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Thread: Let's talk about locks

  1. #21
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    My only expertise on this subject is regularly rotating my selection of "gent's knives". Since I am an urban dweller (San Francisco) I only carry folders that have a blade less than 3 inches long. Without question the "liner-lock" is the most useful for me. Easy to open and fast to close. I have never attempted to fell a tree or pry open a wooden crate with a 2.5 inch blade in the City, so the lock failure that many folks refer to simply does not come into play in these situations. My only problem with the liner lock is that some makers (Klotzli in particular) have not provided an adequate detent on some of their Walker knives, which allow them to open in the pocket occasionally.

    My only use for large folders would be for camping. Frankly, alhtough I love carrying the folders, when I go camping, I carry a Dozier fixed blade.

    Finally, the lock that is not on this list is the twist-lock, such as on the Opinel. My only problem with this lock is that under harder use, the twist-lock can occasionally freeze up and be hard to open. This lock produces an unmatchable function to cost ratio for everyday use.

  2. #22
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    Now the view from the left. Well the left handers at any rate.

    The only locks that are lefty friendly are the lockback and the axis lock (don't know about the compression yet) which is why my usual carrys are the BM735, the Native and a bunch of A.G Russell gentlemen's lock backs. The only other lock type I have is a integral or liner lock (don't know which to call it) on a pearl handled BM330.
    About the biggest knife I would feel safe with that type of lock for us lefties.

    Ben Sano

  3. #23
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    I have a couple of questions about the compression lock now that I've handled the Gunting and Vesuvius.

    I see how it eliminates the problems that arise from complex geometry changes as seen in liner locks. But I wonder how it deals with two other liner lock issues that have turned me off from that category:

    (1) Can the compression lock keep the blade in the handle (closed) any better than a liner lock? The ball detent always seems like an afterthought to me, as opposed to the way Axis locks and lockbacks use the tension of their spring to directly retain the blade over a safe arc.

    (2) Is it possible to vary the location of the compression lock release? The one on the Vesuvius was so far forward (and on top) that I got the feeling my thumb would release it accidentally. This is analagous to the way liner locks can close accidentally.

    Sal, here's a thought on locks that was running through my mind this morning: why don't we see one-hand-opening knives that *require* two hands to close? I'd take a tradeoff in which I forego the one time in my life I might ever *need* to close a knife one-handed in exchange for the tremendous increase in safety.

    One last thought. I do own one linerlock knife: the Lum Chinese. It's the best-executed linerlock I've ever seen. That said, I always keep a beater lockback around just in case.

  4. #24
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    Tighwad. We'll need some history before we can answer. It really is a new lock concept. Because something looks like something else is sometimes a problem. In most cases, the more you know about knives and quality, the better Spyderco looks.

    Hey Bensano, welcome to the Spyderco forum.

    Hi Schmackey.

    1) There is a learning curve. We can make ball detents that are just about impossible to open with one hand, but that took a while. We can make the compression lock hold the blade closed quite well, but the distance of the effect of the spring is not as great as a spring pressure against the tang back as opposed to the tang side. The flip side is that it's not likely to catch the tip of a finger while "springing" closed.

    2) We've tried the release in a number of areas, even the bottom like a linerlock. At this time, we feel the current location is most effective. farther back gets hard to release.

    3) "2 handed close" - we have two lock designs in R&D with that concept.

    thanx for the kind words on the Chinese Folder. a great team effort.

    sal

    Edited by - sal on 7/12/2001 7:36:39 PM

  5. #25
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Carlos's Avatar
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    Hi Sal,

    I have a compression lock question: Why does it need two liners? (as on Gunting, Vesuvius, and Temperance[?]). Looking at the design it appears to be a one-piece lock like a linerlock.

  6. #26
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    Just a couple thoughts on a few lock types I have experience with:

    Lockbacks: Good lock, ambidextrious, only time I do not like them is if during push cut the blade rises past the normal stop point.

    Liner lock: Only strong point to me is that during push cut the stop pin keeps blade in place. I have some knives with liner locks I trust (Starmate, Herbst, AFCK, misc. CRKT's) and some I don't trust 100%.

    Axis lock: A fantastic lock, no complaints and trust it 100%

    Frame lock / Sebenza type: Only have two CRKT S-2's to reference but both work great and I trust them 100%

  7. #27
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    Hi Carlos. The strength comes in the shear strength of steel. In order for the Compresson lock to fail, it has to push the nested anvil pin through the steel liners (2) or shear the lock vertically. We build them so the steel on top of the anvil pin will hold the pin in place so the lock shears. If there were just one liner, the handle material would have to hold the anvil pin in position, most handle materials aren't strong enough.

    sal

  8. #28
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Carlos's Avatar
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    So desu!

  9. #29
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Carlos's Avatar
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    Hi Sal,

    One more thought: So would bolsters increase compression lock strength even further, or would they just be redundant?

