Benchmade 12800 NRA Osborne Gaucho is one more collaborative effort of Benchmade and custom knifemaker Warren Osborne. And, honestly, even though I gave up on tanto blades more than 5 years ago, once I saw this knife, I knew instantly I had to have it. So, I picked up Gaucho and Benchmade 707 Sequel almost at the same time. As you can see this small knife has a real long name :) But in other words Osborne designed this knife for Benchmade, that in turn made them in conjunction with NRA. I don't know what else was the deal, but that's the short version for the public. Frankly, who cares, it's a terrific looking blade, elegant, yet functional. Of course I'd be happier if it came in M2 or at least S30V steel instead of 154CM, but whatever, it'll do. I haven't had chipping problems with Benchmade 154CM lately, so can't really complain.
Blade- Well, as you already know it is a tanto blade, but that's like saying nothing about it. It is the most beautiful tanto I have seen so far. Seriously, I don't like tantos anymore, not much of a use or them, and not much of the lookers they are anyway. But this blade is different. If you've heard expression wicked looking then this is about Gaucho. I am sure later it'll have some name, like Benchmade Osborne 940 was Reversed Tanto... Basically, Gaucho has recurved blade, which is very rare for tantos, at least I haven't seen many, curved yes, but not recurved. Also, the tip is different from other tantos, it's more pointy, and prolonged. So, there's is no sharp transition from the belly to tip. Of course it is mode defined than in other folders, but less defined than compared to other tanto types.
Locking Mechanism- Gaucho is sporting Axis Lock mechanism that is found an so many Benchmade folders. And I personally consider Axis to be the best locking mechanism for folders as of today(2005). The bad thing is that apparently I got slightly defective knife :( The lock release bar is getting stuck when pulling back only from one side. This is not affecting lock strength or security, but spoils the experience a bit. All other axis locks I have (over 30 by now) never had this problem. Close examination shows that the bar is probably 0.5mm wider that it should be, so that allows one side to move back little bit more than the other (working side) thus tilting it and causing a jam. As I said, the problem only exhibits itself when single side is used to release the lock. If you pull the lock back from both sides it's butter smooth as usual. Since this doesn't affect lock functional strength I decided to skip the returns.
The Handle- It's made of aircraft aluminum, hard anodized. It's light, slim, quite scratch resistant, thanks to anodizing & aluminum, feels very nice in hand & has good ergonomics. The rifling on the handle does improve grip security, yet it's not too aggressive to became an annoyance when using for harder cutting chores. Overall, I have used it for around an hour of cutting continuously, and I can say it was comfortable all the time. No blisters on my palms, no sore spots. Of course this is not a chopper like kukri, it's just a folding knife, which isn't likely to be used for harsh works, but still good handle ergonomics are important.
Edge Holding- Not much to comment right now. Generally I am familiar with Benchmade 154CM steel blades. Granted that they use the same heat treatment process for their folders I wouldn't expect any big surprises from Gaucho. However edge geometry is an important factor in terms of edge holding, so once I sharpen this knife I'll update this page. For the record, factory edge was rather on the dull side and quite thick, around 40°-50° deg. included. That of course is way to thick for the folding knife. I'll bring it down to around 17° degrees per side, that is 34° included and then we'll see how it performs.
- Model: 12800 Osborne Gaucho;
- Steel: 154CM Stainless Steel hardened to 58-60 HRC;
- Blade: 90mm (3.54")
- Thickness: 2.89mm (0.114");
- OAL: 204mm (8.02") Closed: 114mm (4.48");
- Handle: Machined Aluminum Scales, 410 stainless steel liners
- Clip: Reversible, Silver, Tip-Up
- Lock Mechanism: Axis lock (U.S. Patent #5737841)
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- Acquired - 02/2005 Price - 120.00$
Last updated - 09/01/11