Benchmade 950BK Osborne Rift Axis

Review by Arnie P

Benchmade 950BK Osborne Rift Axis

The 950BK Osborne Rift Axis was provided by Benchmade for the purpose of this review.

950BK with case

950BK with case

The Benchmade 950BK folding knife is made in the USA and is an Osborne design. This knife is in the Black class family which is described on the web site as: “Our Black Class products are designed, developed and tested for extreme duty.”

Selected data on the 950BK folding knife:

Major features are:

AXIS® locking mechanism
Reverse Tanto blade with ambidextrous dual thumb-stud opener
154CM stainless steel blade (58-61HRC)
G10 handle scales with 420J stainless steel liners and a reversible tip-up carry-clip
Blade Length: 3.67 in
Blade Thickness: 0.114 in
Handle Thickness: 0.560 in
Overall Length: 8.27 in
Closed Length: 4.60 in
Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
Blade Hardness: 58-61HRC
Blade Style: Reverse Tanto, Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs
Weight: 4.80 oz.

950BK with Benchmade logo

950BK with Benchmade logo

950BK on edge

950BK on edge

950BK carry clip side

950BK carry clip side

Getting acquainted with my knife

There are some things, such as trail maintenance, that I do with a knife that take a long time. Thus, being able to work with a knife for hours. and have the knife feel comfortable during this time is important to me. Because I am left handed, I appreciate a product that is truly ambidextrous. I picked up the closed knife with flat side to my palm and the carry-clip facing up. My thumb was near the locking mechanism. When I closed my hand around the knife, it was very close to the size of my hand. The grip was comfortable with a natural feeling.

One hand operation

I then rotated the closed knife in my hand so the knife was on edge in my hand with the blade facing out with my fore finger on the end of the handle and my thumb on the “thumb stud” opener. With a small amount of effort, I was able to open the blade in a smooth controlled motion. By my third try, I was able to do this very smoothly. Closing the knife was almost as easy. Using the same position as the opening position, except being very careful my fingers were clear of the opening, I used my thumb to release the locking mechanism and my forefinger to apply pressure near the “thumb stud” to close the blade. I found that when the blade was in the open position, there was no looseness in the blade. It felt just like a fixed blade knife. Closing the knife one handed required just a little more practice than opening it. The knife comes with the carry clip positioned carrying in the right pocket. So I then repeated the above operations with my right hand and I was able to accomplish it almost as smoothly as with my left.

950BK locking mechanism and thumb stud

950BK locking mechanism and thumb stud

950BK opening

950BK opening

950BK half open

950BK half open

950BK ope

950BK ope

Using the knife

During the past winter, a storm blew my 2 apples trees partly down and I decided I was not going to be able to save them. These branches are typical of apple in that the branches are twisted and gnarly. To make clean up easier, I used the knife to cut the smaller branches. I was able to cut off a branch of about 3/8 inch diameter in one cut. At age 71, I don’t have the strength I used to have. On larger branches, I made 2 cuts to get the job done. I spent about 3 hours cutting branches and I did not get any blisters or have any discomfort. I feel convinced this knife may be very useful when I do trail maintenance. I have also used this knife in the kitchen for cutting smaller items. Cutting hard sausage in thin slices can be done very quickly and effortlessly.

Carrying the knife

The carry clip is probably the easiest but there is also a hole about 1/8 inch in diameter next to where the carry clip is attached to the knife. A lanyard could be attached through this hole. A belt carry case can also be purchased. I will be trying different carrying methods.

950BK carry clip and lanyard hole

950BK carry clip and lanyard hole

Care of the knife

The stainless steel used in this knife resists corrosion. The knife should be cleaned and kept free of dirt. The construction makes for easy washing and drying after cleaning. The web site contains excellent information on cleaning as well as keeping the blade sharp.

I like the beauty and precision of this knife and the natural feel it has in my hand. I like the way the materials being cut yield so easily to the blade. There is nothing I don’t like about this knife. Check back in about a month to read about my experiences with this Benchmade 950BK Osborne knife.

Benchmade Osborne 950BK Rift Axis knife update
5-11-2010

By kindergarten, I was using a hatchet and carrying a knife, but by the time I was in high school I had stopped carrying my knife. When I started carrying the 950BK, in no time I was using the knife in ways I had not expected. Recently when I arrived at my son’s house, he and 2 friends were dismantling a power boat. They were trying to remove a 4 in bronze drain pipe from a rubber boot without much working space, I took my knife and made 3 passes on the boot covering the drain pipe. The remainder of the removal was easy to do with a screwdriver.