    Edited by - Carlos on 7/25/2001 5:06:40 PM

  10. #30
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    hello all,
    I don't have experience with many of the lock types listed, but after having several of my "tactical" folders fail spine whacks, I have sworn off buying any new linerlocks or lock backs. I find myself using fixed blades whenever possible. I do trust the Meyerco Blackie Collins boltaction I have and have been saving up for an Axis lock. I also believe my CS Twistmaser's Opinel type lock, but in it's present form is not suitable for one hand opening - lock could possibly could be spring driven though.

  11. #31
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    Hi Carlos. IT depends on what breaks when we test it. If the liners are not strong enough and the anvil pin is pushed through the top, then nesting the anvil pin in both liner and bolster would make it stronger. But for now, the lock is shearing when w2e break it, which is what we're after. The nest step is to increase the strength of the lock itself so it doesn't shear. Then we'll see what breaks?

    sal

  12. #32
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Carlos's Avatar
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    Thanks Sal.

    It would be interesting to see bolsters used in a functional fashion, rather than the recent trend of cosmetic usage.

  13. #33
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    1.A.B.C. Lockbacks.
    I liked these on smaller pocket knives until I bought a Chinook. I never realized a lockback could be designed so strong. I know, I know... Never doubt Spyderco to raise the bar above your expectations. In this lock category I by far prefer the mid lock location.

    2. Linerlock.
    Can't say I trust this lock on anything more than a low stress use environment such as in a gents knife opening mail at the office. In this regard my Centofante Jr excels. It seems difficult to pull off consistentcy in the manufacturing process of this type of lock. I've seen examples of the same knife have vastly differnet lock ups and wear rates. Not to mention the wear seems excessive on most that I've seen.

    3. Rolling Lock. No really experience other then my intial impressions looking at them at shows and shops. Does not seem to be that smooth of a lock. I suspect that very well might have nothing to do w/ the design of the lock and more to do w/ REKAT's manufacturing techniques. I would consider buying this lock if it was executed properly.

    4. Axis Lock. Very impressed. Smooth, quick, sturdy. The 710 that I bought right after they were released has been subjected to much abuse. Used more as a fixed blade then a folder in as many diverse settings such as the shop floor of a large OEM manufacturer where it has been subjected to coolants, weld sparks, slag off burn tables, prying (I know, not a good thing), extreme temperture changes (sat in water under a plate of 100XF domex sheet steel on a burn table while parts were cut out) that I thought probably affected the temper of the springs but they haven't broke yet. The knife has also been used in water envirnoments working on piers/boats on the Cheasapeake Bay. Has been used to whittle and for "chopping" wood while waiting for food to cook on the grill for a couple summers. Still waiting for one of the springs to let loose. Seems very resistant to wear. I didn't use my dial calipers to see where the lock was setting when opened when I originally got it to compare to now but to the naked eye it doesn't seem to have moved up the tang much if at all (I'm sure it moved some but we are probably talking in the .010 to .030 range).

    5. Ultra Lock & 6. Arc Lock
    No experience so I can't comment but uncomfortably close to the axis lock. I'm sure Benchmade had a patent lawyer look at those.

    7. Frame Lock. The only frame lock I have experience in is a small Sebenza. Simplicity at it's finest. Doesn't seem to have the same rapid wear problem that liner locks have, for obvious reasons.

    8. Compression Lock. Have not had the pleasure to try this lock out yet so I can't comment. Haven't even got to play w/ one at a show yet. Want to pick up one of your varieties of compression locks and put it through it's paces for about a year at work, the woods and home before I pass judgement. Interesting design.

    9. Balisong Lock. Only experience w/ these were on cheap knives that had sloppy fitting. Latches would not line up right and were loose. Due to those reason's it wouldn't be fair to comment.

    As an aside, the ability to close the lock w/ one hand has to be my last concern when assessing a lock. Ability to open one handed is very important to me but closing one handed is not. Strength and reliability are my main concerns above all others.

    Ah, it worked this time (moved this from it's own post to thsi one)!

  14. #34
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    1. Lockbacks
    A. rear (eg: Buck 110)
    B. mid (eg: Native)
    C. front (eg: early Al Mars, Spyderco Rescue)
    2. Linerlock
    3. Rolling Lock
    4. Axis Lock
    5. Ultra Lock
    6. Arc Lock
    7. Frame Lock (Chris Reeve style integral linerlock)
    8. Compression Lock
    9. Balisong Lock



    1A. Rear Lockback: Strong and reliable but slightly harder to disengage when placed at rear.
    1B. Mid Lockback: My preference for lockbacks. Nice and easy. Best of lockbacks.
    1C. No experience.

    2. Linerlock: Easy to close with one hand. However, I don't 100% trust them. I seriously doubt my Military would fail but, who knows. When made properly, I don't see any problems with a liner lock.

    3. Rolling Lock: I've played with this one a little bit and think it's ok. Seems very strong, yet left handed people might not like it. Seems well designed.

    4.Axis Lock: One of the most intelligent lock designs ever. Very strong. Takes a little getting used to when closing. Possible disengagement concerns although I've never heard of this happening.

    5. Ultra Lock: No experience

    6. Arc Lock: I don't like SOG products so, I wouldn't buy it regardless. Dosn't look as good as the Axis.

    7. Frame Lock: One of my favorites because of the simplicity. I don't really see one of these ever failing. A shame that only a few companies make them.

