As a young boy my Grandpa gave me my first knife. It was a crude looking fixed blade that a friend had made for him. I still have it to this day, including the sheath that I made for it – a mix of cardboard, staples, and a camo finish applied by magic marker. Looking at the knife now, I am pretty sure my Grandpa gave it to me simply because he didn’t have a need for it, but he couldn’t refuse a gift from a friend. As worthless as that knife may be for any practical use, it has great worth to me. Since that day I have always had and used knives. I never really collected them, but always enjoyed them and found that they were practical and handy to have. Even to this day, I always carry a pocket knife. It is a shame that doing so can be seen as aggressive, or even dangerous. There was once a day in which nearly all men carried pocket knives.
The Benchmade 707 has been my “go to” knife for everyday use for nearly two years now. Designed by McHenry & Williams, the 707 is produced by Benchmade in the USA, as a part of their “Blue Class” line of knives.
The 707’s blade measures 2.95″ in length, with a width of .1″. I have found the roughly 3″ blade to be a great size for an everyday knife; it is large enough for most chores, while not being too big to handle, or too intimidating to bring out among the public. The blade steel is 154 CM, which according to Benchmade is, “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.” We will touch more on the blade’s performance in just a bit…
The Axis Lock
The Axis locking system is what originally turned me onto Benchmade knives about 5 years ago. The Axis system in a patented feature, exclusive to Benchmade knives. The system consists of a solid steel bar that spans the width of the knife and rides in a slot machined into the knife’s steel liners. When the blade is deployed, the tang of the blade becomes wedged between this locking bar and a beefy stop pin, creating an incredibly stable locking platform. The Axis lock is easily disengaged by drawing the locking bar rearwards, which frees up the tang of the knife and allows the knife to rotate into a closed position. All of that sounds a bit complicated, but it is very intuitive, fast, and most importantly of all, rock solid.
While the Axis lock is one of Benchmade’s greatest strengths, it isn’t a perfect system in all scenarios. I have never run into any problems with the Axis system while using this knife daily for two years, with the exception of using this knife as a skinning and de-boning knife on big game. During skinning and de-boning I found that the Axis lock system became clogged with a gooey mess of hair and tissue. That problem was easily rectified by a quick cleaning with a toothpick, but there is an inherent downfall to the Axis lock: it can get jammed if the opening behind the steel bar becomes clogged. (This is just one of several reasons that I don’t recommend any folding knives for hunting scenarios. A review on the Benchmade Activator +, which is my primary hunting knife, will be coming later.)
The handle on the 707 is constructed out of 6061-T6 aluminum, with full length steel liners. The handles also feature G10 inlays and a reversible pocket clip. The grip on the 707 is pretty thin, measuring .420″ at its thickest point. When I first received this model I really thought that there wasn’t enough handle there to comfortably use the knife, however the more I used the knife the more I fell in love with the 707’s slender profile. The machined aluminum does give the 707 a pretty sterile feel in the hand, but the G10 inlays do provide some extra texture and grip. What I really appreciate is how the slim and smooth handle gives this knife a good ride in the pocket. The reversible pocket clip gives the knife a fairly deep ride, though I do wish that the end sticking out of the pocket was a little more rounded. One thing that has always amazed me about the handle design is that despite it being very streamlined, it seems to swallow up a fair sized blade when closed. In its closed form, the 707 is really deceptive about just how much blade you are packing. The aluminum doesn’t provide the grip of a fully textured G10 or Zytel handle, but it is completely usable and much more durable than the previously mentioned materials.
As I mentioned previously, the 707 has a 154 CM blade. The 154CM steel has great performance and durability. It won’t hold an edge as well as D2 or S30V, but what I like about 154CM is that it is much easier to sharpen than the previously mentioned “super steels.” I sharpen my 154CM knives with a simple two-sided DMT Diafold and I am able to get the blade “shaving sharp” in no time. Another great thing about 154 CM is that it is a very hard steel, while not being so hard that it becomes brittle. Sounds odd doesn’t it? Well, some D2 steels are actually so hard and rigid that they are more susceptible to chipping because they don’t have any give. This depends on the heat treat of the D2 steel, and some are worse than others, but with 154 CM you don’t have to worry about that. I do have some D2 steel knives, but the 154 CM is a good everyday working steel.
In case you didn’t know, all Benchmade knives are covered by an outstanding warranty, and part of that warranty is their LifeSharp service. At any point in its life you can send your Benchmade knife back to them and they will return the knife to its factory edge for just the cost of postage. Now, sharpening is great, but Benchmade will also disassemble, clean, inspect, and replace any necessary parts while they are at it. The LifeSharp service can’t be beat. I have used it several times on several knives and I have always been impressed with the service.
After using the 707 extensively for a couple of years, I couldn’t be happier with it. I am one of those guys who sticks with a good thing when he finds it, and the Benchmade 707 is definitely one of those items. After doing a quick search, it look like the 707 will set you back just over $100 at most places, though if you do some shopping around or wait for sales you can pick one up well under that. (I know I did!) Is that price a lot for a knife? You bet!…but in my opinion the 707 is definitely worth it. I will be getting years and years of life out of my 707 and I know that I have Benchmade’s great service and warranty to back me up.
DISCLAIMER: I don’t get anything out of doing gear reviews. I am not supplied product, or paid for my opinions. I am just a regular guy who thinks it is worthwhile to share what works and what doesn’t.