The story of Benchmade starts when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives that he played with as a kid. He had been in a high school shop class, so he used those skills to blueprint his dream knife. He eventually met Victor Anselmo who helped to grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-Song prototype. He paired this blade with handles that Les had sourced from a small machine shop in California and he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song knife in his own garage. He was proud of his creation, so he took it to a local gun store, prompting the owner to ask if he could build 100 more.
Les started a company called Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. The original equipment was purchased form the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. He utilized the rudimentary technology that was available to him at the time and began building handmade custom Bali-Songs, along with Jody Sampson, who ground all of the blades. The success of these custom Bali’s 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, evolving its name from Bali-Song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp. In 1987, this company filed for bankruptcy.
In 1988, Les reintroduced a new company and 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 would need a new name. While there was “handmade” and “factory made” it was “Benchmade” that truly described the equality 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.
May is Benchmade month at BladeOps. To celebrate, we will be going over a different knife of theirs each day. Today, we will be going over the 482 Megumi.
The blade on the 482 Megumi is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium grade steel that is made by Crucible. This steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. It was designed in the United States and is typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. The introduction of vanadium carbides brings extreme hardness into the steel alloy matrix. Dollar for dollar, this is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this type of steel is how hard it is to sharpen. The steel on this knife is at a 58-60 HRC level.
The steel has been finished with a satin finish. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, usually a sandpaper. This finish is a classic finish that is used to showcase the lines in the knife. This finish does work to cut down on glares and reflections, but it is by no means matte.
The blade on the 482 Megumi has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose blade that is one of the most popular blade shapes on the market today. One of the most common places that you are going to find this blade shape is on a Bowie knife, but it is also popular on many pocket knives and fixed blade knives. To form this blade shape, the back or unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight form the handle and stops about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This area looks as if it is cut or clipped out. This area is where the blade shape got its name from, because this part of the knife from the spine to the point looks like it has been clipped off. This clipped out portion on the 482 Megumi is a straight section. The created point is a lowered point, which means that you will have more control when you are using the knife. Because the tip is so easily controlled and sharp and thinner at the spine, a clip point knife is the perfect knife for stabbing. It has less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. One of the other reasons that this blade shape is so versatile is because of the large belly area that provides plenty of length to make slicing a breeze. One of the disadvantages to a clip point blade shape is that it does have a relatively narrow tip. Because it is so sharp and narrow, it does have a tendency to be weak and can break fairly easily. When you choose a knife with a clip point blade shape, you will be preparing yourself with a great all-purpose blade that can be used in many different situations, whether they are expected ones or unexpected ones.
This blade does have a plain edge, which is the more traditional of the edges. The plain edge is easier to sharpen and you can get a finer edge on it. This style of edge is the perfect edge for push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. The plain edge can take on a wider variety of tasks when being compared to a serrated or combination edge. Some people are concerned that their plain edge won’t be able to cut through the thicker and tougher materials, however, when you get your edge sharp enough, it will be able to manage those materials. Although, it won’t excel at them.
The handle on this knife has a very elegant feel to it. It has been made out of Cocobolo Wood with Carbon Fiber inlayed on it. Cocobolo wood comes in a wide variety of different colors, form yellow, orange, red, to shades of brown. On the Megumi, the Cocobolo wood is a deep red. The color of this wood generally will darken with age. Because the grain is straight with a fine, even texture it has a natural luster to it. This type of wood is also a very durable wood that is pretty resistant to degrading over time. The wood is very hard and stands up well to repeated handling and exposure to water. Because of those characteristics, it is commonly used in knife handles. This type of wood is a tropical hardwood of Central American trees.
The inlays on this knife handle is made out of carbon fiber. This is a term that refers to the material that has thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven and then set in a resin. Carbon Fiber is a crazy strong yet still lightweight material that is on the more expensive side of things. And while it is a crazy strong material, it is far from being indestructible and actually suffers from being brittle. This is because all of the fibers have been set in a single direction but will start to break apart when it is stressed in other directions. Because it is brittle, it can crack if subjected to hard or sharp impacts. The weave creates an eye catching look to the handle, with a thick basket like look to it. The carbon fiber is a dark grey.
While wood doesn’t always provide you with the best grip on a handle, the carbon fiber inlays make your grip excellent. There is a finger guard to protect your fingers from getting cut. There is not finger groove, but the handle has been molded to fit into your hand almost perfectly; providing you with a comfortable, easy grip. On the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. This comes in handy for a variety of different reasons, but one of the best reasons to use a lanyard is to protect your knife against loss. The combination of the two knife handle materials provides you with an extremely durable handle that makes for the perfect everyday knife handle. It will be able to stand up to the challenges that you encounter every day without wearing down or breaking. Because the carbon fiber is only on the inlays, the wood protects it well enough from the need to worry about it cracking. The lanyard will also keep your knife out of the way while you don’t need it, but close enough to use have easy access to the second you do need it.
This handle has no pocket clip. The hardware on this knife is all silver, which matches the blade, giving you a very elegant, traditional look.
This knife sports a Nak-Lok locking mechanism. This lock is built on the framework of a locking liner but with some innovative updates. The lock engages using the tensile strength, compared to the compression hold of more traditional locking liners. With the Nak-Lok, the chance of injury is greatly recued because the opening finger never crosses over the blades path. When this lock is positively engaged, there is no play present. People with large hands and even lefties will be able to manipulate this style of locking mechanism without much trouble.
This is a manual opening knife that uses a thumb stud to assist you with opening. This opening mechanism is arguably the most common one hand opening feature and is often used by Benchmade. A thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The principle is pretty straightforward, you grasp the folded knife, place the tip of your flexed thumb on the stud and extend your thumb to swing the blade through its arc until the blade is fully open. Knives that uses a thumb stud will usually incorporate a locking mechanism of some sort, in this case, the Nak-Lok that we previously discussed.
The blade on this knife is 2.48 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.104 inches. The open length of this knife is 5.76 inches long and it sports a closed length of 3.28 inches long. The handle thickness on the 482 Megumi is 0.46 inches. This knife weighs in at 1.85 ounces.
The Benchmade 482 Nakamura designed Megumi Folder features an S30V premium stainless steel clip point style blade. The steel on this blade can resist rust effortlessly and has the perfect balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. The clip point blade style is extremely versatile and will be able to accomplish your everyday tasks that you choose to throw at it. This is the perfect blade shape for your everyday knife because of the large belly that provides you with enough length to make slicing a breeze. Many of your everyday tasks involve some sort of slicing, so this should be an important characteristic that you search for when choosing your ideal everyday knife. Built with the Nak-Lok locking mechanism, this knife also features a contoured cocobolo wood and carbon fiber handle. The Nak-Lok locking mechanism is a breeze for left handers to use while remaining strong and denying the blade any play while in use. The Megumi boasts a MIM back spacer with a lanyard hole. This lanyard hole is the perfect option for keeping the 482 Megumi on hand but out of the way until the moment that you need it. This knife will change the way that you think of everyday carry blades. Celebrate May as Benchmade month and pick up your 482 Megumi today at BladeOps. Happy shopping.