the saga AXIS

Jan 9, 1999
Well got so fed up with my AXIS lock today at work just cutting through some simple double wrapped paper, I wrote to Joe T. about sharpening the thing. As you all may or may not know or even care for that matter I rec. this knife 3 weeks ago and out of the box it wouldn't cut butter. Well maybe it would but definetly wasn't Spyderco sharp. Which is the standard I judge all folders by. Sent the knife back to BM and was returned with a new blade in place pretty darn promptly. GREAT SERVICE! Well the knife was sharper than the first but not what I would consider poppin. So licked it across my crock sticks a couple of times and by golly it did shave hair. happy camper. Took it to work and started undoing paper wrappers and opened a few boxes and dull, dull... Brought it home and put it on the Lansky and although the profile of the blade remained the same this time just can't get the freakin thing sharp.
It is somewhat sharp but not like it should be. Not like my C16 is anyhow. Not even close. I also tend to disagree with observations on how a recurved blade will still cut when dull. Didn't find that to be the case today at all. This is a finely made knife as fine as any I have seen, but what good is it if it is so difficult to sharpen
Sometimes I could just kick myself in the arse for getting it. Ok now I feel better. Anybody got something they would like to trade it for? Spyderco Wegner in great condition per chance......Keep'em sharp
I'm having a similar problem with a Benchmade Stryker I bought about 3 weeks ago. Out of the box the damn thing was about as sharp as a bowling ball. Although I've sharpened it more than once already, it just keeps getting dull real fast. I just might have to shelve this knife and get my Spyderco Delica back out of the drawer for my daily carry knife.
i have never had a problem with the sharpness of my benchmade knives. it wouldn't matter anyway, because as sharp as they are, i always sharpen them to my edge as soon as i get them.
i have been using my crock sticks to sharpen my BM 710 and i've had no problems whatsoever. i just go straight down the sticks with the blade and i achieve hair popping sharpness every time.
for some reason, people seem to expect more from benchmade than other companies. i wonder why that is? i think that if spyderco came out with a revolutionary lock, like the axis, people on this forum would be writing about what a great company it is. but when benchmade does it, you mostly hear "well, what about the smaller version - when will it be ready"? or "i want aluminum/g-10 instead of aluminum/g-10". and a million other complaints.
i've always wondered about the reasons for this.


Marco, I am a great big BM fan. Well, not of their liner locks (unfortunately, most of what they make), but of anything the make that is not a liner lock. I really like their blades. But, I got a bad edge from them in my BM 710, plain edge. It was not as bad as longbow describes, but it was not sharp. For comparison, the 710 that my friend got in the same order was much sharper, really schweeeet! Needless to say, I was disappointed. And I didn't have suitable tools to sharpen a recurve. So, I had to buy a Sharpmaker (well, not had to, but wanted to). Now the 710 is razor sharp, relatively easy. But, the fact remains, it was dull to start with.

Regarding Spyderco...they make great knives. AND, I know that Sal Glessar <sp? sorry Sal> reads the forums, at least the Spyderco Forum. Now, maybe Les deAsis <sp? again, sorry Les> does to, but if he does, apparently he is a lurker. Maybe he does read BM Forum, but that is another site. I feel better about a company that I know it founder reads a BB forum like this. Unfortunately, there are only a couple of Spyderco blade configurations that I like, and they are in G-2 (had that, not really impressed; carried Buck with 425 instead).

Well, this turned into a long message. Bottom line, it appears that there are more QC problems with BM than Spyderco. Or more loyalty to Spyderco, maybe due to Sal. But bottom line is even CPM xxx gets dull eventually. Then it comes down to what you can sharpen the edge to, and what blade config you like, what steel you like, and the lock. With those in mind, most of my knives are BM.

Longbow, I don't know what to say. As you have read, I had problems with my 710. But now the edge is satisfactory. I don't know how long it will hold the edge, but I assume as well or better than the Victorinox and Buck knives I carry as well. If that is the case, I will be VERY satisfied. I really wish you could get your straightened out, because the 710 is a NICE knife.

