Thank everyone, I'm getting an Axis.

Jan 31, 1999
Thanks to all who responded to my other posts. I have decided that a 710BT is the knife I will buy. It seems like the best all -around folder, and the most flexible design as far as reliability and efficiency in design. Also a good utility/defense blade!
You shouldn't regret it. These are great folders that will last you a long time without the same degree of wear that most conventional locking mechs are subject to. IMO, like you said, a good overall design that's a great compromise between defense and utility. Enjoy!
Forgive me, please, but why have you chosen the BM, given the multiple criticisms of the heat treatment of their blades? Do you know something that I haven't seen? I ask because I like the design of the Axis, but am leery of what others say is the tendency of their blades to chip.

Walk in the Light,

Well, this is actually the FIRST I've heard of BM having problems with blades chipping! Never had a problem with the other BMs I have owned- 2 cqc7s, and 2 AFCKs. Is this some NEW problem?
There have been many discussions on ATS34 chipping and the general consensus seems to be that the worst offenders are BenchMades and the reason seems to be that they are over hardened in the heat treating. Some have also mentioned uneven heat treating. Try the Search mode for "ATS34" in the "General Discussion Forum". That should locate the discussions.

Walk in the Light,

The ATS-34 on the BM's I have seen of late (350 & AFCK) are very brittle and chippy compared to the REKATS I have, and the William Henry folders seem to have an even finer grain to the steel.

My wife can turn a filet minon into a god awful mess as well


Being the proud owner of two Axes (that is, Axis folders, BM 710. Not the kind you swing at a tree. No, I don't swing my pocket knives at trees!
), I can say that I have had no trouble with chipping on them. I have cut leather, rope, branches up to about 3/4 inch thick, aluminum cans, zytel, delrin (or whatever that stuff is that BM uses as spacers), .... paper, cardboard, .... and pried small staples. Oh yeah, cut up some fruit (pears), plastic bottles, Oh, and used to chip ice ... anyway... I haven't had any chipping problems. Sharpens up nicely, and holds the edge well. I haven't tried using one as a screwdriver, though.

FWIW, BM hardens their ATS-34 blades to the same hardness as most other manufacturers, according to the literature published by the respective companies. I've even seen some harden them even higher. So, whatever BM is doing to make them brittle, it is something other than the final Rc that is doing it. Or at least that is implied by the available information.

Work hard, play hard, live long.

If you buy an Axis, make sure you DO NOT put a 20 degree angle on your blade's edge. This is where I ran into problems. Keep the edge >22 degrees, 25 degrees is where mine is now. The greater angle puts more steel behind the actual cutting edge and seems to reduce the chipping.
You may get a good one with a proper heat treat, then again, you may not.
It seems to be a toss up.
This is the only one of my BM's that have the problem. But that is more than enough.My left & right handed AFCK's don't have this problem, nor my Pinnacle.
I have not put a 20 degree angle on my Ascent yet, so I don't know if that one is screwed up as well.
Good Luck!!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

I have run my Benchmade edges at under 20 degrees, probably about 35 degrees included angle for a long time. Never chipped one. I know what it takes to break the tip off one, but I had to do it intentionally. I am carefull with blade tips because I know that thin steel blade tips will break. Benchmade grinds the tips on their hard use folders fairly thick now.

If you pry out big packing staples, you will probably damage the edge, sure, but taking normal care with the edge and tip is all you have to do. Benchmade ATS-34 blades hold an edge a very long time to compensate for the relative lack of toughness.

Go ahead and buy one. The Axis is one of the best folders you can buy at any price. If you want to pry, use the spine where the blade is strong. If you want to cut metal, use metal cutters.

I have put on a 17/20 edge on my 710 Axis. No problems so far! I haven't noticed any chipping at all. 'Course, I haven't done any heavy cutting with it yet either.

I keep hearing about chipping myself, but I own 11 Benchmades and none has chipped - at all. Of course, I only use them for cutting - no chopping, prying, etc. I did manage to chip the very tip off of one, but that was my own dang fault. When I flicked it open, it hit a pistol I was cleaning. I don't think it would be fair to expect BM's ATS-34, or anyone else's, to resist chipping under those conditions.

My question is, for those who have had them chip - under what conditions did the chipping occur? Were you cutting or chopping/prying/etc? What was the ambient temperature? Is it possible that the secondary (or back) bevel was too small?

No steel can resist chipping when the bevel is too small for the task. For example, 15-18 degrees is good for most things, except a razor. For razors, you need to go down to about 10 degrees. That same 10 degrees, on an axe, will, I promise, chip like crazy. The reason - the bevel is too small for the intended use. It had nothing to do with the type/treatment of the steel.

To say anyone's steel is too brittle, without defining the conditions it was exposed to, is n't really fair to the manufacturer's. I bet most, if not all, knife steels would chip if they were ground to a 10 degreee bevel, exposed to -100 degrees farenheit temperature, and then used to chop something.

Okay, I know I got on a soapbox, and I didn't mean any ill will towards anyone. I just don't see the usefulness of generic statements regarding steel qualities without describing the conditions, that's all.

I do have one knife that is too brittle, a Boker Gamma. Why? Because no warnings came with the knife and I used it to cut one of those tough plastic packing straps. It chipped the blade. Well, that made sense after it was explained to me. But that was after the fact. Expecting a knife to cut one of those straps without chipping is a reasonble expectation for most people who don't have a metallurgical background.


Knowledge without understanding is knowledge wasted.
Understanding without knowledge is a rare gift - but not an impossibility.
For the impossible is always possible through faith. - Bathroom graffiti, gas station, Grey, TN, Dec, 1988

AKTI Member #A000831
Yes, Benchmade's knives are known for chipping, but I really dont think that should stop you from buying a 710. All knives and knife companys have their problems and if you let every little thing stop you from buying a knife you want you'll never get anywhere. And besides, even if the blade does chip I'm sure Benchmade will fix it.

Good choice on the 710. If I may make one small suggestion, though- buy a Tuff Cloth! Mine gets little rust spots if I look at sideways.(I personally don't like coated blades.) I would wipe it down at least once every two days. (Thank God summer is over- sweat and ATS-34 do *not* mix.)
BTW, canned air like you use for your keyboard works fairly well for cleaning pocket lint out of the body of the knife.

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
-Derek Bok


[This message has been edited by Christian (edited 23 September 1999).]