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the lock fetish

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Anabasis, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Anabasis


    Jan 16, 2013
    I understand why locks are useful on knives- no one wants a blade to close on them while trying to accomplish a task. However, for the kind of tasks most of us use our knives for on an everyday basis, this lock seems to be mostly irrelevant. In the last year or so I've reserved my locking folders for campsite and outdoor use, and even then the slipjoin Vic Pioneer handles most of those tasks just fine. Yet, I perceive an anti-slipjoint bias among some folder carriers that baffles me. The lock seems to have become something of a lock for the sake of having a lock, with all the variations and tricky new designs of lock that companies will invent to market their knives. I don't doubt that there are many on this site who regularly put their folders to work on tasks that make having a locking blade very handy, but again, I'm not convinced that this accounts for certain lock-centric tendencies on its own. I would like to hear some thoughts on this phenomenon.
  2. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I carry traditional slip joints daily, and am also amused by the "need" for a lock.

    Don't get me wrong, I have locking folders that I use. I carry my locking folders as a "I might need a knife for non cutting tasks" (specifically I carry locking folders as back up to a gun).

    I have never cut my self with a non locking folder (as an adult) where the lack of a lock was the reason for the cut.

    I cut my self all the time on them, don't get me wrong, I play with traditional folders with strong locks and sharp edges enough, that I nick my self occasionally.

    All my serious cuts have come either from a locking knife, or a fixed blade.
  3. t1mpani

    t1mpani Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    Trying to explain why people like locks to someone who doesn't particularly like them is, to my mind, rather like trying to explain why there are people who will go on a website devoted to the discussion of knives to people who aren't really interested in knives. People like what they like. I'm sure there will be many derisive "mall-ninja" comments to follow, but most of that is just the widespread tendency of many who feel better by criticizing others---something which has never, successfully, been explained to me. ;)
  4. Daniel Koster

    Daniel Koster www.kosterknives.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2001
    Bring on the flames....hahaha

    It is true that most of my first knives were slipjoints - and they are dang handy!

    Ever have one close on you unexpectedly? It only takes one time for most folks to relegate them to "light duty" chores.

    I think for EDC, a slippie is a great knife.

    But sometimes you just want to bang, twist, smash, stab stuff. :p

  5. For me, I've found that if I really need a one hand opener, I'll probably need a fixed blade even more, and a fixed blade would be the right tool for the job. There have been few times, I've found, when I didn't need more than either my Case peanut, or Victorinox farmer. I don't really need the slipjoint collection I have, and don't really need the one hand openers I have left. However, I like the knives themselves, and still get enjoyment out of using the frame lock, liner lock, Axis lock and ball bearing lock. I don't think I have any one hand openers with mid or back locks, although I have an old 1984 R1303 Remington, and two Great Eastern 72 lockbacks. The only one I carry sometimes is my Tidioute Beaver 72, and that is rare. I just prefer to carry my single blade 73. I forget which custom maker "resurrected" the already existing liner lock, Ron Lake? Chris Reeve made the frame lock. Liner locks have been on traditional knives for a long time, originating back in the 40's, at least, I know someone will be along with the correct date.

    Fixed blades are taboo in the state of MD, unless you are hunting, fishing or camping (unsure about hiking). Folding knives with unlimited blade size (reasonable length taken into account though, as interpreted by the law), as long as they are carried in the closed position, are fine.

    Lately, I've left my large one hand opener in the truck, in favor of carrying two slipjoints. To some it might be redundant, but it's what I've done.
  6. Anabasis


    Jan 16, 2013
    Haha, no I have never had one close on me, if I had it may give me a slightly different perspective :p

    Like Bigfattyt said, I've cut myself plenty of times, but by no fault of the knife- just the user
  7. Maddogg774


    Sep 19, 2011
    I feel safer with a lock since I had a sod buster close on my hand. I was cutting twine off a haybale and I guess it got caught or something and it closed and cut thru my glove and deep into my thumb.
  8. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I have had slipjoints close on my (few small cuts) when I was a kid. I have had locking folders fold on me in use more times, and have had more serious cuts. I had one liner lock that really, was worse than a slipjoint. It would fold up at unexpected times. It had cut me many times. I finally stopped carrying it when my brother had to get surgery on his tendon with the same knife.

    I agree there are times I want a locking folder for some tasks. You can like both.
  9. akadave2

    akadave2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    I think locks are most necessary on a really hard use knife or a knife that might be employed for self defence where the posibility of pressure on the blade forcing it to close is pretty much 100%. This would make a lock on these kinds of knives essential and not a "fetish" as you put it. I cant imagine my Strider SnG without a lock, it would be useless because its not what I would call a delicate slicer like any of my slipjoints, which are primarily utilitarian cutter/slicers where the attention on the job at hand by the user is pretty focused.
  10. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    There are two scenarios where a locking folder is more valuable to me than a slipjoint.

