Before I get into this review, I have to mention a few things about the Benchmade Knife Company. Benchmade has been in business for over 30 years, and has been designing and manufacturing knives and tools for essentially any task at hand. Simply put, their knives are built to perform. They have a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials at the buyers disposal, and have even gone so far as to provide custom orders for one of a kind knives via their website. They also go an extra step beyond and provide their LifeSharp Service and Warranty guarantee. Per their website, ” When you send your knife to the Benchmade LifeSharp team, the knife is completely disassembled and all worn parts are tuned or replaced. The knife is then lubricated and reassembled, a sharpener applies a factory edge to the blade and the knife is shipped back to you. All at no cost to you.”
Now if that isn’t a selling point, I don’t know what is!
The North Fork is a line of folders that make up the HUNT series of knives, and takes alot of key points from Benchmade’s flagship model, the mini Griptilian. Think similar, but different at the same time. There is alot to talk about with this knife so I’ll get right into it:
Benchmade decided that the North Fork knives would consist of two models, the Dash 1 (-1) with layered black and white G10, and Dash 2 (-2) with a stabilized Dymonwood handle. The version I am reviewing is the 15031-1, which is the G10 model. Here is a quick look at the specs, per the Benchmade website:
Blade Steel: CPM-S30V (58-60 HRC)
Blade Length: 2.97″ (7.54cm)
Blade Thickness: 0.114″ (2.90mm)
Open Length: 6.97″ (17.70cm)
Closed Length: 3.90″ (9.91cm)
Handle Thickness: 0.53″ (13.46mm)
Weight: 3.41oz. (96.67g)
What I Like About It: While the numbers can paint a picture, you really have to hold it in your hand to see how it all truly comes together. From the unique recurve blade profile, to the reversible tip up clip positions for pocket carry, you have a truly ambidextrous knife, thanks to the Axis lock mechanism made popular by Benchmade. Jimping is present in 2 separate areas behind the blade for confident purchase and use, and I found the G10 nice and grippy without being coarse enough to destroy my pocket. The layered black and white G10 handles provide secure purchase in a variety of grips, and have also been carved away to the side of the base of the clip in order to expose a hole suitable to secure an attachment (or lanyard) for ease of use. Speaking of the clip, like many of the Benchmade knives, clips for the Griptilian/Mini Griptilian series are compatible with the North Fork, including the satin and black deep carry clips, which I typically use. There are also 2 HUGE improvements over the standard Griptilian series that really set this apart as well – Full steel liners and upgraded S30V steel. While I have (and use) standard Griptilians with 154CM steel, and have no complaints with regards to performance, it’s nice to see they stepped up and included higher quality blade steel with the North Fork. It’s hard sometimes to justify the pricing of knives, but I think Benchmade priced this just right – Their website lists this at $165, but you can typically find it at around $140 with minimal searching (as of the date of this blog post). Do some digging and you may be able to score one from the secondary market (used) for a sub-$100 price tag.
What I Don’t Link About It: While I can appreciate the fact that Benchmade was not trying to make this look like an immediate copy of the Griptilian, I would have loved for them to stuck with a pure drop-point blade shape, and kept the recurve out of the equation altogether. The recurve shape gives it a look similar to the Kershaw Blur, and while they are great knives, they’ve proven to be quite a headache when resharpening. Still, the blade shape is suitable for hunting, and that’s exactly what the North Fork is made for. Also, I really wish they would have chosen to release more than 2 models, as there was so much opportunity left on the table, it makes me think that they really didn’t expect this line to do so well.
Final Thoughts: This is a knife combo that appeals to both young and old generations, and feels at home in the pocket whether you are out on the town, or hunting an 11-point buck. I really like this model, and it will sadden me to find it eventually replaced with the Crooked River and Grizzly Creek/Ridge knives that Benchmade is heavily promoting now. These are solid knives with a great design and I plan on picking up the Dymonwood version (15031-2) very soon. You can find both at Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2FmMX6d