The Benchmade 721

I'd been following the discussions on Benchmade knives for some time, and finally a 721 came up for bids on ebay from Target knives in Calgary. There was also a Model 800 which was the one I'd always wanted - but I had to make a choice... Being of joking disposition I had to tell Hoodoo that I got it on his recommendation - but the fact is that I did want to see what I made of these blades. The 721 has the G10 scales that are more practical in winter here and a decent lock. The edge and blade shape is more suited to my needs than one with serations or a tanto tip.

Here are the pics that convinced me. Hoodoo has the 721 above, and the 720 below:

I took a close look at the aluminum handled BM 720 and really liked it - except that that I'd find the aluminum handles too cold for part of the year here. Then I looked very closely at the 721......

Here's the knife in comparison to some other tools:

Like Hoodoo, it took a little while for the idea to sink in that this is a very practical knife, and would overcome many of the factors that turn me off most folders. And then the auction came up and all was history!

Normally I rely on my Leatherman for day to day tasks, and always have some fixed blade when I'm out in the bush. I rarely use a folder any more. The big problem with folders that take two hands to open and close is that there's the temptation to walk around with them open - or set them down. That's more of a hazard with very sharp knives than most people realize. In contrast a simple cheap Mora can be carried around the neck and is simple to unsheath and resheath. I was wondering whether a folder would get more use if it was easy to open and close with one hand.

The Specifications:

Blade Length: 3.25" Blade Thickness: 0.12" Blade Material: 154CM Blade Hardness: 58-60 Blade Style: Bowie Weight: 3.82oz. Clip: SS Lock Mechanism: AXIS Lock Overall Length: 7.62" Closed Length: 4.37" Sheath Material: None

It's always amazing to me how so much detail in specifications can tell so little about a knife..

The important parts are the blade length which may or may not be legal in your location, the fact that the blade is of decent steel and is coated despite being fairly corrosion resistant, and of course the points that it comes with a decent lock and handle that will be useful in cold climates.

I was very pleased with the knife when it arrived. With so many discussions on Benchmade's quality control I was wondering just what I'd get. the knife was in perfect shape other than the edge which was steep and coarsely ground to say the least. The knife was easily put into shape with a little application of diamond and ceramic stones followed by stropping. When I got the knife, the edge was able to slice paper easily but with snagging. A little work on the original bevels made the knife easily able to slice paper - but wood whittling was pretty poor which amazed me as the edge by that time was extremely sharp. It would whittle of course, but it took too much force. There are lots of comments on the fact that although the primary bevels on Benchmades are pretty thin, the secondary bevel is put on at a very obtuse ange. I'm a little puzzled as to why this should be so - on a knife made primarily for slicing, but then I'm a major culprit, too, of using whatever knife I have with me to cut wire. The bottom line is that the knife will need a good bevel in order to be happy with it - and that's no huge problem other than some people not wanting to mar the nice black coating.

The Knife in Use:

I tried the blade tension adjustment and found that blade play was zero, even when the blade was adjusted so that it could be flicked open. I adjusted it back to reasonable tension, which will preserve the life of the knife and keep things legal. I find a little roughness in the feel of the axis lock which will eventually wear in - but it would be nice if the factory had gone the whole quality route. The knife deserves it!

I leave the pocket clip on in normal conditions and carry the knife clipped into the pocket of a heavy work shirt. It's very handy at all times. Now that I have a knife which can be carried handily and is easily opened and closed with one hand, I'm less prejudiced against folders in the bush! I still wouldn't want to use this or any other folder to baton down trees, though.

If you've done a good job of honing the cutting bevel and polishing it, then the knife is fine for all sorts of general woodwork. You simple use it all day and strop it back to razor sharpness after the day is done. It's a two minute job.

The slight curvature on the handle back makes this a comfortable knife to use for heavy cutting by people who have softer "office hands". It's great! The handle is of light material, good to use in winter if you remove the pocket clip, and of good texture for comfort and grip. Wonderful.

The blade shape is fine for a multitude of purposes: I certainly see no reason to change anything.

About the only wishes I can come up with for this knife are to have a blade of M2 (I like to scrape on wood), no blade coating, just to make the knife less threatening looking, and a smoother axis lock. Other than that, the only reason I'd need another pocket knife is because I was smitten with the looks of another model. That's simply not likely to happen! I still have other folders of course, but the handiness of this one is gradually causing them to be used less and less.


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