Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter

Now Benchmade's products get more available here on the Swedish market, as the dealer EQUIPT now are launching their new homepage. In conjunction with this pleasant news I'd like to give you a taste of what's to come here on Jonas Vildmark later this year. I'm right now working on a project called The Bushcraft Knife, were I'm comparing 14 different robust knives for forest use. With this project I hope to find out what we really are looking for in a Bushcraft Knife. One of the test objects in this project is the Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter; a now two year old knife model that have been well discussed among us Bushcraft enthusiasts. I hope you'll follow the project and give me your well appreciated feedback. Now let's dive into this interesting knife from Benchmade.




History
The American company Benchmade's history reaches back to 1979 in California when the founder Les de Asis and his wife Roberta started marketing their Balisong kife (butterfly). The Balisong originate from the Filipine marchal arts that lay close to Les heart. The business in California  picked up speed and by 1990 the company moved to Oregon were we today find Benchmade's head quarters and production. Today Benchmade offer a wide range of products; both folders and fixed blades appreciated by Outdoor people, Law enforcement, Military personnel and Collectors all over the world. Experimenting with different materials has lead to the 9 different blade steels offered today.
Benchmade ia a premium knife manufacturer and cooperation with well known knife makers result in interesting knife designs. One nice example of this is the 162 Bushcrafter designed by Shane Sibert. As the knives name announces; this is a product aiming for the still growing crowd of Bushcraft enthusiasts, appreciating a robust knife for forest use. And when the 162 Bushcrafter was launched back in 2013 Benchmade also made it clear that this knife means business, by publishing a video showing the stamina of the product.




Design
The knife has the characteristic lines of a Bushcraft knife in it's 112 mm long Drop point full tang blade and big handle. The 4,2 mm thick blade is made of the stainless steel S30V and has been given an interesting edge profile. The edge is a Flat Grind but instead of using the more traditional 40 degree angle to the primal bevel the narrower angel of 30 degrees are used to give more bite in harder materials like wood.




The back of the blade has sharp edges to enable good sparks form a fire steel. This is actually a good example on how Benchmark value input from their customers. The first batch of this knife model had rounder edges to the blade's back. But when customers pointed out their need of flicking sparks off their fire steels by using the knife Benchmade quickly added this feature to the product.
The knife's handle is made of green G-10 that i think goes really nice together with the red vulcanized liners. The handle is hold together by pressed titanium tubes where the one on the end can be used for attaching a lanyard.




The sheath made of brushed deer skin is held together by seams and metal rivets and contain a removable plastic inlay. The sheath is equipped with a fire steel holder and a D-ring for low carrying. No fire steel or dangler is included, but I've been using a carabiner attaching the D-ring to my belt. For high carrying a regular belt loop is to be found on the back of the sheath. The knife is secured in the sheath by a traditional snap lock. Unfortunately the sheath don't have any drain hole by the blade tip, so make sure the blade is clean/dry enough before holstering it. A Kydex sheath is also available as an option, the same sheath that is standard on the younger sibling 162-1 Bushcrafter that also have a desert colored handle. I haven't yet had the chance to look closer at the Kydex version, but I'm guessing the Kydex sheath enables better hygiene while hunting and dressing game.





Robust Forest Knife With An Interesting Angle
So far I really like the 162 Bushcrafter. At first I was skeptical about the shape of the handle but after some time in use it grows on me. And although my favorite edge type is the dear old Scandi Grind I'm really inspired by Benchmade and Shane Sibert's new thinking regarding the bevels angles. The initial 30 degree bevel actually make this Flat Grinder a pretty nice carver. I'm looking forward to keep on testing this knife, together with the 13 other test knives in the Bushcraft Knife project. I'm guessing the 162 Bushcrafter will place it self pretty high in the project's test results. I'm hope you'll follow me during the project and give me your always so appreciated feedback. Also don't forget to surf EQUIPT's new homepage for more inspiration.



