Pat's Product Review: Benchmade's 63 Bali-Song Bowie

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I still remember when I first laid my hands on a "butterfly" style knife - it was back in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1986 or 1987. I thought they were a bit strange-looking, to say the least. And the examples I handled were all very cheaply made on top of it all. I just didn't get what all the fuss was about, watching people doing the "twirl" with the butterfly knives - they had to whipped these knives out of their pockets and fling them around, until they opened and locked in their hand. Seemed like a lot of work, when I was simply able to draw a folder from my pocket and push the blade open with a thumb stud or hole in the blade - in a lot less time. Yeah, it didn't look very impressive - my method of opening a knife, but it was fast, and the knives I carried back then, were much better built - not some cheap stuff from China or Taiwan. Besides, I've been of the opinion, if I have to fast-draw a knife to use it to save my bacon, I think I've already lost the fight.
 
For some strange reason, the FedGov decided to ban the importation of butterfly knives into this country. Apparently, they are more deadly than other knives - the same lame thinking that has so many federal restrictions on automatic folders - "switchblades" if you will. And, I can still open a folding knife with a thumb stud or hole in the blade, faster than a person can push the button on an automatic knife. I guess we have Hollywood to thank for bans and restrictions on certain types of knives (and firearms [and firearms sound supressors]). As well as ill-informed politicians, who believe a person can mail-order a firearms or buy one over the Internet. I had a discussion with a friend about this, and "yes" you can purchase a firearm over the Internet - I'm not disputing that. However, delivery of that firearm across state lines must be made through a licensed gun dealer - you can't have the gun shipped directly to you. However, the politicians don't bother to tell the lamestream news media this, and they are too stupid to research it for themselves. Don't even get me started. Of course, importers have gotten around the import restrictions on automatic and butterfly knives, but not importing the knives as complete knives - they come in parts - and are assembled here.
 
Over the years, I've owned a few butterfly knives, but I never once owned a cheap one. I've had several samples from the leader, that is Benchmade Knives and they don't produce any junk. I recently received the newest butterfly knife from Benchmade, and this one, is probably the stoutest butterfly folder I've ever run across. We have the Model 63 Bali-Song Bowie. Benchmade is the leader in my humble opinion when it comes to butterfly-style knives. BTW, the "Bali-Song" name and distinctive butterfly logo are trademarks owned by Benchmade, so don't refer to all butterfly knives as "Bali-Songs"--they are not!
 
The 63 Bali-Song Bowie is a butterfly folder--if you can call these types of knives "folders" they do fold - sorta. It has a blade made out of D2 tool steel - some really tough and hard-working steel - it's not a true stainless steel, and it can rust or stain if not properly cared for. However, D2 tool steel takes an edge and it lasts a long, long time. Only downside is, if you let the D2 get too dull, it is a pain to get it re-sharpened - be advised, keep a good edge on D2 knife blades. The blade is long, 4.25-inches - and may not be legal to carry in some locales - check the laws in your area. And, needless to say, this is a clipped Bowie-style blade - always one of my favorite designs. The blade thickness is 0.120-inches - plenty thick for a folding knife. The hand is made out of machined stainless steel and is 0.480-inches thick, with holes in the handle to lighten the overall weight of the knife - which is 6.39-ounces. The D2 tool steel blade has a Rockwell hardness of 60-62 - very hard, but as I pointed out, it holds an edge for a long, long time.

Some butterfly knives come with a pocket clip, the 63 Bali-Song Bowie does not, however it comes in a very heavy-duty Nylon sheath that you wear on your belt, with Velcro closures. The overall length of the 63 Bali-Song Bowie is 9.20-inches open and closed it's 5.27-inches, so this isn't a small knife by any means. To keep the handles closed on the knife, there is a T-latch lock - which fits the two handles together snuggly, when the knife is opened or closed. It took some effort to open the T-latch lock - this isn't a knife you can draw and fling open, like the cheap models that are so loose, you worry about them actually coming apart when you fling them open. And, when the handles are opened and locked in place, there is zero movement - the handles lock together "that" tightly - there is no slop in the blade or handles.
 
One thing I really like about butterfly knives - good ones - is that you can't accidentally close the blade on your fingers as long as you're holding the knife in your hand with a secure grip. The handles are opened 180-degrees exposing the blade, and the handle scales lock together - and even if they didn't lock, so long as you have a secure hold on the knife, the blade can't close on you. This is a super-strong locking method. However, if you have a cheap imported butterfly knife, the pivot pin can break or even the blade or handle scales can break - many are made from die-cast zinc - not a good material for this type of knife design.
 
I really liked the heavily clipped Bowie-style blade on the 63 Bali-Song, then again, as I mentioned before, I've always been partial to this type of blade design - it's a proven one for many tasks. However, I personally see the 63 Bali-Song as a knife to be used for self-defense purpose - although, it can be used for a variety of other daily tasks. As far as I'm concerned, butterfly knives are best reserved for self-defense purposes in my book. I did use the 63 for tasks around the house, and some outdoor chores. The blade on my sample was razor-sharp, and I expected nothing less from a Benchmade knife. One test I always give knives is to see how well they can cut through a blackberry vine - and these are very tough plants. The 63 had no problems easily cutting through blackberry vines with one slashing movement - like I said, these knives are best suited for self-defense purposes, and in a folding-type knife, slashing cuts are what wins the day - deep and repeated slashing cuts.
 
I did "stab" the 63 into stacked cardboard, and it easily penetrated the full length of the blade. I didn't find the stainless steel handles to be of any hindrance - the holes machined into the handles actually allow the meat of your hand to get a better hold on the knife - the meat of the hand, during a secure grip, flows into the holes, giving you a stronger grip on the knife. I have seen people place skateboard tape on the handles of butterfly knives, because they found the handles too slick. However, that defeats the purpose of being able to fling and rotate the knife open. I'm no expert when it comes to doing a butterfly knife "twirl" or ""dance" to open one, but I didn't have any problems with the 62 Bali-Song, once I unlatched the T-latch lock.
 
If you want one of the strongest "folding" knife designs on the market, one that won't fail you, it's going to be hard to beat the 63 Bali-Song Bowie from Benchmade. The only thing is, you have to check your local laws and ordinances, to make sure this type of knife is legal for you to own and carry. Sadly, there are a lot of places that have just completely banned this type of a knife. If you're in the market for a super-strong knife for self-defense, and you can own a butterfly type knife, that a close look at the Benchmade 63 Bali-Song. Only thing is, they don't come cheap, full-retail is $350 and they are very hard to come by. The good thing is, this knife will last you a lifetime, without any problems, and if you should have a problem, Benchmade's lifetime warranty will cover any problems because of material or workmanship.
 
So, if you're in the market, for what might well be the very best butterfly knife on the market, check out the 63 Bali-Song from Benchmade. Just don't buy any junk imports and thing you are getting the same quality you'll get from Benchmade - not even in the same ballpark. Benchmade is the leader in quality butterfly type knifes - bar none!    - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Rawles published on April 15, 2013 1:33 AM.

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