    8. Compression Lock: Looks like it could be a winner. I've played around with a Gunting, and thought the lockup was good. Accidental disengagement dosn't look possible. Looks very strong.

    9. Ballisong Lock: I don't see how this could possibly fail. Overall, the toughest lock mentioned.



    Personally, I do like liner locks. I've only had cheap ones fail, and certainly not my Spydercos. Despite this, I would like to see more "super heavy duty" locks such as Chinook type lockbacks, frame locks and compression locks. If Spyderco were to make a frame lock, I and countless others would certainly buy it. Older models such as the Military would only benefit from a lock upgrade. Other than overall lock strength, the ability to open and close the knife easily with one hand is very important to me. However, I'd rather this ability suffer than the lock strength.

    What I value in a lock:
    1. Strength
    2. Ease of opening/closing
    3. Long term durability/reliability
    4. User adjustable if needed


  15. #35
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    Thanx much. I really appreciate the time and effort in this discussion. I learned a lot. I can say that I believe there will be many new locks over the next 5 years. I know Spyderco is working on 2 more. I also have heard of more in the works with other companies. Locks could be in the middle of a revolution. Certainly fun for the aficianado, probably confusing for the general public.

    In 10 years, there will be so many varieties of locks tht just having one will make the difference. There are many types of suspension for autos, few know the differences.

    sal

  16. #36
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dialex's Avatar
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    I was browsing and found this particulary interesting one. Can it be updated?


  17. #37
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Sword and Shield's Avatar
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    You also found one of my first posts on this forum, Dialex! <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle border=0>

    Keepin' it real...real sharp, that is.

  18. #38
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    Ok, I know some of you folks are tired of me and my Cold Steel Recon 2 Tanto but the lock (rolling) is just the slickest thing around. I can snap it open with the slightest wrist flick and it's not going to close (I think) unless I put it in a vise and pound it with 50 lb sledge hammer. Sal, have you put one of these through it's paces?

    Just want to add here that my Chinook is still my main (right pocket) knife and would be the first to come out in a fight which is the reason I carry knives in the first place. Paranoid? Well, 20 years ago I got in a knife fight with 2 guys and I was the only one who forgot to bring a knife. It CAN happen. I now live in the 3rd world (Malaysia) and so it pays to be prepared. what else would you expect from an old Boy Scout?

  19. #39
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    Maybe I missed it, but I don't think anyone has mentioned CRKT's Blade Lock folder. Seems to be working fine, for my applications of that particular knife. Has it been tested?

    --dan

  20. #40
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    1. Lockbacks
    A. rear (eg: Buck 110)
    B. mid (eg: Native)
    C. front (eg: early Al Mars, Spyderco Rescue)
    2. Linerlock
    7. Frame Lock (Chris Reeve style integral linerlock)
    8. Compression Lock
    9. Balisong Lock

    1.) My favorite lock besides the Compression lock. Strong, relaible, and simple. However, if it fails, it fails catastrophically, leaving absolutely nothing to keep the blade from closing. I've never seen a knife that wasn't abused fail, however, so it's not something I worry about.
    1A) Allows for a very strong lock depending on the placement of the pivot pin and the leverage involved. However, the lock falls in a more awkward place when it comes time to close the knife. It's much harder to close the knife one-handed.
    1B) The easiest of lockbacks to close. My Native can be flick-closed with ease. The ease of closing, however, has to be balanced with the resistance to the lock opening inadvertently.
    1C) For a compact knife, this can be worth it, but in most cases this is the worst implementation of the lockback in my opinion. You have almost no leverage in opening the knife, and the spring has to be strong to avoid white-knuckle closing.
    2.) My least favorite. Even the ones from Spyderco look too flimsy to trust. They wear out quickly, requiring an eccentric pivot to avoid blade play. The long strip of metal that forms the lock has the stress distributed along its entire length, creating a &quot;weakest link&quot; situation. Its saving graces are a very smooth opening, and the fact that if it does fail, that long strip jams in the well of the knife and helps prevent the knife from closing on your fingers.
    8.) My favorite lock by far. Smooth-opening, solid lockup, and STRONG. If the lock were to fail, it would probably be at the stop pin. This could be catastrophic, but use a solid steel pin a quarter of an inch thick with stress only over a length equal to the width of the blade well, it's never been a concern. The thin liner that forms the lock isn't much of a concern either, since it's only about 3/8&quot; at its widest, meaning there's little possibility of it folding. The curved tang ramp is also a plus, meaning that the knife automatically adjusts for wear and blade play. The con is the weak closed bias in many designs, like the Gunting. The ball bearing detent in the Salsa works quite well, but the Gunting's ramp bias allows for accidental openings quite easily. IMO, adding a BB detent in the Gunting would make for a stronger bias when closed, while not sacrificing much in the flick-open area.
    9.) This is hardly a lock. You flip the two handles open, and your hand is the lock. This knife isn't going anywhere once it's open. Closed may present some problems. There's a slight concern of accidental opening, but if carried tip down in a pocket, the handles provide more than enough protection from being cut by a half-open knife. It does, however, require practice to open as fast as a normal folder.

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