A group photo of the 218 g Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter (middle) together with two buddys from the same knife model segment; Spyderco FB26G Bushcraft (top) weighing 227 g and Casström No.10 Swedish Forest Knife (bottom) weighing 179 g.


Specs
Manufacturer: Benchmade, Oregon USA
Model: 162 Bushcrafter, leather sheath
Blade material: Stainless steel S30V, 58-60 HRC
Blade thickness: 4,2 mm
Blade length: 112 mm
Blade width: 29,8 mm
Edge profile: Extra narrow Flat Grind
Knife length: 233 mm
Handle material: Green G-10, red vulcanized liners
Handle thickness: 23,6 mm
Sheath: Brushed deer skin
Knife weight: 218 g
Total weight (knife and sheath): 292 g
Price: 2479 SEK (Sweden 2015)
Dealer: EQUIPT

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Folding Saw Field Test 2015

Back in 2009 I conducted a field test on saws and I'm grateful for all the interesting and nice feedback I got from you guys. Now I've done another test of folding saws and I hope it will help you to find out what you are looking for in a folding saw. These tools are a nice complement to your axe and knife while out enjoying the outdoors.




Thought the years I have had the pleasure of getting aqueinted with more saws than the four tested during the first field test I made six years ago. This means that this years test consist of 12 differet test objejcts. I've kept the old saws and just added new ones along the way. This means that the test period of these saws vary from two months up to six years. So some of these saws have been in the game for some time know and it's interesting to see how the connection between the ratio of price, quality and durability applies. You can see my old test by clicking HERE.




Different Saw Concepts
When it comes to man power driven saws there are a great variety of concepts; Crosscut, Bow, Buck, Rip, and so on. There's a lot of interesting bow saw versions adapted for carrying in the backpack, but these acquire some assembly/dissemble in between use during hiking. The folding saw is somewhat more accessible as it's a hybrid between a folding knife and a saw. Of course the folding saw's often shorter blade gives a tool with less cutting capacity than the often bigger bow saw, but the folding saw's availability makes it a pleasant choice for outdoor exploring. But frequently new interesting saw concepts pop up in the market using techniques like wires, chains and  on. Two interesting examples of this is the holster saws with fixed blades like the Fiskars 123840 or the Casström No.11 Field Saw.

Test Execution
I now have actively used these saws out in the field throughout different seasuns working on different wood. I've also used the tools when out hunting taking care of the game, but this test mainly look at processing wood with these saws. More about the test methods are to bee found under each feature.

Results
Below you'll find my test results in the form of a picture and a list ranking which position the saws placed themselves regarding each feature. And in the end I've also picked out my two personal favorites from this test.

The Test Objects
The saw's I've included in this field test are (in alphabetical order):

Bacho Laplander 396-LAP
Biltema 16424
Fiskars Small Garden Saw
Fiskars Xtract SW73
Fiskars Xtract SW75
Jula 702047
Opinel No.18
Opinel No.12
Silky Pocket Boy 130
Silky Super Accel 21 
Silky Ultra Accel 240 Curve
ØYO Butchering Saw

Please click on each saw name to read my review on that particular saw.

Features
The four features I've prioritized in this test are; Capacity, Size, Weight and Functionality.

Capacity
My definition of capacity is how quick the saw cut the wood. In the final run of this test I lined up all saws and used them in a structured way cutting fresh and dry branches of Birch, Pine, Aspen and Apple Tree Wood. The branches had diameters ranging from about 30 mm - 100 mm and I counted the number of strokes it took to cut the branch. I strive to apply the same force by using the same technique when cutting with each saw on each branch. Here you have the result of my capacity test with the saw needing the lowest number of strokes to cut the branches placed in 1st place, and so on.



