Benchmade and BladeOps

Benchmade Knives

May is Benchmade month at BladeOps. There are so many different variables that give Benchmade their unique position in the market and the high quality products that they produce. So today, we are going to go over those variables and why they matter.

With a rich history dating back over 30 years, Benchmade is the product of may dedicated employees, a never quite demand for excellence and Les de Asis vision and total commitment to culture, service, and innovation. The very first prototype was developed in 1979, using Les’ high school shop skills. He eventually met Victor Anselmo who helped him grind his first ever blade. Les paired this blade with handles that he had sourced from a small machine shop in California and he assembled and finished his first Bali-Song in his own garage. He was very product of his creation, so he took it to the local gun store which prompted the owner to ask, “Could you build 100 more?” Over the next years, the company expanded and changed from Bali-Song, Inc. to Pacific Cutlery Corp. However, this company was unable to control quality, price, and delivery, so they filed for bankruptcy and dissolved. It was only a year later, in 1988, when Les reintroduced a new company and new version of the Model 68. This time, he started this company 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 When Les was trying to decide on a name for this new company he realized that there was “handmade” and “factory made”, but it was “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 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 began producing knives in California under the new name Benchmade, Inc. This was a major turning point, as the company was now located in the epicenter for knife manufacturing. Many technologic advancements were now possible and Benchmade became the first company to own and employ a high power laser cutter, allowing for work with steels too hard to stamp. The company also became the world leader in automatic knife manufacturing, which is still true to this day. To this day, Benchmade continues to focus on innovation, customer needs, responsible business ethics and operations to bring the highest quality products to the world’s elite.

Since this company has such a unique way of building their products, I figured we should go over how they accomplish this process. (The information on the factory process has been provided to us by


The beginning of each knife begins with laser cutting. Every single blade that Benchmade produces begins as a single sheet of steel. With this sheet of steel, a laser cutting technician programs the laser to cut the steel into blanks, which gives the blade its basic profile. After the blanks have been cut out, they are hammer out of the sheet by hand, and for the first time, this sheet of steel begins to resemble a knife. These blanks are then measured to make sure they meet the specifications required. In fact, measurements are taken every step of the manufacturing process to guarantee an impeccable knife and streamline production. If these blanks are not up to the spec check, they don’t become a Benchmade blade at all.

After the blanks have been through the laser cutting process, they move on to the surface grinding process. This is where the blank is ground to its precise width. There is now a surface grind technician that places each blank in its rack by hand. Each side of these blanks are now ground to its specified thickness. After the blanks have been ground, the technician will check the thickness of each set of blanks. Tolerances are within the width of a human hair. This is because Benchmade believes that, “our knives have no room for error, and neither does a blank’s thickness”.

After the blanks have passed their second inspection, they move on to the blade and handle milling process. Blade holes, handles, and grooves are cut out on a high speed mill. For every batch that is made, the blade milling technician will program the mill and measure the blade or handle to make sure it meets Benchmade’s precise tolerances. The blades and handles will all obviously differ from each set of knives, so the milling technician gathers a specific set of measuring tools for each job. One of the blade holes that gets cut during this milling process is the blade pivot. This blade pivot is also called the joint on a knife and it is the spot where the blade moves back and forth. This hole is absolutely crucial to the folding mechanism, so Benchmade’s pivot tolerance is .0005 inches. This is because the slightest deviation there becomes exponential at the blade’s tip. This is similar to a plane’s course—if the pilot gets the course even a few feet off, by the end of the trip, it can equal miles. Benchmade requires their handles to have the same precision in order to fit the liners and blades properly and provide their users with the smoothest of mechanisms.

The fifth step in the Benchmade process is the beveling process. This is also the step where the blade actually begins to take its final shape. Before this process, the two sides of the blade are basically flat—just like the sheet of metal was. There is a new Blade Beveling Technician that bevels the knife blank one side at a time. One of the most critical tasks here is to make sure that the sides match perfectly. At this point it shouldn’t be surprising that the knife also gets measured during this step to ensure that it meets the specified tolerances. One of the insure with an imprecise bevel is that it can actually hamper the blade’s balance, sharpness, strength, and mechanism function. Who knew that a blades bevel effects all other parts of the blade?

The sixth step in Benchmade’s knife making process is the back sanding and finishing. Back sanding is where the back of the blade becomes the star of the show and gets all of the attention. The sides of the blades have already been beveled and milled, but the back has been left mostly untouched, so it is still flat like the sheet of metal. Each blade is attached to a custom fixture that fits the arms of a standing belt sander. The back sanding technician will sand the back of the blade until lit is smooth. Every blade is back sanded the same, all one at a time, to ensure that they get the attention and detail that they need.

