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Benchmade Axis Lock - First Impressions

Oct 3, 1998

I got my first handfull of Axis Locks today. I like this knife. A blade that does the sort of things that an AFCK or AFO blade does, a comfortable handle, and a very very smooth action. Silky smooth, slicker than any lockback I've met, but with enough spring tension to keep the blade inside the handle until you want to open it.

The unlocking mechanism is, as others have observed, intuitive. I've shown it to several non-knife people, and they've all figured out how to close it without me explaining it, and without cutting their fingers.

I do have a couple of questions. Unlike the Pinnacle, which offers very few places for dirt to lodge and make itself at home, the Axis Lock has large cutouts in the liner that reduce weight, but would be difficult to clean. It also has a hollow machined into the G10 scale to accomodate the locking mechanism, and I presume that stuff would get in there of you droppedt the knife into a mud puddle. I don't see that it would necessarily jam if that happened, as a liner lock would likely jam if you did that with the knife open, but my question is, "How would you clean the knife if it got really dirty?"

Without disassembling it, that is?

And if, at the risk of having to beg Benchmade's warranty department for mercy, one did attempt to disassemble and reassemble an Axis Lock, what particular perils should one watch out for?


Hi James!

Cleaning a dirty knife is no problem if you have one of those water jets for cleaning your teeth. You just take a nozzle you don't need anymore (you can buy them separately) and use that machine on your knife.

Just be carefully to not doing it in your living room!

How this does the tip get? Is it like the large ascent, where it gets pretty darn skinny, or does it keep its thickness? I have heard it gets skinny, but other than that it sounds like a good knife..

Does this mean you have them in stock?

What came in my door is already sold, but they're now in the distributor pipeline, so more should come in my door and other dealers' doors too.

The tip is heavier than needle-point knives like the Spike, but it's clearly a cutting tool and not a sharpened prybar like a couple of Emersons I've met.


I've recently acquired an BM Axis-Lock. It is a great knife. Still too soon to tell how it will hold up over time but it is very solid. To keep this knife clean and lubricated try using a pipe cleaner. They are great for dislodging pocket-fuzz and other small debris. I use a "white grease" for lubrication on al my knives these days. It is almost dry doesn't attract and hold dirt like oil (ex. Breakfree). The grease comes in a needle point applicator so I can apply it to a tiny spot without getting excess grease on everything. The grease has the pivot so slick that the blade will drop drop out of frame from it's own weight if I hold back the axis-lock. Careful timing on when to release the lock helps finish the opening cycle. The same action can be used for closing. The lock itself acting on the blade completes the opening and closing cycles. The opening and closing cycles can have that fluid motion associated with a butterfly knife.
Cleaning is pretty easy. Just point the tube from your can of WD-40 into the gap between the handle scale and the liner behind the button and squirt until no more dirt comes out.

The Axis Lock works!

I bought an Axis lock today and I must say, it is a great knife. The lock works well, the handle feels good, the design looks stylisch, the handle to blade propotions are very good.
Needless to say I am please with my latest buy!

Jan Dirk Wijbenga

Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid
Copper for the craftsman cunning in his trade.
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall
But iron - cold iron is master of them all.

Rudyard Kipling
I second the WD-40 suggestion. For pocket fuzz and other "dry" dirt, pick up a can of compressed air at a photo or computer store. They come with a nozzle you stick in just about anywhere.

Yesterday I drove 50 miles to find a knife shop that had a decent selection. I was fully intent on buying a Leopard Cub but walked out with the Axis 710. I never thought I'd own a folding knife with a 4 inch blade, but the action was soooooo sweet I just couldn't pass it up. I can't stop playing with it. It's more fun than an automatic.
Definitely the best knife I have ever owned. I paid a bit more than I could have over the web, but the store owner let me play with all the custom knives and I took up a good 1.5 hours of his time. I listened to James Mattis on this on... give the guy your business.
I really like the Axis.

It cuts things.

It stays locked when I want it locked.

Other than that, what is a folding knife for?

Like my Sebenza better, though.


(tongue in cheek)
I love my 710BT, and use it daily. I use Slick50 spray, one drop only per side, and most 'fuzz' is kept off. I haven't had to blow it out yet. Only thing I have that is smoother to open is my Boker Super liner. But the Axis is so good in the hand, I look forward to seeing just how far the 'Omega' springs will go...
Definitely a very smooth opener! I want to see more of this lock, seem super-strung to me

Markus Blattner

Well, I picked up my new Axis Lock 710 yesterday. I got the plain edge, satin blade. I must say, this is one nice looking knife. The blade has a nice (looking) sweep in the edge, and is in fact slightly (very slightly) hollow ground.

