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Review Benchmade 535 with Rogue Blade Works CF scales

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by scottc3, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. Boker + Urban Trapper Petite Ti

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  2. Al Mar Falcon Ultralight

    7.7%
  3. Boker Plus Urban Trapper

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  4. Benchmade 535 Bugout

    46.2%
  5. Spyderco Chaparral Lightweight

    7.7%
  6. Benchmade 470-1 Emissary

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  7. Spyderco Native 5 LW

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  8. Benchmade 940 series

    23.1%
  9. Kershaw Dividend

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  10. OKC RAT 2

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  1. scottc3

    scottc3 Basic Member Basic Member

    208
    Oct 11, 2014
    Thankful for this forum, I try to contribute wise thoughtful, useful information. Here's my first review. If you know of a production knife below 3oz you like but don't see listed, holler, I might learn something. There are several knives below about 20 bucks, or with geometries too thick, that I am not interested in that others might find interesting, post em.

    I've been chasing lightweight since gifting a BM470-1, believing I am completely served in the 4 to 7oz range by other Benchmades. I bought a set of Rogue Blade Works (RBW) carbon fiber scales with embossed logo and a Benchmade 535 bugout off of the exchange after trading emails with RBW to clear up my understanding of acronyms he used at etsy.

    I carried the stock bugout for a couple weeks and was stunned by how much slicing edge I got for 1.85 ounces, and it fits my 2XL hand. I was impressed enough at this point in my usage to think that maybe gifting the 535–GRY is a winning proposition. After a failed attempt to install the RBW scales one evening, I put it aside until I could get another set of hands to help.

    I did note that one of the Omega Springs was lifted up off the frame cassette, by eye, approximately a little over an eighth of an inch; It looked like that spring was interfering with installation of the keyed pivot stud. Both washers had one face with wear marks burnishing through the surfaces creating uneven bright circular scratch patterns. This occurred because the inside face of the frame cassette steel, roughly finished, wore through the phosphor bronze washer surface. I saw a picture of another units frame cassette before I disassembled mine, and knew I could get new washers and dress the steel with a stone if the current washers feel hinky.

    I put the Rogue Blade Works carbon fiber scales on last night with the help of one of the sons. He not only lent a hand but also tried a new technique to keep the lock open. Instead of pushing the lock open with an appropriately sized flathead screwdriver, he stuck it through the opening in front of the lock, pinning it open, resulting in different spring responses to wiggling the screwdriver. RBW's scales really up the game for my 535 with less than a 10th of an ounce penalty! Still incredibly light, but now rigid. The action has been improved running like the rest of my Benchmade's (710's, 940, 810...). Does not need resharpening yet with regular around the house use, though the factory bevel is wider then it needs to be. Rogue's embossing increases traction over his smooth ones, but I'm a traction nut and wonder what their new wave pattern would provide?

    In swapping the scales, I use Wiha bits and a quality "M & M" jewelers screw driver set. The technique comes from watching the tubes: taking the pivot screw side scale off, installing the first scale with screws loose; flipping it over to push off the pivot stud removing the blade and washers; install the next scale with loose screws and use a jeweler's screwdriver (business card or the like) to push both washers into alignment. I use the dregs from bottles of 5/30 synthetic automotive oil transferred to a pinpoint oiler to stick the washers. I splurged and bought a set of blue titanium screws from bladeswelove which I used AFTER completing the scales swap with the OEM screws. It is worth noting that the anodized titanium screws appear to have a couple more threads than OEM.

    CONCLUSION: Early on when the bugout was in OEM form I titled this review "BM535 Bugout-Game Changer", but changed it because I added the Rogue Blade Works carbon fiber scales and bladeswelove titanium screws. I was then and am now strongly impressed with this 535 roll your own custom. The stock 535 is good to go and highly recommended in its category. Comparing it for lock, tinker-ability / ease of assembly (for me translating to solid engineering), steel, sharpening choil, handle length, geometry, and of course weight with the knives I find interesting makes me think a new generation of ultra-lightweight has been produced. The geometry is wonderfully slicey, the axis lock as trustworthy and as proven as a lock back from my perspective. And, from my perspective as an old gearhead, the only problems I have heard seen and read about can be chalked up to rookie mistakes, doofus's, and lack of mechanical aptitude and or patience. This is my first Benchmade s30v, although I have gifted three.

    Of course in the future we will see factory, exclusives and limited run options no doubt. I vote for utility carbon fiber traction, 0.09" m390, spydie hole or, a thin neodymium block in scale with plate pin kit for the pockets instead of clips (or just Benchmade / 511 type collaboration shirt/pants). I have grown accustomed to clips to the exclusions of lanyards and pocket carry for anything below about 6 ounce.
    Our scale, Amazon recommended XY8006, when configured to weigh up to 21.6oz/600g, reports to the thousands position. Below, are the results of my homework, playing with weights and comparisons of knives, scales and clips off and on.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    OEM stock as 1.85 (52.45g) on BKC;
    BM535 owner reports 1.9oz OEM and 2.0oz with RBW-CF;
    The tubes= i have seen OEM BM535 from 1.87 vacillating to 1.88;
    EDC Gear Reviews weighed his w Rogue cf scaled bugout that settled to 1.96 on his scale - w no clip? (screenshot of weighing);
    jtknifelife gets 1.96oz with RBW-CF n oem clip;

    Reported by Rogue BladeWorks w oem clip = 1.96oz,
    “and a tiny bit less then OEM w RBW-CF clip swap.”

    My calculation=BM535CF w RogueBW CF scales & clip =1.873oz
    OEM BM535, s30v, 0.90”, 3.24” 4.22”L =1.858oz vs
    BM535CF w RBW CF with OEM clip 1.9465
    weighed.

