The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon. Its products are geared toward many niche markets, such as outdoor sporting cutlery, rescue, law-enforcement, martial-arts, and military. The company has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers since its inception.
Benchmade started in California in 1979 as Bali-Song, changing its name in 1988 to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation. In 1990 the company moved to Clackamas, Oregon. In 1996, the company moved to Oregon City, Oregon. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or balisong-style knives, which it continues to manufacture. These knives have been so identified with the company that Benchmade has registered “Bali-Song” as a trademark and logo. Benchmade’s original Bali-Song design by Jody Samson was awarded Blade Magazine’s Knife of the Year Award in 1979.
As of February 2009, the company as employing approximately 150 people. Benchmade has had several years of growth and has expanded both the variety of knives it produces and the facility itself.
When Benchmade is talking about their mindset, they say, “For thirty years, Benchmade has been designing and manufacturing world-class products for world-class customers. When Benchmade was founded, the mission was to create something better; something exceptional. Today, we continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptilian for every day duties or taking the fight to the enemy with the Infidel, our knives are built to perform. When you choose to purchase a Benchmade, you do so because you want the best. You demand it. And programs like our LifeSharp Lifetime Service and Warranty are the foundation of our commitment to excellence. We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”
Today we will be going over the Benchmade 51 Morpho Balisong Butterfly Knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of D2 tool steel. This steel has high hardness and pretty high toughness which makes it an excellent choice in cutlery. This steel is not technically a stainless steel, because it falls just short of the chromium content, but it still does have high corrosion resistance. D2 has been around for more than 20 years, which in terms of metallurgy, is an eternity. Because this steel is so popular and has been for such a long period of time, you can expect this steel to be reliable and trustworthy.
This knife comes in two different styles of finishes, there is the coated finish and then there is a satin finish.
The blade has been coated black. Because the coating puts a layer of material in between the D2 steel and the environment, you don’t have to worry about your blade rusting. The coating definitely cuts down on maintenance. Pus, it gives this knife a sleek black look. The coating is a matte black, which cuts down on glares and reflections and matches with the handles of this knife. It also contrasts with the blue that pops up in the handle. The only unfortunate aspect of a blade that has been finished with a coating is that the coating is prone to scratching off after time and heavy use. Which means that if you want your knife to remain in good shape and to still benefit from the coating, the blade will have to be re-coated. Sometimes it is worth it, sometimes it isn’t. But because this is a nicer knife, it will probably be worth it to have it re-coated.
The other option that you have to finish this Benchmade blade with is a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. The finer the sandpaper and the more even the lines, the cleaner that the blade is going to look. And because Benchmade is all about quality, you better believe that the blade looks very clean. The satin finish is a medium finish in terms of luster, and does work to cut down on rusting and corrosion slightly, although not enough to shirk your maintenance. The satin finish is the most popular finish in the cutlery industry today. The look it creates is a look that will never go out of style.
The blade has been carved into a spear point style. The spear point blade style is similar to the dagger blade, because they are both exceptional for piercing things. But, it differs from the dagger style blade because it’s point is stronger, more like a drop point than a dagger point, and it does have a small belly that you wouldn’t find on a dagger pointed blade. The blade shape is made of a symmetrically pointed blade with a point hat is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. Like mentioned, the spear point blade style differs from the needle point blade because it has a strong point that is sharp enough for piercing. The needle or dagger point blade has a sharper point, but it is also much weaker. This style of blade has been considered a hybrid knife style because it also contains a small belly that will be able to assist you in some cutting and slicing applications. If you were to compare this belly with the belly on a drop or clip point though, it would seem extremely strong. The belly on this knife is there to add an element of versatility, but the knife style was not designed to be an all-purpose blade like a drop point is. The spear point knife is a fantastic choice if you are searching for a blade that has both piercing and slicing ability, as well as a sharp, but strong point, along with a belly. The spear point blade style is the only knife blade shape that is going to offer you such a good balance between all of those things.