I took it home and messed with it a while, and noticed a little lateral play in the blade. So, I took a Torx wrench and tightened the blade pivot a bit, and now it has NO play at all. I overshot initially, and got it a little TOO tight, but no problem there. I'll probably leave it alone a while, see how it works in, and then maybe locktite it in place. Right now, it is tighter than it came; however, if you are holding the knife like normal after pulling it out, and push on the thumb-stud to open it, the inertia of the blade after overcoming the cam will carry it to fully open and locked about 8/10 of the time. And it just clicks into place when it gets there; it is not carrying enough blade speed to harm the knife, I believe.

After doing a shave test with it a couple of times, it is not quite as sharp as I would have hoped. My Eclipse is noticeably sharper, after carrying it and using it (although only a little) for over a year. The Axis will shave, just not a cleanly as the Eclipse. I'm hoping I can put it on the polishing leather and get it razor sharp like the Eclipse, though.

Overall, the knife is very smooth. I can't find any flaws in the edge or in the grind lines; it just isn't as sharp as I would like.

Incidentally, a friend and I ordered two at the same time, and by the luck of the draw, he got a (slightly) better specimen. No (ZERO) lateral play in the blade, out of the box. And, sharp enough to shave cleanly, from the factory. Chalk another one up for BM quality control? I'll admit that I may be overly critical, especially after having read some others' experiences.

I love the knife, and think that it is a great design. I have heard that BM already has a smaller version ready to release. I'm thinking that I would really like that. Along with...the plain edge Wayne Goddard Ltwt., maybe...and the Nimravus...

Evin --

Wanna like your Axis even more? Take a few other knives and the Axis out to the garage, do 5 minutes of slicing, whittling, or whatever with each knife. You will really appreciate the Axis' handle after you see how easy it is on the hands (especially the pinky) even after long use, compared to most other knives.

The Axis' blade has the potential to cut really well, due to the thinness and the recurve. You'll just need to thin the edge out a bit. Easier said than done on a recurve, but it's worth the effort. My Axis has gone from a slightly-above-average performer in the 4" blade range, to an outstanding one.


What would be the best and/or easiest way to thin out the edge? Right now, I have one of the diamond sharpeners (red..=med?), a double sided stone (one coarse, one pretty much medium), and a piece of leather glued to a 2X4 impregnated with polishing compound. Oh, and a kitchen steel. Can I think the edge with just those tools, or do I need more?


In my experience, sharpening a recurved blade is difficult, and reprofiling the edge even more difficult. The first thing required is a sharpening stone whose width is significantly less than the radius of the recurve. For me, the consistently best choice here is the Spyderco Sharpmaker. The Edge Pro Apex also works but not as well. Some people just use those ceramic sharpening rods, but I have a harder time with them.

Anyway, what I do is this. First I go up and down the sharpmaker, slightly tilting the spine of the blade towards the stone, instead of holding the spine directly up-and-down. This way, I'm going a few degrees less than the Sharpmaker's built-in angle. When I get pretty close to the edge (no need to go all the way to a burr), I switch to the other side. As I am sharpening, I change the position of the knife so that the edge that's touching the stone is always perpendicular with the stone. Since a recurved blade is one big curving edge, that means I'm constantly changing the position of the knife (raising or lowering the handle) as I go through the stroke. Since this is the thinning phase and not the sharpening phase, you should hold the angle as best you can but it doesn't have to be perfect.

Okay, now the edge has been thinned to about (Sharpmaker - 3) degrees. Now I switch to holding the spine directly up-and-down, and this time I'm going to really sharpen. However, I'm sharpening on a much-thinned-out edge, so it won't take so long. Using the same process of always making sure the edge is perpendicular to the stone, I now do classic sharpening, taking one side to a burr then switching, etc.

When I'm done, the first 1/20" or so of the edge is at Sharpmaker degrees, the next 1/20" above it is (Sharpmaker - 3) degrees. The edge is nice and thin, and cuts like crazy.

Do this slowly and carefully. ACK reported on the Benchmade forum that he ruined his Axis blade trying this, but I haven't gotten details from him. Recurved blades are difficult to sharpen, and the Axis's blade is thick and hard. Take your time this first time, it will take a little longer, but after this your thinned-out edge will be a breeze to sharpen from now on. And it will be in a different performance class from an Axis as bought directly from Benchmade.


