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Benchmade Kitchen Knives

CCSPRINGS Apr 10, 2012 06:40 PM

Has anyone owned a Benchmade kitchen knife?

I love my pocket knife. Didn't know they were making kitchenware.

http://www2.knifecenter.com/kc_new/st...&

  1. p
    PenskeFan Apr 13, 2012 07:21 AM

    Haven't tried them though makes me wonder if Emerson makes a kitchen knife :D

    1. BiscuitBoy Apr 12, 2012 07:55 AM

      Come to think of it, I don't think Kershaw or Boker were well received as kitchen tools either.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BiscuitBoy
        Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 11:45 AM

        With Kershaw, it really depends on which ones are you talking about. The cheap ones are no better or worse then similarly priced models from other makers. The same is true of Boker in my experience.

        Kershaw has a lot of marketing behind their "premium" line and they seem to have aimed for the collector market with those.

        AG Russel has a sleeper with their "Deer Hunter" if you really want to stray away from the kitchen for a serviceable kitchen knife.

      2. j
        JavaBean Apr 11, 2012 03:16 PM

        Hi, I like my benchmade pocketknives as well, but as mentioned above their 440c is no better than the X50CrMoV15 and similar steels used in many german knives. Both are tough and pliable, but have very poor edge retention and edge stability. Kitchen and outdoor knives are different animals.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JavaBean
          Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 07:28 AM

          Heat treat and edge thickness are very different. It's not just about the materials used. Execution during construction is very different. Whether better or worse depends on the user and what they do with the knife.

          Do you want to slice or wedge your food apart?

          1. re: Sid Post
            j
            JavaBean Apr 12, 2012 12:01 PM

            I agree the material or steel itself is just part of puzzle. The heat treatment, gind and other stuff (most of which is beyond me) comes into play as well. But, at the same time I don’t believe a ~$180 440c (properly treated) knife -- from a brand not known for kitchen knives is going to outperform a ~$100 X50CrMoV15 / similar steel knife made from Wusthof, Henkel, Messermeister. Or a ~180 j-knife.

        2. BiscuitBoy Apr 11, 2012 09:29 AM

          I'll have to see one in person. I have 2 Benchmade pocket knives, and love'em...they're known for their fit and finish, feel and quality...it'd be hard to believe they dropped the ball on a kitchen knife

          1. Chemicalkinetics Apr 10, 2012 07:16 PM

            Not bad. 440C steel hardened to 58-60 HRC. I think a lot of people would like this level and characteristic of a knife. I cannot tell for sure how the handle is fitted together, but the handle design seems ok to me from the photos.

            Now, I really don't know about the price though. I would think that based on the steel of the knife. It is probably on par with the standard Henckels, Wusthof, Messermeister.

            The thing is that you can get a 8" Messermeister for $80, so unless this Benchmade Chef's knife is on the ballpark of $80-90. I think it is probably safer to go with a Messermeister:

            http://www.amazon.com/Messermeister-M...

            36 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              d
              Dave5440 Apr 10, 2012 09:44 PM

              Call me pessimistic but 58~60 I find very suspect

              1. re: Dave5440
                Chemicalkinetics Apr 10, 2012 09:58 PM

                Dave,

                You have a good point, and I didn't think of too much of it. It is not very often we see a 440C kitchen knife hardened up to 60 HRC. 58 HRC sure, but 60 HRC is a bit unusual. Nevertheless, it seems Benchmade the company has a history of hardening its 440C pocket knives to the same level, so I assume it may have the history and skill to do this for its kitchen knives.

                http://www.benchmade.com/products/340

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  d
                  Dave5440 Apr 10, 2012 10:24 PM

                  Same claim, and really without testing data a manufc. can claim what they feel like , but for 153$ 440c really, is it worth it?

                  1. re: Dave5440
                    Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2012 04:35 AM

                    <but for 153$ 440c really, is it worth it?>

                    Not sure about the price. The website claims the Retail Price is $180 and the MAAP is $153, and then we are supposed to contact the seller directly for the real price. So it should be lower. How much lower that I am not sure. Like you, I don't have the need to get one now, so I don't have the urge to contact the seller.

