Counterfeit Benchmade Skirmish knives
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30 March 2008
There is currently a seller offering Benchmade skirmish knives at bargain prices. Some sellers have successfully bid under £30 and won examples, whilst others have broken the £60 barrier, or succumbed to a buy it now of £55. From the item that I personally purchased it seems reasonable to ascertain that all of these are fakes. Unfortunately several buyers may have been taken in by the fact that they are actually very very accurate counterfeits - if they haven't previously owned a Benchmade knife or a blade of a similar high quality, they may not appreciate the details that set the items they purchased apart from the real thing. The seller in question has several pieces of positive feedback relating to sales of these items, though I now know that some of these ebayers have experienced buyers remorse and now cannot express this formally through the site. To help a potential buyer, here are a few things to look for: 1/ The knives are listed as being 'without packaging', but arrive in a white generic box. This is how counterfeit knives are shipped from the manufacturer. 2/ The scales (the metal plates that make up the grip of the knife) are meant to be titanium, and feature a sprung section that forms the lock of the blade. In a real Benchmade knife one presses this sprung section away from the grip in order to release the blade from the open position. This takes a degree of force, and once closed, the scale returns to a flush position. In the example sent to me, a relatively light pressure resulted in the scale bending away from the locked position and remaining there, meaning the blade would no longer stay open. Needless to say, Titanium is a little too robust for this to happen! 3/ Looking at the base of the blade (the section which mates with the lock) shows a poor standard of finish, looking hand filed rather than accurately milled. Genuine Benchmade knives are finished to the highest standard. 4/ The sprung section of the scale should have a small hole drilled in it towards the top (nearest the blade pivot) where a detent ball acts as a bearing against the blade so the finish is not scratched as you open and close it. The fake knives have no such drill hole and a tiny cast in 'lump' against which the blade will rub and ultimately be marred. 5/ Benchmade pivot bolts are not hex bolts, they are the more complex star design (sorry, I don't know the correct name for this type of fitting) 6/ On the fake blades there is a large gap between the frame of the knife and the blade itself. This is going to be hard to judge unless you can compare like with like. The seller did offer a full refund, though he insisted that my knife was sourced from a new supplier who he would not be using again. However, the picture used on the listing was the same for sales going back as far as feedback records allow, and quite probably much further. Also he has continued to sell these items, with the same picture and description, though preferring short listings - possibly so as not to draw attention and to reduce the risk of them being removed. If his supply has now changed, why was I not offered a genuine replacement? He has also sold a number of Gerber Kiowas, which are known in collecting circles to be amongst designs widely faked and introduced to the market (though genuine ones can be picked up for such a low cost, one wonders why!) Whilst I have not seen and example of the ones he is offering for sale, his history could suggest that these are also fakes, though no negative feedback has been posted in regard to them, though the quality difference between a good fake and a genuine Gerber Kiowa is probably much harder to pin down as it is not exactly a high end knife, frequently appearing as it does for under $30 in the states. These are also pictured against generic white packaging. I buy a lot of high end knives and source many from sellers in the states. Once you find one who doesn't charge $30 to ship a pocket knife (there are some really good ones out there who only apply a $10-$15 charge and the item arrives in under a week) you should be able to source a wider range of quality knives than is generally available on the UK ebay site.
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