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.
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.
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)