Friday, April 15, 2011

Lonewolf Knives under Benchmade; Mountainside Drop Point 40031-100, quick look.

40031-100 Mountainside drop point, my first taste of Lone Wolf, under the Benchmade corporate umbrella.  Handles seem to be the same grade of walnut wood that De Asis & Co. are using on the new for 2011 Michael Waddell Bone Collector wood handle models.
If you're not as knife & knife industry obsessed as freaks like myself, you may have missed that Benchmade Knives, of Oregon City, OR has acquired their Oregon neighbor, Lone Wolf Knives.  They have some beautiful stuff lined up for 2011 and beyond, including their revamped versions of Lone Wolf's "Paul" axial folding knives designed by the great Paul Poehlmann, which were originally manufactured by Gerber, back when Gerber Blades truly were legendary, long before Fiskars began to drive the company down the Chinese-made junk path in the early 1990s.  Benchmade's new Paul knives look amazing, & I can't wait to get my hands on at least 2 of the models offered for 2011.  Right as i was flying over the Pacific ocean to stand with my best amigo as he married his lovely wife, the Lone Wolf Mountainside Drop Point fixed blade was arriving at my door.  I'm impressed so far, for a knife which barely set me back a bit more than $50 usd including shipping from Roger Claunch's excellent, in Louisiana.

Benchmade's take on Lone Wol'fs Paul Axial designs, just 2 variations, of one of several models, pic courtesy
the Mountainside, with my lanyard, apparently Benchmade has FINALLY listed the steel as N860, known for its affordability & corrosion resistance
Mountainside Drop Point QuickSpecs:
  • Blade Length: 4.23"
  • Overall Length: 7.97"
  • Blade Steel: N860 Stainless Steel
  • Weight (with sheath): 5.5 oz.
  • Sheath: Leather
  • Made in USA

This basic, classy little fixed knife just got unboxed late last night, but look for updates, and a short video on the way...& take a look at Benchmade's new Lone Wolf offerings.  they are NOT, as some on forums initially suggested, foreign made.  To the best of my knowledge all of Lone Wolf's offerings, with Les De Asis' Benchmade at the helm, will be made in the USA, and so far, from my short time with the Mountainside, it certainly appears that Benchmade is taking the classic brand down a solid path.  More to come....

 Update: I should also note that the Paul knives discussed & pictured above are being marketed as part of Benchmade's "Blue Box", every day knife line, they will sport the Benchmade butterfly logo, and not the Lone Wolf triangle logo
April 18, 2011 2:47 AM


Dan said...

Cool Aaron. I am a huge fan of the T2, it's one of my favorite folders. I was a little disappointed when I heard about the acquisition but I wasn't necessarily thrilled w/ the direction Lone Wolf was going in anyways... I will be interested to hear your thoughts on the new "Lonewolf" knives.

Aaron said...

thanks Dan!
sorry for the late "publish" of your comment, I used to allow comments from anybody & everybody automatically, it actually took a few years before spam got bad, so now I'm forced to moderate, which sucks cause i love being able to just leave a comment on a blog or post I stumble on, without waiting for approval, or registering etc...oh well.
Either way, I appreciate anybody who reads what I do here, & you make a great point or 2 about Lone Wolf. I got a rosewood T1 folder as a holiday gift a couple years back, & I love it. It's a true classic & so deceptively basic, but Mr. Harsey made sure that every groove & feature on those knives has a purpose, no extra B.S., just a good folding knife. From what little I know, Lone Wolf was originally founded by some guys who branched off (years later) from Gerber after things started to get rough after Finland's Fiskars bought that company in like, 1989 or '90 I think.

It (Gerber lineage @ Lone Wolf) makes sense, Lone Wolf's (pre Benchmade obviously) top of line products always reminded me a bit of classic Gerber (look and feel), back when that company was really on-point and making some of the best "tactical knives" before that term ever really yet existed. Now there's a sad story, the path that Gerber has gone down, weird as it is, a few of the new Bear Grylls knives are probably (IMO) the best things Gerber has released in recent years, & that is not saying too much in the first place!

Regarding Lone Wolf, I was 50-50 about the Benchmade takeover. I love my rosewood handled T1, but I was otherwise sort of impartial to Lone Wolf, now I figure, it's likely that Benchmade may have saved some US jobs (or even created some new ones), and they may even be using the Lone Wolf facilities/machines (a likely guess) to make the knives. I guess just one more product line from a company (most often) known for its quality can't hurt. Les De Asis & Co. seem to have certainly earned their place as top dogs, although personally I have noticed points recently where Benchmade quality control is not quite what it used to be, but that's a whole new discussion.

I'm really digging the Mountainside, way more than I thought I would, & I'm looking forward to buying one of the inexpensive walnut handled folders in this same Lone Wolf series, & I'm gonna try to find out more process & business details about B-Made "buying" Lone Wolf. It's insane that they can offer a knife like this, US made for under $40
That's insanity, or maybe just do-able now that benchmade has essentially another shop.
If any other readers have interesting details, feel free to share, or email me. I'm just as interested in the personnel & marketing & business side of the outdoor/shooting/tactical products industry as I am interested in the gear itself. Particularly companies out of my local NW region. Oregon has that rich history of top notch sporting cutlery firms. Kershaw & ZT, Benchmade, Leatherman, Gerber, Lone Wolf, Al Mar, C.R.K.T., & many others past & present, it'd be interesting to know how many of these great companies have shared & swapped employees & ideas over the years.

Aaron said...

General Update: I should also note that the Paul knives discussed & pictured above are being marketed as part of Benchmade's "Blue Box", every day knife line, they will sport the Benchmade butterfly logo, and not the Lone Wolf triangle logo

Chris said...

I was about to pick up a similar Gerber at WalMart for half the money until I read your review. While twice the price is generally an issue, at these levels, I'll do without lunch a couple days to make up the difference. (I could use that, anyway.) However, I do have one question, and it may just be a case of photography vs. reality. From here, the handle looks like plywood colored with boot polish and squirted with shiney, cheap and crudely shaped by 45 seconds from an orbital sander, all held on by the smallest screws that would do the job. I like the shape of the blade, but the handle really has me thinking. Granted, at that price you are probably not going to get coco bolo, does it really have to look that cheap? For 1/2 the price, the Gerber has a plastic handle that looks like some thought went into the design. Please give a more detailed opinion on this aspect, if you would. My final decision is resting on your input. Thanks!

Aaron said...

hey Chris,
the handle on this & the other Lone Wolf fixed blade stuff in the series is walnut. It appears to be a slightly lower grade than they are using for the new Waddell Bone Collector knives in walnut. I hadn't really thought about if it looks cheap or not, or maybe I'm just forgiving of a sub-$50 knife mfg'd by an entity whose parent company (Benchmade) is generally more known for quality than not. It feels solid, it may just boil down to you seeking it out in a store to see how you like it in person.

CTone said...

A pretty classy knife, especially for the money. I like it. I'm enjoying that knifemakers are making good quality knives in their affordable lineup, instead of "darkopswarriortactical" stuff that fetches $300+.

I saw the Waddell folder the other day in Bass Pro Shops, and I have to say that that is one good looking knife. It was listed at $130, which isn't bad. If I hit the lottery tomorrow I still couldn't buy every knife that I want. I wouldn't mind trying though!