It was in 1979 that the Benchmade adventure began. 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, that he had played with as a kid. Using his high school shop skills, he blueprinted his dream knife before eventually meeting Victor Anselmo, who helped him 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 form 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 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-son, 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 a “handmade” and “factory made”, it was “Benchmade” that descried the quality of Les’ product. He was building an operation that made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. IN short, it describes Benchmade’s positon in the market—even to this day.
At BladeOps, we are celebrating this May as Benchmade month. To celebrate, we will be going over a different knife or aspect of Benchmade every day this month. Today, we chose to go over the Volli family.
The blade on the Volli’s are made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by Crucible, which is a United States based company. This type of steel is often referred to as S30V steel, instead of CPM S30V steel. This formula has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the US 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 that it is harder to sharpen than many of your other steel options. Most people don’t regard this as too big of an issue, because of all the other advantages that it packs in.
There are two different finishes that you get to choose from when you are purchasing a Volli knife. The first option is a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. The key characteristic of this blade finish is that it showcases the lines of the steel in the blade. This is a very classic blade finish that is pretty medium in terms of how reflective it is. It truly falls right in the middle of the spectrum.
The other finish option that you are presented with is a black, coated finish. The coated finish reduces the reflection and glare while reducing wear and corrosion. However, ALL coatings can and will be scratched off after continuous heavy use, and the blade would have to be re-coated. One of the benefits to a coated finish is that it can prolong the life of a blade by preventing corrosion or rusting.
The Volli’s have been carved into a drop point blade shape. This blade shape is the perfect option if you are looking for an all-purpose knife that can stand up to virtually anything. This blade shape is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. To form the shape of this blade, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, creating a lowered point. It is this lowered point that provides more control and helps to add strength to the tip. Because of this tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are a popular option on tactical and survival knives. And because the point on a drop point blade is easily controllable, they are a popular choice on hunting knives. One of the other reasons that they are so versatile is because they sport a large belly area that provides plenty of length for slicing. Drop point blades have been easily confused with clip point blades and while they are both very popular and great options for an everyday/every use knife, they do have a few key differences. The biggest difference between the two is the tip: a clip point blade shape has a finer, thinner, sharper tip, which provides you with excellent stabbing capabilities. But, this tip is going to be more prone to breaking or snapping when subjected to those heavier tasks. The drop point tip is not thin, which means that you have almost no stabbing capabilities. But, you do have so much strength behind it, that it is usually worth it. When you choose the Volli, you are choosing knife that is a great all-purpose blade that you will be able to use in many situations, whether they are the expected ones or the unexpected.
You do have two options for the edge on the Volli’s as well. The first option is a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that is perfectly designed for push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. This version of the edge is going to be easier to sharpen and you will be able to get a finer edge on it.
The second edge option is a serrated edge. This is the edge that you are going to want if you are taking on some of the thicker or tougher materials, such as rope or branches. The teeth that a serrated edge sports are the perfect tool to use to saw through those hard and tough materials. On the flip side, the serrated edge is not as suited for doing a wide variety of tasks and it will be harder to sharpen, because of the teeth.
The handle on this family of knives is made out of G 10, which is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. IT has very similar properties to carbon fiber yet can be had for almost a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that results is extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and strong. In fact, G 10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger than Micarta. And while this handle material is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined into shape which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN handles. Some of the drawbacks to this material is that it is brittle and it does lack elegance. Some people feel like it just looks like a lump without personality. G 10 is a great option for tactical folders and fixed blades because it is so durable, lightweight, and non-porous.
The handle scales on the Volli are black and have some deep grooves going across the width of the handle. These grooves are going to provide you with phenomenal grip in almost any environment. To help add comfort to your grip on this handle, there is a finger groove and some other slight grooves that mold perfectly in your palm to provide you with a comfortable grip even after long periods of time.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is a standard pocket clip. It is reversible, which helps to make this knife ambidextrous friendly; however, the handle has only been drilled to attach this pocket clip tip up.
The Volli family is an assisted opening knife that sports a dual thumb stud to help with your assist. The thumb stud is arguably the most common one handed opening feature. The thumb stud essentially replaces the nail nick found on more traditional knives. The concept is pretty straightforward—you grasp the folded knife, then 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. Because it is a dual thumb stud (meaning there is a thumb stud on each side of the blade), this knife can be opened with either hand, which makes it even more ambidextrous friendly.
This knife also features the AXIS-Assist locking mechanism. This mechanism is easily opened, quickly, and with one hand; this evolution of the AXIS includes a spring that helps to fire the blade into the open position once the user pushes it beyond a certain point manually. The AXIS lock also has the added benefit of what Benchmade calls the “suck back”, which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.
The blade on the Volli knife is 3.26 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.100 inches. The open length of this knife is 7.68 inches long with a closed length of 4.42 inches long. The handle has a thickness of 0.56 inches. This knife weighs in at 4.28 ounces. This knife family has been made in the United States of America.
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.
To follow up with their stellar reputation, Benchmade has once again created a masterpiece. This time, they named it the Volli family. The blade is made out of S30V steel, which is a premium grade steel that resists rusts effortlessly and has the perfect balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. In this family of knives, you have the option to choose between two finishes: the satin finish or the coated finish. The satin finish works to showcase the lines on the steel and provides you with a very classic look. The coated finish completely cuts down on glares and reflections, provides you with a sleek, black look, but will eventually scratch off when subjected to heavy or long term use. The blade has been carved into a drop point blade shape, which is the perfect, all-purpose blade shape. This blade shape has a strong point that can endure heavy use and a big belly that makes slicing a breeze. You also have two options when choosing between the edge style: the plain edge or the serrated edge. The plain edge excels at push cuts while the serrated edge excels at sawing through those thicker materials. The handle is made out of durable G 10 and molds perfectly to your hand. The double thumb stud and AXIS Assist locking mechanism help to make this knife a completely ambidextrous knife. Help us celebrate May as Benchmade month and come pick up your favorite Volli today.