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                Sid Post Apr 11, 2012 03:46 AM

                The Benchmade set I have is nicer then the German sets you find at the normal mass market places. Does it actually cut better then the Messermeister? Not really. Is it prettier and finished nicer? Sure is. If someone doesn't see the difference in a Henckels or Wusthof versus a Messermeister, the Benchmade differences are probably lost to them.

                I have also used http://www.tichbourneknives.com/index... knives. They are better knives then the Wusthof and Henckels I compared them too. They are also custom so, you can get them "tweaked" to your specific needs very easily.

                Regarding Benchmade kitchen knives in general, they are geared more to knife collectors rather then kitchen knife users. They really perform well due to their thin cutting edges but, that is lost to steel snobs and amateur metallurgists.

                1. re: Sid Post
                  d
                  Dave5440 Apr 11, 2012 08:07 AM

                  OMG

                  1. re: Dave5440
                    TeRReT Apr 11, 2012 08:54 AM

                    thats a nicer reply then I expected, but I am guessing more will follow

                    1. re: TeRReT
                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2012 09:06 AM

                      It is a funnier reply than I expected. :)

                      I am not 100% sure what Dave means, but it just read funny.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        TeRReT Apr 11, 2012 09:17 AM

                        I know what he means, the discussion over the same steel has been had and perhaps he is not so much of an amateur :P

                        1. re: TeRReT
                          s
                          smkit Apr 11, 2012 09:34 AM

                          440 steels get raised here more than any other food forum it seems. All it takes is one reference to Cutco and it's off to the races...

                          1. re: smkit
                            TeRReT Apr 11, 2012 09:40 AM

                            oh boy, don't bring cutco into it, you'll really be asking for it then

                            1. re: smkit
                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2012 10:02 AM

                              <one reference to Cutco and it's off to the races>

                              Suddenly, you made my blood boils.

                            2. re: TeRReT
                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2012 10:01 AM

                              < he is not so much of an amateur >

                              Ah, I see. Got it.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                TeRReT Apr 11, 2012 10:06 AM

                                I move into my new apartment friday so am looking forward to using my knives on non-rubber cutting boards, so my blood is boiling less :P

                                1. re: TeRReT
                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2012 10:46 AM

                                  Since you are in the land of the rising sun, I believe "blood boiling" can be used as a positive term in the Japanese culture -- for positive and excited mood.

                                  For example, My blood is boiling in excitement for the chance to dual the great ninja Hattori Hanzo. Or, My blood is boiling in excitement to able to cook in my own kitchen with my own knives and own cutting board. :D

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 07:09 AM

                                  A lot of knives have passed through my hands. My thoughts over time have varied greatly as I gained experience.

                                  Why was ATS-34 all the rage originally? IMHO better heat treat then most knife companies used at the time and it was taken to a harder state. I was happy with my Benchmade's until I got one that rusted and chipped. Yes, I had a bad heat treat on that Tanto folder.

                                  Later I got a beater 1095 knife and I abused it greatly. It kept its edge a long time, it was easy to sharpen, and it didn't rust like similar knives I had used. The difference? Better heat treat!!!

                                  Whether Benchmade, Henckels, Wusthof, .... it's not about the materials. Execution in construction is where it's at.

                                  1. re: Sid Post
                                    Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2012 07:35 AM

                                    <Whether Benchmade, Henckels, Wusthof, .... it's not about the materials. Execution in construction is where it's at.>

                                    A good point. Poor execution on a good steel is still bad. So in your experience, how do you rank the Benchmade kitchen knives against the standard Wusthof, Henckels and Messerimester? I believe you have experience with at least one of the these three German knives. Benchmade knives are not cheap, so it would be nice to know that they are at least on par with Henckels and Wusthof if not a bit higher.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 11:29 AM

