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REKAT ATS-34 vs. Benchmade ATS-34


Mar 28, 1999
Which of these two companies has a better heat treatment process for their ATS-34? I have heard of benchmades ATS being too brittle.Does REKAT have these brittle problems?Does either of the two rank higher than the other in edge holding and toughness?Thanks.
scott w
Well that question is a very loaded one. What I will say is this. When blades are heat treated they are normally done in batches. Imagine the blade being laid on a grill in an oven. Blades in the middle will be a little different than blades on the sides. Blades in the front will be different than the blades in the back. So therefor none of the blades will have the exact same heat treating properties. The differences will be small but you can get a bad batch or a bad blade inside a batch.

Comparing two manufacturers heat treating processes would require a lot of scientific testing over a wide range of blades to give you an average result. I would say that overall both of the makers you mention have excellent heat treating. Now compare Junglee or similar brand to Benchmade or REKAT and you have something we cn talk about.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

I have no scientific evidence to back it up, but I think REKAT does a better job heat treating than Benchmade.
My conclusion is based on field use and sharpening. Its very hard to remove metal from REKATS compared to Benchmade.
I have had Benchmade ATS-34 both chip and rust, but never had the same happen with my Pioneers. The Pioneers have seen FAR more use, abuse, moisture, mud, dirt, food, etc. than my Benchmades.
Theres something about REKATS heat treatment and the "stonewash" finish that promotes durability. In fact, REKAT fares well against Reeves BG-42.

[This message has been edited by Bill McWilliams (edited 18 July 1999).]
The edges that have chipped on the BM's, were most of them serrated, plain, or roughly equal number of both types?
I haven't had the chance to use a REKaT for anything more than ogling, and they get my vote anyhow. I simply can't imagine their heat-treatment could be worse than Benchmade's, which I do have substantial experience with.

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives
This has been discussed before and I recall that REKAT does temper their ATS-34 a little lower. I have not used theirs but I do not like Benchmades ATS-34. The best description I have read of it was made by Drew awhile ago when he said something like "it feels like glass" when he was commenting on sharpening it.

What I have used is too hard. It is brittle and the edge seems to crack away instead of sharpening properly. I do use diamond hones primarly though and maybe a softer material like a japanese waterstone would be better suited.

I think what is happening is that Benchmade left the RC really high not for performance reasons but simply as it gave them a way to promote their knives really easy. If they had left the RC down to about 57-58 it would have been fairly complicated to compare their knives to the lower quaility ones that come is at about 55-56 RC. A lot of people see higher RC = better knife so Benchmade might have taken advantage of this.

Spyderco is a company that I like a lot because it has the exact opposite approach. Their 440V does not have the same RC as their AUS-8 or their whatever. Different steels operate better knife-wise in differnet RC ranges. if you treat them as all the same some of it is going to be very unsuitable.

James Y....
The Benchmades that chipped were a Leopard Cub(50-50 serrated, but chip occurred on plain edge) and a 3500 mel Pardue plain edge.

It's hard to explain, but REKAT's ATS-34 "feels" different when you remove metal with a stone. It also takes more pressure.
Gofigure !
I recently acquired a Carnivour to compliment my Axis and decided to put a 15/20 edge on both of them since they are my daily carry knives. After the process was completed both knives were examined under a jeweler's loupe. The REKAT had a relatively smooth edge while the Axis showed edge chipping. BUMMER!
I'm inclined to agree. Benchmade isn't as good from what I have seen. Not quite farmiliar with REKAT's, but I'm guessing they are better.
For Bill McWilliams:
Bill, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I think I've missed something. The concensus seems to be that Benchmade heat treat harder than REKAT, but you feel the metal is harder to remove on the REKAT; that appears to be contrary, unless there's more shoulder on the REKAT, or something like that. Do you have any theories?
I don't know how to explain it.
The greater percentage of my working knives are made of ATS-34.
The "closest" blade shape and size between a Benchmade and REKAT would be the AFO and Pioneer (or Carnivore).
The difference in sharpening the two is substantial.
Someone mentioned "like glass" when relating to sharpening Benchmades. I can relate to that statement.
The REKAT blades produce more friction on the stone and also require more pressure.
The REKAT blades keep their sharpness much longer than Benchmade too.
No scientific evidence. Just experience with both heat treat methods on a common metal.
Did I mention that REKATS "appear" to be far more rust resistive too ?
Now that I've had my Pioneer for a little over a week,I've noticed a few things.It had a better edge grind out of the box than my BM's did and gets darn sharp.I carried it all week in this heat wave and have not noticed any rust spotting were as I guarantee my Pinncle would've had spotting.If that is the effect of good heat treatment then I'd say that's a plus for REKAT.
scott w
The rust resistance has to do with the finish. Get a eye loup and look at the surface. On a bead blasted knife you open the steel up, with satin which is scotcbrite it also makes micro scratches which have more fine sufface area. The Stone Washed finish smooths out the surface, dulls or subdues the brite look and work hardneds the surface.
There has been a lot of expermention into achiving the finish.

Bob Taylor

Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints and escaping.
...But what about the heat treatment Bob?

I say that with a smile on my face because I have already asked Mr. Taylor this exact question, and understandably, he gave me the stock knife manufacturer's answer, which is that they don't want to talk about their proprietary heat treatment for competitive reasons.

It does seem to me that I read in some promotional material that REKAT is targeting their hardness in the 58 RcH range, while Benchmade advertises 59-61, I think. My impression is that the ATS-34 blades on my Pioneers are slightly less abrasion resistant than the ATS-34 blades on the Benchmade knives I have. That could mean that the REKAT blades are tougher. Toughness is more a matter of tempering than hardness with ATS-34 though. I have a couple of 61 RcH ATS-34 blades that are very tough.

I haven't had a chipping problem with any of my Benchmade ATS blades though. I cut copper wire cabling with them quite regularly, and have done a lot of work with an ATS AFCK which involved cutting stainless crab pot wire and stripping rubber off the rebar frames. It was hell on the edge, but didn't result in any chipping that didn't come out completely with sharpening, not what I would call a problem.

So that's my take, that the REKAT blades are a little softer, and possibly a little tougher. Both hold an edge pretty darn well for stain resistant steel. Which you think is better might be a matter of what you expect from the steel. Time to do some head-to-head edge holding comparisons, I guess.


[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 26 July 1999).]