Les de Asis, Benchmade Founder, Passes Away

Benchmade has announced the passing of company founder and enduring knife world figure Les de Asis. De Asis left a legacy of innovation and quality behind him, embodied in one of the most iconic knife companies in the U.S.

De Asis’s road to the Benchmade of today was a long one. Things began in California in 1980, when he created Bali-Song, a small shop dedicated to making and producing butterfly knives by hand. Even then, de Asis was establishing core Benchmade concepts such as working with other custom collaborators. In this case he partnered with Jody Samson, who eventually made the swords for the Conan the Barbarian movies, for the grinds on these Bali-Song-era balisongs. It was here that the 68 model bali was born, a storied knife with a style and purpose that Benchmade would later emulate in its own production balisong models.

Bali-Song grew into Pacific Cutlery, but de Asis was fored to shut its doors in 1987. Just year a later, however, he commenced a new venture, with a new vision for high quality production knives made to exacting standards with a human touch: and thus Benchmade was born. A move to Oregon in 1990 would eventually cement the company with the butterfly logo as one of the biggest names in the biggest knife-making state in the country.

De Asis remained committed to his company for more than 30 years. As Benchmade grew into the behemoth we know today, he stayed at the helm, guiding it as President up until late 2018. In November of that year, he passed the torch to his son Jon de Asis, although he maintained a key role in Benchmade as CEO and chairman of the board.

Benchmade announced that it will be hosting a celebration of de Asis’s life and accomplishments at some point in the near future, although no details have been given at this time.