                                      While I have not used any of the newer Benchmade kitchen knives, there is no doubt I would NOT trade my 3 piece Benchmade set for the largest knife block you can find of high quality German knives found at the shopping mall big box stores. Personally, I liked the Wusthof better then the others I had at the time but, their thick edges and spines and heavyweight profiles may have been better then the cheap alternatives at the time but, I just don't use them now. I want a KNIFE, not a CLEAVER. Keep in mind I'm being very critical about the German knives .... they are very good. I just find them over built for the kitchen, too heavy, too thick in the spine, too thick in the edge, and well .... just over built. However, they do take a keen edge and are very good knives. One time all I had to use was a Henckels cleaver which I used to dice a ham at a Residence Inn hotel!!! So, even an overly thick German knife is capable of good use in the kitchen.

                                      The Benchmade kitchen knives I have are closer to a Japanese Gyuto then a German Chef knife. They are finished superbly and work very well. They SLICE! Today I want something long and thin in the kitchen so, I'm Gyuto fan and the Benchmade's are preferred to German steel.

                                    2. re: Sid Post
                                      d
                                      Dave5440 Apr 12, 2012 04:28 PM

                                      it didn't rust like similar knives I had used. The difference? Better heat treat!!!

                                      Are you saying that the heat treat is responsible for rust resistance?

                                      1. re: Dave5440
                                        Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 05:08 PM

                                        Dave,

                                        When I first started getting better knives, I had several different Benchmade's all with ATS-34 blade steel. The Tanto folder I had behaved differently from all my other knives. Being a Tanto, it had a strong blade profile but was slightly brittle with edge chips. It also stained with rust (not pits - staining) unlike the others treated similarly.

                                        I attributed this behavior in that specific knife to a bad heat treat resulting in a knife blade that was too hard or had some grain structure problem. My AFCK which was a much thinner blade profile overall, never chipped on me and did not stain with rust under similar treatment.

                                        With 1095 knives, I have had some that rusted easily and some that didn't. When I learned about the heat treats, I noticed better heat treats were more rust resistant. No I'm not talking about 1095 acting like a stainless steel. Given two 1095 knives from different knife makers treated similarly, one maker's knife would always rust/spot/stain last. That makers knives also held their edges longer. I'll defer to a true metallurgist but, my amateur guess was it had a better grain structure.

                                        So yes, heat treat makes a difference whether edge holding, enhanced rust resistance, chip resistance, etc. Two otherwise similar knives can be taken to the same hardness but, how they get there can be very different and an experienced user could see that with use. You could also over or under harden a knife affecting it's performance.

                                        1. re: Sid Post
                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2012 05:12 PM

                                          <So yes, heat treat makes a difference whether edge holding, enhanced rust resistance, chip resistance, etc>

                                          I am curious about this. We know there is usually a tradeoff between toughest and hardness. So I wonder that a good heat treat for a edge holding ability may be is not necessary the same good heat treat for rust resistance. In order words, a 1095 blade which rust more easily may actually be the one which holds the edge better?

                                          What is good for one aspect may not be good with other. I am not saying that heat treatment will affect corrosion resistance, but if it does, it may not correlate with other aspects, right?

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            Sid Post Apr 13, 2012 06:39 AM

                                            Again, I'm not a metallurgist.

                                            I have read a lot of articles in years past about various heat treating methods of Master ABS (American Bladesmith Society) members who used different heat treat methods to take carbon steels to the same hardness in different ways to affect the grain structure. Cross sections of their knives did in fact show differences in the grain size and patterns within the subject blades.

                                            A smooth surface and a tighter grain structure provides less opportunity for oxidation to occur as I see it. The finer grain structures provide less "tooth" for cutting fibrous materials but, has a keener edge. I also suspect the finer grain structures have some advantage in edge strength against chips. Again, I'm not a metallurgist so these are just my observations from use, speculation, regurgitation of articles I have read and, what I been told by ABS Master Smiths.

                                            The vast majority of people will never notice the differences in heat treat because they will never use enough knives hard enough to find the one with a "different" heat treat and will never take that $3K Master Smith bowie to the "field" and really use it hard to find it's structural limits compared to a mass market production blade heat treated in mass with hundreds or thousands of similar blades.

