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. While there are “handmade” and “factory made” it was “Benchmade” that describes the quality of this product. The operation made precision parts, but with hand assembly on the finished products. This was a “bench” operation and Les wanted the name to reflect the marriage of manufactured and custom. In short, it describes Benchmade’s position in the market—even to this day.
Benchmade’s knives are made of many things: steel, aluminum and titanium, to name a few. But they believe that the most important part of a Benchmade knife is expertise. They carefully measure every part at every step in the process. They use the best materials and equipment to make world-class knives for world-class users. They go through a process of laser cutting, surface grinding, blade and handle milling, beveling, back sanding and finishing, and assembly and sharpening to guarantee the best quality knife that you could ask for.
At BladeOps, May is Benchmade month. To celebrate Benchmade month, we are going over a different knife or aspect of Benchmade every single day. Today we chose to go over the Big Summit Lake knife. Let’s begin.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium steel that is made by Crucible. This steel has excellent edge retention and resists rust effortlessly. It 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. And, this is where the V in the knife comes from. 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 one of the harder steels to sharpen. Sharpening a blade with this type of steel is not recommended for beginner sharpeners. This steel has a hardness level of 58-60 HRC.
The finish on this steel is a satin finish. This finish is created by repeatedly sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive, which is usually a sandpaper. The key characteristic of this finish is that it works to showcase the lines in the steel expertly. This is one of the most popular blade finishes that is used on the market today and gives you a very classic look. This is a medium finish in terms of how light reflects off of it. While a mirror finish would have the light reflect much more, a satin finish is by no means matte. It also does work to cut down on glares and reflections to a point, but that isn’t what this finishes purpose is.
The Big Summit Lake has been designed to be a perfect hunting knife. To accomplish this, Benchmade had to choose the perfect hunting knife blade shape. They went with the obvious choice of a drop point blade shape. This is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to anything and the drop point blade shape is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. One of the most common places that you will find this blade shape is on a hunting knife, and for good reason. To form the drop point blade shape, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. This lowered point is the first reason that the drop point style makes for such a great hunting knife. Because the point is lowered, you have much more control over the tip and because of this, it is easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. The lowered tip also creates a broader tip with plenty of strength behind it and that is the second reason that it makes such a good hunting knife blade style. And while the tip on a drop point is not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it is much stronger. Because of the tip and strength and the ability to hold up to heavy use, drop point blades are a popular choice on tactical and survival knives. The third reason that a drop point style blade is such a great shape for a hunting knife is because it features a belly area that is perfect for slicing. This large belly will make skinning your game a total breeze. There are almost no drawbacks to having a drop point style blade. The only real disadvantage to the drop point style is its relatively broad tip, which does make it less suitable for piercing, especially when being compared to the clip pint. However, you should keep in mind that it is this broad tip that provides the point strength that is not found on clip point knives. When you choose the Big Summit Lake, you will be preparing yourself for almost any situation that you may encounter, whether it has to do with hunting or not.
Because this knife is designed to be a hunting knife, it does feature a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that is easier to get a finer edge and easier to sharpen that edge. The plain edge blade will excel at push cuts, slicing, skinning, and peeling. All of these abilities will come in handy when you are trying to dress your game.
When you are working with your hunting knife, you are bound to run into some pretty messy, or bloody, situations. Because of this, you are going to want as much control over you knife as you can possibly get. Benchmade has added a row of shallow jimping on the area of the blade where it meets the handle. This will provide you with the little bit of extra grip that you desire.
The handle on this knife is made out of Dymondwood. This is a stabilized wood material. A stabilized wood is when the wood has been injected with plastic. The manufacturer injects polymer resin and then compresses the wood under high pressure to create a very dense and durable material that still exhibits the natural beauty. Wood has been used as a knife handle since knives came into existence. A good quality wood handle is durable and attractive, making wood a relatively inexpensive material for heavy duty knives. Wood also adds a lot of beauty to a knife, making wood handled knives popular among collectors. Dymondwood is a very similar material to Micarta, G 10 and Carbon fiber, except that the base material is wood, instead of an inorganic substance. Dymondwood is very affordable and is commonly used on budget knives. While Dymondwood does come in a variety of different colors, because wood comes in a variety of different colors, the wood on the Big Summit Lake is a dark brown. The wood handle gives you a natural elegance while remaining natural. It also provides you with a very traditional, yet somewhat rugged look, which is perfect for those tasks needed when you are out hunting.
The handle has a slightly flared butt and a shallow, elongated finger groove. The handle has been carved to fit into your hand comfortably for those bigger projects that you have to work with.
The liners on this knife are made out of stainless steel, which adds strength and durability to this knife. Stainless steel provides excellent resistance to corrosion, but it is not lightweight. Because the entire handle hasn’t been made out of stainless steel, but just the liners, this will add the perfect amount of weight. You will have the heftiness that you crave from a knife, but it definitely won’t be weighing you down.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is made out of stainless steel, which will resist rusting and corroding in most environments. This is a standard pocket clip. The handle has only been drilled to attach the clip to carry your knife tip down on the traditional side of the handle.
The Big Summit Lake is a manual opening knife that has a nail nick to assist you in opening. Nail nicks are probably the oldest form of opening system that was widely sued in production knives and they continue to be a popular opening method for high end inter frame folders. Nail nicks aren’t commonly used on tactical folders because they are difficult to open one handed. Normally with nail nick folders you will find that they use a lock back system or slip joints. The Big Summit Lake uses the lock back mechanism. A lock back is sometimes also called a spine lock because it has a metal spin that spans the entire back of the knife handle. Within the handle, the top of the spine and the tang of the blade resembles a hook. When the blade is opened, it pushes the spine out until the notch on the spine and the blade are hooked into place. The two notches exert pressure on one another to keep the blade opened securely. Replacing the blade into the handle of a lock back knife requires pressing on the bottom of the spine until the two notches clear one another. You can find the lock back locking mechanism on may classic American folding knives. Some of the benefits of a lock back locking mechanism is how reliable they are, how strong they are, and how safe they are. The unlock “button” is out of the way of your grip when using the knife, meaning you’re unlikely to accidentally disengage the lock and have it close on you. It also keeps your hands clear of the blades path when closing, which minimizes the risk of cutting yourself. One of the disadvantages to the lock back locking mechanism is that you usually do have to use both hands to close the locking mechanism safely, which can prove to be inconvenient when you need to keep one hand on whatever you’re cutting. And while it is possible to close a knife with a lock back locking mechanism with one hand, it is not easy. You would most likely need to switch grip and take extra care when you are closing the blade.
The blade on this knife is 3.77 inches long, with a blade thickness of 0.124 inches. When the Big Summit Lake knife is opened, it has an overall length of 8.34 inches long. When it is closed, it has a length of 4.57 inches long. The handle thickness on this knife is 0.57 inches. This knife weighs in at 4.59 ounces.
The Big Summit Lake knife is for the traditionalist. This knife is comfortable, practical, and durable. The blade has been carved out of CPM S30V steel. This is a premium stainless steel that will resist rust effortlessly while maintaining the balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention. This steel has been finished with a satin finish and then carved into a drop point blade shape. For a hunting knife, the drop point blade shape is the perfect option. It has a tough point that can take on almost any task that you throw at it, while also being very easily controlled to make dressing your game a breeze. The big belly makes slicing quick and easy. The handle on this knife has been made out of Dymondwood which is durable, lightweight, and can stand up to repeated use without losing its quality. The lock back safety mechanism is durable, strong, and easy to use: perfect for your go to hunting knife. Come celebrate May as Benchmade month at BladeOps and pick up your Big Summit Lake knife today.