. Within this powder, every particle constitutes its own individual ingot.
The final steps in CPM production take place in sealed containers that undergo exposure to pressure and to temperature roughly equal to the heat required for conventional forging. Under pressure, the tiny ingot-particles bond together into a steel with a finely grained, homogeneous microstructure. Compared to traditionally produced steels, CPM steels exhibit improved wear resistance, reduced chipping, easier sharpening and resharpening, and consistent behavior in response to heat treatment.
Although its CPM 20CV blade means that the Benchmade 928 Proxy may require infrequent sharpening, its alloy may present a sharpening challenge for the less-experienced knife user or those who lack the necessary sharpening tools. Under the terms of Benchmade’s LifeSharp warranty, you can send your knife back to Benchmade’s Oregon headquarters for sharpening (and refurbishment, if it demonstrates wear) at the hands of dedicated expert technicians, provided that you include the original bill of sale and prepay for shipment.
The handle of the Benchmade 928 Proxy combines two high-tech materials into one integrated design. With one scale fabricated from G10 laminate and the other from 6AL-4V titanium, the knife melds two distinct appearances together to create a handle that offers the best of both substances.
Fabricated of contoured G10 in desert tan, the left scale of the Benchmade 928 Proxy incorporates a molded-in checkered texture for improved grip, with a smoothly chamfered surface on much of the side of the scale. G10 consists of continuously woven glass fabric that’s soaked in an epoxy resin, molded under high pressure, and baked into its final form. The resulting lightweight composite demonstrates a marked degree of hardness and strength. It resists liquids, demonstrating a virtual imperviousness to water that makes it a first-choice material for the fabrication of printed circuit boards. G10 also resists chemicals, humidity, and the kinds of flexing that can damage other materials.
Benchmade crafts the left scale of the handle of the Benchmade 928 Proxy from milled and sandblasted billet 6AL-4V titanium. This highly strong, lightweight, corrosion resistant alloy sees wide use in the medical industry because of titanium’s compatibility with human tissue and bone. 6AL-4V also earns high marks for its ability to provide critical weight reduction in aircraft, aerospace, automotive, and marine parts and equipment without compromising structural integrity.
The Benchmade 928 Proxy uses the company’s patented monolock design. In a monolock or framelock knife, a slot cut in the left scale of the handle transforms part of that scale into a lock bar that engages behind the the blade to hold it open. To close the blade, you press the lock bar back toward the handle until it resumes its original position. In the Benchmade 928 Proxy, thrust bearing washers support blade movement. An adjustable lock face enables you to customize exactly how far the blade opens before the monolock engages.
Including the blade pivot, the Benchmade 928 Proxy assembles with five Torx screws. The design does not incorporate a lanyard hole because the feature would fall in the same area as the pocket clip attachment. A wide, gentle forefinger groove, enhanced by the size, shape, and position of the blade’s back extension, leads back to a handle butt with no rear quillon. Chamfering on the sides of both scales yields additional support for the fingers.
A stainless steel split arrow pocket clip, polished but not painted, provides a tip-up carry position for the Benchmade 928 Proxy. The clip attaches with three Torx screws. It offers a reversible design to accommodate either right- or left-hand pockets and right- or left-handed users.
Knife Dimensions and Weight
With its blade open, the Benchmade 928 Proxy measures 8.85 inches long. Closed, it measures 5.09 inches, the same as the length of its handle. The blade itself measures 3.87 inches long and 0.150 inches thick. At the handle, the knife measures 0.5 inches thick. It weighs in at a mere 4.86 ounces.
Whether you choose the Benchmade 928 Proxy to use as an everyday carry, to support outdoor work or play with a tool that can handle anything from bushcraft to dressing game, or as a tactical weapon for military personnel, law enforcement, or public safety workers, you’ll derive exceptional use from this outstanding Warren Osborne design. Its light weight, rugged materials, exceptional edge retention, and high level of corrosion resistance make it easy to carry and maintain.
|Handle material||Desert tan contoured G10 and 6AL-4V titanium|
|Handle color||Tan and titanium|
|Blade material||U.S.-made CPM 20CV stainless steel, Crucible Industries|
|Blade hardness||59-61 HRC|
|Blade finish||Satin (928 and 928S)|
|Blade edge type||Plain (938) or serrated (928S)|
|Clip||Reversible stainless steel split arrow tip-up pocket clip|
|Sheath material||Sheath sold separately|
|Benchmade product class||Blue Class|
|User||Right handed or left handed|
|Best use||Tactical, outdoor, survival|
|Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices||928 and 928S: $295|