One of the most well-known names in quality knives, Benchmade has been a staple in the industry for quite a while and for good reason. With their well made and high-quality knives, it is no wonder that people love their blades and tools. But where are Benchmade knives made and manufactured? After a little bit of research, this is what I found.
Benchmade, known as Bali-Song then, was founded in 1979 by Les De Asis. They began making high-quality knives in California but soon began producing blades overseas as well. In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City and in 2010 they began making all of their knives at their headquarters in the U.S.A.
While, over the years, Benchmade’s company name, headquarters, and manufacturing locations have changed multiple times each, the company has consistently produced some of the most high-quality knives out there. So let’s dig a little deeper into where exactly Benchmade knives are made and some common questions regarding the topic.
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Where are Benchmade Knives Made and Manufactured Today?
Currently, all knives with the Benchmade logo being produced are made in the U.S.A. This has been a major change since Benchmade’s earlier days when a lot of their knives were made overseas in China and Taiwan.
After beginning in California, Benchmade moved its headquarters to Oregon City, Oregon. It is at their headquarters where Benchmade makes all of their knives today. They have a giant facility (144,000 square feet) in Oregon City where they make their knives using precision machines and the help of skilled operators and craftsmen.
While Benchmade has not always made their knives in the U.S.A., this pretty recent change has enabled them to make some really high-quality knives and up their standards. Benchmade has always prided its self and been known for their quality, and now, producing and making all of their knives in the U.S. is just one more step in that direction.
Super Quick History of Benchmade and Their Manufacturing Locations
Benchmade has had quite the history and their manufacturing processes and locations have changed numerous times. Throughout their history, the main goal it seems for Benchmade was to make the most high-quality knives that they could and this has driven some of the most important business decisions and changes that the company has ever faced.
When Benchmade was founded in California, their knives were custom made and produced locally with a very small team of craftsmen. The focus was on quality over quantity and soon the founder of Benchmade, Les De Asis, began to produce the model 68 Bali-Song which was the first factory-made Benchmade knife.
Very soon, Benchmade became quite successful with their balisong knives and began to branch out into other knife designs and types. They began to produce some of their knives overseas in China, Taiwan, and in other countries.
The quick expansion of the company soon caught up to it and soon Benchmade had to file for bankruptcy because they were having trouble with the quality control, price, and delivery of their knives that were produced overseas.
By 1988, Les De Asis, the original founder of the company, started the operation up again with a new passion and drive to provide the best quality knives to costumers as possible. Up until this point the company had gone under many names such as Bali-Song and Pacific Cutlery Corp., but now it became known as Benchmade to represent the goal of the company to make a factory-made knife that felt and was the quality of a handmade one.
In 1996, Benchmade moved its headquarters to Oregon City, Oregon, and began shifting their knife production back to the U.S.A. from overseas. And in 2010, all of Benchmade knives began being made solely at their headquarters in Oregon City, Oregon.
This change in manufacturing location has been mostly for the better because Benchmade’s quality control has been able to be quite strict, and in turn, their products are really reliable and high quality. While the location of their manufacturing has changed over the years, Benchmade has stayed committed to its goal of providing high-quality care and products to its costumers.
Which Benchmade Knives are Made in the U.S.A.?
While all Benchmade knives are now produced and made in the U.S.A. in their Oregon City facility, this wasn’t always the case and it is often confusing to look through older Benchmade knives and know which ones were produced in the U.S.
Benchmade has a unique way of organizing their knives and they do it in the form of Classes. There are four major Benchmade knife Classes: Red, Black, Blue, and Gold. Since 2010, all Red Class Benchmade knives have been discontinued. As far as my research suggests, all Blue, Black, and Gold Class Benchmade knives have all been produced in the U.S.A.
Basically, all current and new Benchmade knives are made in the U.S. as well as older Blue, Black, and Gold Class Benchmade knives. So just follow those guidelines and you should be pretty certain that your knife was made in the U.S.A. But, as always, make sure to check packaging and markings on the actual knife to verify where it was made.
Are Any Benchmade Knives Still Made Outside of the U.S.A.?
Nope. That’s should basically sum it up for you.
Ever since the Red Class was discontinued in 2010, I don’t believe that any Benchmade knives are made outside of their Oregon City facility. This means no more outsourced or overseas production and now all Benchmade knives are made solely in the U.S.A.
While this might not seem like that huge of a deal, Benchmade used to make a good portion of their knives in China, Taiwan, and in other countries. This included the Red Class, HK-Knives, as well as NRA Outdoors knives. Benchmade simply discontinued all of these classes and knife lines to switch to producing only American made blades and tools.
Now, all new Benchmade knives are only made in the U.S.A. and there are no more knives with the Benchmade logo being made outside of the U.S. There are still plenty of older Benchmade knives out there that were made outside of the U.S. but all of the new ones are made in their Oregon City facility.
Which Benchmade Knives Used to Be Made Outside of the U.S.A.?
Benchmade has a wide variety and selection of knives and their lineup seems to shift and change quite often. One of the biggest changes to their catalog of knives was when they discontinued all of their knives that were made outside of the U.S.
There were quite a few knives made outside of the U.S.A. and this included the entire Red Class, HK-Knives, as well as many NRA Outdoors knives. When they quit producing the Red Class and the other mentioned lines in 2010, it was a major change but it marked Benchmade’s turn to only American made knives.
Red Class Benchmade knives were simply the company’s way of trying to break into the lower end of the knife market. While many knife companies make a lot of sales and profit from their lower end and mid-range knives, Benchmade knives were always higher priced and the Red Class was their way of trying to make a line of Benchmade knives that didn’t have the premium price tag.
While this was an effective strategy, it made them have to produce the knives overseas to keep the costs low. This was the same mentality with the HK-Knives and the NRA knives and they were all discontinued when Benchmade switched to only making knives in the U.S.
There are many different knives in the Red Class, HK-Knife line, and the NRA Outdoor knife line, so while it might seem small here we are literally talking about a lot of different knives. It was quite a significant portion of Benchmade’s knife catalog that was produced overseas and therefore discontinued in 2010.
Why are All Benchmade Knives Now Made in the U.S.A.?
The main thing that forced Benchmade to quite producing their knives that were made in China, Taiwan, and other places outside of the U.S. was their inability to do strict quality control, as well as many other factors.
Benchmade as a company has always been focused on high quality and well-made knives, and with their knives that were made overseas, they simply could not keep that standard as strict as they would like. While many companies would simply adjust their expectations on quality, Benchmade wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice so they put their customers first and just went ahead and discontinued all of their knives that were made overseas.
While there is no definite answer to why Benchmade discontinued all of its knives that were not produced in the U.S., it definitely had something to do with prices, quality control, and shipping. There are a lot of different factors that would go into a decision like this, but the main takeaway was that the knives made overseas just weren’t as great as Benchmade expected so they decided to quit selling them.
Now, Benchmade is in a position to tout the “Proudly Made in America” and it is a major selling point for their knives. Because of this switch, Benchmade knives have continued to be the standard for high quality and well-made knives and lead the industry in this regard.