The sixth step also includes the finishing process, which is the step where the blade receives its more refined look. There is a finishing technician that will stone wash the blades in a ceramic medium to remove any burrs and give the blades a clean, polished appearance. The medium itself can vary in size and shape, depending on the specific finish of the blade. When the blade is cleaned up after the finishing process, it is taken to laser marking to receive its one of a kind Benchmade logo.

The next step in the process is the assembly. Each and every single one of Benchmade’s knives are assembled by hand. It comes as 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—the blade, the liner, the handle, and the hardware—and carefully pieces them together. The technician will then check the knife for blade play, which is the movement from side to side and up and down, and then the knives that have been approved move on the very last step in this process.

The very last step in the production process is sharpening. It takes longer to become a master blade sharpener than it does at any other skill in the process. A sharpening technician puts a razor edge on the knife suing a standing belt sander, and this step takes extraordinary concentration. Each of Benchmade’s blades is sharpened to a targeted 30-degree inclusive angel, 15 degrees on each side. For Benchmade, a knife is sharp enough when it can cut through ultra-thin phonebook paper effortlessly without tearing. It is then, and only then, that it is truly a Benchmade knife.

Benchmade has provided us with some interesting facts about the production process:

  • There are up to 35 different people who handle the materials for manufacturing and building a single knife.
  • In a year, they use 179,000 pounds of raw steel to make their knives. This is almost enough to build 60 SUVs.
  • In a single year, they use 3,100 pounds of titanium. This is enough to make more than seven exotic racing motorcycles.
  • In a year, Benchmade uses 438,000 inches of aluminum, which is longer than 121 football fields.
  • They also use 153,000 square feet of carbon fiber in a year, which is 3.5 acres.


The Benchmade factory employs modern laser cutters and CNC machining centers that offer control and tolerances commonly found in the aerospace industry. Often, these tolerances are 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. As I’m sure you’ve realized, Benchmade has a wide variety of technicians, all of whom are trained in different positions.  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. This name 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 on the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. This is all performed at no cost to you. That is just the Benchmade way.


This seven step process seems like a long process that has proved to be efficient. This is because Benchmade works with the right mindset. They have said, “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 he next level. To exceed what is expected. Whether you are using a Griptillian for every day duties or taking the fight to he 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.” It is this seven step process that is a Benchmade and it is this seven step process that gives you the knife that you expect when you buy a Benchmade, it is this seven step process that gives you the knife that you deserve when you buy a Benchmade. So come help us all at BladeOps celebrate the month of May being dedicated to Benchmade. Head on over and purchase your favorite Benchmade knife, now that you know why it is such a quality knife that will help you in anything from your everyday tasks, hunting, fishing, and even your collector’s knives. Happy Benchmade Month.

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Kershaw Emerson CQC 3K by M.H. for BladeOps Writing Contest Round 2

Kershaw CQC3K
Kershaw CQC3K

In my work with carry knives, the folder has always held a sort of sexy appeal. Never willing to spend over a hundred fifty dollars can be a serious impediment to this attraction however, so the Emerson line has always been just out of my reach. Certain standards concerning how a weapon deploys prevents me from buying folders that do not automatically deploy one way or the other. Recently, there have been karambits on the market with this wave feature that meet my price point; so I considered it a happy coincidence when I came into a knife with a price worth a severe test run with no regrets.

Speaking in terms of aesthetics, they really hit the mark. This is a beautiful knife. The handle is the classic Kershaw shape: fits the hand like your refrigerators handle; effective enough that you haven’t replaced it yet and hauntingly reminiscent of times long past (if you maintain the same fridge, or have a lot of early Kershaw memories). The blade is aggressive in appearance and yet not so large that it cannot be used casually in sensitive company: it even has a thumb stud should you decline the more surprising means of deployment.

In total, it is extremely compact but offers a lot of the same functions one would want in a standard size combat/utility knife, which I would say is four inches in the civilian world. What I mean by this, is that the frame of the knife is thick enough that one could comfortably press into or stab a target without feeling too much recoil. I consider this knife the minimum standard for carry and since most people carry basically toy knives, this is a serious improvement.

At First Sight

First and foremost: a round of applause for Kershaw31. They’ve finally realized which end the pocket clip belongs on! The thing that really sent me away from folders as a teenager was exactly that issue: the process was long enough before I knew about wave-type features; they insisted that I flip the thing around mid deployment on top of it.

I was also taken aback when I noticed how normal the screws were. I half expected–because it happens often–that my first knife inspired mission would be to find the requisite screwdrivers to operate the thing. After cycling through all my mini phillips, I finally realized I would have to find that clunky old normal screw driver I keep in the back of a something somewhere. After spending a minute confused, this grew into genuine appriciation.

