BM Quality Opinion Survey

Jan 22, 1999
I have seen a number of posts in which the quality of BM products has been brought into question. Specifically, there has been criticism of grind lines, blade & edge symmetry, etc.

Maybe we were just lucky but a buddy, Doc4570, & I both have the model 830 Ellipse (Ascent) and they are flawless. While I don't doubt what others are saying, I'm wondering if others have experienced similar defects.

Since -- like many others -- I generally don't buy at retail outlets, there is no opportunity to inspect individual pieces. Are BMs prone to such QC problems or are they anomalies? Please share your experiences. TIA.


I would describe BM's quality control as "streaky." It seems like a knife is either flawless or really screwed up.

When BM's are good, they are superb. When they are bad, they, well, suck. In the words of Huey Lewis, "sometimes, bad is bad."

My new Nimravus is marvelous. So is my BM820.

To balance that out, I have a box going back to BM with 4 knives in it: a leopard cub & mini-spike (poor lock-up), a 970ST (bad lockup, broken assembly screws), and an Ascent (axial blade play).

Nonetheless, I still want an Axis and a Pinnacle.



Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
I have only one BM (AFCK). So I can only speak for this one; and you are right: they do seem to have the quality control problem for this otherwise fine knife. My AFCK's blade has a slight play in the locked position (it wobbles front and back!). I believe that this is caused by the liner-lock not engaging properly to the blade. This seriously undermines my confidence in this knife. I love its concept, shape, and material. But its fit needs improvement. I wrote to them; and they told me to send it back with $5, and they will fix the problem. Should I send it back? Being a frugal type, I am incensed that they charge $5 (plus my postage) for the problem of their creation!

I only have one Benchmade knive, the Model 330 design by Mel Pardue. Great little knife when you want a decent sized knife in a very light package. (See caveat below.)
When I received it I had to of course carry it for awhile because it was new. It still looks like new because I have only used it for light tasks and apparently the G10 scales are resistant to key scrathes. The point: I had only carried it for a short while when it disassembled itself. Repair was reasonably prompt and I do not recall having to pay five dollars. Is this ($5 charge) a new policy? I would not object if I had had the knife a long time and they were bending over backwards, but I would in a case like mine. For one thing they do not want you adjusting the knife.
It should not have occured, but since it did, I am dissapointed that I was never informed what was wrong or what was done. Was it just a loose screw(s) that some locktite cured or a stripped thread on the screw or the knife. If I held the handle together I could have still used it in an emergency, but. . .
The $5 is for resharpening. Warranty work does not require the fee. I have found the warranty dept to be friendly, prompt, do it right, lenient about fees and to go the extra distance for you. In spite of some quality control issues don't we all have a BM, and they back up their products, and they're good value for the money when you buy at discount.

Ron Knight

Yeah I'm crazy, but what do you want me to do about it
I own 4(now)BMs and of the 5 I've owned only one has stood up to their claims of excellent quality. My 830's tip broke,
3500's spring broke, 970 was all out junk
(I've seen $14 knives better)-blade wasn't ground close to anything near to the others I've seen and looked (was) like it was sharpened on a course grit stone/belt. The tip was broke NIB. The liner moved all the way over and had to use pliers to close (the last time I order a BM through mail order). Even my bali-song has a QA problem- the little holes next to the big holes are off (BM 45S).If BM sends back my auto in reasonable time, I might send the others back to get fixed but if not.... The only one I haven't had a problem with was my AFCK. Maybe because I bought it at a gun show and looked it over carefully before I handed $80 over to the guy. Sorry if I offended anyone, but I had to share my thoughts on the matter. Never had problems with any of my Spydercos-
My $.02
Lately I have onlu bought one Benchmade, a Large Ascent. For a knife that supposedly retails for $75, on the net around $50, I would have expected a little better attention to detail. The edge grind wavered up & down, and was uneven when compared to the other side. I have seen $20 knives witha little more pride built in to them.

At the same time that I bought my Ascent, I also got a Goddard Lightweight for my girlfriend. Out of the box it was sharper, the edge was even, and had a smoother finish on the blade. To top it off, it costs less.

I would still like to get my grubby paws on a Axis though. No $%#^#@* dealers up here have one yet. grrrrrr
I own a 970S, 970, 812 (mini-AFCK) currently. While the the 812 is perfect, the grind lines on the two 97X are different, even if only slightly. I wouldn't consider either one "flawed". The lock up on all three is superb. I would trust any of the three implicitly.

I used to own a Sentinel and AFO. Fit on both was excellent. My AFO was a very good specimen. The Sentinel had uneven grind lines at the tip.

