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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.