Benchmade Hunt Series Nestucca Cleaver, Orange G10, Sheath

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SKU:
BEN15100-1
Based on the traditional Alaskan ulu, the "Cleaver" makes short work of big game with long cuts. The huge radius of the blade spreads cuts across a long CPM-S30V surface, affording incredible edge retention and the handle and finger hole allows for multiple hand positions. Made in the USA.

Specifications:

  • Blade Length: 4.41"
  • Blade Thickness: 0.140"
  • Total Length: 6.58"
  • Weight: 4.95 oz.
  • Handle Thickness: 0.57"
  • Made in the USA

Along with Benchmade's Black, Blue, and Gold Classes of knives and tools, the company also offers the Hunt Class, formulated to meet the needs of the hunter without folksy compromises or faux traditionalism. In fact, thanks to Benchmade's combination of research, laboratory analysis, and countless hours of field testing, the company has formulated a class of tools that respects hunters' quest and brings 21st century materials to bear on the challenges hunters face in the great outdoors. These Hunt Class tools draw from the advanced materials developed for aerospace programs and surgical theaters, add the polished aesthetics of clean design lines, and build in the wilderness-ready durability that spells performance.

The Benchmade Hunt Series 15100-1 Nestucca Cleaver is just such a tool. Defined by its premium powder-metallurgy steel, its fresh take on a traditional blade shape, and its practical flexibility, this tool restates what hunters deserve in a form that all of them will understand and want.

Blade Profile

Welcome to a 21st century reinvention of the classic ulu, or "Inuit woman's knife," that tackles virtually every chore that Yup'ik and Aleutian women entrust to it. The ulu’s blade carves one 90-degree quadrant out of a full circle and concentrates force into the middle of the cutting edge. This broad curve produces an enormous handle belly, giving the ulu the ability to function as a one-handed tool. Applied in a rocking motion, the force of one hand cuts steadily without any need for an ancillary tool because the ulu holds down the material at the same time that it slices through it it. It's as if you could use a table knife without requiring a fork to hold your food in place.

The ulu is a very old tool fixed-blade tool. Archeologists have found exemplars dating back to as early as 2,500 BC. In the families in which uluit pass from generation to generation, these tools take on heirloom significance. Traditional belief states that each ulu acquires and passes on the knowledge of everyone who uses it, making it a treasured artifact as well as a practical implement.

To differentiate among the intended uses of individual uluit, look at the size of each blade. Small uluit cut garment pieces out of animal hides. Larger uluit form general purpose implements for household or hunting use. Alaskan peoples use the ulu to cut everything from igloo building blocks to food, hides, and hair. They skin and clean game with this tool, scrape, chop, thin leather, and use an ulu for anything that requires a sharp edge.

The traditional ulu combined natural materials that didn't require metal smelting, a manufacturing technology that was absent from the environment in which this tool took shape. An early ulu combined a slate or even a copper blade with a handle fashioned from wood, bone, antler, horn, or ivory. Although the modern version of the traditional ulu often features a steel blade, it's likely to be fabricated out of another cutting tool such as a saw blade. Some commercially made uluit use plastic handles.

Various styles of uluit developed in specific geographic locations. The differences among them often involve how blade and handle fit together. Some ulu handles attach like a stem to a flower. Others square off the shape of the blade into a triangle. Despite these variations, the function and the flexibility of the tool remain the same.

Benchmade's Hunt Series S15100 Nestucca Cleaver alters the traditional shape of the ulu to reflect the tool after which this knife is named. Its full tang blade features an enormous belly with a clipped edge coming off the spine. The result is a cutting tool with a large radius. Where spine and clip meet, a series of jimping grooves eases the task of applying pressure directly to the spine. A second set of jimping grooves appears on the clip itself from the forward end of the cutting edge toward the spine, covering roughly half the edge of the clip.

At the edge of the blade, a band of chamfering extends all the way around the curve of the belly, thinning down the edge. A large finger hole in the center of the area formed by the blade profile makes it easy to use the Benchmade Hunt Series S15100 Nestucca Cleaver with an alternate grip. You can hold the tool by its handle, its finger hole, and even its spine, depending on the size of your hands, and the nature of what and how you're cutting. The cutting radius provides a sharpened edge larger than you'll find on virtually any blade other than a sword or a circular saw.

Blade Finish

Benchmade applies a satin finish to the blade of the Hunt Series Nestucca Cleaver. The gleaming expanse of metal makes this tool look as much like a work of art as a practical implement. A black coated blade would appear out of place on this minimalist design.

To personalize or identify your Benchmade Hunt Series Nestucca Cleaver, choose optional lasermarking to add your name, a favorite saying, a graphic, or any other combination of text and imagery, to the blade in a permanently engraved form. Benchmade applies these extras using the same type of laser equipment that adds the company's butterfly logo, the names of its blade steels, and other identifiers to its knife blades during the manufacturing process. The cost of these options depends on what, and how much, you have engraved.

Blade Steel

Crucible Industries' CPM S30V forms the premium stainless steel of the Benchmade Hunt Series 15100-1 Nestucca Cleaver's blade. Tough and hard, measuring between 58 and 60 HRC on the Rockwell Hardness Scale, this high-carbon (1.45%) alloy demonstrates superior wear resistance, excellent edge retention, and a superb degree of corrosion resistance, all wrapped up in an expensive package that many think is worth every penny because of its desirable attributes for knife making.

The letters "CPM" in the name of a Crucible Industries steel stand for "Crucible Particle Metallurgy." Patented, trademarked, and proprietary, the CPM process represents Crucible's unique take on a revolutionary step forward in modern steel production.

