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Sharpening Benchmades...


Oct 5, 1998
I am relatively new to collecting Tactical style folders and even more so to sharpening them. I just purchased a Gatco ceramic stick sharpener and was content with the edge I was keeping on my various Benchmade's until I purchased a Spyderco Endura. The edge I can put on the Endura is so noticably sharper that I just had to ask what there is to sharpening Benchmade's ATS-34 steel that I am missing. Or is it just that much more difficult to sharpen ATS-34 than the ATS-55 on the Spyderco. Any help on this or just how I can get my BM's as sharp as I want them would be greatly appreciated...

My guess is that the Benchmades were ground with a more obtuse angle at the factory. The first thing I do with a new Benchmade is re-profile the edge to a more accute angle ("thin to win!"--that's my motto), and this dramatically improves cutting performance. I've done this with some Spydercos as well, but they are usually sharper and thinner to start with.

Unless you're using a very coarse sharpener for that first-time re-profiling, it can take a rather long time. Be patient, and make sure you're following Joe Talmadge's excellent instructions from the Sharpening FAQ, which can be found here:

David Rock

AKTI Member # A000846
"Never carry a knife shorter than your schnoz."

[This message has been edited by David Rock (edited 28 July 1999).]
I've had four Benchmades, and the only one I could sharpen worth a damn was the model 44 butterfly. I think their ATS-34 sucks, and the only knife of theirs I would buy would have to be in M-2. Just my two cents, but it's based on personal experience.
DMT hones work exellently on AFCK's, I've got two. It takes some patience, but a bench stone will give a sharper edge than anything else, plus you get the satisfaction of working intimately with your knives that much longer

I tend to thin the edges on my Benchmades down. Using a Spyderco 204 Sharpmaker, I start on the 15-degree stones, and grind in 15 degree bevels on both sides. I don't bother taking these thinning bevels to the very edge, just to within, say, 1/32"-1/64". No need to go farther than that. Now switch to the 20-degree slots, and do your usual sharpening. Now the edge will be as thin as a Spyderco, and will sharpen as quickly and easily. Grinding in those 15-degree thinning bevels will take a little time the first time you do it, but after that it's easy.