The enduring popularity and coveted status of the Benchmade 940 Osborne folding knife prompts an intriguing question – what is the secret behind this blade’s legendary appeal? To understand how the 940 earned its icon reputation, we must rewind to the origins of this knife in the early 2000s.
At that time, Benchmade was aiming to add a slim and lightweight everyday carry option to their catalog. They turned to master knife designer Warren Osborne to craft this new model. Embracing a minimalist aesthetic, Osborne conceived a folding knife featuring clean lines and an easy-to-carry profile.
The hallmarks of Osborne’s 940 design were a reverse tanto blade shape, chosen for its versatility and strength, and handles made of lightweight G10 scales that contoured seamlessly to the palm. Osborne engineered the 940 to strike an optimal balance between utility and simplicity – no excessive embellishments or frivolous form, just the perfect synthesis of function and organic ergonomics.
By focusing on graceful functionality rather than ornamentation, Osborne created a tool that felt like an extension of the user’s body. This alignment of his minimalist philosophy with Benchmade’s tradition of high-performance blades spawned an iconic folding knife that has stood the test of time. Two decades later, the appeal of the 940 comes from Osborne’s intuitive mastery of the relationship between form and utility.
The Legacy of Warren Osborne:
What lies at the heart of the timeless appeal of the Benchmade 940 Osborne Series? The answer: Warren Osborne, the brilliant mind behind these extraordinary knives. Osborne was more than just a craftsman; he was a true bladesmith, and his journey commenced on the sprawling landscapes of an Australian ranch. It was there that his deep-seated fascination with blades first took root.
From his early days, Osborne’s imagination was captured by the art of knives, and he diligently honed his skills, often using unorthodox materials like crosscut saws, chainsaw bars, and telephone pole stays to craft blades. It was this passion for quality and precision that set him on the path to becoming one of the world’s most renowned knife designers.
The Benchmade 940 Osborne knives epitomize Osborne’s unwavering commitment to excellence. His designs flawlessly fuse meticulous craftsmanship, precision engineering, and strict tolerances into a single, remarkable package. The philosophy that quality was his guiding star shines through every aspect of the 940 Series, elevating it beyond a mere assortment of knives.
The Benchmade 940 Osborne: A Workhorse with a Twist:
The Benchmade 940 Osborne made its grand entrance in the year 2000 during the prestigious Blade Show 2000 held in Atlanta. This debut was nothing short of a sensation, and astonishingly, over two decades later, it remains a source of fascination for knife enthusiasts worldwide. What sets this knife apart is not just its enduring popularity but its robust and rugged design, a testament to its origins as a creation of a ranch hand.
Featuring a reverse tanto blade initially crafted from 154CM steel, later upgraded to the formidable S30V, the 940 Osborne possesses a level of strength and durability that equips it to handle a wide array of tasks with remarkable ease.
However, what truly distinguishes the 940 Osborne is its captivating design. In a world where pocket knives are often cloaked in somber black attire, the 940’s bold and vibrant green aluminum scales introduce a breath of fresh air. Complementing this distinctive feature is the knife’s unique purple titanium backspacer, an innovative touch that elevates its visual appeal to new heights.
Innovations that Redefined Knives:
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the 940 Osborne is a testament to pioneering innovations that have set it apart. It proudly led the way by being one of the first knives to incorporate super steel, elevating its durability to unprecedented levels.
The introduction of the renowned Benchmade AXIS Lock marked a pivotal moment in the knife’s evolution. This ingenious mechanism enabled ambidextrous manual opening, empowering users with a level of versatility that rivals that of fixed-blade knives.
In terms of design, the reverse tanto blade brought a touch of elegance to its rugged exterior, further enhancing its appeal. Even the seemingly inconspicuous pivot pin was meticulously engineered to withstand pressures of up to 200 pounds. These collective innovations synergize to forge the Benchmade 940 Osborne into a knife that stands the test of time, blending both style and substance into a remarkable tool.
Variations to Suit Every Taste:
The enduring popularity of the classic Benchmade 940 Osborne design has spawned an array of variations to suit diverse preferences and tastes among knife aficionados.
The original 940 established the quintessential look with its reverse tanto blade profile and green anodized aluminum handles. For those seeking a more understated aesthetic, the 940BK offers the same superb performance but with a sleek black DLC coated blade. Although now discontinued, the 943 iteration married the 940’s lightweight handle design with a classic drop point blade.
For traditionalists who favor timeless styling, the original green-handled 940 and 943 models epitomize this ideal. Yet Benchmade has also unleashed more radical renditions for those seeking an enhanced edginess. The 940-1 pushes the performance envelope with its carbon fiber handle scales reducing weight and its CPM S90V steel taking edge retention capabilities to new heights.
