Recommendation? Cold Steel Air Lite loose blade

Discussion in 'Cold Steel Knives' started by GABE MULLOY, Mar 9, 2020.



    Mar 9, 2020
    Having some issues with my new Cold Steel Air Lite Tanto. on two separate models the blade has been loose and rattily in the handle. the spring/lockbar tension doesn't keep the blade in the handle allowing the tip of the blade to be exposed. I repeat, two separate Air Lite Tantos have had this same issue, I returned the first one and the second arrived with the same issue. with a very light shake you hear and feel the rattling inside the handle and often times the tip of the blade is exposed when closed.

    is anyone else having this issue?

    i would upload some pics if i could figure out how
    115Italian and johnnywizzo like this.
  2. insta9ves


    Apr 3, 2007
    I have 2 Air Lite - Tanto and Drop point, both close okay. I even tightened the pivot all the way down, they still snap close pretty crisp. I've had the same issue you described for other models(i.e. storm cloud), 2 reasons that could cause it:

    1. The lockbar not seating correctly and is contacting the blade stop pin before it contacts the blade tang. This is often due to the lockbar pivot isn't well finished/smooth enough for it to rock forward and back. Unlike normal backlock with round lockbar pivot, triad lockbar pivot is oval to give it space to rock slightly forward and back to "hook" blade in negative angle. The "hook" is what made triad lock so strong, not just the stop pin contrary to popular belief(side note: this is why i hate when people said Triad lock is just a backlock with an extra stop pin). Try adding a couple drops of oil on the lockbar pivot in the middle of the handle as well as around the front "face" of the lockbar where it contacts the blade stop pin(the pin the blade contacts when open). Oiling both side of the lockbar helps too. It should be pretty easy to get to these area. Open and close a few times after oiling.

    2. You didn't remove the paper thin layer of teflon washers did you? This is another reason why this might be happening. Removing the washers could mess with the tolerance and cause the lockbar to grind or stuck on the G10 scale, which stop it from hitting the tang because of lack of space. I used to have this issue a lot because i like to remove the teflon washers from all my CS folders. If you remove teflon washers you'll need to replace with a 0.01" washer to maintain tolerance, because the thin bronze washer is only 0.006" thick without the teflon.

    Finally, not usually the cause, but you can check if the spring is seated correctly. I've never seen the spring move out of its area on triad folder if assembled correctly, but it doesn't mean things can't go wrong during assembly. I've disassembled both my Air Lites multiple times to replace the washers and clean their innards. It's built pretty nicely mechanically, so other than the above mentioned issue something else need to go very wrong to cause your issue.

  3. jlauffer

    jlauffer Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Have one (drop point) and was playing around with it yesterday. It has a bit of "grind" when the blade starts to open (lock bar hitting a rough patch on the blade tang I guess), so was moving the blade back and forth in this area trying to smooth it out. I noticed that sometimes after doing this for a bit and then letting it close, it would have the blade play you describe. But if I fully open and close it, it's fine. Some break-in would probably take care of it for you.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
    johnnytoxin likes this.
  4. Cold Steel Knives

    Cold Steel Knives Moderator Moderator

    Apr 16, 2013
    I've been carrying the same test mule (from a production run) since December and have yet to experience any blade play. As always, feel free to reach out to our customer service and let them know what's going on, if its out of spec, we'll take care of you.
    Harlod, babykujo and 115Italian like this.
  5. AF

    AF Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    Wierd, my Air Lite would snap shut like a guillotine. I actually relieved some of the spring tension on the spring and it's perfect now. In the past I have bent a spring to increase the tension. Easy fix. Rattling sounds like a loose pivot or a floating stop pin.


    Mar 9, 2020
    I sent them an email with some pics and they got back to me right away. I think they're gonna email a prepaid label to send it in for inspection. im seeing some positive feedback out there on the Air Lites so maybe its an issue the particular seller or just bad luck.
    Cold Steel Knives likes this.
  7. willc

    willc Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    I had this problem with one of my old Recon1 in aus8.
    The lock bar wasn’t seating down all the way when I closed it so the blade could be shaken back and forth a mm or two.