Marco I have no complaints with the BM quality as for fit and finish. The AXIS is PUT together. My biggest bitch is that it is a cutting tool and as such should, imho, be a heck of alot easier to sharpen than it is. It DEFINETLY isn't close in sharpness to my C16(spyderco) nor is it close in sharpness to CS Voyageur, nor my B-J Yukon folder, or my B-J fixed blades or really any other knife I own. As a matter of fact I purchased a couple of weeks ago some knives made by CS from Discount knives. These are trade pattern knives I will use for muzzle loading. Made of Carbon V simple hickory handles, 6 bucks apiece they cost. Nice knives too. Hair poppin as they came out of the box. The fit and finish on the AXIS knife is on a par with custom folders I have seen. What it shouldn't be is this difficult to sharpen. I don't know if the grind is to thick for the edge, I can't tell if it is a sabre grind or if it is a true chisel grind. What ever it is when the thing goes dull it shouldn't take as much time as it is taking to get it back to close to where it should be. I also shouldn't have to buy a specific sharpener to get it sharp. I have had great luck with my other knives free hand sharpening them and using my diamond Lansky system. This knife should be no different. Now as far as expecting more from BM well I paid well over 100 bucks for the knife not to mention the money it cost me to ship it back to them. I would expect that the knife should be at least as sharp and stay that way as my $40 C16 or my other knives. It ain't even close and frankly it makes me angry. With a knife that is this put together I would expect it to pop hair and stay that way for some good time. I also have access to powered magnifyers we use at work to look at process color prints. Comapring the two edges under the magnifyer well the spyderco edge looks a heck of alot sharper and it is. The AXIS edge had little curly cues on the edge after I recieved it back from BM. I assume from free hand sharpening on a belt. I know for a fact it wasn't hand finished on a hone like they tout there blades to be. I probably could pretty much gurantee that any knife from Spyderco, CS, etc. would be sharp. This is my biggest complaint. Other than this one point of contention it is a great knife and custom quality all the way.
Longbow, there are tradeoffs to just about everything in regards to knives. You picked a recurved blade geometry which while it will slice much better than a straighter one, its also much more difficult to sharpen. As well you chose ATS-34 as a blade steel which while having better edge retention than a softer stainless like 440A is much more difficult to sharpen. Lots of people have posted good results on sharpening the Axis so the difficulties you are having (except for the initial dullness) are not because of problems with the knife itself. If you want to learn how to sharpen it read Joe's posts on the subject as he pretty much goes step by step through the whole procedure. Then try it out and if you still have difficulties post on what they are and be specific. That's the only way anyone can determine what the problem is.

A couple of comments. You got a good edge on it with the crock sticks and it got really dull after a little cutting - that should not happen, ATS-34 is much better at holding an edge than that. I would guess that when you used the crock sticks you created a wire edge on the blade which cracked off with a little cutting. Also one thing to note is that the first time you really sharpen it (like on a lansky) you are most likely going to be changing the factory grind bevel. That means you will be removing a lot of metal. It gets faster after that if you keep using the same angle settings on whatever rig you are using.
Finally note that you don't need to grind a new edge everytime it gets a little dull. Get a decent steel and use it periodically. It will extend the life of your knife significantly.

I sympathize with Longbow. Spyderco has spoiled me as to the sharpness of my blades right out of the box.

I got a Nimravus over the weekend...beautiful knife, but (unlike the store model I saw) it was sharp as a bowling ball. No hair shaving, no cutting atoms off a molecule. <sigh>

I impatiently await a Sharpmaker.
Hi Cliff, I guess my whole point to the thread is that 1) the knife should not be that hard to sharpen irregardless of blade design. Hey it is a pretty straightforward process. 2) the edge bevels on this blade are a perfect 25 deg. Unlike the first blade that was in the knife. 3) I used the coarse diamond stone last night to no avail as to raising a burr. Mind you I am not cranking on it just cause of the recurve portion, but I ain't babying it either. 4) My C16 is ATS 55 which I believe just has more chrom. all other things being equal, maybe some cobalt too. If anything I think that would be harder to sharpen than ATS 34.
I have had other ATS 34 blades that sharpened easier and better. What I am saying is that I spent a goodly amount on the knife and I don't think I should have to buy a whole new shapening system for it, and the Lansky is a diamond hone set that works great on my other knives except my B_J's which I use a bench stone for. I will prevail in this situation. It is just a question of time and effort. I think BM would be much better off putting a different grind on the blade. Hey if your using it in the field I doubt you'll have your sharpmaker with ya. I don't carry my Lansky with me when I am in the woods. A small mill bastard file and a pocket stone of med. grit. Keep'em sharp
Longbow what edge bevel they put on it will make no difference in regards to ease of sharpening. Its just as easy to sharpen a 30 degree bevel as it is a 15 degree one (or difficult for that matter). The higher angles are just somewhat faster as you are removing more metal. Of course if you are using some preset angle guide then if Benchmade ground their edges at the exact angle you want to use it would make your initial sharpening easier (otherwise you will have to reprofile the edge), but then again it would just be that much harder for someone using another angle.

