By Rick Shandley
Titanium, one of the strongest and lightest metals known to man is a big part of this Benchmade 760 LFTi folding knife. Bob Lum, a widely known and respected knife maker, fashioned the Benchmade 760 to be beautifully simple, functional, and hardworking. But it is the CPM-M4 steel used in this tanto blade, and the blade design itself, that we found to be a workhorse.
Unlike some of the previous Benchmade knives we have reviewed, the 760’s factory razor edge was continually put to work. Rather than leave the blade alone and just evaluate on design and potential cutting capability, the 760 was used for slicing irrigation line, climbing rope, horse harnesses, and many instances of just cutting through material that needed to be severed.
As long as the material could be separated with a knife edge, this tanto was not spared. A blade thickness of 0.150 inches gives the 760 plenty of rigidity to bare down on the blade if needed. There was no bending or wavering of the four-inch blade or its terminal connection in the titanium body of the knife.
With the blade in the open position, the entire knife is as solid as a blade can be without being fixed. The work was always directed towards cutting materials that you would use any working knife for, but no prying, scraping, or purposely hacking with the knife edge. With a blade hardness rating of 60-62HRC, the blade is capable of holding its edge with responsible use. In every case, the CPM-M4 tool steel cut quick and sure.
CPM-M4 tool steel is a high-speed, non-stainless, steel known for its toughness and resilience to wear. It is a hard steel that uses greater amounts of Vandium (by as much as 60-percent) and Carbon (increased by as much a 40-percent) to arrive at extreme blade hardness and edge integrity.
The tanto blade design works great for our purposes in general. With that decisive departure angle from the tip of the knife blade that separates the main cutting edge, the tanto design allows the 760 to bite down on the material being cut. Rather than a smooth arc from the main blade-edge to the blade tip, the tanto design appears to be easier to maintain the edge since you can sharpen the blade tip (approximately two inches of blade edge angling upwards to the actual blade tip), separately from the main cutting edge. Keeping even pressure on the blade during sharpening is always more challenging when you have to deal with the sweep of the non-tanto design blade edge like a drop-point or skinning blade. This perceived ease of maintaining the tanto blade edge is another quality that makes the 760 a good, everyday, working knife.
A hefty thumb-stud makes deploying the blade straight forward for a right-handed person. A thumb groove milled into the titanium handle offers good access to the thumb stud. The 760 does not use any kind of spring or mechanical assist to open the blade rapidly, and that’s fine with us. Again, this is a working knife you would tend to use for specific cutting purposes where casually opening the blade is perfectly acceptable. This is not a knife you’d want to whip out and impress someone with the speed the blade deploys to readiness. No it’s a knife onlookers will be impressed with because it cuts whatever it needs to cut effortlessly.
Benchmade builds the model 760 with titanium monolock mechanism to secure the blade into the open position. Since the entire knife body is made of titanium (the grade of titanium is unknown at this writing), the blade locking mechanism is integral to the knife body. As the tanto blade swings into position, an approximately 2.5-inch titanium arm slides over to lock the blade. Due to its high strength, the titanium locking arm appears very durable and positively locks the blade consistently with no slip. Unlocking the blade is merely a function of moving the titanium locking arm to the left, using your right thumb, to release the tension on the blade and fold the 760 shut. We like the monolocking mechanism because it is uncomplicated, with nothing to go wrong.
And since the entire 760 knife body is titanium, the overall weight of the knife is five ounces. That’s pretty light considering the stainless steel hardware and dense blade weight. With no handle shells on the knife body for design or cosmetic purposes, we can appreciate the directness of this design where the titanium knife body is both the aesthetic appeal and blade locking system. There is not much that can go wrong with this knife. It is just one of those high-end, custom designed, folders that will likely last the owner for a lifetime. Titanium is costly. High-end quality is not cheap. At about $270 retail, you are getting what you pay for, a lifetime tool.
The Benchmade 760 construction lends itself well to periodic maintenance as all the hardware is removable using the six-point hex-head tools you can acquire from Benchmade. We also like the blade-top thumb serrations at the hilt-end of the blade. With that chisel-like section of the tanto blade, and the rapid change in blade angle, you can really put some cutting pressure onto the object to be sliced. The thumb grip surface works with the robust knife body and blade to offer a lot of cutting force for its size. Closed, the 760 is five inches. Open, the 760 measures nine inches in overall length.
Having lived with the Benchmade 760 for several months, there is minimal visible wear to the sandblasted grey finish where the gold-brownish color of the titanium handle is visible. By no means does natural cosmetic wear bother this writer, nor is it viewed as a detraction of the overall functionality of this folding knife. The good news is the heavy-duty this particular folding knife is capable of. By no means is the 760 a delicate instrument; more like military grade.
We’ve enjoyed assessing the Benchmade 760, as we have with each of their various knife designs. There is a benchmark of high-quality built into these knives. Even though knives can be a thing of creative design and beauty to the individual beholder, it’s the journeyman workmanship that goes into each knife that make them reliable and useful tools that perform well consistently.