Further expanding the realm of possible configurations, the Blade HQ exclusive Osborne 940 flaunts unique jade G-10 handle scales that lend an exotic flair. This exclusive edition is equipped with a black finished CPM M4 blade, prized for its optimal toughness and tenacity in retaining razor sharpness.
While staying true to its origins, the 940 platform has branched out over its two decade lifespan. Collectors can find a version that speaks to personal style, whether it’s vintage aesthetics, space-age materials, or custom exotic touches. The breadth of this series is a testament to the versatility inherent in the 940’s enduring design.
Mini Osborne 945 – Compact Yet Mighty:
In 2020, twenty years after the inaugural 940 Osborne changed the everyday carry game, Benchmade unveiled the 945, a scaled down Mini Osborne tailored for modern urban challenges.
Staying true to its heritage, the Mini 945 is resplendent in the same vibrant anodized hues that dazzle 940 fans, now accentuated by purple standoffs. The 3.2 inch blade proving ideal for locales with strict knife laws. Yet the capable CPM-S30V steel, buttery-smooth AXIS lock, and tried-and-true G10 handle scales reinforce that the 945 retains the 940’s substance.
Benchmade designer Shane Sibert succeeded in condensing the perfected ergonomics of the 940 into a more petite package. Despite its reduced dimensions, the Mini Osborne fits larger hands with aplomb and works admirably even while wearing gloves. Proving that good things come in small packages, the 945 is poised to become a future classic, delivering full-sized Osborne performance in an EDC-friendly format.
Though twenty years separate the 940 and 945, the Mini Osborne has inherited the same reliability, smooth functionality and vibrant spirit that knife enthusiasts have come to expect from the Osborne family. This newest offering extends the legacy into the future, bringing Warren Osborne’s vision to a new generation of EDC fans.
Benchmade 9400 Osborne Automatic – A Leap Forward:
The release of the 9400 Osborne Automatic in 2020 marked a new milestone in the evolution of the 940 legacy. Benchmade built on the revered 940 blueprint but took its functionality to the next level by incorporating an automatic opening mechanism.
Staying true to Osborne’s iconic styling, the 9400 preserves the classically contoured green anodized aluminum handles that fit like a glove. It retains the reverse tanto blade profile that has made the Osborne a legend among EDC enthusiasts. Yet the plunge lock and spring-loaded automatic action bring an exciting new level of fidget-friendly speed and convenience to the table.
Benchmade even burnished the 9400 with some stylish new accents befitting its premium auto-ready status. The jimped purple backspacer adds a splash of color and visual intrigue, while the split arrow pocket clip quickly emerged as a popular new fixture.
By taking a prized classic design and infusing it with lightning-quick automatic functionality, Benchmade created an exciting new offering for automatic knife fans within the storied Osborne family. The 9400 Auto maintains the exceptional ergonomics and BladeOps quality that define the 940, but propels this icon into the future with new levels of performance and prestige. It exemplifies Benchmade’s relentless pursuit of innovation within the rich tradition of a celebrated lineage.
Customization and Accessories:
The Benchmade 940 series has gained immense popularity, leading to a plethora of aftermarket components and enhancements. Companies like Flytanium have introduced a diverse range of replacement scales crafted from materials such as copper, brass, titanium, jade G-10, shred carbon fiber, and green micarta. These options empower users to infuse their Benchmade 940 with a distinct personal touch, aligning it with their unique style and preferences.
Innovatively, Glow Rhino offers thumb studs equipped with tritium inserts, elevating the knife’s tactical capabilities by ensuring visibility in low-light environments. This tactical enhancement not only augments the inherent versatility of the 940 series but also offers practical functionality.
In essence, the Benchmade 940 Osborne Series stands as an iconic testament to numerous compelling attributes. It serves as a tribute to the extraordinary craftsmanship of Warren Osborne, encompassing a unique fusion of innovation, longevity, and design prowess. The extensive range of variations within this series ensures that there’s a Benchmade 940 tailored to satisfy every individual’s taste. With the addition of the Mini Osborne 945 and the automatic 9400, this series has broadened its appeal, resonating with an even wider audience.
The Benchmade 940 Osborne Series transcends being just a mere knife; it embodies a symbol of unwavering quality and functionality that has withstood the test of time. Its enduring allure continues to capture the imagination of the knife aficionado community, perpetuating the legacy of its ingenious creator, Warren Osborne.
So, if you find yourself on the quest for a dependable, versatile, and stylish everyday carry knife, the Benchmade 940 Osborne Series remains the ultimate choice. With its storied history, a plethora of customization options, and an unswerving commitment to quality, it’s not just a tool for the job but an embodiment of elegance and flair.
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