In regards to carrying equipment with you to sharpen your knives - if your knives are sharp when you take them you will not need to sharpen them while you are out and about. By sharpen I mean regrind a new bevel on the edge. You may want to take a simple steel along to realign the edge or at most take a ceramic stick of some kind to touch up the bevel. The only way to blunt a knife made from a decent steel in such a short period of time is to do cutting on metals and such. If you are doing stuff like that try one of the folding DMT hones and get the hang of sharpening freehand.

The best way to practice freehand sharpening is to get a cheap 425 series (or similar) stainless knife. It grinds *really* easy. For example I have a Buck skinner that I can take and grate across a rock hard to scrape the edge off, and because its so soft I can put an edge on with like 50 strokes on an x-coarse hone. Because you are removing so much metal you can quickly tell how you are doing and adjust your technique much easier than trying to get the method right on something as abrasion resistant as ATS-34.

As for the difficulty in sharpening the recurve, that's life. It gives you better slicing performance but its harder to sharpen. Just about any geometry outside of a straight blade no belly tanto has this trade off to some extent. Just remember to try to keep the hone perpendicular to the blade (which can take some getting used to) and it should sharpen up fine.

If you really can't seem to put an edge on it send it to me and let me know what angle you want it sharpened to and how coarse you want it and I'll touch it up for you. We knife nuts have to stick together.

FWIW, the evening before I received my Sharpmaker via UPS, I had gotten tired of not carrying the Axis (didn't want to carry it when the edge was so dull). So, in frustration, I went into the kitchen and grabbed the steel. I went about 12 strokes down either side of the blade (pretty hard, because I was a little miffed), and whaddya know, I had a useful edge suddenly. Now, mind you, this isn't one of the fine steels like I've heard Joe T. mention. This one actually takes metal off (I wiped it afterwards, in shock, and there was metal on the cloth). Now, mind you, we're not talking a shaving edge here, but it definitely would cut. The sharpmaker just helped me get a finer, shaving edge on it. We'll see how long it lasts.

I'm beginning to wonder if there is a conspiracy between BM and Spyderco, what with these dull BM's and the need for a sharpmaker for the recurve blades

Ok everyone. I know y'all are waiting with bated breath as to the continuation of this saga. Well in a word, I DID IT! Actually 3 words. Got home from work and still thinking about what Joe T said in his trietse on sharpeing. Don't know if I spelled it right but I know what it means. Well got out the Lansky and went at with the ultra hone @ 30deg. Didn't put any oil on it or anything. Just started going up and down on the edge. Pretty good pressure too. More so than when using the coarse hone at 25 deg. Anyways within about 5 minutes I could feel the stone start to drag a bit on both sides of the cantle. This is what I have been waiting for. Kept sharpening only using lighter and lighter strokes and then when it got to where it would really grab when I ran my thumb down the blade I went really light at 30 and then 25. Don't know if the 25 helped but did it anyhow. Then went over to a really fine steel my wife has and licked a couple of times and BINGO!!!!!!! One hair poppin mother of an edge. It feels the same on both sides. Takes a nie tiny sliver of nail off my thumb, and the hairs are flinging when I run it down my arm. No pressue just a good feeling grabbiness. I can see a very highly polished hair line on the edge now too. Almost like a mirror. We'll see how long it lasts. Now I am still of the contention that it shouldn't be this hard to sharpen. Watch yer top knot.
Evin, thanks for pointing that out. I have sharpened AUS-8A blades on a butchers steel before and it gives them a nice aggressive edge. For some reason I have never tried it on ATS-34. Something else to try out.

Maybe the knife companies should start putting a rating on their knives to warn prospective buyers of how hard to sharpen they are. A sheepsfoot blade style with a nice straight edge made out of 420 stainless could be rated "Beginner", and the Benchmade model 710 Axis lock could be rated "Advanced". Hey we could even adapt the sytem of the ski resorts! The Axis could have a black diamond on it warning all the snow-plowers to stay away.

Imagine the rating on a Darrel Ralph Apogee with a recurved CPM420V blade! Triple black diamond! Experts only!

Just liberated my vortex/axis lock from the
greedy customs people. With all the praise
it has been getting, my expectations were
high, but I'm pleasantly surprised by the
solid lock mechanism and the cool blade shape. The edge was quite sharp, though not as hair-popping as the AFCK when I got it. It improved dramatically after a few dozen strokes on a steel (I just love my grooved steel - it adds the last touch to an already decent edge). The next thing I noticed is that the 710 is a few millimeters shorter than the AFCK when folded, a definite plus for carrying it in a back pocket. The downside is that, with the thumb ramp and the different handle shape, the butt end does not protude from my hand - no pressure point-strike device.
The only major flaw I can find : IF YOU BUILD
It will take a few days to become familiar
with the axis, but it will definitely replace
my AFCK as daily carry folder.

Take care,
Tobse !