                                            1. re: Sid Post
                                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 13, 2012 07:18 AM

                                              <A smooth surface and a tighter grain structure provides less opportunity for oxidation to occur as I see it. >

                                              Interesting thought. I will ponder about that. Thanks.

                                          2. re: Sid Post
                                            d
                                            Dave5440 Apr 12, 2012 05:43 PM

                                            I don't have my text books at home from college so I can't look up the corrosion resistance from heat treating, but I can tell you I have never heard that before. I will tell you that heat treat is pretty simple process you take the steel to the temp specified by the manuf. and then you have to get it below about 750F in a specified amount of time, around 1 sec. And it's hard, the physical properties are then created in the annealling process.

                                            1. re: Dave5440
                                              Sid Post Apr 13, 2012 06:54 AM

                                              I'm in general agreement with you. However, there is more to it then just following the manufacturers spec sheet.

                                              Why does a disposable razor blade cryo-quenched perform better then the ones you get at the local store? And, are the manufacturer spec sheets optimized for performance or production costs?

                                              Heat treating a pulley for a V-belt, or frame member for piece of machinery is different from optimizing the heat treat of a knife blade for a specific application. College Texts are great for general knowledge about general applications of heat treat and the properties of materials as they undergo state changes but, they leave a lot to be desired in very specialized applications. Manufacturer's have their own economic interests in mind so, they optimize their steels for production volume and ease of manufacturing in most cases.

                                              Custom knifemakers can look at this whole subject in a fundamentally different way. Some with better success then others.

                                              1. re: Sid Post
                                                d
                                                Dave5440 Apr 13, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                Cryo is an artificial aging process, and I agree on most of what you say, except oxidation unless you leave the carbon on after heat treat it's going to rust.

                                                1. re: Dave5440
                                                  Sid Post Apr 15, 2012 10:19 AM

                                                  http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/sho...

                                                  Jerry Hossom's second post has a pretty good discussion of what happens occasionally in heat treating large batches of knives.

                                3. re: TeRReT
                                  d
                                  Dave5440 Apr 11, 2012 01:54 PM

                                  Suddenly , I just can't be bothered to take this one on, I'm too busy waiting for the mailman to bring my franklin mint limited time collector kitchen knife, oh so excited!!!!

                              2. re: Sid Post
                                s
                                smkit Apr 11, 2012 08:38 AM

                                Knifemakers that dabble in kitchen cutlery usually make good quality kitchen knives that are mediocre performers in the kitchen -- at best. Their profiles are very 'hunter-ish' with drop tips, more belly, and even sometimes bolsters that prevent good sharpening.

                                Their clientele is often different, they are not professional cooks or serious foodies but people who already use their hunters or folders and now want a kitchen knife in the same brand because they like what they have had so far.

                                Even if you ignore the profile issues, knives from these makers are often thicker at the spine (read: wedging) or flat ground (read: food sticking) and they disregard steel out there that is better suited to the abuse of the kitchen.

                                A year or so back I was trying to get a billet of steel from a well-known maker of hunter knives and blacksmith so I could have an experienced kitchen knife maker turn it into a functional blade. He wouldn't do it because he didn't trust others to heat treat it, but the comment was: "Kitchen knives are easy" so he could do it. This is a common misunderstanding. I would trust those makers with fillet knives and carvers, but not a workhorse chef's knife.

                                As the hunter and folder market has died down, more of these makers are branching out into kitchen knives because it is a growing market. IMO I'd be very cautious of these makers at this time.

                                1. re: smkit
                                  Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 07:15 AM

                                  Trying to get one of these makers to make a Gyuto is impossible. The Japanese will also deliver the knife for about half what what most CONUS huntin' knifemaker's would charge as well.

