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Every year, Portland-based knifemaker Benchmade releases a tiny handful of knives that it dubs “Gold Class.” Typically iterating on models already in Benchmade’s lineup, the designs bridge the gap between production and custom blades by integrating high-end materials like mother of pearl and orange poplar. Even the tiny screws and bolts that attach handle to blade might get upgraded to titanium and come with special coatings. Benchmade just unveiled its newest Gold Class knife, a take on the Mini Crooked River.
With an upward-curving clip-point blade and an overall curved design, the Mini Crooked River is a folding knife with a dedication to hunting. You’d be forgiven for not wanting to beat up the Gold Class version in the wild though; Benchmade swapped the wood handle for marbled carbon fiber with inlays made of glittery mesh encapsulated in translucent orange resin. And while the original boasted a high-grade Crucible Industries steel, the Gold Class version uses Swedish Damascus steel.
Premium materials and exclusivity come at a price, though. With the Gold Class Mini Crooked River, that price is a cool $800.
Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.
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