The Benchmade 530 knife.
I have carried this knife around many walking trips in Australia, often replacing my venerable Swiss Army Knife. By and large it has been rather more knife than I needed, but I rarely need a knife in Australia anyhow. When my wife and I went to Switzerland for two months walking over some of the Alpine Pass routes in 2009, I threw this knife into my kit at the last moment.
I was very glad I took it, as it got used nearly every day. No, not for felling trees or killing and skinning huge animals, but for far more practical uses like cutting bread, cheese, and meat for our meals.
Breakfast time in the Swiss Alps.
I carry a typical Boy Scout camp cutlery set knife on all our walks. It looks like a butter knife, but from past experience in Europe in 2007, I knew it was just not really up to the task. The blunt point often got in the way, and the edge dulled faster than I would like. This Benchmade 530 excelled in both of those areas: it didn't need sharpening for the whole trip.
During our return through the Australian airport I somehow lost the knife. I think it fell into the remains of the black plastic rubbish bags we had wrapped our packs up in for safety from the baggage handlers. So great was my enthusiasm for the knife that I promptly bought another one from the Benchmade website. Now that is enthusiasm!
The knife comes with a pocket clip held on with three small T6 Torx screws. I removed the clip immediately, as I just didn't want it on the handle. That was no problem.
The knife fully disassembled.
After a while I got curious and fully disassembled the knife - to see what the AXIS mechanism looked like and whether I could put it back together again! As I pulled it apart I very carefully laid the bits out as shown here. It was quite easy to reverse all the steps and put it back together - freshly cleaned and oiled.
The one critical adjustment needed during reassembly was the tension on the pivot screw. At first I made this far too tight, so I carefully slackened it off while repeatedly opening and shutting the blade. The adjustment is a little sensitive, but a drop of oil helps. Incidentally, all the screws are T6 Torx.
Details of the AXIS mechanism. Note that the photos here are of the
older knife which I lost, which used 440C steel instead of the latest
Photo A here shows the thumb knob used to open the blade, and photo B shows how it is done with the tip of the thumb. I have to say that while this is not a 'flick knife,' it does open rather swiftly when properly adjusted. If the screw is too tight, my thumb suffers and the blade does not move.
Photo C shows the AXIS lock. The silver knob has to be pulled back for the blade to be folded shut, but this is a very easy process when two hands are used (as they should be). Photo D shows (at the blue arrow), the actual internal lock which secures the blade when open. This seems very secure.
You will notice a slight flare in the handle at the pivot. This works very well to prevent my hand from sliding off the handle and onto the blade. The scales on the handle also work well as a grip, even when wet. There is a similar flare at the rear end of the handle. I have to say that I found the rear flare slightly intrusive, but not so badly that I have wanted to remachine it.
|Model||530 - Pardue|
|Blade Steel||154CM Stainless Steel|
|Blade Length & thickness||3.25 x 0.09 inches (82.6 x 2.29 mm)|
|Blade Lock||AXIS, Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs|
|Blade Style||Modified Spear-Point|
|Handle Material||Grivory (plastic, scaled)|
|Handle Length & Thickness||4.17 x 0.37 inches (105.9 x 9.40 mm)|
|Weight (quoted)||1.88 oz (53.3 g) (with clip)|
|Weight (measured)||1.76 oz (50 g) (without clip)|
- Good blade length
- Light weight
- Hard non-tarnishing steel
- Secure locking mechanism
What’s Not So Good
- Bump/flare at rear of handle (minor)
Grivory: "An amorphous nylon copolymer with exceptional dimensional stability."
154CM: "An American-made premium grade stainless steel originally developed for tough industrial applications. Known for its best all-around qualities, it offers great corrosion resistance with good toughness and edge quality."
Composition: C: 1%, Cr: 14%, Mn: 0.5%, Mo: 4%, rest Fe