                                  1. re: Sid Post
                                    s
                                    smkit Apr 12, 2012 10:17 AM

                                    The point I am trying to make is that the (few) knifemakers that make both good hunters/folders AND good kitchen knives, actually know how hard it is to make a good kitchen knife. It takes them a lot of time to master it and demands a lot of feed back from cooks. Whether or not Benchmade has gone through this process or not, I don't know, but the comment from the reviewer on their site regarding the thick blade and how it wedges, seems to imply it they might not have figured out a good kitchen knife yet.

                                    1. re: smkit
                                      Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 11:15 AM

                                      Mine are from the very early run when they started their kitchen line. They are thinner then my Wusthof's at the time. The thin edge really helped too. While not as thin as a Gyuto, it wasn't as thick as the German steel I had at the time.

                                      And yes, I agree. Most knifemaker's earned their name with Hunting and Utility/Tactical knives which are totally different from what you want in a kitchen. It takes a lot of training and education to relearn how to make a good kitchen knife. Myself, I just go to Japan for the kitchen cutlery and stay CONUS for the other knives in general.

                                2. re: Sid Post
                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 11, 2012 09:12 AM

                                  <The Benchmade set I have is nicer then the German sets you find at the normal mass market places>

                                  I see. I couldn't tell from the photos.

                                  <Regarding Benchmade kitchen knives in general, they are geared more to knife collectors rather then kitchen knife users.>

                                  I don't understand what you mean by the above statement. These kitchen knives are better for knife collectors than for kitchen knife users, you say? That came across as in not very useful and I assume you don't really mean that, right?

                                  Nothing like these nesting knives, right?

                                  http://www.coroflot.com/mia_schmallenbach/kitchen-knives/1

                                  http://www.coroflot.com/mia_schmallen...

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 07:24 AM

                                    <Regarding Benchmade kitchen knives in general, they are geared more to knife collectors rather then kitchen knife users.>

                                    I don't understand what you mean by the above statement. These kitchen knives are better for knife collectors than for kitchen knife users, you say? That came across as in not very useful and I assume you don't really mean that, right?

                                    --------------------

                                    Sorry, poor word choice on my part.

                                    The marketing I have seen has these positioned to sell to knife collectors, not serious users. As a result, most who buy them criticize the aesthetics and never test the performance. It's like the people that buy the latest custom folder, put it in a glass case under a banker's light, and actually carry a ~$20 Victorinox Spartan (or insert favorite mass market gents folder) in their pockets.

                                    I have carried my knives and I have actually used them. Why would I use a $20 Wal-mart special and never use my expensive custom folder? The same is true for my kitchen knives. I use them all whether a cheap laminated Gyuto or a really expensive handmade knife sharpened on a waterstone in the knifemaker's family for hundreds of years.

                                    1. re: Sid Post
                                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2012 07:30 AM

                                      <The marketing I have seen has these positioned to sell to knife collectors, not serious users. As a result, most who buy them criticize the aesthetics and never test the performance.>

                                      Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.

                                      <I have carried my knives and I have actually used them. Why would I use a $20 Wal-mart special and never use my expensive custom folder?>

                                      I think that is a great attitude to have. Knives or not. I try to not fall into that trap too -- buying something so nice and so expensive that I worry about damaging it and end up not using it. Again, this is just not knives. These can be nice clothings, shoes, frying pans, cell phones.....etc.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 11:09 AM

                                        It's amazing how many ~$6K to ~$10K Side-by-Side shotguns I see that have never seen a target range much less the "field". I used to be that way too. I was saving for an Over-and-Under shotgun but, how could I ever take a firearm that expensive to the field where it might get a scratch? I learned the error of my ways. That isn't a scratch, it's a BEAUTY mark!!!!

                                        Now I dream of taking my double rifle to Africa so I can drag it through the bush and give it well deserved BEAUTY marks myself. I had a friend that lamented the fact his double rifle had a few impressions in the stock from an African hunt, all I could see were the great memories of the hunt that rifle saw. Life is too short not to enjoy the things we have worked long and hard for.

