Benchmade recently celebrated their 20th anniversary of making high-end, high-quality knives. Read on to learn more about this unique knife maker.
Benchmade was started by Les de Asis in 1988. They were known as the Pacific Cutlery Corporation and were located in California. Shortly after, they moved to Clackamas, Oregon and have been there ever since.
Benchmade’s initial focus was on butterfly knives, or Bali-Songs, though with growth and success came diversification into a broader product line. In 1996, Benchmade took possession of a 35,000 square foot manufacturing facility, which allowed them to manufacture knives to meet their own exacting standards. The result can be seen in their commitment to making premium tools with premium materials.
Benchmade is known for a few unique qualities – their use of high-end materials, their focus on selling restricted knives to qualified personnel, and their work with well-respected outside designers.
Unlike many manufacturers, Benchmade chooses to emphasize high-end, more expensive steel in their knives. They often will use a premium steel such as S30V, D2 or M2 tool steel. You won’t find tool steel being used by many other production companies today, that’s for sure.
Benchmade is also known for producing a large number of products exclusively for military and law enforcement officials. These include weapons such as switchblade knives and balisongs, which are illegal for most civilians to buy and own in most states.
This is not to say that Benchmade doesn’t make knives for us regular folks, though. In fact, Benchmade is also known for producing very popular collaborations with top designers. Their Griptilian line is the work of Mel Pardue, the Osborne Folding line from the imagination of Warren Osborne and the 970 a licensed design from Ernest Emerson.