One more knife from Benchmade 707 family. There were several models in that line, I own one, you can check out the Benchmade 707 Sequel review. 16707BT Blackwater folder was made by Benchmade knife company for the Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater. I'll skip the details about Blackwater, since those are irrelevant to this review. Short overview would be that Blackwater, private company providing security services, was renamed to Xe in 2009. Apparently, that was related to the events Blackwater was involved in during Iraq occupation. Blackwater gear is the shop selling various equipment made for Xe(Blackwater) by different companies, including Benchmade. I am not so sure who was the designed of this particular knife, a designed from Blackwater, or Benchmade themselves was responsible for the design too. Either way, the knife can be purchased from various sources, not only Blackwater shop, and the design is really nice in my opinion.
General- Benchmade 16707BT Blackwater is a small folding Knife as far as my classification is concerned. 3" long blade is medium for some folks, but I tend to think, medium folders are 3.75" or longer. Overall, it is an all black design, using axis lock, G10 handle slabs, Black coating and to complete the blackness, the screws and the axis lock button are also covered in black. I got the knife from one of the forumites on the bladeforums, however it was in mint condition, no signs of sharpening or use. I got the original box with it as well. Initial inspection revealed no problems with the knife. Fit and finish were very good, no misaligned parts, no gaps where they shouldn've been, no dicks, dents, etc. Edge sharpening was ok, your usual factory grind, rather rough. Thanks to its construction and size the knife is pretty light, just 74g(2.60oz.). Clip is ambidextrous, as in it can be attached either from the left or the right side, but not to change tip up or tip down carry position. It is always tip up. I don't really care which way the folder tip is as usual, but most of the folder knives I have and carry are tip ups. Anyway, if you are picky about that, now you know.
Blade- 16707BT Blackwater folder has 75mm(2.95") long, spearpoint blade, with swedge tip. The blade has a slight recurve at the back. The recurve is small, but it's enough to make sharpening complicated on the stones. Better to use sandpaper on the mousepad sharpening method, or the Edge Pro sharpening system. Well, if you are up to it, you can remove the recurve altogether. A lot of knife guys do that with all sorts of knives. I just left it there, sharpening recurves is more complicated than the straight edges, but still doable. Initial edge was about 20° per side, or 40° included. very common for the factory knives. In my opinion, it is needlessly thick for the knife of this size and designation. Sooner or later, I'll get to it and thin the edge down to at least 30° inclusive. As usual, the edge was standard V grind. The blade is coated with black teflon, BT in Benchmade designation. Works ok as a rust inhibitor, but not very scratch resistant. Dual thumbstuds for easy opening, and the Blackwater logo below them complete the picture. As far as the blade geometry goes, I find the original, Benchmade 707 blade more utilitarian. Probably the Blackwater version has more strength, but I can't really imagine the 3" blade for heavy duty use. Here, see Benchmade 707 and Blackwater 167070BT folders side by side.
Handle- The handle is virtually identical with Benchmade 707 Sequel, which is not a surprise, Blackwater folder is based on 707 Sequel design. Handle material is different, on the Sequel it's Aluminum with G10 inlays, and on Blackwater it's pure G10. I stated in other reviews, I like Aluminum handle slabs better. After all I've spent over 130$ to get the Benchmade 710 TAC edition, just to get my hands on those Aluminum slabs :) Pictures and other details about that are in the Benchmade 710HSSR McHenry & Williams folder review, and I also placed custom order with Reese Weiland to make aluminum handle slabs for my Benchmade 806D2 Axis AFCK folder. Anyway, the handle is quite comfortable for its size, but if you plan on heavy duty prying or other chores of that sort, then it's too small for that, and I mean both, the knife size and the handle size. Liners are stainless steel, which is an usual feature for the Benchmade Axis lock knives. The lock itself on my knife was smooth and didn't get stuck. I've seen occasional reports about that, but none of my Axis lock folders ever exhibited that problem. There's Blackwater logo on the handle, and that completes handle feature list.
Usage- I didn't get to use Benchmade 16707BT Blackwater folding knife all that much. It's not like something prevented me, but simply I have too many folders that I like more. 154CM steel used in the Blackwater and many other Benchmade and non Benchmade knives isn't anything new and I'm not really big fan of it anyway. It is a solid performer, especially when heat treated properly. Benchmade did fix chipping issues with that steel, so, at least I don't avoid 154CM knives now. However, if you want maximum performance out of it, as in the maximum cutting performance, then you should perhaps look into rehardening. I did reharden 154CM Nimravus, well, to be precise, Phil Wilson did rehardening, bumping up hardness from 59HRC to 62HRC. Increase in cutting performance was dramatic to say the least. As a precaution, knives hardened to the max are not suited for prying and chopping.
Most of the use of the Blackwater folder included usual EDC chores, whenever I had it on me. Cutting rope(mainly for testing), some cardboard, opening envelopes, and few other small things that I happen to need to cut. Considering that the BT coating is still in mint condition, and how easily it gets scratched up and worn out, you can guess, I didn't cut all that much and nothing really harsh. Like I said, for utility cutting BM 707 Sequel has better blade geometry. One of the reasons I didn't use Blackwater folder that much. As far as the edge holding goes, it's what you'd expect from 154CM steel, at 58-60HRC. Can be better, but at that hardness it's safer in the hands of not so delicate knife users.
Conclusion- As a small folder on its own, it is a good knife. Well made, and pretty good design too. Now, whether you prefer Blackwater or the original Benchmade 707 Sequel, is entirely your decision. Performance differences based on pure blade geometry won't be that big, more important will be your skills with the knife. One or the other might work better for you, you just need to decide which one :)
- Steel: 154CM Stainless Steel 58-60 HRC;
- Blade: 75mm(2.95")
- Thickness: 3mm(.12");
- OAL: 170mm(6¾") Closed: 96.5mm(3.8");
- Weight: 74g(2.60oz.);
- Handle: G10 with double 410 stainless steel liners;
- Lock Mechanism: Axis lock (U.S. Patent #5737841);
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime;
- Acquired - 06/2008 Price - 70.00$
Last updated - 09/01/11