The Benchmade story began in 1979 when Les de Asis wanted a knife that reflected the latest in materials and manufacturing technology. He wanted this new knife to replace the cheap butterfly, or Bali-song, knives that he had played with when he was a kid. He had taken a high school shop class, so he used the skills that he had learned there to blueprint his dream knife. He later met Victor Anselmo, who helped him grind the first ever pre-Benchmade Bali-song prototype. Les paired this prototype blade with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California. It was in his own garage that he assembled and finished his first Bali-song. He was proud of his creation and upon taking it into his local gun shop, the owner asked him if he could build 100 more. A year later, Les incorporated as Bali-song, Inc. and rented a small shop in a second story mezzanine in California. He purchased the original equipment form the owner of a manufacturing operation who was looking to retire. He utilized the basic technology that he had access to and began building custom Bali-songs. He built these knives along with Jody Sampson, who ground all the blades. It was the success of these custom Bali’s that 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, and evolved its name from Bali-song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp. Seven years later, Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68. The company would now need a new name. He recognized that while there was “handmade” and “factory made”, it was really “Benchmade” that described the quality 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 anted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. Even to this day, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market.
Benchmade has a mindset of, “for over twenty-five 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.” They have a commitment to excellence and as they say, “We live it and breathe it, and we know what you mean when you say: It’s not a knife. It’s my Benchmade.”
You can trust Benchmade knives and I know that you will love Benchmade knives. Over here at BladeOps, we are celebrating May as Benchmade month. Today, we are going over the Hidden Canyon Hunter knife. This is actually a family of knives, meaning that you can choose a variety of different options in the different features of the knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This type of steel is made by Crucible, which is a US based company. While the official title of this steel is CPM S30V steel, it is often referred to as just S30V steel. This formula has excellent edge retention and can resist rust effortlessly. This steel was designed in the United states and is typically used for the high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. They can bring the extreme hardness out of the steel alloy matrix because they have added vanadium carbides. Dollar for dollar, this steel is generally regarded as one of the finest knife blade steels with the optimal balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This balance is one of the hardest balances to achieve. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is very tricky to sharpen. A beginner sharpener will not be able to sharpen this steel formula.
The finish on this steel is a satin finish. This style of blade finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive. This abrasive material is usually a sandpaper. The key characteristic that accompanies this finish is that it showcases the lines in the steel. This blade finish provides you with one of the most traditional looks that you can find in blades. The satin finish does help to cut down on some glares and reflections, but it definitely is not a matte finish.
The steel on this blade has been ground into a drop point blade shape. The drop point blade shape is not only a fantastic all-purpose knife that has incredible strength behind it, it is also one of the best blade styles for a hunting knife. And one of the most common places that you are going to find this blade shape is on hunting knives. To form this blade shape, the back of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. It is this lowered point that is the first reason it is such a great option for hunting knives. The lowered point is easily controllable, which makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. And the lowered point does create a stronger tip. Because of the tip strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are popular on tactical and survival knives. This strength also helps to hold up to any hunting task that you might need to tackle. One of the next reasons that this blade shape is so great on a hunting knife is because drop point style knives feature a large “belly” area that is perfect for slicing. This belly will help skin and peel whatever you need. While there are so many benefits to the drop point blade shape, there is a disadvantage. The drop point has a relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point. When you choose a hunting knife that sports a drop point style blade, you will be equipping yourself with a tool that can assist you in any hunting situation, as well as almost any other situation you encounter.
Because this is a hunting knife, it does sport a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that you will encounter and it is ideal for hunting. The plain edge excels at push cuts, peeling, skinning, and slicing: all things that you will encounter when you are trying to dress your game.
There are two different handle options that you can choose from with the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife. You have a G10 option and a Dymondwood option.
The G10 comes in a gray and black combo. This G10 has been designed to look like it is wood. G10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, but you can get it for almost a fraction of the cost. 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 extremely tough, hard, very lightweight, and also strong. G10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger than Micarta. And while this 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 people are worried that this material lacks elegance, but that is not an issue when you are in the market for a hunting knife.
The next option is a Dymondwood handle. And because this material has a base material of wood, it is a dark and light brown. Wood handles have been used since knives came into existence. A good quality wood handle is durable and attractive and wood is a relatively inexpensive material for heavy duty knives. Dymondwood is a type of stabilized wood, which means that the wood has been injected with plastic. To make this material, the manufacturer will inject polymer resin and then compress the material under high pressure to create a very dense and durable material that still exhibits its natural beauty. The Dymondwood material stands up extremely well to long term use and messy environments.
Both handle materials are textured to provide you with plenty of grip during those messy situations. There is a deep finger groove to give you a secure grip and keep your fingers safe. The rest of the handle does mold to your palm so that you can take on those long tasks without becoming uncomfortable.
In both versions of the handle, there is a lanyard hole. This is a fantastic option to secure your knife against loss and to add extra safety while you are using it. However, one of the best purposes to use a lanyard on the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife is to add safety when processing a large animal. When field dressing a large game animal, there comes a time when you’ll reach inside the cavity to cut the esophagus so the intestines can be pulled out. This is a messy, blood situation, which makes the knife handle slippery. A lanyard around your hand or wrist can prevent your hand form slipping down the handle onto the blade.
Both versions of the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife are fixed blades. There are so many benefits to using a fixed blade as your hunting knife. For starters, they don’t break. This is because there are no moving parts on a fixed knife. Fixed blades are also easier to maintain, you don’t have to worry about the hinge as you do with a folding knife. And one of the biggest reasons to use a fixed blade for your hunting knife is because cleaning is straightforward and simple. All you have to do is wipe down the knife and you are good to go. When you are constantly using this knife for messy situations, such as dressing game, you are going to want easy clean up. And not only can you use this when you are hunting, but fixed blades makes for a superior survival tool because they can cut, dig, split, hunt, hammer, and even pry.
There are also two different sheaths that you can choose from: a leather sheath and a kydex sheath. The leather is a very traditional option that has great aesthetics. Leather is a well-known material that looks exceptional, feels nice in your hands, and even smells good. Leather is also very quiet when you are putting a knife in and out of the sheath. However, leather is a natural material and will eventually become unusable.
The kydex sheath is a thermoplastic material that’s used to make holsters and other items. The greatest aspect of kydex is its durability. It can even be submerged in salt water without breaking down. But, kydex is unreasonably loud when you are taking out a knife. And, after repeated taking out and putting back a knife, the edge will dull.
This knife has a blade length of 2.67 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.140 inches. The overall length of the knife is 6.32 inches long. The handle thickness on these knives is 0.58 inches. The G10 version of the handle weighs in at 3.53 ounces, with a sheath that weighs 1.38 ounces. The Dymondwood handle weighs in at 3.19 ounces and has a sheath that weighs in at 1.06 ounces.
This knife is a compact knife for those who are looking to save space, it is truly about as much knife as you’ll ever need for processing your harvest thanks to the large applied blade radius that excels at skinning and meat removal. This knife is also made in the United States of America. Help us celebrate Benchmade month and pick your favorite version of the Hidden Canyon Hunting knife up today at BladeOps.