In the kitchen

I have a 10 in chef knife that does well for most of the cutting jobs I have in the kitchen. When it comes to cutting ginger root, the chef knife is too large and not easy to maneuver. The 950BK does the job perfectly. We own a few weeks of time share and when using a kitchen away from home, it is nice to have a compact and highly portable knife that can handle multiple cutting jobs very well.

On the trail

I learned how to do trail maintenance when I was doing volunteer work for the AMC in building a new trail. When I go hiking, I spend a small amount of time doing some kind of trail maintenance. In the last few years this has been mostly clearing the trail of trees and branches that have fallen on the trail. There is often trail blockage during the spring of the year and after storms. I have now used the 950BK for this task on branches that are live. Dead branches are usually easy to snap, but trees that have fallen recently are often more difficult to snap. The knife is a better choice for this job. I find I can get a good grip on the handle of this knife and cut branches up to almost a ½ in diameter. The knife is light and easy to carry. I can carry the knife in several different places depending on what I am wearing and the type of backpack I am using. I have used the clip on the breast strap of my backpack. Recently I have been wearing a shirt that has chest pockets and have found that the pockets are a convenient place for the knife. I have also used the pockets of my hiking pants. If I feel I may not be needing the knife much, I will put it in my backpack. The knife is able to fit in almost any compartment in my packs.

cutting a trail branch

cutting a trail branch

a clean cut

a clean cut

I expect to be doing more trail work as snow is melting fast this year in New Hampshire. Hope the muddy season will be short ans I will be doing a lot of hiking. The 950BK will be close at hand for all these trips. Check back in about a month for an update.

Benchmade Osborne 950BK Rift Axis knife a last look

6-13-2010

A month has passed already and I have been using my knife daily for various tasks, in addition to showing it to a few of my friends.  The knife makes for a great conversation piece.  Everyone who has looked at this knife has commented on how beautiful it is.  I am finding the 950BK to be more attractive and useful as time goes by.
Spring came early this year in terms of extra rainfall, so much so we ended up being flooded.  The extra water and warmer temperatures meant my bushes grew a lot in a short period of time.  They were getting too close to one of my sheds and I usually look for my ancient shears and start trimming.  I took my Benchmade 950BK knife and started whacking at the bush.  In less than a minute, I had the side of the bush near the shed trimmed.  I have I have a maple tree in my backyard that is about 50 feet tall and occasionally the branches hang low and get in the way when walking or mowing the lawn.  With the 950BK I was able to reach up and with a few whacks clear all the low hanging branches in a very short time.  The end result looks better than if I had used loppers or shears, and in most cases took less time.  The loppers have their place but I can do most of my trimming with this knife if I don’t wait too long.
I grew up in a time when almost all adult men carried and used pocket knives.  For the most part they were a lot smaller, the blades did not lock well in place, they were hard to clean, and seemed to require sharpening most of the time.  I am finding this knife is easy to keep clean.  I have been using the ceramic rods that I use for my culinary knives to sharpen this knife.  Most of all, I have no fear of the blade closing on me.  I am looking forward to having the Benchmade 950BK as a companion for many years.

Benchmade 950BK Osborne Rift Axis  6-11-2010
A month has passed already and I have been using my knife daily for various tasks, in addition to showing it to a few of my friends.  The knife makes for a great conversation piece.  Everyone who has looked at this knife has commented on how beautiful it is..  I am finding the 950BK to be more attractive and useful as time goes by.
Spring came early this year in terms of extra rainfall, so much so we ended up being flooded.  The extra water and warmer temperatures meant my bushes grew a lot in a short period of time.  They were getting too close to one of my sheds and I usually look for my ancient shears and start trimming.  I took my Benchmade 950BK knife and started whacking at the bush.  In less than a minute I had the side of the bush near the shed trimmed.  I have I have a maple tree in my backyard that is about 50 feet tall and occasionally the branches hang low and get in the way when walking or mowing the lawn.  With the 950BK I was able to reach up and with a few whacks clear all the low hanging branches in a very short time.  The end result looks better than if I had used loppers or shears, and in most cases took less time.  The loppers have their place but I can do most of my trimming with this knife if I don’t wait too long.

before trimming with Benchmade 950BK

before trimming with Benchmade 950BK

after trimming with Benchmade 950BK

after trimming with Benchmade 950BK

I grew up in a time when almost all adult men carried and used pocket knives.  For the most part they were a lot smaller, the blades did not lock well in place, they were hard to clean, and seemed to require sharpening most of the time.  I am finding this knife is easy to keep clean.  I have been using the ceramic rods that I use for my culinary knives to sharpen this knife.  Most of all, I have no fear of the blade closing on me.  I am looking forward to having the Benchmade 950BK as a companion for many years.  I wish to thank Benchmade and 4alloutdoors.org for the opportunity to test this knife.

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