Overall, I have been very pleased with the BM's I own or have owned. The 970 continues to be one of my favorite knives.

The first Benchmade I bought was a 970s, in a retail store and it was perfect! This was nearly 4 years ago. For the first two years I went through about 4 blade replacements and 5 linerlock replacements. The first time was from use. The other times were because the linerlocks didn't lock up or the blade grinds were completely off.
I have owned 9 double grind Benchmades and the lock up has not been very good on 4 of them and about 7 of them had very bad grind lines and the edge was often ground at a different angle along the knife or was not the same width along the knife.

My brother bought an AFCK and Stryker NIB and the grind lines were bad with crazy edges that were very thick to very thin on the same blade as well as tips broken off (a tiny tiny bit but still annoying). The liner locks stopped locking up after the first couple of days, leading to blade play. My original AFCK that I bought about 3 years ago is great and I've used it very hard with no problems. My other Benchmades were mainly just for collecting and they were not used hard at all.

The quality of Benchmade knives has always been in question. On the old school Benchmade forum there were always quality complaints. Others were satisfied and I am with some of my knives. I personally think that ever since the Benchmade boom 2-3 years ago there has been a decline in Benchmade's quality, whether it be bad linerlocks, spacers or blade grinds. Whether this is due to expansion, I can only guess.

I have looked at Benchmade's three new knives and they are pretty solid and innovative. Nevertheless, comparing each of the three side by side with another one of the same, the grind lines and edges differed greatly. Even at the NYC custom knife show, the Nimravus on display had a poorly ground, uneven edge where the angle and width fluctuated.

I think Benchmade makes great knives and they have fine customer service. I still recommend Benchmade to my friends as one of the top companies and urge them to buy their knives. Neverthless, I cannot buy knives which are flawed when NIB. I furthermore cannot buy Benchmades when i witnessed the quality of ealier Benchmades. I have not bought a Benchmade in about 2 years and am reluctant to do so when there are new companies out there at a similar price point who have tighter quality control.

I will check out the Axis and Pinnacle again and hopefully I can find one I like. Maybe I have been very very unlucky with the knives that I have bought, but I doubt it.


Jason Yang
i have many, many benchmades, but i have only had a problem with a few. i have never bought one over the internet either. i have had many more problems with spyderco and kershaw than with benchmade. cold steel too. i don't have many spydercos, but many of the ones i have checked out at my dealers have been flawed. benchmades have to, but not as large a percentage. actually, i can't think of one production knife company, that i haven't had a problem with one of their knives.
i rarely buy folders over the internet, for all of the quality reasons - especially linerlocks. when you compare linerlocks to the axis and integral mechanisms out there, they are practically worthless, imo.
anyway, benchmade fixes what few problems they have with very little hassle, so i think their knives are worth the price.

Well I have only 3 BM the 800,350, and 401Panter. I must say I have had no problem with any of them. But being new to knifes I might not be as critical as someone who might know exactly what to look for. I also purchase the knife through an internet dealer who checks out the products before he ships them to me :) which will ensure that I will return for other purchases. As this is the only way that I have available for purchasing knives I am greatful to him for saving my the time and hassel of having him check out the knives as best he can before he ships.

in a word they are "crap"
i dont have any B.M.(bowel movements)...
service stinks,(yes i have owned a few -i gave them away )
GT's are a much much better knife for the same money-but GT doesnt have the model selection.

Gregg Lane
unemployed salesman,
any work done.

I have had good luck with Benchmade products myself, but I did send two knives back for attention. One was a mini-spike that had a "funny" grind, it was sent away and came back promptly & looking fine. The other was my much loved Sentinal, which had the original split aluminum bits on the back, which caused it to hang up on the pocket edge on withdrawal. Sent it off, they put a one piece back panel on and I'm happy as a clam. PLUS, they put a buffed or polished edge on it, which will split hairs, forget about shaving them ! So, on balance, I'd say they do pretty well. I have had afew that I bought and traded or sold due to boredom with the design, but nobody's perfect.

[This message has been edited by Brian Lavin (edited 28 January 1999).]

Did your mini-spike have a "bump" kinda on the edge side of the blade? I had to return mine for that same reason, if so. I think they must have had a whole batch of them. Don't know how those made it through QC...


Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
I have about 20 Benchmades and for the most part, I've been happy with the quality. I have 6 AFCKs and they for the most part are perfect, lock up was fine on all of them, blade wobble was insignificant of non existant. The only problem I found on a few were the blade rubbing the liners when opening, but this is fixed by opening the blade half-way, bending it the desired direction, and usually it is set.