The handles on this butterfly knife is made out of skeletonized black G-10 handle scales with blue anodized and jeweled titanium liners.
G-10 is what is known as a grade of Garolite hat is a laminate composite that has been made out of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fibers, but because it is slightly weaker than carbon fiber, it can be made and bought for a much more inexpensive price. And although it is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it does still have to be cut and machined into shape, which is not as economical as the injection molding process that is used in FRN handles. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The resulting material is hard, tough, strong, and lightweight. Although, this material is known to be brittle. The G-10 on this handle is a matte black that matches the blade perfectly.
The liners of the handles are made out of anodized titanium liners. Titanium is a metal very similar to aluminum, although it is a more durable option than aluminum. IT is also heavier than aluminum, but is considered a lightweight metal alloy. And, although it is heavier, for the extra weight, you get a lot of extra strength. Out of any of the alloy metal handle options, titanium is the one that offers the best rust resistance properties. Strangely enough, titanium has a warm feel to it, so, if you are going to be mainly using your knife in the colder months, this option is a fantastic one. Titanium is considered a premium metal for a knife handle, but it is still prone to scratches, especially when being compared to stainless steel. Titanium is also sturdy, yet still “springy,” which is why you commonly see titanium used as a liner. The titanium on this knife has been anodized bright blue, which contrasts with the black handle.
The G-10 handles have long, oval cut outs going down the length of the handles. This is the portion of the handle that shows off the bright blue liners. All the hardware on this knife is silver, which matches the blade on the 51 version, but contrasts on the 51BK version of the Morpho butterfly knife.
This Benchmade knife is a butterfly knife, which is commonly known as a Bali-Song knife. This style of knife is a folding knife that has two handles that counter-rotate around the tang so that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. This knife originated in the Philippines, where it was used as a self-defense and pocket utility knife.
You know that you are getting a high quality butterfly knife from Benchmade, because that is a rich portion of their history. In 1979, Les de Assis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology to replace the cheap butterfly knives he played with as a kid. He assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. The next year, Les incorporated as Bali-Song, Inc. and rented a small shop in California. He utilized the rudimentary technology that was available to him at the time and began building handmade custom Bali-Songs. The success of these custom Balis spurred the creation of the first production Bali-Song: The model 68. Throughout the next couple years, the company changed names a few times, and quickly expanded its product offerings. Although they now don’t only focus on butterfly knives, it was such a rich part of their history that their logo is still the butterfly. At one point, this company focused only on butterfly knives, so they have been around the block a few times. They understand what makes a phenomenal butterfly knife, and once you get using the Morpho, you’ll recognize that knowledge as well.
There are two styles of construction when it comes to butterfly knives, sandwich construction and channel construction. The Morpho is what is known as Sandwich constructed, which means that the knife was assembled in layers that were screwed together. This style of construction allows the pivot pins to be adjusted more tightly without binding. When the knife is closed, the blade rests between the layers.
The blade on this knife measures in at 4.25 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 5 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 9.25 inches long. This butterfly knife is lightweight, measuring in at 3.3 ounces. This knife is made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use this butterfly knife.
Benchmade first got their start in 1988 and began with just butterfly knives (hence the logo) before diving head first into automatic, spring assisted, folder, fixed blade and rescue tools arena. Offered in multiple sizes and handle configurations, this lightweight model features a patented liner-sprung spring latch locking mechanism as well as next generation kicker pin technology which provides incredibly smooth action. Take it from us–this could quite possibly be the only balisong you ever need thanks to Benchmade’s incredible tolerances and a semi-custom look without the heavy price tag. This larger Blue Class model, the 51, features semi-skeletonized black G-10 handle scales coupled with blue anodized and jeweled titanium liners, a spear point style blade in a satin finish and the reversible titanium pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. This is a fantastic Bali-Song knife from a company that you know you can trust when it comes to Bali-Song knives. Pick up the 51 Morpho today at BladeOps.