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|Headquarters||Oregon City, Oregon|
|Les De Asis, Founder & CEO|
|Products||Knives, pens, rescue tools|
Number of employees
The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon City, Oregon, United States. Its products are sold to numerous 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. In 1996, the company moved to a 144,000 square foot facility in Oregon City, 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.
Firearm Destruction Controversy
On February 20, 2019, Oregon City Police Department posted on their Facebook page a series of images showing the destruction of multiple firearms. In the post OCPD reported, “Thank you Benchmade Knife Company for assisting us today by cutting up guns that are ready to be destroyed.” Benchmade cut up guns in order to assist the Oregon City Police Department in an effort to comply with the department’s policies.
In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City. Apart from some Red Class products, which were produced in their "off shore facilities", Benchmade has produced 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.
Blade steels such as 154CM, D2, CPM S30V steel, CPMS90V, CPM20CV, N680 and M390 are used on many models. Benchmade is one of the few manufacturers to have offered high speed 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, though balisongs remain a core product.
Benchmade has three different classes when it comes to their knives. The first class is the Blue Class, also known as the Recreation class. This type of Benchmade knife is made for typical use by the everyday person. The next class is the Black Class, also known as the Professional class. This type of Benchmade knife is made for military, law enforcement, and public safety workers. This class of knives is made for more challenging work. The last class is the Gold class, also known as the Collector class. This class of Benchmade knife is made for collectors and are limited edition.
Benchmade has a patent on the locking mechanism used in most of the switchblades they produce. Benchmade additionally holds an exclusive license on use of the McHenry / Williams "AXIS Lock", a strong, spring operated locking mechanism used in both automatic and manual action models. The AXIS lock is extolled by many knife enthusiasts for its one-handed operation, strength, and ambidexterity, qualities some say are not shared by other knife locks such as the linerlock, framelock, or lockback. These locks also have a slim chance of accidentally being pressed during use.
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.
Some of the Benchmade knife models include
- Benchmade Griptilian
- Benchmade SOCP
- Benchmade 556 Mini Griptilian
- Benchmade Contego
- Benchmade 940 Osborne
- Benchmade BKC Bedlam Axis
- Benchmade Serum
- Benchmade Mini Barrage
- Benchmade Model 42
- Benchmade Model 535 Bugout
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- Kertzman, Joe (2001). 2002 sporting knives. Krause Publications. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-87349-266-9.
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