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Benchmade Knife Company, Inc.
Founded1979; 44 years ago (1979)
FounderLes De Asis
HeadquartersOregon City, Oregon
Key people
Jon De Asis, President and CEO
ProductsKnives, pens, rescue tools
Number of employees

The Benchmade Knife Company is an American knife manufacturer in Oregon City, Oregon.


Benchmade originally started in California in 1979 as Bali-Song, then changed their name to Pacific Cutlery Corporation in the early 1980s. The company changed their name to "Benchmade" in 1988. In 1990 the company moved to Clackamas, Oregon.[1][2] In 1996, the company moved to a 144,000 square foot facility in Oregon City, Oregon.[3] Benchmade became known primarily as a manufacturer of butterfly knives, or balisongs, and they continue to be manufactured under their registered trademark name "Ba“i-Song".[4] ”Benchmade's original Bali-Song design by Jody Samson was awarded Blade Magazine's Knife of the Year Award in 1979.[5]

Founder Les De Asis died February 21, 2020, following a stroke.[6] Roberta De Asis held the position of President and CEO following his death and was succeeded by her son Jon in October 2020.[7]

Headquarters location[edit]

In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City. Apart from some Red Class products, which were produced in their "off shore facilities",[8] ”Benchmade has produced more than 90% of its knives in Oregon City, and has succeeded in bringing others back to home production.[9] 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 the Benchmade factory headquarters and many other knife companies are located in Oregon, is that Oregon has more relaxed laws towards the ownership and selling of knives, with switchblades or butterfly knives in particular. There are no restrictions against selling a switchblade-style knife to an Oregon resident.[10]


Blade steels such as 154CM, D2, CPM S30V steel, CPM S90V steel, CPM 20CV, N690 and M390 are used on many models. Benchmade is one of the few manufacturers to have used high speed M2 and CPM M4 tool steels in a production knife.[11]

Benchmade receives a significant amount of revenue from selling restricted-sales knives to the military and law enforcement.[12] They produce 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.[13]

Benchmade has three different knife classes. 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. 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.[14]

Benchmade has a patent on the locking mechanism used in most of the switchblades they produce.[15] Benchmade additionally holds an exclusive license on use of the McHenry / Williams "AXIS Lock", a spring operated locking mechanism used in both automatic and manual action models. This type of lock also has a smaller chance of accidentally being pressed during use.

Benchmade has a long tradition of incorporating knife design from cutlery makers into their production models. These include Jody Samson, Ernest Emerson, Allen Elishewitz, Mel Pardue, Bill McHenry, Mike Snody, Jason Williams, Warren Osborne, Ken Steigerwalt, and Bob Lum.[16] Several production Benchmade models based on the work of these designers have become influential within the industry.[13][17][18]

Some of the Benchmade knife models include:

  • Benchmade Griptilian
  • Benchmade Freek
  • Benchmade Crooked River
  • Benchmade Bushcrafter
  • Benchmade Infidel
  • Benchmade SOCP
  • Benchmade 556 Mini Griptilian
  • Benchmade Contego (Discontinued)
  • Benchmade 940 Osborne
  • Benchmade BKC Bedlam Axis
  • Benchmade Serum (Discontinued)
  • Benchmade Mini Barrage
  • Benchmade Model 42
  • Benchmade Model 535 Bugout
  • Benchmade Model 537 Bailout
  • Benchmade Model 51 Morpho

Awards and honors[edit]

Benchmade has won several awards and recognition for product innovation and design.[19]

  • The Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Knife of the Year Winner, Benchmade 915 Triage (2011)[20]
  • Field & Stream Best Fixed Blade Knife Winner, Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter (2013)[21]
  • Kokatat American Made Outdoor Gear 'Sassy' Award Winner, Benchmade (2014)[22]
  • 50 Campfires Gear of the Year Award Winner, Benchmade 551 Griptilian (2014)[23]
  • Knife News Dealer's Choice Best Overall Award Winner, Benchmade (2016)[24]
  • Oregon Manufacturing Awards, Product Innovation Category Winner, Benchmade (2017)[25]



  1. ^ Lewis, Jack; Roger Combs (1992). Gun Digest Book of knives. DBI. pp. 193–186. ISBN 978-0-87349-129-7.
  2. ^ "Benchmade History Page". Archived from the original on 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  3. ^ Szostech, Michael (2 January 2017). "Benchmade Tactical Pen Review". PyramidReviews. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Benchmade Copyright and Trademarks". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  5. ^ Burch, Michael (2007). "Butterfly Knives Take Wing". In Kertzman, Joe (ed.). Knives 2008. F&W Media. pp. 26–30. ISBN 978-0-89689-542-3.
  6. ^ "Lester de Asis Obituary (1951 - 2020) - The Oregonian". Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  7. ^ Kish, Matthew (Oct 8, 2020). "Benchmade names son of founder as new CEO". Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  8. ^ "Benchmade 'Red Class' products". Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  9. ^ Kertzman, Joe (2007). Knives 2008. Iola, WI: F&W Media. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-87349-195-2.
  10. ^ "Oregon Knife Club Legal FAQ Answer". Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  11. ^ Bottorff, Steve (2002). Sharpening Made Easy: A Primer on Sharpening Knives and Other Edged Tools. Knife World Publications. pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-0-940362-19-2.
  12. ^ "Benchmade 'Public Safety' Military and Law Enforcement Page". Archived from the original on 2006-10-30. Retrieved 2006-11-04.
  13. ^ a b Dick, Steven (1997), The Working Folding Knife, Stoeger Publishing Company, p. 280, ISBN 978-0-88317-210-0
  14. ^ Benchmade. "Benchmade Knife Company". Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  15. ^ "Benchmade Locking Mechanism Page". Archived from the original on 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2006-11-22.
  16. ^ "Custom Designer & Knife Craftsmen Profiles | Benchmade Knife Company". Benchmade Knife Company, Inc. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  17. ^ Clarke, Christopher (1995), "Benchmade/Emerson CQC7: Double-Duty Folder", Tactical Knives, 1 (3): 58–60
  18. ^ Kertzman, Joe (2001). 2002 sporting knives. Krause Publications. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-87349-266-9.
  19. ^ "Awards & Recognition | Benchmade Knife Company". Benchmade Knife Company, Inc. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  20. ^ "Benchmade Knife Company Wins 2011 Knife of the Year". EMS World. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  21. ^ "Best Fixed Blade Knife of 2013: Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter". Field & Stream. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  22. ^ "Kokatat Presents American Made Outdoor Gear Awards at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market". Outdoor Industry Association. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  23. ^ staff writer (2014-11-26). "Gear Of The Year: Benchmade 551 Griptilian". Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  24. ^ "KnifeNews Dealers' Choice Awards 2016 Mark the Eve of the Knife New Year". KnifeNews. 2016-11-27. Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  25. ^ "Oregon Manufacturing Awards". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2019-08-20.

External links[edit]