Benchmade says, “Our knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But perhaps the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. We carefully measure every part at every step in the process. We use the best materials and equipment. We make world-class knives for world-class users and this is how.”
The first step in the knife making process is laser cutting. Each of the blades begins as a sheet of steel. A laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, giving the blade its basic profile. The blanks are hammered out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, the steel begins to look like a knife. The blanks are measured to make sure they meet specifications. Measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If a part isn’t “up-to-spec”, it doesn’t become a Benchmade.
The second step in the process is surface grinding, which is the step when the blank is ground to its precise width. A surface grind technician places each blank in its rack by hand (racks vary by the number of blanks they can hold at one time), and each side is ground to its specified thickness. After grinding, the technician checks the thickness of each set of blanks. Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. Benchmade says about this step, “Our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness.”
The next step is milling, which is where blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut on high speed mills. For every job (or batch), the blade milling technician programs the mill and measures the blade or handle to make sure it meets our precise tolerances. Blades and handles differ from knife to knife, so the technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the holes that is cut here is the blade pivot, which is crucial to the folding mechanism. The pivot tolerance is .0005 inches, because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. Handles require the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and ensure a smooth mechanism.
Next is beveling which is when the blade starts to take its shape. Before this point, the two sides were pretty much flat. Here, a technician bevels the knife blank one side at a time. An imprecise bevel can hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function.
Following is back sanding, which is where the back of the blade gets special attention. Along with back sanding is finishing, which is the step that gives the blade a more refined look.
The second to last step is assembly. Benchmade says, “Every Benchmade knife is assembled by hand, and it’s no surprise that there are more hand operations performed at this point in a knife’s production than at any other stage in the process. An assembly technician receives all of the components — blade, liner, handle, hardware — and carefully pieces them together. The technician checks the knife for blade play (movement from side-to-side and up-and-down), and the result is a knife just waiting to be sharpened.”
The last step is sharpening, and it takes longer to master blade sharpening than any other skill in the process. Once the blade can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing does a knife become a Benchmade.
Today we will be talking about the Benchmade Arcane flipper knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S90V steel. This steel is an ultra-premium steel. It has been said to approach the very peak of wear resistance and edge retention. This steel is designed by Crucible Industries, who are known for having very high quality steels. They are also based in the United States, so you don’t have to be concerned with any shady things that tend to go on in the manufacturing world outside of the US. CPM S90V steel has a very high carbon content, but that isn’t what makes this steel so great. The real secret here is that Crucible has added high quantities of Vanadium. In fact, they have added almost three times the amount of vanadium to this steel that they did to their better known steel S30V. There are a couple of drawbacks though. For starters, this steel is going to be extremely expensive, which significantly raises the cost of the overall knife price. Second, it is extremely hard to sharpen. However, you have to look at the positives, like how it will hold an edge better than almost any other steel and how it can withstand wear and corrosion better than almost any other steel. Overall, when a knife has this steel, you can expect a high quality knife.
The blade has been finished satin, which is one of the more common blade finishes. It is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive. This finish shows off the bevels of the blade as well as the fine lines in the steel. The finish helps to cut down on glares, reflections, and corrosion.
The blade on this knife has been carved into a drop point style blade. This blade shape is one of the more popular one son the market because of how durable and versatile it is. The shape of the blade has a spine that starts at the handle and slowly curves towards the point. This creates a lowered point, which means that you are going to have more control over it. The tip is also very broad, which is where the drop point gets its characteristic strength from. The drop point also has a very large belly, which makes slicing extremely easy. This belly is going to come in handy since this is an everyday knife. The broad point is also a drawback though, because it does take away from many of your piercing capabilities.
The handle on tis knife is made out of 7075-T6 aluminum. Aluminum is a durable material, especially when it comes to knife handles. Aluminum is a low density metal, which means that it is going to give you the hefty feel that you want out of your knife, but it won’t actually weigh you down. The overall pros to an aluminum handle is that it is going to be strong, light, durable, and very resistant to corrosion. The overall drawbacks to an aluminum handle is that it is going to be cold to hold, it can be a little bit slippery, and it is very susceptible to scratches and dings.
The handle on this knife is pretty simple. The spine of the handle curves slowly down towards the butt of the knife. The belly of the handle is where it gets unique. There is a very thick finger guard that will protect your fingers from getting sliced in case you do slip. There is also a pretty deep finger groove. This is going to give you a comfortable place to rest your fingers while also keeping them safe. After the deep finger groove is a shallow and elongated finger groove that extends almost to the butt of the handle. There is one last curve that curves up towards the butt of the handle. As a complete bonus to this knife, there is a lanyard hole, which allows you to keep the knife close to you at all times without it getting in the way. It also allows you to remove it from your pocket a little bit quicker if needed.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is a deep carry clip. Since this knife has been designed as an everyday knife, the deep carry is a major advantage. You can put this in your pocket and not worry about going throughout your day because it isn’t going to fall out. The clip on this knife is silver, which contrasts with the handle and matches the blade. While the pocket clip can only be attached for tip up carry, it is reversible for either left or right handed carry. This helps to make the knife fully ambidextrous.
This is an assisted opening knife. This is a type of folding knife that uses an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it using a flipper that is attached to the blade. This is a very efficient style of blade because it doesn’t fall under the strict laws of a fully automatic knife. However, it will still open quickly and smoothly because it is partially automatic.
The blade on this knife uses a flipper to help you open the knife. The flipper is a triangular piece of metal that extends off the blade. The flipper is very easy to use. All you have to do is use your flexed finger to manually pull back on the flipper, which will “flip” the blade open and into place. The flipper is often compared with the thumb stud, because they are used on similar knives. The flipper is a little bit trickier to get the hang of at first. However, once you do get the hang of it, it keeps your fingers out of the blade’s path when you are opening and closing the knife. This is the opposite of the thumb stud, which puts your fingers pretty directly into the path of the blade. In most cases, once the knife is opened, the flipper acts as a finger guard. However, on the Arcane, this is not the case. There is already a very thick and long finger guard, so the flipper fits right into that. The last benefit about the flipper is that it doesn’t protrude out of the blade like a thumb stud would, so it doesn’t get in your way when you are trying to use your knife.
The knife has been equipped with Benchmade’s AXIS Assist lock. A patented Benchmade exclusive, AXIS® has been turning heads and winning fans ever since its introduction. A 100 percent ambidextrous design, AXIS® gets its function from a small, hardened steel bar that rides forward and back in a slot machined into both steel liners. The bar extends to both sides of the knife, spans the liners and is positioned over the rear of the blade. It engages a ramped tang portion of the knife blade when it is opened. Two omega-style springs, one on each liner, give the locking bar its inertia to engage the knife tang. As a result, the tang is wedged solidly between a sizable stop pin and the AXIS® bar itself. Then, when Benchmade is talking about the AXIS assist, they say, “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 “suck-back,” which encourages the blade to stay in the closed position. AXIS® Assist knives also feature integrated safety lock systems.”
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.2 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.090 inches long. The handle measures in at 4.52 inches long with a handle thickness of 0.48 inches long. When the Arcane is open, it measures in at an overall length of 7.72 inches long. This is a lighter weight knife, weighing in at only 2.88 ounces. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel proud to own, carry, and use it.
When Benchmade is discussing this knife they say, “AXIS® Assist… with a flipper. It’s the best of everything in a slim, lightweight, every day carry. Easily operated and carried on either side, the speed and function of AXIS® Assist, the convenience of a flipper.” You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.