    Custom BM535 W RBW-CF w/o OEM clip = 1.824oz

    RBW CF clip = 1g = 0.0353oz (oz rounded up), RBW weighed OEM clip =3g= 0.102oz, my BM535 2 OEM clip screws = .011; 2 grams saved by switch to RBW CF clip = 2 grams or 0.07055 ounces OEM clip = 3grams vs RBW clip = 1gram, saving 2 grams= 0.0705oz; 940-1501 OEM clip w 3 screws=0.177;
    ______List of knives of interest (purple) and own/gifted/weighed and mic'd with RCBS dial calipers-red______
    • Boker + Urban Trapper Petite Ti =2.75” 0.08", ~0.20 behind bevel, VG10, 3.375"L = 1.105oz
    • Al Mar Falcon Ultralight AUS8 3.15" 0.08, 4.00"L = 1.25oz
    • AG Russell Seki city FeatherLite K-93 General Purpose pattern AUS8-A @3.0”, 4”L, VG10 RC60-61, 0.11” = 1.447oz
    • Boker FR Mini Frame 2.875", 0.07", VG10, 3.5"L, = 1.47oz
    • Boker Plus Urban Trapper VG10, 3.5”, 0.10 = 1.78oz
    • OEM weighed BM535 s30v, 4.22”L, ~0.25" behind bevel =1.858oz (0.542oz or 15.36g less then Native 5)
    • BM535 w RBW-CF+OEM clip = 1.946oz
    • Spyderco Chaparral Lightweight CTS-XHP 2.8”, 3.6”L, 0.08 = 2.0oz
    • BM470-1 Emissary, 3”, Handle 3.9”L, s30v 0.90”, ~0.20" behind bevel =2.1oz
    • Spyderco Native 5 LW, 4”L, 2.95”, s90v/s35vn .125” = 2.4oz
    • 940-1 s90v 3.4”, 4.47”L, 0.120” = 2.44oz
    • Zero Tolerance Sinkevich 0450CF, s35vn, 3.25", ZT, 0.12", 4.125"L, = 2.45oz
    • BM940-1501, m390 w no thumb studs, ~0.30" behind bevel =2.541oz (.578oz or .667 > 535CF+ CF clip)
    • Al Mar Eagle Ultralight AUS8, 2.75” = 2.6oz
    • OKC RAT 2, 3” D2 0.90 = 2.75oz
    • Kershaw Dividend 3”, m390/s35v = 0.90 = 2.8oz
    • BM555-1 s20v g10 = 2.91” 0.10 (BM555-1 s20v custom shop grivory = 2.56oz) = 2.9oz
    • Spyderco Manix 2 LW C101POR2 - CPM-S90V, 0.125, = 2.90oz
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    colin.p and AK4789 like this.
  2. holo07

    holo07 Gold Member Gold Member

    899
    Jul 21, 2008
    great review i am sold on the bugout only thing i carry now a days. If they ever make a g-10 or open the bugout to the custom shop it will bring on more buyers. I think alot of people don't like the ugly blue handles.

    DSCN1333.JPG
     
  3. Evany

    Evany

    947
    May 7, 2007
    I have the wave pattern version of Rogue's CF 535 scales. The stock 535 really impressed me, but I like it so much better with these scales. Right at this moment and for the foreseeable future, I feel like I've found the perfect folder. I do wish there was a version in M390 or similar, but the S30V blade has performed surprisingly well so far.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  4. scottc3

    scottc3 Basic Member Basic Member

    208
    Oct 11, 2014
    Evany, The wave pattern was what I was saving for when the embossed ones became available on the exchange. Bird in the hand is better then 2 in the bush for upland game and knives:). I would not mind 0.08 thick as m390 is scalpel steel... s20v would be fine in my world. Holo07, nice dye jobs. Where did the silver thumb studs come from?
    Today I found a 1.447oz Seki city AG Russell FeatherLite K-93 AUS8-A with General Purpose Blade pattern for a buck at an estate sale and AG's fuller pattern deployment hole would work on the Bugout, but the carbon fiber would need trimming. I could add embossing or pay the pro that installs AG's fuller pattern deployment hole. You gotta spend 5 minutes listening to AG walk through his
    FeatherLite K-93
    I'll take a pic when modded and post it.
    https://agrussell.com/knife/FeatherLite-One-Hand-Knife-General-Purpose-Blade-VG-10-blade--K-93C10
     
  5. scottc3

    scottc3 Basic Member Basic Member

    208
    Oct 11, 2014
    I want to have extra Omega spring wire on hand when I inspect and maybe dress my BM535 cassette frame inner faces and washers (along with tuning an old 710). Going to use needle nose pliers wrapped with an appropriate amount of extreme tape to shape the small anchor that wraps the studs, large omega curve, and a piece of furniture grade ash with an appropriately sized hole drilled for shaping the 90 degree anchor, which I will snip down to length afterwards. I will report and post pics.

    The 535 OEM Omega spring wire is reported by another BF member “bakergh” to measure 0.021, OEM Mini Grip is reported as 0.025 (Wilkins offers Large Grip after market Omega springs). Here is where link takes you-
    https://wilkinsknives.bigcartel.com/product/torsion-lock-springs

    The preponderance of evidence is that few owners have one of the pair of Omega spring break, but I see an opportunity for my boys. So, I just received three 10 foot pieces of surplus piano wire ($11.5x for 30 feet), which is the best throw away wire I could think of whose original purpose was to maintain exacting tension under high stress, repeated stretching and banging, albeit in environmentally controlled circumstances: yes honey I put it against an inner wall away from the windows. They measure 0.020, .024, .029.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018

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