Friday, August 28, 2009

Update: Benchmade 551 Griptilian

The more I use my new Benchmade 551 Griptilian, the more I like it. The only time that I haven't had it clipped to my pocket recently was while attending a school function with our younger spawn last night.

The knife wasn't quite perfect right out of the box, however.

The orange-handled Grip came with a steep bevel and a surprisingly toothy edge. It was plenty sharp enough for my
moving purposes -- I'd call it a "utility edge" -- but it was considerably cruder than what I'm accustomed to seeing from Spyderco or SOG, for example, or even from humble Victorinox.

Now I could've returned the knife to Benchmade, taking advantage of the company's "LifeSharp" service. Instead, I decided to tackle the job myself. I wasn't interested in re-profiling the edge -- I wanted only to refine it more to my liking.

First, I tacked a strip of 1500-grit wet-dry sandpaper to a mousepad and drew the blade across the abrasive surface about two dozen times. I followed with 2000-grit paper, and by the time I'd finished the edge was shiny and the "shoulders" of the bevel had been eased -- a good start at taking the flat-ground Benchmade in the direction of a convex edge (which it'll become over time).

Finally, I stropped the edge on the back side of an old leather belt (no compound) 'til it would push-cut newsprint easily.

Benefitting from 30 minutes of careful attention, my big Grip now has the kind of edge that I prefer -- easy to maintain and serviceably keen but not at all fragile. Regular stropping should be all that's necessary to keep it that way.