Thanks to Benchmade’s tradition of pairing up with world renowned custom designers to offer production knives that uphold traditions of innovation and material excellence, the company has brought many popular product models to market bearing names familiar to those who study the work of artists and artisans in the field of knife making. The 2016 Benchmade lineup is no exception.
Custom knife maker Shane Sibert of Gladstone, Oregon, became involved in the art and business of designing knives after spending time at the Benchmade shop as a teenager. His knife making career began in 1994 and became his full-time profession 10 years later. Most of his designs represent fixed-blade models.
Benchmade’s 2015 lineup incorporates six examples of Shane Sibert’s work, including the Blue Class 757 Vicar clip-point liner lock, the Blue Class 162 Bushcrafter and 162-1 Bushcrafter EOD drop-point fixed blades, the Black Class 275/2750 Adamas family drop-point manual and automatic AXIS locks, and the Black Class 375 Adamas drop-point fixed-blade family with serrated spines.
The Benchmade Blue Class supports the needs of recreational users who want reliable, durable everyday carry knives suitable for work and play. The Benchmade Black Class aims at fulfilling the expectations of professional users, from armed forces personnel to police officers and other first responders. These knives and tools also meet with approval from recreational users who subject their tools to the kinds of heavy use that typify professional implementation.
With the Benchmade 119 Arvensis, new for 2016 and positioned within the Benchmade Black Class, the company introduces a Shane Sibert design meant for tactical, outdoor, and survival use. Arvensis, a Latin adjective that means “in the fields,” also appears as part of the scientific names of various plants and birds, which makes a highly suitable appellation for a knife that will see plenty of use in the great outdoors. The 119 Arvensis represents a fixed blade with heavy duty reliability, poised to stand up to the challenges of surviving in the wilderness or in the line of fire.
With a clip-point or slant-point profile, the Benchmade 119 Arvensis displays a blade shape that represents a variant of the normal or straightback profile. A clip-point knife handles in a manner reminiscent of a drop-point blade, but the thinned area at the clipped part of the spine yields a weaker point than a drop-point blade offers. The flat clip point of the Benchmade 119 Arvensis forms a diagonal that stretches across roughly half the front-to-back dimension of the spine of the blade. The swage on the clipped area of the Benchmade 119 Arvensis creates a false edge.
The Benchmade 119 Arvensis incorporates a full-tang blade that projects at full thickness beyond the butt of the knife handle to provide a persuader (sometimes known as a talon or skull crusher) that offers an additional striking surface. The persuader features unsharpened serrations that increase the knife’s ability to chop, pound, or strike when you hold it in a reversed grip. The shape of the persuader constitutes a direct extension of the geometry of the butt of the knife handle.
Benchmade offers the 119 Arvensis in versions with a plain edge or one that also includes a series of serrations, or rip teeth, on the left side of the blade just in front of the handle. Rip teeth make quick work of tasks that involve cutting rope, string, paracord, or other fibrous materials. Look for the letter “S” in the model number to identify the versions of the 119 Arvensis that include serrations. Models 119S and 119SBK incorporate this feature on blades with different finishes.
On the cutting edge of the blade of the Benchmade 119 Arvensis, you’ll find a choil positioned in front of the front quillon of the handle and just behind the blade’s serrations (if you opt for a version of the knife that includes them), or the beginning of the sharpened edge of the blade if you choose a version of the 119 without serrations.
The Benchmade 119 Arvensis comes with either a satin-finished blade or one with a black coating. Look for the letters “BK” in the model number, designating the coated version. Models 119BK and 119SBK incorporate this feature on blades with plain and partially serrated edges respectively.
To personalize and identify your knife, Benchmade’s optional lasermarking service can add text, graphics, or both to the blade of the 119 Arvensis. This service also can be applied to the handles of some Benchmade knives, but not to the 119 Arvensis because of the materials and surface texturing used in its contruction. Benchmade adds its butterfly logo, patent numbers, custom designers’ names, and steel alloy designations to its blades with the same laser engraving process used to apply customers’ text and graphics. The laser leaves a distinctively contrasting area on coated or uncoated steel as a permanent part of the blade surface.
