I have owned balisong knives since the late 1980’s. It might be the only-slightly-diluted Filipino blood flowing through my circulatory system, but I love the bladed bi-fold handle action. My very first Bali-Song®, that in this form is the Benchmade Knife Company‘s trademarked name, was a Model 35. It has a 3.375″ polished Weehawk blade with handles milled from a solid piece of stainless steel. The pins are hidden and the large holes are chamfered. At about 4.8 oz’s, it is a natural flipper. This knife was technologically advanced in its day.
The BM 35 was an example of Benchmade elevating the traditional Filipino “broken horn” knife by making it from better materials with bulletproof engineering. It truly made the reputed three pin strength of the balisong folder literal in translation.
Riffling through the many calendar years, you can see the most recent Bali-Song in my collection: a new BM Model 32. It is innovative for these modern times. The 3.25″ modified spearpoint blade is made from D2 tool steel. Far from the original bar stock construction, the 32’s sandwich layered handles are done in jeweled, blue anodized titanium with black G10 overlays. A little concentration is required when making this knife dance, since it weighs a scant 2.7 oz’s.
The BM 32 is the smaller of two “Morpho” models, the larger being the BM 51. Morpho is the genus for several subspecies of shimmering blue and black butterflies. A Morpho butterfly knife in action mimics the flight of its winged namesake. I think it is a brilliant analogy from Benchmade.
Yesterday, I pulled the Model 35 out of the safe and upon our reacquainting, I was struck by how, in construction, it was diametric to the Model 32. Benchmade, née Pacific Cutlery, née Bali-Song, began on founder Les de Asis’ kitchen table in 1979. In 2013, BM’s USA-made knives are built on laser cutters and CNC machines at their 55,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
Old school or new generation, either of these Bali-Songs stands on its own attributes. Hidden pins, Zen pins. T-latch, spring latch. I love playing circular tricks with the Model 35 or admiring the eye-catching tech of the Mini-Morpho. What will the future bring?