I expected it to come out of the box with nothing forgiving in it: thought it might take some breaking in. The Kershaw operated smooth and clean from the first moment and continues on the same trend. Even better, if you don’t like smooth and clean: Kershaw has finally made a fully serviceable knife. Ive worked on many of their knives in the past and though I may be missing something, I don’t believe I’ve ever found one that could be opened with just one screwdriver and no vice grips.

The hand guard–if I can get away with calling it that–is perfectly suited to this tools mission. If you aren’t one of those people that trains with motor oil and slippery knives, this blade may ensure that you never need to. This is a pitch or pack issue for me and I didn’t expect a Kershaw to come through this well.


Before anything, let me state that I haven’t destroyed this knife: I’m actually enjoying carrying it quite a bit. As a result, I have in no way attempted to stress the locking mechanism beyond angles of attack into wood. It probably wont tolerate being thrown and I’m always a little wary of all liner lock knives to begin with. That said, this one inspires enough confidence that I am carrying it.

A thing one may not know if they are new to these style of knives, is that all of them are just a little too short at this size. Not enough handle protrudes from the pocket to actually deploy without a chance of snagging a finger as the blade comes out. If you never deploy under stress, you may think “just a little nip in the finger, wont even cut you. Whats the issue?” It definitely wont cut you. But it definitely will activate every nerve on your index finger while your supposed to be paying attention to your knife and your problems.

To remedy this, I’ve attached a bit of paracord. Its just enough that I can get my thumb down onto the handle and have cord running across my whole palm, thus ensuring that even though I wont have a master grip on my weapon, at least when I transition my grip, its not just my thumb and indexfinger on the tool.

Then I stumbled across a thing that initially I took to just be cheap manufacturing: the checkered grips are only on one side. I cursed them for a moment, knowing Emerson would never do such a thing, then I remembered something. When I wasn’t asked to use my brain very often in my work history, it usually meant my knife was coming out at least twenty times an hour. I had shredded pants like nobody that isn’t homeless. The handguard being what it is, this is a reasonable sacrifice.

The Emerson Wave feature exceeds my already incredibly high expectations. It is exactly perfect where Cold Steel falls short in its “Ambidextrous Thumb Plate.” Cold Steel has a solution that translates well into four inch or larger folders. In my own experience, the Mini Ak was unable to dependably deploy and leaned heavily on the type of pants one is wearing. In its larger version, the screw snapped that held the thumb plate in place. Ill grant that I voided the warranty and then some, but I had been wishing to find Emerson’s solution ever since.

A fantastic aspect of the wave feature is its ability to catch clothing. In the event of a failure to deploy, its only a matter of swiping it against your jacket or theirs. I did have a complicated experience however: it doesn’t have much luck against light wool, which isn’t always easy to distinguish from heavy wool jackets. It seems like I wouldn’t want to count on my perception of my opponents outfit at this point. It could change with experience.

Now this issue may be a false one. There is no second pocket clip for a lefty. Maybe it was left out of my box–as there are holes where one could affix a clip–but insofar as first week of carry; that is not an option. This leaves us with two options: strong side standard or support side reverse. For the left handed, this means strong side reverse. The knife deploys well in reverse, with paracord attached. Again, without the cording, this isn’t a viable self defense option.

Before I attached the paracord, I did notice a severe and common defect: the checkered grips that are there, are so minimal that they are useless in the draw. Once deployed, they give you just enough but before hand, you will not dependably produce this knife. It is too small and too slippery to be carried out of the box. If you have a tool to cure this, fix immediately.

The pocket clip has a commonality with many on the market; too tight initially. If there were checkered grips on both sides, it would do quite a bit of damage to your pants just in the first day. Without addressing the grips with paracord or your favorite workbench sidekick, this thing will never come out of your pants when you want it to. I bend them all out just a little bit and address the presentation issues: this should retard future disasters by a lot.

In Conclusion

Legality is an aspect that is always worth paying attention to. If your like me, you want something you can confidently travel with. Though you wont be getting by in England with this knife, it should do well in the continental United States. This knife should pass the test anywhere: it is as innocuous looking as a clown in a circus compared to many civillian tactical options today.

I like this knife because I come from a poor background–pretty much still coming from it–and the self defense knife is my passion. In the martial arts I’ve taught, I often wound up taking the student down a very long rabbit trail of knife training. I can get them to love it, train constantly and come back for more. But I cannot for the life of me get them to commit to buying a decent knife.

For me, this is the first real solution I’ve seen. I see Kershaw in Walmart and while I don’t particularly enjoy the latter, I know that it represents what is really available to people that don’t care about the data the way I wish they would. If they have the tools they will know they need the tactics: this is that tool. Lets hope it pops up everywher

BladeOps Cyber Monday Email Flyer




DAY 8: 10% Off Sale

To celebrate the holidays we are offering a special 10% off coupon for today only.  Stock up on all your favorite knives using coupon code TEN at checkout.  This coupon is good until midnight 12/01/2014 and is not valid where prohibited or with any other coupon.   * A few manufacturers do not allow any discounts–these knives are excluded from the discount coupon.