  1. Silky Ultra Accel 240 Curve
  2. Silky Super Accel 21 
  3. Opinel No.18
  4. Fiskars Xtract SW75
  5. Bacho Laplander 396-LAP
  6. Silky Pocket Boy 130
  7. Fiskars Small Garden Saw
  8. Fiskars Xtract SW73
  9. Opinel No.12
  10. Jula 702047
  11. Biltema 16424
  12. ØYO Butchering Saw
Note: As a reference I also used a full-size bow saw on the same branches just to see the difference. The big bow saw had twice as good cutting capacity compared to the folding saw with the highest cutting capacity. This didn't come as a surprise as the full-size tool's have longer blade and a very powerful design, compared to folding saws.

Size
In this feature I've measured the length of the saws when folded. Sometimes a longer saw actually feel shorter because of a slimmer design. But in this comparison I have focused on the actual length of the folded saw to make my ranking. Here are the result placing the shortest (folded) saw on top, and so on.



  1. Opinel No.12
  2. Silky Pocket Boy 130
  3. Fiskars Small Garden Saw
  4. ØYO Butchering Saw
  5. Fiskars Xtract SW73
  6. Jula 702047
  7. Bacho Laplander 396-LAP
  8. Opinel No.18
  9. Silky Super Accel 21 
  10. Biltema 16424
  11. Silky Ultra Accel 240 Curve
  12. Fiskars Xtract SW75

Weight
Using a kitchen scale I've weighed each saw. Here you have the ranking between the saws when looking at the weight feature.



  1. Fiskars Small Garden Saw
  2. Opinel No.12
  3. Fiskars Xtract SW73
  4. Silky Pocket Boy 130
  5. Bacho Laplander 396-LAP
  6. Opinel No.18
  7. Silky Super Accel 21 
  8. ØYO Butchering Saw
  9. Jula 702047
  10. Fiskars Xtract SW75
  11. Biltema 16424
  12. Silky Ultra Accel 240 Curve

Functionality
By functionality I refer to the mechanical solutions, design and choice of materials in the saw. All my experiences from using these saws out in the field I've toked in consideration when choosing my personal favorites in the end of this test. One functionality aspect I'd like to highlight is the safety advantages of a double action locking mechanism. A blade lock that also secure the blade when folded decreases the risk of damaging gear or limbs during transport. Therefore I give the below saws some extra cred as they all use a double action blade locking mechanism. If you have a saw without this safety feature: my advise is to now and then tighten the blade screw to maintain a high friction securing the blade in folded position.




Jonas Favorites
Based on the above results and my time spent with each saw I've picked out two of my personal favorites among these 12 nice saws. For trips when I have room in my backpack for carrying my saw; the Silky Ultra Accel 240 Curve is more than welcome to tag along. The Ultra Accel is a very capable tool when it comes to cutting due to the generous blade length and design in combination with a robust and effective grip. For occasions when I want to be able to carry my saw inside the pockets of my pants or jacket I choose my old partner; the Fiskars Small Garden Saw. Although this six year old saw have been through a lot it still measures up to it's younger siblings. The strength of the Fiskars Small Garden Saw is it's small size and weight (lightest in his test) combined with excellent cutting ability. An impressive note is that this actual little Fiskars saw also came out on top in my field test on saws back in 2009.





I hope you found this field test on folding saws useful and inspiring. Don't forget to click on the above text's links to read more about each saw. The results of this test is entirely based upon on my alone opinion on these tools after using them. I welcome your input regarding these saws or other saw models you have used. I always appreciate your feedback. I learned a lot from this test and I'm looking forward to Jonas Vildmark's next test on saws. Hope it doesn't take six more years until then.

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Silky Pocket Boy 130 Folding Saw

Japanese Silky has delivered saws since 1919 and 1991 Grönyte-Konsult AB brought the saws to Scandinavia. Pocket Boy 130 is Silky's smallest folding saw and in my test on saws there was only one saw smaller than the Poket Boy; the Opinel No.12 only 1 mm shorter. However the Pocket Boy's advantage over the Opinel No.12 is it's 11 mm longer blade. Speaking of my folding saw test; I'd like to crown the Silky Pocket Boy as the test's most efficient saw, when looking at the ratio between size and cutting performance. See more about the saw test covering 12 test objects; click HERE.