                                        My only reservation today comes from collectibles that cannot be replaced for any amount of money and those with sentimental value (old family heirloom firearms with minimal dollar value but, huge in non-monetary terms ;-). That doesn't mean I won't gently use a folder hand crafted by a master that has passed though.

                              3. s
                                smkit Apr 10, 2012 06:57 PM

                                Did you see this review on the site? It sounds as if it is a petty good assessment.

                                "These knives are just OK for me. They came very sharp from the factory. They are solidly constructed but a little lacking on fit and finish especially the flushness of the handles, spacer and blade tang. This small detail made them somewhat uncomfortable to use. The handles themselves are not shaped well for secure grip and comfortable use. My final gripe is thet the blade stock is far too thick. The Chefs knife wedges itself in hard foods like carrots and potatoes. The steel is unremarkable, 440C is good steel, but nothing exceptional. I much prefer my Shun brand kitchen knives. They are much thinner and more comfortable to use. Cheaper too. IMO, these are for Benchmade fanboys and no one else. They are good, but there are much better out there."

                                1. d
                                  Dave5440 Apr 10, 2012 06:43 PM

                                  Never seen one , but pretty run of the mill steel, for the price

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Dave5440
                                    Sid Post Apr 11, 2012 03:26 AM

                                    440C in a kitchen knife is a good steel. When polished smooth, it has very good stain resistance and it isn't so hard you have to send it off to be sharpened. In a kitchen knife in a European pattern it is a great choice IMHO.

                                    I see amateur metallurgist scoff at 440C because it isn't the latest wonder steel but, like 1095 it is a very good choice for certain applications. There is more to a good knife then the cost of the blade material.

                                    1. re: Sid Post
                                      cowboyardee Apr 11, 2012 09:03 AM

                                      It's not that 440c is a bad steel. Give or take a tweak, it's basically what wusthof and the like have been using for years. Most people here have used and sharpened knives made in 440c - I certainly have. But there are some legitimate reasons to question an expensive knife that uses it: it is generally quite common; it's usually tempered a little soft (translating to less edge retention); it doesn't quite have the fine grain structure of some other steels (translating to a lower degree of sharpenability); and it's not especially expensive. All that ensures that when you price a chefs knife using 440c at $180 (in fairness, it's probably less than that, but I don't know how much less), it's competing against quite a few knives using more specialized steel, and that other knives using 440c cost quite a bit less.

                                      "it has very good stain resistance and it isn't so hard you have to send it off to be sharpened."
                                      _______
                                      Aside from - arguably - ceramic knives, there aren't any knife steels/materials so hard you NEED to send em off to be sharpened. People have been sharpening PM steels tempered to hrc 66 at home for some time now with success. The upside of sharpening a softer steel at home is systems like the Accusharp and Chefs Choice electric sharpeners work on softer steel but have problems with harder stuff. If you sharpen by hand (or using jigs), hard steels are very much sharpenable at home. If you're dedicated to a system like the Accusharp or Chefs Choice, then a softer steel might be a good bet.

                                      "There is more to a good knife then the cost of the blade material."
                                      _________
                                      Absolutely. Problem is - without handling one of these knives, we only have so much info to go off of. I like the fact that these don't have full length bolsters, for example. The handles look reasonably comfortable. And the profile might not be my ideal, but they look usable. Edge geometry? I have no idea. But at the price, the steel choice gives me pause, as does the maker which has little experience in kitchen knives. At this point, there's a lot of competition in $150+ chef knives, many excellent makers to choose from. These might be good knives, but they've got some very stiff competition.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                        Sid Post Apr 12, 2012 06:57 AM

                                        Aside from - arguably - ceramic knives, there aren't any knife steels/materials so hard you NEED to send em off to be sharpened.

                                        ----------------------------------------------------

                                        Most home users don't have the tools, stones, or patience to sharpen modern powdered steels at home. How many home users can actually put a good edge on a "soft" 440C knife?

                                        For general utility and function, I'll take a good quality Gyuto any day over the flashy stuff at the store in the mall. However, something like the Benchmade offering is probably all most people will see "in the mall" other then the normal European offerings.

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