Microtech Knives

Find a wide assortment of OTF knives as well as side open automatic and fixed blade combat knives.  Built to exacting standards with the best materials around.  Each Microtech knife is the perfect blend of quality, craftmanship and badassery.  


Gerber Knives

Built for your world, a Gerber knife is one you can carry with confidence.  Whether it is a pocket folder or one of their tactical automatic knives, a Gerber knife helps you get the task at hand done and done right.


Boker Knives

Automatic, folders, fixed blades and even spring assists–Boker has them all.  And if Boker has it, so do we.  Find your next favorite EDC and pick one up for a friend while you are at it.  Great knives at fantastic prices.

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Congratulations to Our September 2014 Blog Contest Winners


The following entries have won.

First Place: That Old KaBar

Second Place: Picking the Perfect Knife

Third Place: The Pennsylvania Knife

Congratulations to our winners. I will contact you via email on Monday to arrange shipment of your prize.

Also, since this contest was so hotly contested, we have decided to start the November contest right away. The same rules apply, with a final entry date of November 30th, 2014.  Contest prizes for the November contest will be announced next week–and watch closely because they are going to be even better than ever. Get writing and feel free to submit as soon as you like.

The Gerber Prodigy, by J.S.

Gerber Prodigy
Gerber Prodigy

The Gerber prodigy is full tang and crafted of 420 high carbon steel. This particular one I have is the military approved digi-camo tanto point. The steel in this blade is very reliable. I have been able to use this knife without question or worry of it failing. The blade an inch long serration which has its uses. The knife is fantastic at batoning due to its nice thick spine. This knife also is very strong at chopping. The strong tanto style tip also allows for stabbing.

The handle is very grippy and very comfortable. I have used this knife with and without gloves and found it to handle well with both. This knife also has a lanyard hole with is a definite plus when chopping. The knife also has a glass breaker in the butt of the handle which works well for either a defensive situation or for its intended purpose of breaking glass… surprise.

My favorite part about this knife is the sheath. It has three ways to lock the knife in the sheath it has two reinforced plastic clips that lock the knife, a Velcro snap that secures the handle, and an elastic hood that covers the butt of the knife. These secures can be used all together or individually as per your desire. I love the versatility of this sheath. In addition, this sheath has a M.O.L.L.E. system or a belt loop with a drop leg strap. The sheath is strong and will hold up very well.

Overall I love this knife. Gerber knocked this one out of the park. The final bonus to this knife is its selling point. You can pick this knife up for around 50 bucks. All in all I have not found anything that I dislike about this knife. I give this knife 10 out of 10.

BladeOps Exclusive Boker Mini Kalashnikov S30V Auto Knife — Video Review

The BladeOps exclusive Boker Mini Kalashnikov with S30V blade has arrived.

Twenty Four Hour Schrade Sale





BladeOps always brings you the best deals

To celebrate the start of Fall, all Schrade Knives  are on sale.  Get 20% off every Schrade knife using coupon code FALL.   This coupon is good until 10/01/2014 and is not valid where prohibited or with any other coupon.  * This coupon is good for any and all Schrade knives.


Heavy duty, built for real life, folder knives from Schrade are perfect for your pocket.

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Fixed Knives

From the F22 to the Kukri Machete, Schrade makes seriously tough fixed blade knives.

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Viper Assist Knives

Five generations of assisted open greatness.  Check out the Viper knives.

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Fast push button auto knife with black blade and yellow Delrin handle scales. 

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BladeOps, LLC, 1352 West 7800 South, West Jordan, UT 84088

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Today’s Email Flyer from BladeOps



     The super popular Boker Mini Kalashnikov Automatic Knife is now available with a CPM-S30V stainless steel blade exclusively from BladeOps.  For today only, we will have it on sale for a special introductory price.  Get yours before the price goes back up.



                                                     Why S30V?


“CPM S30V is a martensitic (hardened) powder-made (sintered) wear and corrosion resistant stainless steel developed by Dick Barber of Crucible Industries in collaboration with knifemaker Chris Reeve.  Its chemistry promotes the formation and even distribution of vanadium carbides which are harder and more effective at cutting than chromium carbides.  These vanadium carbides give the steel a very refined grain, further improving the sharpness and toughness. . . .  Its composition is as follows: Carbon 1.45%, Chromium 14.00%, Vanadium 4.00%, Molebdenum 2.00%”



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Copyright © 2014 BladeOps, LLC.BladeOps, LLC, 1352 West 7800 South, West Jordan, UT 84088

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