The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
Today, we'll be taking a look at one of Benchmade's current EDC blades, the McHenry & Williams designed 707 Sequel. Before I begin, it's probably a good time to let you know that I've decided to go back to my original format. While this lacks the number of photos and the level of detail found in the newer format, it'll be less time consuming for the reader (you) and myself. In the event that you find that you prefer the newer style with the extra photos, let me know and I may add more photos to future postings. On with the show...
* Blade Length: 2.95"
* Blade Thickness: 0.10"
* Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
* Blade Hardness: 58-60HRC
* Blade Style: Modified Clip-Point; Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs
* Handle Material: Machined 6061-T6 Aluminum with G10 inlays
* Weight: 2.60oz.
* Clip: Black Reversible, Tip-up
* Lock Mechanism: Axis-Lock
* Overall Length: 6.75"
* Closed Length: 3.80"
* Sheath Material: Sold Separately
* Class: Blue
BLADE: The blade is made from 154CM stainless steel, treated to 58-60HRC and detailed with a Satin finish. This material is a proven performer as it's been used on many of Benchmade's products. When considering the relative hardness of a knife, it's worth understanding that the Rockwell scale is not "linear". This means that the tangible difference in hardness between a rating of 58 and one of 59 can be fairly significant. That "difference" shows up in how long a blade retains it's cutting edge...and, conversely, on how easily it sharpens. Hopefully readers find this small bit of information helpful in that it'll explain why we see performance variance within the same type of steel. Suffice it to say that I've found that Benchmade's 154CM makes for an ideal EDC steel; it holds an edge reasonably well and yet sharpens without requiring a disproportionate amount of time and labor.
The Sequel's blade is 2.95" long and .10" thick. The sub-3" length increases the likelihood that the knife will be legal for most people to carry. The blade's geometry is aptly described as a three-quarters flat grind. This shape is superbly oriented towards everyday EDC tasks. The relative thinness of the steel makes the Sequel an excellent slicer. If you take a close look at the photo above, you'll see that the front portion of the blade's spine has a large swedge. While this area is unsharpened, I've found that it helps the blade move forward when being used to pierce material. The rear spine of the blade is not jimped and while I'd typically consider this absence to be a deficiency, the design of the knife makes jimping unnecessary.
Deployment of the blade is made possible through the use of ambidextrous thumb-studs. One of the things that I like about this knife is the thumb-stud design. It's terraced...but without becoming "volcano-shaped". This makes opening the knife a little more comfortable for the the user's thumb. As is the case with most of Benchmade's Axis-Lock knives, the Sequel's blade deploys with ease. Of course, the lock design itself isn't the only thing facilitating blade-opening, we've got proportional design, phosphor bronze washers and a slickly-executed pivot to thank as well. This all said, there is a downside to that kind of functionality; blade retention isn't what it should be. The Sequel sports a "tip-up" orientation...so this issue isn't a a good thing. Unless your knife is positioned "up against" the back of your pocket, the blade could open up a little...giving the user a nasty surprise when reaching into the pocket for something other than the knife.
HANDLE: The Sequel's handle is 3.80" long...just barely over half the knife's overall length when open. This gives the overall design of the knife a sort of "balance" and helps the blade feel particularly agile in the hand. Machined from Aluminum, the handle is both light weight and strong. The handle, as you can see in the photo, is fairly slender...and when combined with the relative narrowness in depth (thickness) ends up being a little smaller than I like. Or...put more bluntly, the Sequel is a little harder for me to hang onto than knives with a slightly larger handle. The Aluminum is a little smooth...and can be slick when wet. While the Sequel has G10 inlays...they are small and don't offer much in the way of traction. Beneath the Aluminum outer scales are skeletonized steel liners. Frankly, for a knife so small, this is unnecessary...but I'll never balk at being given additional strength without penalizing weight. The steel scales do provide a slight bit of jimping at the up-swept fore of the handle, giving the user's thumb a convenient place to land. The jimping isn't sharp or pronounced, so it doesn't add much in the way of purchase. Again, with a knife this size, not a big issue as controlling it is fairly easy.
As mentioned above, the knife has Benchmade's Axis-Lock. As expected, it works like a champ. Granted, on such a small knife, the Axis-Lock is a little more than most tasks are going to challenge...but it's nice to know that the knife will not close on your fingers. One of the benefits to having this lock system is that it makes the Sequel an incredibly easy knife to operate...in every sense...with just one hand. A locking-liner can be operated with one hand...easy enough...but it requires that the user reposition the knife within their hand. The Axis-Lock doesn't require that we make such an adjustment.
Before we exit the "Handle" section, I'd like to touch upon a topic that comes up from time to time; the durability of the Axis-Lock. I've read reviews where a number of readers question how durable the Axis-Lock is and how it'll hold up for years of time and use. Some people state that they've had the springs in their Axis-Locks fail. I've been using the system for many years. I've NEVER had one fail. I've never had a spring break. I've got one of the earliest Benchmade models to use the Axis-Lock system (the 730) and while the lock has become "smoother" to disengage, it operates beautifully and, again, I've never had it fail. You know what else? Benchmade stands behind their products...so if you own an older Axis-Lock knife and are concerned about the spring...send the knife in and let Benchmade do a refurb on it. I'm getting ready to send my 730 in to the Spa...and look forward getting the knife back in a reconditioned state.
PRIMARY USE: This is the simplest part of the review. The Sequel is an EDC knife, pure and simple. It'll handle, literally, any light-to-medium duty task that you can throw at it. And it'll do so quite well. As mentioned above, it's a superb slicer and the large "belly" of the modified Clip-Point shape provides for a wide variety of applications. Technically, the build quality of this knife is WAY BEYOND IT'S SMALL SIZE...so it WILL handle being put to really tough chores. The short blade length and relative thinness of the steel aren't geared for that though, so the smart user recognizes when a different tool is needed. The knife weighs next to nothing...so you won't find a stronger, more portable small knife anywhere.
SECOND KIND OF COOL: Frankly, the Sequel is a simple tool. While it looks "nice", it's not going to make anybody's heart skip a beat. The build quality, on the other hand, is undeniably cool. In terms of practical usability, it works magnificently...so that's cool too. Relative to "enjoyment of use", it scores well. The Axis-Lock system does make the owner want to open and close it...so there's some uber-coolness for you. On a 1-to-10 with "10" being "the coolest", I'll give the Sequel a rating of 7.
OVERALL TAKE: There isn't much to dislike about the Sequel. I'd like a little larger handle and better blade retention. Other than that, it's a wonderful EDC blade. It works beautifully. It's a really likeable little buddy. That's how I can best describe it. Ok...now for the biggest drawback to this knife; the price. You are looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $120 US...maybe a little more, probably not much less. Candidly, that's "high". The knife's price should be sub-$100. I guess that Benchmade's enjoying a little well-earned extra profit.
Another nice review, Chris. I enjoyed it.
Nice review Chris, the 707 is a great knife in a smaller package!