That sharpening sounds pretty complicated, and a little scary, when you mention that someone ruined the blade this way. Almost makes it reasonable to send the knife back to BM when the sharpening time comes.

But, the edge sounds REALLY nice after the thinning. This is similar to what I do with just about every knife I own, although they are much less expensive than this one. At the very least, it sounds like I'm going to have to look around for a sharpener (sharpmaker?) if I am going to try something like this. And, I'll probably have to do this, if I'm ever gonna break away from BM doing the sharpening (there're just something wrong with that, to me). Oh well, back to the internet stores :^). Thanks for the info. I mailed it to myself so I will have it on file when the time comes to give it a try.

Hello all just recieved from Bryan my Axis today. I sent back my MOD which I bought to replace my CUDA which is still somewhere within the confines of my domicile. Anyways a couple of things:
1) the logo is etched on crooked. Least it looks crooked to me. Not a big deal but for the bucks it should be on straight.
2) wouldn't scrape hair off my arm. In other words very dull right out of the box.
This is my first BM purchase, and in this dept. I am very disappointed.
3) How narrow is the blade supposed to be. Mine seems pretty narrow least ways more than I thought it would be.
4) put on it on my Lansky diamond hone and once again I found that one side of the cantle liked a 25 deg. bevel and the other side a 20 deg bevel. Totally flumaxed over this one. My CUDA was/is the same way. Anyways decided on the 20 deg. and went at it with my diamond hones. To now avail. Got the cantle pretty even now just ain't sharpening up worth a hoot. It will barely shave hair. Totally bummed about that aspect of the knife.
Now the fit and finish of the handle and liners is superb. Custom quality to say the least. Oh yea have a bit of blade play but I will fix that when I go to work tomorrow and tighten it up with torx drivers. Anyways this is going to be last folder for quite sometime. I was going toget the REKAT Carnivore but after experiencing 3 disappointments with a good bit of cash laid out I am done with the folders. The one and only folder that I have that I can say unequivocally is a damn good folder is my C16, razor sharp, lite wt., great ergonomics,
and sharpens up pretty damn good. Keep'em sharp. Oh yea I will take some helpful hints on the sharpening thing. Joe I can't do mine they way you do yours. I either free hand or Lansky it. Mostly Lansky the past year or so. thanks
longbow --

Here's my advice. If you're stuck at 20 degrees and it's not sharp, I assume you're having problems raising a burr. Here's my suggestion, because it's almost exactly what I did. Give up on 20 degrees, and go up to 22 degrees. Because you've thinned the blade out at 20 degrees, 22 degrees will raise a burr almost instantaneously. Now do the usual steps to grind it off. It will outcut all your non-recurved blades when it's done.

The problem, of course, is that your Lansky doesn't have a 22-degree setting, and your freehand stones are likely too wide to do a good job on a recurved blade. At this point you really want a Sharpmaker, or if you're a better sharpener than I am, a diamond or ceramic sharpening stick (really, anything with a much smaller width than the diameter of the recurve).

If you're going to sharpen recurved blades, I've pretty much come up with the opinion that you must own a Sharpmaker. The results will be worth it, I promise!


I took a look at the Sharpmaker on the 'net, and see that it appears to be nothing more than special crock sticks (nothing wrong with that). However, my problem is, how do you manage to set/keep a given angle? You mentioned in the earlier post about having the first 1/20" at the Sharpmaker degrees, and the next 1/20" at the Sharpmake-3 degrees. Did I read that incorrectly? I don't think that there is any way that I could keep an angle anywhere near this accurate. Or am I missing something about the Sharpmaker? Am I to be relegated to the ranks of sending the knife back to BM everytime I need it sharpened?!

I was thinking maybe I could get the Lansky, and get a decent edge with it. However, now I'm concerned about that, as I hear that Longbow hasn't been able to make it work.

I REALLY like this knife. I'm just not content with the edge that it had from the factory. I thought I was, but then went back to my Eclipse. Now THAT blade had (and still does have) a NICE edge. I actually used it the other day to touch up my beard after shaving. It's that sharp. And that was from the factory.

Sorry (to all) that this msg got so long. Just getting more disappointed by the hour on the factory edge on my 710, as the newness of the knife wears off......