Traditional steel making melts the recipe of an alloy in an electric arc furnace, applies some post-smelting processes to it, and then pours it from a ladle into ingot molds. The drawback to this process arises as the metal cools. The homogeneity of its combination of elements begins to settle into a segregated mixture that can't offer the performance of its original elemental blend. Some post processing steps can roll back some of the segregation, but the effects can't be counteracted completely, and they're all the more likely to affect complex alloys than simpler ones.

The CPM process changes all that. Instead of pouring steel into molds, the molten metal sprays through a small nozzle under high pressure from inert gas. The stream of liquid changes to a spray of tiny droplets, each of which cools into a tiny spherical particle that forms a minuscule ingot. Next, the cooled powder loads into a canister in which it undergoes the combination of heat and pressure, turning it into a compacted form. Because the individual particulate ingots retain their homogenous, uniform composition and don't segregate, the powder that loads into the canister also retains that unsegregated form, and the heat-and-compression cycle doesn't disrupt the elemental composition of the alloy. Toughness and wear resistance increase, final heat treatments have maximal effectiveness, and the resulting alloy can be ground into effective blades that hold an edge so well, their cutting edges can abrade a honing steel.

CPM S30V incorporates 1.45% carbon, 14.00% chromium, 0.50% manganese, 2.00% molybdenum, 0.50% silicon, and 4.00% vanadium. Chromium increases corrosion resistance and boosts hardness. Manganese raises hardness and wear resistance. Molybdenum increases edge retention. Silicon magnifies hardness. Vanadium contributes to toughness, wear resistance, and edge retention.

Perhaps the one drawback of this premium steel is its resistance to developing a mirror finish. The satin finish that Benchmade uses on the Hunt Series S15100 Nestucca Cleaver gives the blade a beautiful uniformity. An alloy with this much vanadium will wear out polishing tools without ever reaching a mirrored shine. CPM S30V originated as an alloy for use in making dies for injection molding, not knives, and manufacturing equipment doesn't require the kind of shine that knife makers want their blades to display. The brushed finish of a satin surface results when the metal undergoes sanding that stops before the process reaches ultra-fine grit sanding. This option makes a better alternative for a high-vanadium steel than an only partially successful attempt at mirror polishing.

The chemical makeup of a steel tells a part of the story of its performance in a knife blade. The final step that determines the effective in-use behavior of a blade comes when the manufacturer applies heat treatment. Benchmade has developed a series of specialized recipes, each one attuned to a specific alloy, that wring the best combination of attributes out of each steel.

Handle Materials

Unlike the natural materials that tradition uluit use for handles, the Benchmade Hunt Series Nestucca Cleaver features contoured, textured G10. This enduringly high-tech material forms from the combination of multiple layers of continuously woven glass fibers and epoxy resin, subjected to high amounts of pressure and then baked. The result is virtually impervious to water, and doesn't shrink or conduct electricity: Attributes that go a long way toward explaining G10's prevalence as a substrate for the creation of printed circuit boards. G10 yields a lightweight, rugged material that keeps its shape even when exposed to humidity and moisture. It's called a thermosetting fiberglass composite because it requires heat treatment to reach its final form. The G10 handle scales of the Benchmade Hunt Series Nestucca Cleaver are tinted safety orange.

Handle Design

The textured surface of the G10 handle scales on the Benchmade Hunt Series Nestucca Cleaver makes them resemble slabs of an exotic orange wood. Near the blade, a milled depression on the left scale provides a resting place for the tip of the thumb. Around the lanyard hole at the butt of the handle, the G10 scales are milled away, revealing a corner of the blade tang in a sculptured design that gives the cleaver a very modern look. The entire tool fastens together with two Torx screws.

Pocket Clip

Obviously, an implement of this size neither requires nor benefits from the addition of a clip, given that the Benchmade Hunt Series S15100 Nestucca Cleaver would exceed the dimensions of most pockets. Affixing hardware to the handle scales would clutter the design without offering any practical benefit.

Sheath

Benchmade supplies a top-stitched brown leather sheath with the Hunt Series 15100-1 Nestucca Cleaver. Shaped in an arc that repeats the curve of the cutting edge, this sheath covers only the blade, not the handle. It features the Benchmade logo and fastens with a snap closure. The thick leather offers rigidly protective security for an enduringly sharp tool.

Knife Dimensions and Weight

It measures 6.58 inches in overall length, with a 4.41 inch blade length, for a handle length of 2.17 inches. The blade measures 1.40 inches thick; the handle, 0.57 inches thick. The cleaver weighs 4.95 ounces.

Other Observations

Nestucca is both the name of a river in Benchmade's home state of Oregon and an American Indian word for part of a river. The Benchmade Hunt Series S15100 Nestucca Cleaver clearly shows two sets of design influences: The traditional uluit of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, and the butcher's implement of European descent. Once you acquire this sculpturally exotic tool, broaden your usage expectations to include at least some of the ulu's multitude of applications, as well as the cutting and chopping motions that typify a standard cleaver. If you explore the possibilities of the tool, you'll quickly find that they're limited only by your imagination and the circumstances you encounter. And if your game hunting excursions leave you with more memories than results, try the Benchmade Hunt Series S15100 Nestucca Cleaver in your kitchen.

S15100 Nestucca Cleaver

Weight

4.95 oz.

Overall length

6.58"

Closed length

N/A

Blade length

4.41"

Blade thickness

0.140"

Handle thickness

0.57"

Handle material

Textured G10

Handle color

Orange

Blade material

CPM S30V stainless steel

Blade hardness

58-60 HRC

Blade style

Cleaver

Blade grind

Flat

Blade finish

Satin

Blade edge type

Plain

Pocket clip

N/A

Opener

Fixed blade

Sheath material

Brown leather with snap closure

Benchmade product class

Hunt

User

Right-handed or left-handed

Best use

Outdoor

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices

S15100: $145