|Headquarters||Oregon City, Oregon|
|Key people||Les De Asis, Founder & CEO|
|Products||Knives, Pens, Rescue Tools|
The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon City, Oregon, United States. Its products are geared toward many niche markets, such as outdoor sporting cutlery, rescue, law-enforcement, martial-arts, and military. The company has collaborated with a number of custom knife makers since its inception.
Benchmade started in California in 1979 as Bali-Song, changing its name in 1988 to the Pacific Cutlery Corporation. In 1990 the company moved to Clackamas, Oregon. Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly, or balisong-style knives, which it continues to manufacture. These knives have been so identified with the company that Benchmade has registered "Bali-Song" as a trademark and logo. Benchmade's original Bali-Song design by Jody Samson was awarded Blade Magazine's Knife of the Year Award in 1979.
As of February 2009, the company was employing approximately 150 people. Benchmade has had several years of growth and has expanded both the variety of knives it produces and the facility itself.
Benchmade products, by nature of design and materials, are positioned at the high end of the production knife market. Premium blade steels such as 154CM, D2, and CPM S30V steel are used on many models. Benchmade is one of the few manufacturers to have offered high speed CPM-M2 and CPM-M4 tool steels in a production knife.
Benchmade receives a significant amount of revenue from selling restricted-sales knives to the military and law enforcement. Benchmade produces a diverse selection of "auto", or switchblade knives, along with a range of hunting, fishing, utility and miscellaneous knives, however balisongs remain a core product.
Benchmade has a patent on the locking mechanism used in most of the switchblades they produce. Benchmade additionally holds an exclusive licence on use of the McHenry / Williams "AXIS Lock", a strong, spring operated locking mechanism used in both automatic and manual action models.
Benchmade has a long tradition of incorporating knife design from noted custom cutlery makers into their production models. These include Jody Samson, Ernest Emerson, Allen Elishewitz, Mel Pardue, Bill McHenry, Mike Snody, Jason Williams, Warren Osborne, and Bob Lum. Several production Benchmade models based on the work of these designers have become influential within the industry.
In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City. Apart from some Red Class products, which are produced in their "off shore facilities", Benchmade produces more than 90% of its knives in Oregon City, and has succeeded in bringing others back to home production. Since 2010, all Red Class production knives have been discontinued, and as such, every Benchmade labeled knife is made in the United States.
One of the reasons Benchmade is located in Oregon, as are many other knife makers, is because Oregon has very relaxed laws toward knives in general and switchblades or butterfly knives in particular; there are no restrictions against selling a switchblade-style knife to an Oregon resident.
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