    The reason mine was acting up was debris between bar and pin and cleaning it fixed it up.
    Since yours is new I guess there may be metal shavings in there or something isn’t machined correct.
    Bladelana and 115Italian like this.
  8. johnnytoxin

    johnnytoxin Gold Member Gold Member

    May 24, 2010
    Mine behaves this way as well.
    115Italian likes this.
  9. daybd


    Oct 13, 2006
    Not to highjack the thread but what size washers did you use? Did you buy them or they were custom made? Thanks!
  10. insta9ves


    Apr 3, 2007
    I ended up using 0.25id x 0.5od x 0.1th washer for it. The pivot is 0.191” and unfortunately all the places that sell washer use 0.187” id which is slightly too small. I bought a few 0.187id from and they can’t fit. Despite having a wider pivot hold, the 0.25id washers worked fine and didn’t cause any mechanical issue i.e. contacting the lockbar etc. i like the extra width of the replacement washers and it’s very smooth after it’s broken in.
    daybd likes this.
  11. Shoopmonster

    Shoopmonster Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    Same issue with my tanto. I took it apart and cleaned it because I thought the pivot may have loosened, issue didn't go away. Put nano-oil on all the pins. The blade still sticks out exposed sometimes.
    115Italian likes this.
  12. AF

    AF Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    Sounds like you need to bend the spring a bit to increase the tension. Easy fix. Hopefully CS will get it sorted for future production.
  13. Shoopmonster

    Shoopmonster Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    Tried it, but it wouldn't go back together. Spring kept popping out to the side, preventing the scales from fitting together. The little plastic arm towards the center of the handles was flexing a lot, the pin wouldn't fit in the handle because it was angled too far. Then I lost the pin.
    115Italian likes this.
  14. AF

    AF Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    I'm not sure what you mean. The goal is to slightly increase the spring tension. You'd be bending the spring just a very small amount. I've done this many times.
    Clamp it, bend it, test it. If you measure the stock spring you can tell if you are actually bending it versus just flexing it. It's better to go slow so that you don't overbend it because bending it back and forth will weaken it.
  15. Shoopmonster

    Shoopmonster Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2014
    I most likely bent it too far.
  16. 2manyknives


    Aug 9, 2006
    I have the same problem described by the OP. I can make it happen by allowing the blade to snap shut - bounces back and stays loose. I can also make it happen by closing the knife and pulling it open about a half inch and repeating several times until it seems to lose tension.
    Once this happens I can resolve it by pushing down on the lock bar. Blade then closes up tight and safe.
    The blade has partially opened up when in my pocket, resulting in an injury (fortunately minor) to my finger. Has never happened with any of my other Triad Lock knives. I am aware of two other instances of this problem with the Air Lite.
  17. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    Im notice this out of the box. My diagnosis is this, the tolerances with the g10 and the lockbar are very tight. My lockbar is slightly rubbing on one side. I think its causing drag. Like any Tri-Ad lock, it needs to break in and settle in. One good hard wrist flick opening and everything is already seating and functioning better.

    First impression, this thing is slim, light and sharp. Exactly why I bought it.
    jux t likes this.
  18. jux t

    jux t Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 10, 2018
    Though I don’t have an Air Lite, my experience has been that hard openings make triad lock knives settle in nicely. These knives can definitely handle hard openings.

    Thanks for reporting, I hope this is an easy solution.
    115Italian likes this.
  19. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    Houston we have a problem. So after a little time with the air lite, the blade play is getting worse.

    When the knife is closed, the blade jiggles up and down. The tip exposes itself on occasion just enough to where it can cause damage.

    I’m not intentionally trying to cause this to happen. Im just simulating some normal routines. I open the knife and close it as I would any folder. Sometimes I let it fall shut. Sometimes I close it two handed.

    Ive disassembled the knife. The lockbar is not hitting the stop pin first. Spring has a lot of tension so I don’t want to mess with bending it.

    The only thing I see is when the knife is closed there is play where the lockbar contacts the blade tang. The tang is curved in the area. When I move the blade up and down in the “play” travel, the lockbar is not moving.

    So that’s where I stand at the moment
  20. johnnywizzo


    Mar 1, 2018
    Bring back the Pro Lite.
    jux t likes this.

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