Earlier this year I contacted Guy Stainthorp about making a knife, I originally asked about blade blanks, well you’ll never know if you don’t ask, before being politely informed that he doesn’t make blade blanks.
The commission that I wanted Guy to take on was actually a copy of another knife with a few modifications made to it. This is going to end up sounding like a review of both knives, however this is just my opinion.
To explain I own a Benchmade BM210 “Activator”, the general idea behind the knife is actually not bad, however in my opinion it’s let down by a number of it’s features.
It has G10 scales which are wafer thin, This is not very comfortable for me. My hands are not huge they are about normal size and I can’t quite get a really good grip of the knife.
The full flat grind has a huge secondary bevel that means that unless you want to spend a hell of a long time on a diamond stone grinding away (the original BM210 was made in S30V even though it is now available in D2 as well) you’ll never get this thing truly flat, so you end up with a knife which has a cutting edge which is convexed.
The BM210 itself is quite a pretty little knife so Benchmade have given it a full grain leather sheath, unfortunately it’s a butt ugly pancake of leather. I also do leather work and if I turned out something that looked like that I would be embarrassed to sell it.
So what I wanted was a knife made from a steel that I would like (there’s nothing wrong with S30V, I just prefer other steels to it), so we went with RWL34. The knife had to have the same profile as the activator, however I wanted a Scandinavian Grind placed on the knife as I do a fair amount of wood working. The scales were to be replaced with Black Micarta and were to be a bit thicker than the original ones as I like something that I can grip and last but not least it was to have Kydex sheath that had the facility for me to wear it neck carry or on a belt if required.
The picture Guy sent to me
I took receipt of the knife just before going off to teach the Army Pre Selection Survival Training with Footsteps Of Discovery so here are my initial impressions of the knife.
The knife when used for small game prep is very good, the slightly larger handle allows me to grip it tightly and maintain control even if it’s covered in slime. When carving for prolonged periods the slightly larger handle means it’s less tiring for my hand in use.
The Scandi Grind bevels allow me to carve very good precise feather sticks, it also allows a great deal of control and fine work when carving trap triggers.
When the knife arrived it was shaving sharp, it hasn’t been sharpened yet because the edge retention is very good, it’s only been used for making feather sticks, carving pot hangers, cutting string, carving trap triggers, a bit of splitting and skinning bunnies for three days. It is still however shaving sharp even though I battened it through a knot in some of the sticks I was splitting.
The Kydex sheath has a very secure lockup, it’s small, elegant, lightweight and easy to clean should I forget and place a blood and gut smeared knife back into it by accident. Before this there was probably only one person I would have gone to for a Kydex sheath and that would have been Chris Claycomb. Guy’s work is up there with Chris’s.
These are my initial observations on the knife, however I must say that I am pretty much delighted with the knife and with Guy’s “Can Do” sort of attitude.
After a few more months I’ll post an update to say how it’s faired over time along with some photos of it in use and what it’s capable of.