For the full-tang blade of the 119 Arvensis, Benchmade chose U.S.-made 154 CM stainless steel from New York’s Crucible Industries. The modern-day Crucible Industries traces its history back to 19th-century England and forward to a 13-company merger among crucible steel companies at the beginning of the 20th century. Crucible’s involvement in the production of knife steels began at the turn of the 21st century, and drew on the company’s history in producing alloys for use in the automotive industry as well as in more exotic applications, including the implantable artificial heart designed by Robert Jarvik.
For Benchmade, Crucible provides a 154 CM alloy that incorporates enough carbon (1.05%) to qualify the result as a high-carbon steel. At between 58 and 61 HRC on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, 154 CM can take a pounding without sustaining damage. The alloy’s 14% chromium content qualifies it as a true corrosion-resistant stainless steel, and means the alloy offers additional hardness beyond what carbon confers. 154 CM owes its edge retention to 4.0% molybdenum, which also contributes to high-temperature strength. With 0.50% manganese, 154 CM exhibits hardness, tensile strength, and additional wear resistance. At the same time, 0.30% silicon promotes hardness and helps protect against pitting. 154 CM sees close comparisons to 440C, a long-popular stainless steel alloy with 3.5% more chromium and no molybdenum. In that comparison, 154 CM wins the edge retention crown thanks to its addition of molybdenum, and holds its own in the corrosion resistance department despite its lesser chromium component.
Heat treatment spells the difference between a stainless steel with a well-regarded name and a knife blade that lives up to the performance characteristics of that alloy. Benchmade’s carefully developed secret heat treatment recipes enable the company to produce blades that offer the toughness, hardness, and edge retention you expect.
Despite its excellent edge retention, even 154 CM requires periodic sharpening, although the Benchmade 119 Arvensis may not need this kind of attention for a long time after you acquire it, even in heavy use. If you want to return your 119 Arvensis, or any Benchmade knife, to its factory sharpness, take advantage of Benchmade’s LifeSharp warranty. Ship your knife back to Benchmade and let the technical specialists in the company’s Oregon headquarters sharpen it for you, with the exception of the serrated portions of any blades that include rip teeth.
An ideal knife handle offers light weight, keeps its shape regardless of environmental temperature, resists humidity, moisture, and chemicals, and provides overall strength and durability. For the 119 Arvensis, Benchmade selected G10, an industrial-grade laminate composited from layers of continuously woven glass fabric soaked in epoxy resin. After placing the fiberglass/resin mixture in a mold and subjecting it to high pressure to make it take its working form, the composite undergoes a baking process that gives it its final hardness and strength. This same composite material forms the basis for many printed circuit boards and other electrochemical components, in part thanks to its moisture resistance.
The handle of the Benchmade 119 Arvensis incorporates large, nearly symmetrical front quillons to protect your hand from sliding forward onto the cutting surface of the blade. At the butt of the blade, an asymmetrical rear quillon assists in maintaining grip and in facilitating the use of the knife in a reversed position. The belly of the handle features a long, smooth curve that accommodates the width of four fingers. The handle includes a molded in checkerboard texture that helps increase and support your hand’s grip. At the top and bottom edges of the handle, smoothly machined edges keep your hand from developing fatiguing hot spots if you work with the knife for long periods of time.
Tube pins made of flared titanium fasten the handle scales to the full blade tang, and give the side of the knife handle its distinctively punctuated appearance. Inserted into the handle under heavy pressure, these titanium tubing fasteners provide lightweight strength through a material with corrosion resistance. They keep the handle scales from separating away from the blade tang under heavy lateral forces. You also can use the tube pin holes as lanyard holes and lashing points.
Knife Dimensions and Weight
The Benchmade 119 Arvensis measures 11.72 inches overall, with a blade length of 6.44 inches and a handle length of 5.28 inches. The handle measures 0.75 inches thick; the blade, 0.193 inches.
