IR Benchmade 530 - David Wilkes
Here is my IR for the Benchmade. You will find the HTML in the test folder at: http://tinyurl.com/dwilkesBenchmade
I hope I did not make too many dumb mistakes and I look forward to any comments or suggestions you may have.
Test series by David Wilkes
Benchmade 539 Pardue
Initial Report - Nov 1 2011
Field Report - Due Jan 2012
Long Term Report - Due Mar 2011
Name: David Wilkes
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)
34" (86 cm)
I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 30 lbs (14 kg).
Year of Manufacture:
Blade Length: 3.25 in
Blade Thickness: 0.09 in
Handle Thickness; 0.307 in
Overall Lenght 7.42 in
Closed Lenght 4.17 in
Weight: 1.88 oz
1.95 oz (55 g)
The Benchmade 530 Pardue is described by the manufacturer as a "sub two ounce folder". It is a lightweight folding knife with a modified spear-point blade, and uses a patented AXIS locking mechanism. It has a textured plastic handle over a steel frame. On one side of the blade is the Benchmade logo and on the other is the Mel Pardue Design logo along with the US patent number, and "154CM" (the type of steel the blade is made from).
Nov 1 2012
For full disclosure, in addition to the 530 Pardue that I am reviewing here, I own one other Benchmade knife, a fixed blade 147BK Nim Cub II that I have had for about 2 years, use often, and really like.
Benchmade uses a few categories for their products. This knife comes from their "Blue Class" line which is kind of their core line of knives. Vs. their premium "Glod Class", extreme "Black Class", or specialty lines of knives (see the Product Class page of their web site).
The version I received has a plain edge and satin finish. This knife is also offered with a partially serrated edge and/or with a black finish. It arrived in a blue box containing the knife in a small cloth bag and an instruction booklet.
One of the things that intrigued me about this knife aside for its weight is the shape of the blade. Normally for my backcountry and utility knives I prefer a shape that is both versatile and strong, allowing for the varied tasks that I could possibly want the knife to perform. The drop point shape being the most common. The spear-point shape that this knife uses is not among the stronger shapes available for blades but it does have an advantage in that it can be easy to control. Add that to the long thin tip and this can make a blade that is good for finer, detail work. In thinking about what I actually end up using my knives for the most on the trail, aside for practicing survival skills where I may need to collect and split wood for a fire, it is the smaller and more detailed tasks that come to mind. Simple tasks such as cutting cord, rope, and tape, whittling wood for tinder, preparing food, etc. are what I end up doing most often so I will be very interested to see how effective this knife is for my normal usage.
On the back of the blade are two rather small thumb studs (one on either side) to allow for one handed opening. In my initial attempts to open the knife one handed I found the studs to be a bit small, but I had no trouble getting the knife open with either hand (I am right handed).
The handle of this knife is a textured plastic (over a steel skeleton) with a flat finish and held together with small (torx head) screws. These screws allow for some adjustment of the knife (should the hinge be too stiff or loose) as well as removing and/or moving the pocket clip to the other side, but I would mention that the warranty information does state that dissemble by anyone except for the manufacturer will void the warranty.
The knife comes with an attached pocket clip installed for right side use. This clip can be removed and/or moved to the other (Benchmade logo) side by way of 3 very small screws. The clip is attached so the knife hangs point down.
The handle flairs out front and back on both ends. On the back, just behind this rise a short section of the internal steel frame is exposed, with groves for grip (jimping).
This knife uses a patented "AXIS" mechanism to lock the blade in place. This design uses a hardened steel bar that is pushed forward by two U shaped ("omega style") springs to lock the blade in place when opened. To close the knife the locking bar is pulled back in its groves allowing the blade to be folded close. The lock bar is almost flush with the case. I found pulling it back using my thumb and forefinger works well, but I found it rather difficult to do using just my thumb. Something I noticed about the lock design is that when the knife is fully closed the lock mechanism slides fully forward removing the tension from the spring and possibly extending its life. Having had knives close while in use, once resulting in a very deep and rather nasty cut, an effective and strong lock is important to me. Having examined this knife, I am comfortable that the lock in easy to operate, engages securely, appears to be quite strong, and l looks unlikely to fail or accidently release. The spring is firm but not difficult to operate, and I found it just as easy to operate with either hand. One advantage I see of this design over the standard lock back design is that when operating the lock using my thumb and forefinger, my fingers automatically move to the sides of the handle, out of the way of the closing blade. This is not true for other locking folders I have used.
As I would expect, the hinge was a bit stiff at first but loosened up slightly after some repeated opening/closing. After working the hinge a bit, I found I could quickly open the blade by holding the handle with my finger tips clear of the blade and rapidly moving my hand forward then flicking my wrist back. To quickly close the blade, I pull down the lock using my thumb and forefinger, and then flick my wrist (the reverse direction of opening it).
I once had a pocket knife partially open in my pocket resulting in a deep cut when I reached my hand into my pocket. This knife opens smoothly with just enough resistance that I do not worry about it opening accidentally. In this aspect the small thumb studs could be an advantage as they might be less likely to be snagged, pulling the blade out, while in my pocket. The hinge seems very well made with absolutely no play or wiggle.
* Easy to open/close one handed
* Secure lock
* None so far
Due Jan 2012
Long Term Report
Due Mar 2011
This concludes my Report. I would like to thank the folks at Shirpa Adventure Gear and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this fine jacket.