    The first is for stabbing, which has almost nothing to do with EDC. It's why I carry a large, locking, OHO for self protection if going into a "less safe" situation.

    The second is when the need might arise to loan my knife to someone else. Lockers are both safer for the unfamiliar users, and easier to open. I don't care if they know how to close it, they can just hand it back to me when finished using it. This is why I always carry a locking traditional when opening Christmas or birthday presents.

    But in addition to need, there is desire. I often carry a locking traditional just because I have several that I really like.
  11. pertinux

    pertinux Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Wholly apart from use, lockback knives tend to have much softer pulls than slipjoints, making them easier to open (and once the lock is disengaged, to close). For some, this is a primary draw.

    ~ P.
  12. Cisco Kid

    Cisco Kid

    Oct 20, 2009
    The locking mechanism is a user safety feature, much like the seatbelt: it's useless when driving a car, and nobody plans to use it, but it sure is a good thing to have when it is needed.
  13. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Some of my locking folders I find useful when it's very cold and I'm wearing gloves, since the blades are easier to deploy, having weaker pulls.

    In terms of safety though, if I know I'm going to be doing something that might cause a slipjoint blade to fold, it might also cause a lock to fail, and I'll take a fixed blade.
  14. yablanowitz


    Apr 14, 2006
    Yes, I carry lockblades. Yes, I have all the "latest and greatest" locking mechanisms in my accumulation. I also carry a small fixed blade and an assortment of slipjoints. I personally believe there is at least one and probably two or three generations of people out there that simply never learned to use a knife safely. They think they need a lock when what they really need is either a fixed blade or some skill, or both. I think one should be required to carry nothing but non-locking folders for two years before being allowed to buy a lock blade knife, just to prove you know how to use a folder safely. I think a lock on a knife allows you to develop unsafe knife using habits that will result in more severe injuries on that inevitable day when the lock finally fails to protect you from your own stupidity.

    Those are my thoughts on the subject. Fire away, I can take it.
  15. weech3


    Jan 12, 2013
    I use and carry liner and frame locks at all times; one each actually. I'm prone to getting myself in awkward situations and don't always have the proper equipment to tackle the job. I'd rather have a lock and not need it than need it and not have it. A folder will fold; if you're conscious of that fact when in use a lock shouldn't be needed. Sometimes however, you only have with you what you thought to bring that morning. Proper or not, knives often get misused and abused. In such cases, a lock can't hurt.
  16. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Well, I like locks on some Traditional knives because they are traditional. The lockback and linerlock have been around longer than any of us (I suspect :D:eek: )

    Yes, the pull on some lockbacks can be lighter and this is a plus point for many. Linerlocks can have a dubious reputation, but if they are in conjunction with a conventional backspring as say on the GEC 73, it is an extremely safe system. But, whenever you use a knife, concentration is vital.

    I don't think this has to be an either or situation at all. Neither rejecting locks as superfluous nor regarding them as essential.

    Thanks, Will
  17. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator

    Sep 2, 2004
    Since we're in the traditional forum let's try and keep the discussion to locking, as in lock back (or no specific lock reference), leaving the OHO and specific models of same out of the discussion.

    I carry slip joints and locking knives too. I think you get used to what you use most. If you learn how to use a slip joint properly, you can go your whole life without having that knife fold over on your fingers.

    I'm lucky to live in a place that allows me to carry a fixed blade, for when a slip joint just won't do.
  18. wouldestous


    Jul 8, 2012
    there is a lock-centric fetishization phenomenon?
  19. quattromori


    May 7, 2011
    I'm not going to fire at you, not at all. Again, taste is taste, and I will never discuss anyone's taste or choice.
    Yet I believe that the (presumed) added safety given by a locking mechanism oftens serves to balance the "unsafety" with which many people use their knives.
    I was raised with friction folders. They teach you quite alot about the proper cutting movement, since any leverage in the wrong direction will result in blade closure (or, at least, partial closure, since there's no backspring to bring the blade all the way back to the closed position). I never needed a lock, nor I will need it.
    I understand that, on some patterns (like the Buck 110 and its siblings), the lockback mechanism is just there, and will be there, and I'm fine with that: it's a part of the pattern, so I have nothing against it. And if I ever wished for a locking hunter, I wouldn't try to get a non locking one; I'd just take it as it comes, and use the lockback. But it's not really something that I look for, nor anything that adds safety to a knife (personal opinion, of course).
    For some uses (gloves, outdoors in the winter, and so on) I just prefer a small fixed blade.

  20. Anabasis


    Jan 16, 2013
    There is, of course, a place for both. I'm more curious as to whether the marketing of so many locking knives as the latest and greatest has led to some to a skewed view of slips as "unsafe".

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