Sheath Material and Configuration
Benchmade fabricates the sheath for the 119 Arvensis from Boltaron PVC/acrylic material. Boltaron offers superior resistance to cracking in cold environments, outdoing even Kydex in that regard, and displays a high degree of imperviousness to impact force and abrasion. This fire retardant, rigid, thermally formed plastic comes from the manufacturer in sheet form. Although Benchmade chose an appropriate basic black for the sheath of the 119 Arvensis, Boltaron makes this thermoplastic in an unlimited range of colors, patterns, and metallic surfaces, with 16 standard textures as well as custom options. Along with knife and gun sheaths, Boltaron’s implementations include components for aircraft, rail car, and mass transit interiors.
With the sheath of the 119 Arvensis, Benchmade introduces what it quite rightly describes as an innovative attachment system. When you attach a belt-mounted sheath using slots through which you thread your belt, you can’t simply attach and reposition the order of your gear. Instead, you must slide each item off your belt until you reach the one tool sheath you want to remove. The sheath of the Benchmade 119 Arvensis solves that problem.
The Boltaron sheath attaches with two Chicago screw posts to a patented AMSPRO Belt Mounting Clip made in the U.S. by American Sportsmen’s Products of Hubbard, Oregon. The clip, which comes with the sheath, incorporates a locking gate that fits over any belt up to 2.25 inches wide. The gate slides over the back of the belt and locks in place. When you press on the two releases positioned at the bottom of the clip lock and pull up a tab, the mounting clip opens so you can remove the case to which it’s attached without having to remove any other gear from the belt first. To adjust the height at which the sheath and the Benchmade 119 Arvensis sit, simply adjust the position of the Chicago screw posts.
To mount the AMSPRO Belt Mounting Clip and the attached Boltaron sheath to MOLLE straps, secure the clip to PALS webbing the same way you would lock the clip onto your belt.
The repositionable Chicago screw posts can attach to either face of the sheath, making the combination suitable for right- or left-hand use. Depending on how you orient the Belt Mounting Clip, you can attach clip, sheath, and knife horizontally or upside down. To secure the knife in a variety of carry positions, the AMSPRO Belt Mounting Clip includes a reversible tension strap. The AMSPRO Belt Mounting Clip measures 3.25 inches long by 1.5 inches wide.
The sheath incorporates a quick-release snap closure. Slots and grommet-reinforced holes around the perimeter of the sheath accept lanyards and lashings for extra stability and alternate attachment points.
Shane Sibert intended the Benchmade 119 Arvensis to feel light in the hand despite its imposing size. Achieving that kind of balance requires careful attention to the location of the center of gravity of the knife, placing weight either toward the front to facilitate cuts that require assisted pressure, or farther back to keep the knife comfortable in lengthy use.
Benchmade and Shane Sibert kept the design and appearance of the 119 Arvensis simple and straightforward. The modern, clean lines, uncluttered handle, and the distinctive look-through appearance of the flared titanium tube pins that secure the handle scales all add up to a big, bold statement in a knife that can save the day wherever it you take it.
Like its smaller cousins, the 162 Bushcrafter and 162-1 Bushcrafter EOD, which debuted in 2015, the Benchmade 119 Arvensis is meant to appeal to those who want to experience the outdoors without carrying an extensive set of tools. Its heavy duty design gives it the rugged ability to withstand abuse out in the wild, in survival situations, or in tactical scenarios. If you were waiting for a bigger version of the Benchmade Bushcrafter knives, the 119 Arvensis may be just what you hoped for. With the addition of the AMSPRO Belt Mounting Clip, the Benchmade 119 Arvensis gives you what you want in terms of carry options, too.
|Handle material||Black contoured G10 with surface texture|
|Blade material||U.S.-made 154 CM stainless steel, Crucible Industries|
|Blade hardness||58-61 HRC|
|Blade finish||Satin (119 and 119S) or black (119BK and 119SBK)|
|Blade edge type||Plain (119 and 119BK) or serrated (119S and 119SBK)|
|Clip||AMSPRO Belt Mounting Clip|
|Lock mechanism||N/A, fixed blade|
|Sheath material||Black Boltaron|
|Benchmade product class||Black Class|
|User||Right handed or left handed|
|Best use||Tactical, outdoor, survival|
|Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices||119 and 119S: $200; 119BK and 119SBK: $215|