Friday, April 8, 2011

Update: A good edge gets rolled

Back in October, I confessed my mixed feelings about Benchmade's acquisition of Lone Wolf Knives. I concluded that post with this:
"I'll be interested to see what Benchmade does with the brand."
What the company has done -- so far, anyway -- is slap the Lone Wolf name on a handful of lower-end folders and fixed-blades, some made offshore. It's kept alive Lone Wolf's Paul Poehlmann-design folders and re-branded them as Benchmade Pauls.

I respect Benchmade and its made-in-USA products, and re-branding the Pauls doesn't give me heartburn. But seeing "Lone Wolf Knives" applied to relatively cheap imports is a big disappointment.

When I interviewed Jim Wehrs last year, he used the word "upscale" a lot. He spoke about heat-treat specs not only for blade steel but also for liners and pins.

"We're not after the Wal-Marts of the world," he said with pride.

I see nothing upscale about the Lone Wolf brand's second act. Those new low-buck models, while they're not yet vying for shelf space at Wal-Mart, make a sad move in that direction.

That said, original-production Lone Wolf Knives are still available, including "Double-Action" autos like my Eagle Talon and my wife's Diablo. One dealer, KnifeWorks, managed to buy a sizeable lot of them from Benchmade and is closing them out at ridiculous prices.

How ridiculous? I'm talkin' $140 to $155 for a D/A automatic with FRN or G-10 scales -- that's half-price (give or take) and an absolute steal on a high-quality American-made knife that generally sold for MSRP.

I've found KnifeWorks to be a stand-up outfit, by the way, and Benchmade will make good on Lone Wolf's limited lifetime warranty.

If this isn't a no-brainer, it's pretty damned close. Get 'em here -- while you can.