Thursday, May 26, 2011

Benchmade Sequel 707 Review

The Benchmade Sequel 707 is the sequel to 705. That knife was a smaller version of the McHenry designed 710, which is a very good, slim carry large EDC blade. The Sequel is an upscale, highfalutin version of the nice, slim, useful 705.

Here is the Sequel's product page. Here is a good street price for the blade. Here is a video review of the Sequel from the always entertaining CajunBlaze (one of my very favorite reviewers on YouTube). Here is a written review of the Sequel. The knife comes in a bunch of options: plain edge, combo edge, black out, and regular.



Design: 1

So what is it? Is it an upscale version of the Mini Griptillian? Or is it a more rugged, price conscious version of the Shoki? The handle is okay. The blade size is great. It has a very respectable blade:handle of .78. Then there is the weird fish scale "inlay" made of G10. Why the hell do you make an inlay of a material as UNATTRACTIVE as G10. I can understand a mammoth ivory inlay or a beautiful ironwood inlay (I can understand them, but I don't really like them). But G10? Seriously, that is dumb. And it is also adds nothing to the knife in terms of grip. Finally, there are liners. Why? This is a metal handled blade, why add liners? Its like a pillow with an airbag.

Fit and Finish: 2

If SOG does perfect grinds, Benchmade does perfect fit and finish. I love everything about the knife's fit and finish. Everything was snug, tight, and well made.

Grip: 0

The aluminum handles are not matte finished enough and the fish scale makes things worse. The jimping, for whatever reason, is INSIDE the handle, cut into the liners instead of the handle slab itself. The blade is a great size and shape so that is okay, but there is not much traction at all. I know because when working the yard I pulled it out and cut open a bag of bug repellant. I was sweaty (as an Italian, I am pretty much always sweaty in the summer time) and the aluminum became slick. I went to close the knife and it fell, landing tip first on a paver. Boo. I will accept the blame for the drop, but it is the first and only time I have dropped a knife in that situation like that and I have carried a knife for 20 years. It has no traction. AND an ugly fish scale.

Carry: 2

Slim, slim, slim and with no functional jimping it slides in and out of your pocket with ease. It slides out of your hand as well, but that is another point.

Steel: 0

Okay, this is inelegant and inarticulate but: FUCK THIS SHIT. I hate this steel. I have other knives with 154CM and they are okay, they get sharp and hold an edge, but even in better formulations, they rust. This knife, however, was insane. I literally could not keep it rust free. I live in Massachusetts not the friggin Amazon, and even with our moderate humidity this was a freckle fest. Little pocks of rust were on the blade at the end of everyday. I don't know if I got a lemon or what, but this steel did not hold up at all. There is a D2 version, but it is a limited edition Sequel. It might be worth tracking down if you really like this blade.

Blade Shape: 2

The Sequel has a nice, clip point blade and it really suits the size of the knife well. Plenty of belly. The tip isn't the sturdiest thing in the world, but that is par for the course on a clip point blade.

Grind: 1

Grind is good. It is a little more complicated than needed with a few extra facets, but nothing that affected the performance all that much. I would always prefer a high hollow grind or a full flat grind, but this was okay.

Deployment Method: 2

The pivot is smooth and the thumb stud easy to use. It was placed well, far enough away from the handle for your thumb to sneak in there and build up grip and tension for the flick open. Without a lock back mechanism pressuring the blade it flew out. Not lightning fast, like my Leafstorm, but plenty fast.

Retention Method: 2

I like the Benchmade clip. It is not GREAT, not like the Spyderco Wire Clip or the Vantage clip, but still it works very, very well.

Lock: 1

Okay, I know the Axis lock has many fans. I am sure it is a STRONG lock, but disengaging it is a bit fiddly. The spring on another Axis lock knife I had failed or jammed so I was always aware of this and used two fingers to pull the lock bar back. It does allow for smooth opening and good lock up, but I prefer a liner lock and a frame lock, even a well done back lock, in an EDC blade. In a tactical blade I would imagine you'd need something beefier and maybe this is where the Axis lock shines. For a pure utility blade it is a little too fiddly for me. The spring failure issue seems to have been addressed, as it never failed on this knife.

Overall Score: 13 out of 20

To me, the Benchmade Sequel 707 is a missed opportunity. It is not classy enough to be a dress knife and not utilitarian enough to be a true EDC blade. In a way I see it as a knife that represents Benchmade as a whole--lots of potential, great fit and finish, but lacking in design and materials. It is also a woefully ignored blade, because for all of its problems, it is still a decent carry option.

1YL: 14 out of 20

My experience with 154CM is much greater now than what it was when I did this review.  I am willing to admit that this particular Sequel had a lemon batch of 154CM.  I really love the steel and I have it on a few different knives, none of which behaved like the steel on this knife did.  Still, this is a classic tweener knife and an ugly one at that.  

7 comments:

  1. Wow. Dang. A few weeks ago, this knife really struck my fancy, but I went another direction and bought a Spyderco instead. Still, I kept thinking about the Sequel as a possible next purchase, though it was falling in the list for all the reasons you mentioned. Well, at least the reasons that I could tell from looking - G10 inlay, no jimping, ambivalence about the Axis lock, etc.

    Your review sealed the deal and saved me quite a few bucks. Thanks.

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  2. Wow, biased much? I've read numerous glowing reviews and yours is the only negative one around. Too bad the other poster wasn't smart enough to look around a little, he would have found a plethora of far better reviews to help in his decision. I've owned two benchmades for years, my wife one as well, have never, and I mean NEVER had a single speck of rust on one.

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  3. Take a look at the Mini Grip review. They have fixed both major issues. Hopefully the improvements carried over to the Sequel.

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  4. I find it very hard to believe the rust issue with this steel. I own six Benchmade knives with 154CM steel and never had a rust problem. You seem to pick this knife apart giving the impression that you know very little about blade steel, build quality, and a true work knife. The 707 is not about "Eye Candy". It's a well built knife that will give years of service. You might be better off with one of those flashy Pakistan made knives you win at a carnival.

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  5. Here is the the post updating my opinion of the 154CM steel:

    http://www.everydaycommentary.com/2011/09/mini-grip-lock-and-steel-update.html

    And here is my review of the Mini Grip with the "same" steel:

    http://www.everydaycommentary.com/2011/10/benchmade-mini-griptillian-555hg-review.html

    I am weary of updating this knife's score because I am sure that the formulation and heat treat of steel changes over time. I spoke to a few makers and they confirmed this to be true. One, in particular, noticed changes in 420HC so much that they decided to make their own.

    I guess I would put it like this: 154CM can be a VERY good steel (my 555HG is still rust free) but there can be problems too.

    I will note that my Skeletool's blade (also 154CM) has had some rust issues. Not as bad as this knife, but still noticeable and enough to require some treatment.

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  6. Holy crap,Boy are you way off,what was in your coffee that day.

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  7. Wow, very surprised about this review. I have carried this knife as EDC for years. It is the answer (for me) for the perfect pocket knife. It is slim, sturdy, legal (under 3"). I can deploy quickly.

    I will say that I have it in D2 and I am getting some pock marking around the thumb stud. But - I take blame, because I never clean or oil it. Being D2 it stains easier.

    I also have one in 154CM and the blade is spotless.

    Great knife!

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