It all started with a drop-point fixed blade hunter made from an old crosscut saw and some Bakelite. Mel Pardue began his career as hobby in 1957 and took his pastime and turned it into a full time career punctuated by modern classic designs like Griptilian and Presidio. With an affinity for folding knives and their complexities Pardue joined the Knife Makers Guild in 1974 and set forth to create new and unique designs that would soon become his signature. Upon joining the guild, Pardue diligently researched through books and magazines using everything he saw as benchmarks of how he could differentiate himself from other designers.
“I think about the design process a lot.” said Pardue.“In addition to thinking about how I can create a design that is unique from others I also consider what styles are currently popular and functionality…Above all, a knife must function properly, hold a good edge and function as a tool.”
Pardue’s process begins with drawings.Pencil to paper pooling together his ideas and tinker with different aesthetics and functions of the design. The next process is transferring the drawings to metal and cutting the components out. Next, he sculpts those components changing shapes and size to ensure maximum ergonomics. Once ergonomics have been established Pardue continues to refine the knife to his satisfaction. With that, all of Pardue’s creations are crafted the old fashion way without the aid of any CNC machining or CAD rendering. Hand sculpted and refined by a true master craftsmen.
When talking about his latest Benchmade collaboration, Pardue recants his lifelong passion for hunting and fishing and how he aimed to create a simple yet highly functional tool. Beyond that he wanted to create a tool that would serve any outdoor enthusiast well whether it be hiking or camping.