Benchmade Factory Tour


Nick Chen went on, and filmed, a tour at the Benchmade factory in Oregon with Mike St. Clair, the Lead of Special Projects at Benchmade. Mike, a knife enthusiast  reveals he has been at the company for 15 years and initially took a paycut and gave up the offer of a promotion to get a job making knives …

Part 2 – Factory walkthrough.

Part 3

Part 3


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Nicholas Chen

    As Mike likes to say “That is Awesome!”

  • CrankyFool

    A long, long time ago — around 1995 or thereabouts — back when we still had Usenet and I was posting on rec.knives, I mentioned in a post that I was coming up to Portland to visit my girlfriend. Les De Asis — President of Benchmade — emailed me and told me he’d be happy to show me the place if I contacted him, and gave me his personal phone number.

    As we got close to visiting, I contacted him and we arranged a factory tour. Our scheduled tour was right after a serious road icing, and we waited for a few minutes, then called him. He was shocked we managed to get out of the house (the conditions were pretty bad, but hey — Benchmade tour!), got permission from his wife to leave the house and come to meet us, and showed us both the current facilities they were in, and the new facilities they were working on moving into. Then he sold me a knife.

    I am, and was, nobody. Just a guy who was a fan of his products. I’ve never forgotten this.

    • Mark

      You can always tell the character of a person from how they treat people they need nothing from.

  • Jackal

    It seems like they really have it together there. Very clean and organized factory.

    The work ethic of the workers says a lot about their product. They all looked well trained, proud of their jobs, concerned with quality before quantity, and professional; definitely not monkeys just slapping parts together. I was very impressed by the process of hand fitting and how they manually put the edge on, all done by the same knife artisan.

    I will say this: I am proud to own a benchmade. It has been my EDC (I really do carry it everyday almost everywhere) for 5 years. It has been abused from time to time but its still as tight as day one. If there was a problem I would feel very comfortable sending it in under the lifetime warranty knowing it will be in the hands of experts. Benchmade is a company of high integrity, doing things the right way. I will be happy to pay a few dollars extra for the name after seeing the care and personal craftsmanship that goes into their knives. A knifemaking operation second to none!

    Great video!

    • Nicholas Chen

      I agree. I only own Benchmade Balisongs. But seeing the quality and attention to detail at the factory was eye opening. I am sure there are other good knife companies. I EDC a Strider, but Benchmade is nothing to scoff at now that I have seen it first hand.

  • casey

    I rarely can make it through 25 minutes of video, but I watched all three parts and it was great. Tell them thanks! Now I am cruising around their website and I will by something I don’t really need, which is awesome!

  • GunTotingLib

    Never go anywhere with out my benchmade Griptilian clipped to my pocket. love that knife.

  • Andrew R.

    Great video! Wish I could go on a tour!