Knives Illustrated

BENCHMADE MEATCRAFTE­R

Equally at home in the field or in the kitchen

- BY ZACH KERSEY

“THE MEATCRAFTE­R HAS THE PERFECT BLADE-TO-HANDLE RATIO AT AN OVERALL LENGTH OF 11.05 INCHES. MY FIRST IMPRESSION TAKING THIS KNIFE OUT OF THE SHEATH, I NOTED HOW COMFORTABL­E IT WAS TO HANDLE WHILE BEING LIGHTWEIGH­T AT ONLY 4.5 OUNCES.”

Benchmade Knife Company has been building excellent hunting knives for years. Whether it’s folding knives like the Crooked River or Grizzly Ridge, or fixed blades such as the Bushcrafte­r or Leuku, Benchmade’s hunting and adventurin­g models have gained a stalwart reputation among outdoorsme­n.

So, when the company began working with Meateater’s Steven Rinella, it’s safe to say that it had a reputation to uphold. Benchmade was looking to design the perfect knife that could be used in the field on your hunt and all the way back to your daily kitchen needs. Steven wanted to make sure this knife could be used for skinning, gutting, and boning.

“All while maintainin­g great edge retention, the perfect kind of flex and durability you could live with for years, like your favorite hunting knife,” Steven says.

A great partner for this knife, Steven is the star of the Netflix show Meateater and the Meateater podcast. He is also the author of six books about wildlife, cooking game, and bestseller “Meateater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Every Hunter and Angler.” This is a great collaborat­ion with Steven’s hunting and cooking background.

The completed design meeting these high standards is the Benchmade Meatcrafte­r 15500-1. The Meatcrafte­r utilizes a trailing point style blade with a length just over 6 inches and a new premium steel for Benchmade, CPM-S45VN, a steel providing the perfect balance between a fine grain and sharp edge with engineered blade flex.

CPM-S45VN is a newer steel from Crucible designed to offer improved corrosion and wear resistance over CPM-S35VN. The rebalanced chemistry of CPM

“THIS IS A GREAT KNIFE FOR ANY PERSON WHO SPENDS TIME IN THE OUTDOORS. NOT ONLY IS THIS A GREAT KNIFE FOR HUNTING AND FISHING, BUT ALSO FOR BACKPACKIN­G AND CAMPING.”

S45VN (slightly more carbon and chromium than S35VN) produces an excellent combinatio­n of edge retention, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and toughness.

The flex of the Meatcrafte­r is a great surprise to see from a Benchmade Hunt Class knife, which will now provide you with the versatilit­y to do boning work and still be strong enough for tougher jobs without running the risk of snapping the blade. The blade is a simple drop point shape with very thin and slick blade stock of only 0.09 inch.

In addition to the premium steel and versatile blade profile, Benchmade introduced its Select Edge on the Meatcrafte­r’s blade edge that provides a 14-degree fine, smooth edge to trim, debone, or slice your preferred cut of meat. Currently, the Select Edge is being used on fixed blade hunting knives, but Benchmade may just expand this use in the future.

The handle features a beautiful blend of brown, ivory, and black G-10 with milling that allows you to keep a firm grip even when your hand is wet with fish guts or blood from your hunt. The handle fits nicely in your hand. There is room to be able to have a good grip on it for those harder more intense jobs. The lanyard hole is large enough to allow you to use your favorite lanyard material and still be able to hang the knife on a hook in your kitchen or garage. Around the lanyard hole you have an anodized orange ring, giving you that pop of color against the ivory G-10.

The Meatcrafte­r has the perfect blade-to-handle ratio at an overall length of 11.05 inches. My first impression taking this knife out of the sheath, I noted how comfortabl­e it was to handle while being lightweigh­t at only 4.5 ounces. The handle thickness is 0.55 inch and the blade thickness

comes in at 0.09 inch. This makes it a perfect knife for anyone to use, without worrying about the weight of the knife making your hand and wrist tired in those exciting and tiring moments of gutting and cleaning your latest kill.

The Boltaron sheath provided with the Benchmade Meatcrafte­r is a vacuum formed sheath allowing the perfect fit and retention for the knife. The outside of the sheath is leather, giving it a softer feel than a standard plastic or Kydex material. While eyelets secure the material on the side of the sheath, they also provide you with many options for mounting it onto your backpack, hunting gear, MOLLE compatible equipment, belt, or leg gear. The Meatcrafte­r is easy to quickly pull out of the sheath whether you are left- or right-handed. The knife fits securely, but I found it to be easy and safe to get out. The sheath can also stand up to the multiple

repetitive uses when cleaning your game. It will stand up to the weather, the dirty hands, and can be easily cleaned after your trips.

Benchmade and Steven worked on this knife for about 18 months, wanting to make sure they were able to create a great knife that worked well in the field and looked nice enough to have in the kitchen.

For the chef of the family, you can bring the knife home from a hunting trip or fishing expedition, pull it out of the Boltaron vacuumed shaped leather sheath, and continue its use in the kitchen. This Meatcrafte­r is so sleek and beautiful, nobody would ever know you just brought it in from your hunting or fishing trip. The knife is amazing for cutting steaks, chicken, fish, and large pieces of meat such as a roast with no sawing, only a smooth cut. Not only does this nicely cut meat, but it can also be used to chop up anything in the kitchen and can be used for your everyday cooking prep.

Another design advantage of using the Meatcrafte­r in the kitchen is the ability to use the knife in a standard pinch grip. Using your thumb and index finger in the pinch grip allows you the versatilit­y to cut your food with the “low rock,” “high rock,” and “mincing” techniques, making the Meatcrafte­r’s place in the kitchen among your best knives.

I used this knife to cut up a large roast along with all the fixings with no problems at all and enjoyed the thinness of the edge, which made the cuts very clean, smooth, and easy. The blade and the handle felt great. It was easy to use and cut really well. I just cleaned up the knife with some soap and water after I was done, and it went back to looking as good as when I pulled it out of the box. I put it back in the sheath after it dried and now it is waiting for its next use.

This is a great knife for any person who spends time in the outdoors.

Not only is this a great knife for hunting and fishing, but also for backpackin­g and camping. You can use this knife to prepare your meals in camp and keep from having to pack multiple knives for meal prep.

So, if you are looking for a knife that can be used for all your outdoor and indoor food needs, the Meatcrafte­r is the knife to choose. Sourced from materials made in the USA, Benchmade makes all their knives in the USA out of its factory in Oregon City, Oregon.

Overall, the Meatcrafte­r is a wonderful addition to the Benchmade Hunt Class and one that makes the transition from the field to the kitchen with ease. With the engineered design and premium steel, I am excited to see where this will lead Benchmade’s Hunt Class and hope to see CPMS45VN again soon on another Benchmade Knife.

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 ??  ?? Above: The Meatcrafte­r’s vacuum-formed Boltaron sheath looks great and holds the knife very securely.
Above: The Meatcrafte­r’s vacuum-formed Boltaron sheath looks great and holds the knife very securely.
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The Meatcrafte­r’s handle is both elegant and functional.
Above: The Meatcrafte­r’s handle is both elegant and functional.
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The Meatcrafte­r in one of its two natural elements.
Above: The Meatcrafte­r in one of its two natural elements.
 ??  ?? Above, Top: The Meatcrafte­r features a very ample lanyard hole.
Above, Top: The Meatcrafte­r features a very ample lanyard hole.
 ??  ?? Above, Bottom: This knife creates a striking profile whether in the hand or in its sheath.
Above, Bottom: This knife creates a striking profile whether in the hand or in its sheath.

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