Silky Pocket Boy's handle consist of a steel frame covered in rubber featuring a nice ergonomic shape and a lanyard hole. A robust leaver locks the blade in two different positions unfolded. Folded the blade is not locked by the locking mechanism, however the friction is keeping the blade tucked in securely during transport. Unfolded the blade has a slight play vertically, this is nothing bothering me though. The saw comes in two different colors (red or black handle) and is delivered with a basic sheath made of transparent plastic.




I've now been using Silky's saws since 2011 and I'm still very pleased with their performance.
Take a look also on my reviews on the Silky Super Accel 21 and the Silky Ultra Accel 240 Curve.




Specs
Manufacturer: Silky, Japan
Model: Pocket Boy 130
Blade material: Stainless steel
Blade length: 133 mm
Blade thickness: 1,18 mm
Blade width: 35,3 mm
Unfolded length: 291 mm
Folded length: 166 mm
Handle material: Steel and rubber
Handle thickness: 21,9 mm
Weight: 173 g
Price: 330 SEK (Sweden 2015)
Dealer: Grönyte-Konsult

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Opinel No.18 Folding Saw

The traditional French knife manufacturer Opinel offer two models of folding saws; No.18 and No.12. The big model (No.18) delivered very good results in my latest field test on saws. When it came to cutting performance the No.18 ended up in top three. See more about the saw test covering 12 test objects; click HERE.
I appreciate Opinel's basic design and functionality. The saws follows the same principles as the classical Opinel folding knives; a cylindrical wooden handle with a spring-less folding mechanism holding a thin Sandvik steel blade. See also my review on the Opinel No.08 knife by clicking HERE.




This saw's 18 centimeter long blade is locked tight in unfolded position via a buckle mechanism and the back of the Beech handle is equipped with a lanyard hole. The blade is also available as a spare part on their homepage wish is a nice and environmental statement of sustainability, that I think rhymes very well with Opinel's brand profile.




Opinel No.18 is a very capable and nice saw. If I have to say something negative about the tool I could mention that the wide part of the handle may feel a bit over-sized. But if I would like to change this; that's easily fixed with some carving tools, as the handle is made of solid wood. Also check out the smaller Opinel No.12 folding saw.




Specs
Manufacturer: Opinel, French company based in the Savoie area
Model: No.18 Saw
Blade material: Stainless 12C27 Sandvik steel with a 0,40% mix of carbon
Blade length: 183 mm
Blade thickness: 0,95 mm
Blade width: 34,75 mm
Unfolded length: 407 mm
Folded length: 237 mm
Handle material: Beech wood
Handle thickness: 27,2 mm
Weight: 179 g
Price: 619 K (Sweden 2015)
Dealer: Sundqvist

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Opinel No.12 Folding Saw

The traditional French knife manufacturer Opinel offer two models of folding saws; No.18 and No.12. The smaller saw (No.12) is a light and handy tool that fits nicely in most pockets. This saw was the smallest (folded length) test object in my latest field test on saws. To see more about the saw test covering 12 test objects; click HERE.
I appreciate Opinel's basic design and functionality. The saws follows the same principles as the classical Opinel folding knives; a cylindrical wooden handle with a spring-less folding mechanism holding a thin Sandvik steel blade. See also my review on the Opinel No.08 knife by clicking HERE.




This saw's 12 centimeter long blade locks tight both in unfolded and folded position by the Opinel patterned blade lock called Virobloc. The wooden handle is available in color or natural finish and a lanyard can be applied if one so wishes. The Opinel No.12 is available both as a stand-alone product or as a part of the 3-piece Garden Kit; also including two folding knives.




I like the Opinel No.12  folding saw. This tool has also become a favorite of my 3 year old daughter Sonia when we practice wood carving together. As I said; this saw fits nicely in my pocket cos of it's neat size, and the quality is of he well known Opinel standard. But for more serious cutting I choose a bigger saw instead. Also check out my review on the bigger Opinel No.18 folding saw.




