With 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. This is the story of Benchmade.
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?”
In 1980, 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 Arvensis.
The man behind this knife is Shane Sibert. Benchmade says, “Since 1994, Shane Sibert’s goal has been to design and handcraft unique and functional knives that will invoke pride of ownership, while at the same time perform challenging tasks with exceptional ease. He’s established a reputation for making knives constructed to hold up to the rigors of various hostile environments. A life-long avid backpacker and hiker, Sibert draws inspiration from adventurous treks throughout the Pacific Northwest’s vast wilderness and from hobbies that have included Martial Arts and S.C.U.B.A diving.”
The blade on this knfie is made out of 154CM steel. This is a relatively hard steel that is considered to be an upgraded version of 440C. This is achieved because of the addition of Molybdenum into the material. The Molybdenum helps to give the knfie superior edge holding when compared to 440C, but still allows it to retain similar levels of corrosion resistance even though it does have less chromium in the steel. 154CM steel does have decent toughness that is going to get you through all of your basic tasks and then even some of the extreme tasks. This steel does hold an edge well, which is ideal when you are in the field and don’t have the means to sharpen it. When it does come time to sharpen a blade with this steel, it won’t be too difficult if you have the correct materials to manage that. This steel is made by Crucible Industries, which is a US based steel manufacturer.
The blade has been finished with a satin finish, which is the most common blade finish that you are going to find in the cutlery industry to date. This finish is very traditional and will give the blade a classic look. The finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The abrasive that is most commonly used is a sandpaper. As a key, the finer the sandpaper and the more even the liens, the cleaner that the stain finish is going to look. Because this is a Benchmade knife, you can expect the finish to be very clean. The stain finish works to cut down on glares and reflections, which can benefit you in the filed because you don’t want a reflection to give your position away. The satin finish also cuts down slightly on corrosion, which will be an advantage, but I wouldn’t recommend relying on the finish to avoid caring for the blade.
The blade on this knfie is carved into a clip point blade shape. The clip point blade shape is a very versatile blade shape that is most commonly found on the Bowie knfie, although you are going to find it on plenty of other fixed blades, such as the Arvensis. The blade shape is formed by having the spine of the knfie run straight from the handle before stopping about halfway up the knfie. At this point, it will turn and continue to the point of the knfie. This area looks as if it is cut out and is referred to as the clip, which is where this blade shape got its name from. The clip on the Arvensis is straight, although you can find a curved clip on other knives. The clip creates a lowered point, which gives the user more control when they are using the knfie. Because the tip is controllable, sharp and thinner at the spine, a clip point is going to excel at stabbing and piercing. This is because it has less drag during insertion and can be removed more quickly. Clip points also have very large bellies, which help to make slicing an easy task. Slicing is one of the more common things that you will be doing with this knfie, so the big belly is definitely an advantage. Clip points do have one major disadvantage: because the tip is so narrow and sharp, it does have the tendency to be weak and can break pretty easily.
The handle on this knife is made out of black contoured G10. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fiber, although it is slightly inferior and can be made and bought for a much smaller price. The manufacturer makes this material by taking layers of fiberglass cloth and then soaks them in a resin. The next step in making this material is to compress the layers and then bake them under pressure. The resulting material is tough, hard, lightweight, and extremely strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, which include carbon fiber and Micarta, G10 is consider to be the toughest of all. It is even considered to be stronger than Micarta, although with that strength comes the brittleness that G10 does have.
The process to make this material makes it easy to add texture to the handle, which helps the user have a very solid and comfortable grip. Tactical folders and fixed blades benefit from the qualities of G10 because it is so durable, very lightweight—so you can have a large knife and not be weighed down—and it is non-porous. The last characteristic is one of the most important to the Arvensis. This knife is not going to absorb any fluids that you happen to come in contact with, which significantly cuts down on maintenance. The overall benefits of a G10 handle is that it is going to be tough, lightweight, and extremely durable. The drawbacks to a G10 handle is that it is going to be brittle and it does lack elegance.
The handle has thick finger guards on both sides, which is important for such a thick blade. The spine of the handle goes straight from the blade to the butt of the handle. The belly of the handle bulges out in the center to provide for a more comfortable grip on the knfie. The butt of the handle has extreme jimping on it. The handle has been slightly skeletonized with three holes cut out going down the length. The last hole can be used as a lanyard hole.
This is a fixed blade, which means that there is no mechanism on the knife. The benefits of a fixed blade are plentiful. For starters, the blade can be much longer and thicker than on a folding knfie because the blade does not have to fit inside of the handle. This benefits a tactical knife because the user can inflict more damage. This benefits an outdoor and survival knife because you can take on much larger tasks. A fixed blade is much less likely to break, because of the thickness of the blade. This is huge when you are using this knfie as an outdoor or survival knife, because you do not want to be left high and dry without a weapon. Fixed blades also have much lower maintenance levels, because all you really have to do is wipe down the blade and the handle and then dry them off. The blade is going to need to be oiled occasionally. You don’t have to worry about the hinge like you would with a folding knfie and you don’t have to worry about the spring, like you would with an automatic or spring assisted knife.
A fixed blade is going to be the superior tactical weapon, because all you have to do is remove it from the sheath and you are good to go. It is also going to be the superior survival tool, because you can use it for a lot more than just cutting.
The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of Bolatron. Bolatron is a material that is often used in knfie sheaths as well as gun holsters. It is a fire retardant thermoplastic alloy that offers outstanding physical properties, which makes it ideal for a knfie sheath. This material can withstand high impact, abrasion, extreme temperatures as well as harsh chemicals. In fact, this material is known to offer greater abrasion resistance than stainless steel. Bolatron.com says that this material is easy to use and difficult to damage, which makes it ideal for a sheath on an outdoor, survival, or tactical knife such as the Arvensis. Because this material is a plastic, the maintenance will be low because all you will have to do is wipe down the sheath. This is a huge advantage for this knife because when you are in the heat of the moment or trying to survive in the great outdoors, you won’t want to be worrying about if your knife sheath can deal with the weather or conditions you are introduced to.
The blade on this knife measures in at 6.44 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.193 inches. The handle on this knfie has a thickness of 0.75 inches. The overall length of the Arvensis measures in at 11.72 inches long. This knife weighs in at 11.74 ounces, so it is definitely a heavier knife. This knfie was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.
When Benchmade is describing this knfie, they say, “A big, heavy-duty tactical knife that Shane Sibert designed to be well balanced with a “light hand feel”. The Arvensis is an impressive, future-forward fixed blade design with an innovative sheath attachment feature that allows for integration with almost anything.” You can pick up this knfie today at BladeOps.