His latest contribution goes for a more traditional look. The Hunter hearkens back to outdoors knives of yore with its Micarta scales and leather sheath. Benchmade Grizzly Ridge The Grizzly Ridge shares the dual durometer handle construction and some visual cues with the Freek.
However, it will come with tweaks to fit its outdoor nature, including high visibility orange accents and forward jimping on the blade for skinning tasks. Benchmade Fact The slender, aggressive Fact has a stiletto-style spear point blade just under four inches long and a skeletonized aluminum frame. This keeps the weight under four ounces and makes pocket stowage, in combination with a deep carry clip, easy and subdued.
It is also available with a coated blade. Benchmade Foray Benchmade partnered with Damasteel on an exclusive pattern, dubbed Loki, for this Gold Class model. Knife featured in image: Benchmade Altitude. Joining it are the Mini-Onslaught and the Barrage. While some took issue with the timing, others say they were more concerned about the overall costs.
In recent years, Benchmade also discontinued its Harley-Davidson line and closed the doors on Lone Wolf Knives, which it acquired in Whether the transition back to the butterfly logo will mean an increase in price remains to be seen. HK is open to discussing licensing opportunities with other knife companies.
Looking Back on the Highs and Lows of He had personally created original concepts that would become the first models, which included six fixed-blade knives and four folding knives. There wasn't much information out there about the early days of the company, so I reached out to Kershaw Knives. A customer representative told me file keeping in the '70s and '80s was poor and the company didn't even have their own complete history. So I contacted one of the only people who could give an accurate and firsthand account about what happened at the start of the company.
Pete Kershaw, who is no longer part of the company, was more than happy to recount the early days to me.
While working at Gerber, Pete had gained knowledge about which Japanese and European knife manufacturers he could approach to make his knives. When he started his own company, he used those contacts to search for the right manufacturer. Sakurai Knife of Seki City made the four folders. These models were made by expert craftsman and knife maker Ichiro Hattori; the scabbards were made by Safariland Leather of Monrovia, CA.
You can view some of the early catalogs that display the first knives, generously provided by Pete Kershaw, below. When the knives arrived in Oregon, Pete said they inspected the knives and shipped them to a dealership network he had established between May and November in The first shipments were made on Nov. By January , the four folders became available.
These were the Rogue , Rustler , Dude , and Rancher Models and Stag and Stockman, respectively were originally slated to become available at the same time, but only of each were made by January, so Kershaw didn't have enough to fill orders. By June, the backorders were filled. These six folders together would compose the Easy Rider series. Pete wrote a little about the early days of the company at his blog.
Here's an excerpt:. Pete wanted to create knives that would last a lifetime, knives that people would be proud to own, use, and carry. This founding mission—one that demands an unwavering dedication to intensive craftsmanship and quality craftsmanship—still influences the decisions of the company today. Between to , Judy Kershaw oversaw the office and the staff grew to The Kershaws traveled around the country to trade shows and established distribution in foreign countries. Needless to say, the strong footing, quality knives, and passion from the Kershaws helped the company grow exponentially.
In the early part of the '80s, changes were afoot for the company. In , Kai Cutlery began the purchase of the still privately owned Kershaw Knives.
Also in the early '80s, the brand expanded its line of folders and field knives. By the mid-'80s, Kershaw expanded into Europe. In , the sale to Kai Cutlery was completed and the company moved to a new facility in Wilsonville, Oregon. A commonly misstated fact is that Kershaw Knives became a subsidiary of Kai in However, Pete Kershaw contends that the two companies were run independently. The facts about the sale being completed in comes directly from Pete.
Whereas many brands falter after being bought by another company, Kershaw Knives only got better. Kai has been a producer of blades in Japan for more than years, so Kershaw benefited from Kai's shared approach toward innovative product development and marketing.
Another important fact was that Pete Kershaw stayed with the company and helped maintain the core values of quality and craftsmanship he established at the start. Kershaw Knives kept chugging along—putting out quality knives and keeping its strong reputation—in the early '90s, but the company was on the precipice of a new era.
In , Doug Flagg, the director of sales and marketing for Kershaw from to , reached out to a custom knife maker named Ken Onion about an assisted-opening mechanism for Kershaw. Shortly after, Pete Kershaw and Jack Igarashi signed him to a contract. Ken Onion invented one of the first assisted-opening mechanisms and called it the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening.
Sometime during his hitch he forged a knife from a section of Ford automobile spring he found in a ditch by the side of the road. New Schrade Autos available. All orders for automatic knives must be faxed or mailed. All Benchmade products are covered by our limited lifetime warranty and LifeSharp service. Chuck has been a part of the family business since childhood. Be sure to check out the Axial series of folding knives. Bill was that person.
The knife world would never be the same. Onion's designs were hugely popular and Kershaw became associated with fast, reliable pocket knives. As a direct result, the Wilsonville facility was expanded to include manufacturing, marketing, and warehousing in Here's an excerpt from Blade Magazine's October edition:. Ken Onion helped spearhead a brand new era for Kershaw Knives, but the '90s was also the end of another era for the company. Here's what Pete said to me about why he decided to retire:.
Even though Pete was no longer with the company, it steadfastly held to the original mission and vision of Kershaw. Meanwhile, Onion, who would eventually become the Premier Knife Designer for Kershaw, was putting out revolutionary and popular designs like the Leek, Blur, Chive, Offset, and more. The meteoric rise of these sleek and quick folders meant the demise of its classic field knives and a move away from fixed blades.
By , Kershaw and Kai USA moved to new headquarters and production had increased so much that the manufacturing facilities were expanded in Tualatin, Oregon where they now have a yearly Warehouse Sale. In , after 15 years of establishing the look and feel of the brand, Onion parted ways with Kershaw in order to start his own company and work on designs for CRKT. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Kershaw updated its logo with a more streamlined look.
In , Kershaw Knives went all out for its anniversary. After 40 years with the same iconic logo, the brand unveiled a new logo to replace the dated typography. The sleeker, more modern logo kept the same recognizable "k" and red colors but made things tighter.
Kershaw Ruby. Kershaw also celebrated the milestone with the release of the limited edition Kershaw Ruby Model , which featured an amalgamation of all the innovations Kershaw pioneered over the years, such as the KVT pivot and frame lock insert. The knife sold out in 1 minute and 3 seconds. It's clear that Kershaw has been a commercial success. The brand is highly appreciated by knife enthusiasts around the world and consistently finds its knives on Best Of lists. Many of these knives are now out of production, but the simple fact that Kershaw has been repeatedly honored is a great indication that the tradition and mission Pete Kershaw laid out back in is still alive and well.
When it comes to high-quality knives and revolutionary innovations, Kershaw is one of the few brands out there that constantly aims to get better and better. The best part is that Kershaw shows no signs of relenting. A knife brand is only as good as its designers.