Specs
Manufacturer: Opinel, French company based in the Savoie area
Model: No.12 Saw
Blade material: Stainless 12C27 Sandvik steel with a 0,40% mix of carbon
Blade length: 122 mm
Blade thickness: 0,8 mm
Blade width: 24,8 mm
Unfolded length: 288 mm
Folded length: 165 mm
Handle material: Beech wood
Handle thickness: 26,15 mm
Weight: 109 g
Price: 300 SEK (Sweden 2015)
Dealer: Sundqvist

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Fiskars Xtract SW75 Large Garden Saw

Fiskars little garden saw Xtract SW73 is a very nice saw that placed it self high in my latest field test on folding saws. The Xtrac SW75 is a bigger sibling to the smaller models SW72 and SW73. To see more about the saw test covering 12 test objects; click HERE.




I really like the Fiskars concept of using a telescopic mechanism to extract the blade from the handle. The hollow handle contain the effective saw blade that can be extracted seamlessly and locked tight any where along the way. The locking screw on the side of the handle also ensure that the blade doesn't unintentionally extract while carrying.




I'm impressed with the Xtract SW73 and it's precursor when it comes to capacity and comfort. But in my opinion the concept of the smaller saws doesn't really work as good in this big scale. The Xtract SW75 gives an impressive reach and cutting capacity but the longer blade of the SW75 tend to vibrate while cutting giving a buzzing noise to the handle. Also the locking mechanism that works so nicely on the smaller models doesn't really lock the big blade of the SW75 as tight. The Xtract SW75 end up high in score talking about cutting capacity in my field test, but I'm afraid the overall impression of this saw is harmed by the above mentioned vibration problem.




Specs
Manufacturer: Fiskars, Finish company with production in South Korea
Model: Xtract SW75 Large Garden Saw
Blade material: Stainless steel
Blade length: 252 mm
Blade thickness: 1,1 mm
Blade width: 33,93 mm
Unfolded length: 552 mm
Folded length: 335 mm
Handle material: Plastic and rubber (SoftGrip)
Handle thickness: 24,8 mm
Weight: 249 g
Price: 459 SEK (Sweden 2015)

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Fiskars Xtract SW73 Small Garden Saw

Fiskars Small Garden Saw became one of my favorite saws when I executed my first field test on folding saws back in 2009. Since then Fiskars have updated the model both in design and denomination. Now the saw is named Xtract SW73 and the design consist in a some what beefier handle with rubber inlays, now also including a carbine hook to attach the saw to clothing or bags, while transporting. If you want to read more about the saw test covering 12 test objects; click HERE.




The saw's design is robust despite it's low weight. The hollow handle contain the effective saw blade that can be extracted seamlessly and locked tight any where along the way. The locking screw on the side of the handle also ensure that the blade doesn't unintentionally extract while carrying.




I'm impressed with the Xtract SW73's precursor and a lot is carry over on this newer version. Sadly though this specific saw's outer tip has gotten a bit bent after a longer period of testing. But I can't really say that this has effected the saws cutting capasity to any extent. The stength of the Xtract SW73 is it's low weight and good capacity. I can mention that Fiskars also is offering a more fine teethed version of this saw; the Fiskars Xtract SW72 Carpenter Saw. I haven't yet gotten the opportunity to test the SW72, but I'm guessing it could be really nice for harder materials like bone while taking care of game. Also take a look at the biger sibling Xtract SW75.




Specs
Manufacturer: Fiskars, Finish company with production in South Korea
Model: Xtract SW73 Small Garden Saw
Blade material: Stainless steel
Blade length: 161 mm
Blade thickness: 1 mm
Blade width: 28,18 mm
Unfolded length: 355 mm
Folded length: 197 mm
Handle material: Plastic and rubber (SoftGrip)
Handle thickness: 21,45 mm
Weight: 116 g
Price: 349 SEK (Sweden 2015)

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