Benchmade is known for creating knives, so how is it that they do it? Well, they started the company over thirty years ago with the mission to create something better; something exceptional. They knew that they were building world-class products for world-class customers, so even to this day, they continue to innovate with the goal of taking performance and reliability to the next level. They want to exceed what is expected.
They say, “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.”
Not only do they work with their mission, but they also know how important the materials are. Benchmade builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. They select premium blade steels and pair them with aerospace-grade handle materials to create premium-grade knives and tools that provide great value for their customers.
The next step to creating such fantastic knives are the mechanisms. The mechanics of opening and closing a knife are essential to its function. They ask themselves questions such as “Is it easy to actuate? Can it be opened with one hand? Is it ambidextrous? And will it absolutely not fail when you need it the most?” Benchmade understands that these are critical considerations when it comes to the mechanism of your knife.
Lastly, they know how important manufacturing really is t a knife. The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry – often to tolerances half the width of a human hair. Their commitment to modern machining techniques and rigid quality control has allowed Benchmade to bridge the gap between custom and manufactured.
The last thing that really sets Benchmade apart is their LifeSharp guarantee. Benchmade explains it by saying, “Benchmade knives are all supported through a team of skilled technicians. Their only function is to ensure your Benchmade is in optimal working condition for your entire life. This service is called LifeSharp®. A name that speaks for itself. When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn parts are tuned or replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. All at no cost to you.”
Today we will be talking about the Benchmade Nestucca Cleaver.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel that has been hardened to a 58-60 HRC. This steel was made and designed by Crucible Industries, specifically for high end pocket knives and kitchen cutlery. This means that you are going to be getting the absolute best qualities out of this steel, qualities that are exactly what you want from a knife. Crucible says, “CPM S30V is a martensitic stainless steel designed to offer the best combination of toughness, wear resistance and corrosion resistance. Its chemistry has been specially balanced to promote the formation of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective than chromium carbides in providing wear resistance. CPM S30V offers substantial improvement in toughness over other high hardness steels such as 440C and D2, and its corrosion resistance is equal to or better than 440C in various environments.” This steel can resist corrosion effortlessly, which significantly cuts down on blade maintenance. This is an ideal characteristic for your hunting knife, because you are going to be using it in the field often where you cannot take perfect care of it. Plus, hunting knives are going to come in contact with some serious fluids, so having a blade that can resist corrosion so well is crucial. This steel maintains its edge well and is known for having the perfect balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is a hard balance to achieve because usually the harder the steel gets, the less tough it is. One of the drawbacks to this steel is that because of the high hardness, it does tend to be a little complicated when it comes to sharpening. This should not deter you from getting the knife, but beginner sharpeners should be aware of this. Crucible goes on to explain the CPM process, “The CPM process produces very homogeneous, high quality steel characterized by superior dimensional stability, grindability, and toughness compared to steels produced by conventional processes.”
The blade has been finished satin, which is a very traditional blade finish. The finish is used to show off the bevels of the blade as well as showcasing the fine liens of the steel. This finish also helps to cut down on glares, reflections, and even improves the corrosion resistance levels of the knife.
There is a large finger hole in the middle of the blade, which allows for multiple hand positions. There is also a row of thick jimping on the spine of the blade, which helps adds control when needed the most.
The blade shape of this cleaver is extremely unique. Its biggest characteristic is the huge radius of the belly of the blade. This ginormous belly allows you to field dress even the largest of animals with ease. It makes quick work of your task while still allowing you to really have control over your cuts. If you are going to be doing a lot of field dressing, this is the ideal knife for you—especially if you are working with larger game.
This is a full tang knife, so instead of a handle, it rocks handle scales. The handle scales are made out of G10 and are designed to look like wood handles, more like a traditional hunting knife. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass. This material is similar in properties to carbon fiber, along with the other fiberglass resin laminates, but is inferior and can be made for a much more inexpensive cost. Although this material is cheaper to make than carbon fiber is, it does have to be cut and machined into shape, which is nowhere near as cheap as making FRN.
G10 is an ideal material for a hunting knife because it is tough, hard, strong, but still lightweight, so it is not going to weigh you down when every ounce counts. Plus, this material is non-porous, which means it is not going to absorb any of the gunk that it happens to come in contact with. This cuts down on maintenance, which is a necessity when you are a long hunting trip.
Although it is one of the toughest fiberglass resin laminates, it does suffer from begin brittle. This is because the fiberglass fibers have been arranged in a single direction. When the handle is stressed in that specific direction, it remains incredibly strong, but when it gets stressed in other directions it begins to break apart. The handle is very simple, straight on the spine and the belly, although still comfortable to use for long periods of time. There is a giant finger groove and in turn, finger guard, so that you don’t have to worry about your fingers getting sliced if the handle gets slippery throughout the task.
One of the other benefits of this handle is that there is a lanyard hole, so you can keep the knife close by without it being in the way. The lanyard will also let you attach this knife to anything you want to, such as your backpack. Lastly, if you feel like you need a little extra grip, you can wrap your lanyard around the handle to add texture.
This is a fixed blade, full tang knife. A full tang knife is where the metal from the blade actually extends down into the handle. This creates a much stronger knife, because you do not have any weaker spots where the handle and the blade have been welded together. This is also a major advantage when you are going to be using this knife in the field, because if the handle scales happen to break, you still have your entire knife shape to use. It will just be a little more uncomfortable.
A fixed blade knife is a knife that does not have a mechanism. Because the blade does not have to fit inside of the handle, the blade on a fixed blade knife can be longer and thicker. These characteristics mean that a blade on a fixed blade knife is going to be tougher and more durable, as well as being capable of taking on harder tasks.
Fixed blades are also more capable of taking on a wider variety of tasks. They can be used for cooking, first aid, hunting, and even digger or prying if needed. If you are in the field and need a knife, this is the knife you are going to want to rely on. The last major benefit to having a fixed blade knife for your hunting knife is how easy it is to take care of and clean it. All you really have to do is wipe down the blade and handle, and make sure that the blade is dry when you put it in its sheath. You are going to want to oil your blade occasionally, although when you are on a long hunting trip, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue or concern.
The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of leather. Leather is one of the most traditional materials that is used to make a knife sheath. This material of sheaths has been around since knife sheaths have. Leather is known to be rugged, tough, and strong. People like this material because it won’t break like plastic does, and if the stitches happen to come undone, it is an easy repair. Plus, this is one of the materials that is going to get better as it ages. The biggest benefit to a leather sheath is that once it has been broken it, it is going to provide this knife with a custom fitting sheath. One of the other major benefits is that a leather sheath is completely silent. You can easily pull your knife out of the sheath or put it back in without it making a sound. This benefit is especially important when it comes to a hunting knife such as this one.
Of course, every sheath material also comes with its disadvantages. One of the biggest of a leather sheath is that it is not waterproof, so if it is exposed to water often or even extreme heat, the leather may begin to crack. To avoid this, you should oil this sheath occasionally to keep the oils in the leather.
The blade on this knife measures in at 4.41 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.140 inches. The handle on the Nestucca has a thickness of 0.57 inches. The overall length of this knife measures in at 6.58 inches long and weighs in at 4.95 ounces. This hunting knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.
Benchmade explains this knife by saying, “Based on the traditional Alaskan ulu, the “cleaver” makes short work of big game with long cuts. The huge radius of the blade spreads cuts across a long CPM-S30V surface, affording incredible edge retention and the handle and finger hole allow for multiple hand positions.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps and have your new best field dressing knife.