I have a Striker that is pretty much a perfect example, quality-wise.

On the down-side, I have a mini-AFCK in ATS34 that looks so bad I thought it was a fake knock-off at first.

For the money, I think they are about right, quality-wise. Microtech is certainly better, but you pay for that difference.

The M2 AFCK is still one of my all-time favorite knives for day-to-day utility work.

BM's seem to be a mixed bag. My first BM is a Bali-Song flip knife, a production model that they don't make anymore... got it retail and it and the others in the case where all perfect. ( I just love the clak-clak). 2nd is a 3500, a little off in the grinds, but within acceptable limits. 3rd, an Ascent....called an Eclipse when I got sum "up El Crapo". That and more visual quality problems and I was laying off the BM's and heading strictly custom....4th last Christmas I got a BM Spike, the large one. It's an exacto knife on steriods I tell you. It has a few scratchs (NIB) and the pivot screw was so loose that the blade would swing once past the first detent. A little applied Torque (Torx) and it's worries.

First let me say that Benchmades are not inexpensive knives. They have no room to speak of regular imperfections. If they are reducing the quality, let them also reduce the cost.
I have had only 2 benchmades, both 975sbt's.
I bought the first one at a show and it was great, everything. I went over seas where I gave it to a friend, thinking I could simply purchase another one. Wrong. I purchased one over the internet that was flawed, once opened, the liner lock was very difficult to close. Since that experience, I purchased a Spyderco Military, and honestly the quality is much better than benchmade, and I like the hole. I am waiting for the Bob Lum and Starmate at my local discount knife dealer.

had to share my thoughts,
About a year and a half to nine months ago, in my capacity as a retail customer and then as a small-time dealer, I was a "regular customer" of Benchmade's warranty department, but now it's been a few months since I've last shipped anything to them. (Though I have a few early production 350's that want to be brought up to the current lock design)

I don't speak engineering well enough to give a good detailed report, but tour I got of the Benchmade factory last November was mostly about obsessive quality control measures. Like raw material being stored in the same room as that high-precision monster laser machine, so that all parts will be cut out at a constant temperature, like parts being measured on special micrometer jigs, like critical dimensions being examined under a microscope hooked up to their computer network, like a tray of rejected finished Axis Locks.

I am convinced that Murphy's law is strictly enforced on high-tech knives, and especially early production high-tech knives.

Slightly uneven grind liness? I met one on a Microtech. Edge Design says they've reprogrammed their grinder to fix the slightly uneven false edge grind I've seen on every Genesis so far (they cut just fine). The clip was in the wrong position on that Microtech too. Mushy ball bearing detents? I just got a Spyderco that has one like that, though most of theirs are very good. I've had Spyderco lightweight Cricket and a Kershaw Starkey Ridge suddenly turn into fixed blade knives on me. And watch your early production Kershaw Mini-Task like a hawk! Spinal-tap test failures? I"ve sent one expensive knife back to William Henry for that, and they're not alone.

And warranty service departments did what we expect them to do in the knife industry. When problems came to them by insured mail, they fixed or replaced.

Factory sharpening? A perfectly vorpal edge out of the box is nice, but it won't last in use, and the edge is the easiest thing for the customer to correct to his or her preference.

The real test of a knife company is its warranty service department. Benchmade's product support is up to the standard of the high-quality knife business. In a perfect world, knives would never go dull or wobbly or be needed as weapons, but in an almost perfect world every industry would have warranty service like the knife industry's.


[This message has been edited by James Mattis (edited 30 January 1999).]
It looks like I was one of the luckier ones, but the small Ascent (820) that I got recently seems to be right on. It opens smoothly, there is no play in any direction when it is locked and no difficulty in unlocking. I need more practice on opening and closing to smooth out my action, but the knife's action seems fine to me. I felt like I needed to touch up the edge when I got it, but I'm fussy. Someone commented in some other thread about the Ascent being too pointy with not enough belly, but I like pointy knives and that was one of my criteria for a daily carry knife. I have removed the clip and carry it in my pocket, where I'm real comfortable with it. The edge grind seems quite even and symmetrical from side to side. I can't speak for how consistent it is from knife to knife, but on this one knife, I have no complaints.

Paul Neubauer
I have one BM knife: the 812sbt mini AFCK. Initially, it was an amazingly strong folder, although the lock did stick quite often,and I had no major complaints about it. However, in the last month or so, i noticed that it developed qute a fair amount of blade play. The lock does not stick as much anymore, but the blade lockup in the open position is far from solid. I would not use this knife for any serious cutting, especially since i own a REKAT pioneer now.