Design laziness and the proliferation of frame/liner locks

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Redmasta, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Redmasta


    Jul 17, 2013
    Sometimes when browsing for a new folder I literally fall asleep from boredom and wake up in a puddle of drool after I've looked at 100's of knives all with frame/liner locks :sleeping: Why does it seem like so many companies, especially midtech and custom knife makers keep on pumping out knives with this locking mechanism? You see them on everything from gas station knives to high end custom folders. Isn't it time for them to expand their horizon with something new and more innovative?

    Since the Axis lock and Compression lock I haven't really seen other makers build upon, improve, or innovate with a new locking mechanism to compete with how fast these are to both open AND close. I guess throwing on a frame/liner lock is the easy (cheap) way out. The incentive to invest in the R&D required to design something new isn't there if they can keep getting away with just throwing on the basic frame lock. I can only hope that one day this cycle will break :)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  2. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    These locks work very well. Plus, there are lots of folder locks to choose from.
  3. Charlie_K


    Jul 16, 2012
    So somebody tell me this. Just how exactly can we redesign and reinvent the folding knife?
  4. tokerblue


    May 1, 2010
    The liner/frame lock is a tried and true lock. A well made version of these locks is more than enough for real world usage.
  5. Redmasta


    Jul 17, 2013
    Not the knife itself, the locking mechanism. The Compression lock IMO was a great improvement on the frame/liner lock. It's stronger, faster, and you don't have to cross your finger in front of the blade to close it. Apparently it is possible to "redesign" the locking mechanism, Axis lock is another example. Sure the frame/liner lock works but it's not the end all design.
  6. fetzer85


    Oct 17, 2012
    Their plan is to make what sells so apparently framelocks are selling.
  7. KNaB


    Oct 18, 2008
    That a folder locks securely and reliably is good enough for me. I'm more concerned about how it feels and performs when in use- but then, I spend more time cutting with my knives than disengaging locks.
  8. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker

    Feb 28, 2011
    I like new lock mechanisms and out-and-out dislike liner and frame locks, but I get why they're so popular. It minimizes the number of moving parts, they're relatively easy to use, there are no patents to navigate, there is a ton of literature on how to make them and they're easy to mass produce.

    SOLEIL Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    Buck Marksman 830, Grant and Galvin Hawk lock systems. Spyderco ball locks, which is not a new idea. Kershaw stud lock. There are many different type of locking systems out there. The reason you see the most of the frame and liner locks is because they work very well. If you continually cut yourself closing these then you probably should not be using them as there are many other alternatives.
  10. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker

    Feb 28, 2011
    That's cool, but some of us want more than pedestrian performance from every part of our tools.
  11. Redmasta


    Jul 17, 2013
    My knife is in and out of my pocket non stop while I'm at work and I unfortunately can't leave it sitting around open while not in use. This is why I have since moved towards the Axis lock and compression lock versus the liner lock that was on my Blur I carried for years. One thing I really disliked was having to constantly cross my finger in front of the blade to close it which isn't the best thing when my other hand is occupied and I'm trying to concentrate on too many things at once :D
  12. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    And some of us want more titanium.

    Titanium frame-locks give me far more titanium than a mere titanium liner lock.
    And both of those provide more titanium than knives produced without any.

    I also like the elegant simplicity of the design; sometimes less is more (except when it come to levels of titanium, naturally ;)).
  13. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker

    Feb 28, 2011
    Integral ti compression lock, my man! We just need to beg Sal a little bit harder and we might get another one...
  14. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Yeah, I could for that too. :)
  15. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    I agree with the OP that a new locking mech would be nice. However , I do love frame locks. They're just strong , simple and secure. That firm "clack" when a thick titanium frame locks into place is music to my ears. I don't like liner locks.

    About the Compression lock (and Ball Bearing lock) and Axis lock , they are all outstanding IMO. I have much experience with each. They are true trademarks of Spyderco and BM.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  16. KNaB


    Oct 18, 2008
    I like innovative designs and mechanisms as much as the next guy, but I don't think laziness or complacency is to blame for the lack of options. I know Sal has stated, in the past, that spyderco has numerous lock designs they are working on, the stop lock being one of them. Integrating these locks into knives in a cost efficient and reliable manner is probably the reason they aren't as ubiquitous as a framelock, liner lock, and back lock.

    If I'm not mistaken, the spyderco Tatanka has an innovative approach to a backlock-type design
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  17. Bob6794


    Apr 21, 2013
    KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid or Keep It Short and Simple

    Liner, Frame, Lockbacks are simple and proven designs with known strength and weaknesses which the general public is familiar with if they have the slightest bit of interest in knives. It should be second nature to most of us on this forum. No need to redesign the wheel if it works and is dang reliable for it's intended purpose.

    I can tell you that if I were to drop a lot of money on a knife and I can't handle it before purchasing like most of my knife purchases and I have 2 lock options I am going with the one I am more familiar with and is second nature to me. Why would I want a tool that didn't feel natural for me to use over a tool that did feel natural to use? So just from that perspective you have guys like me who rather go with something more familiar if they are going to be dropping a lot of cash on something. Not to mention the people who look at new things with distrust till all the kinks are worked out and strengths & weaknesses are well known (late adopters). So those more familiar locking designs are probably easier to sale I imagine, and than you can go into the R&D to make said locks, etc.

    And no I don't hate new locks, I like seeing new innovative stuff come into the market (doesn't mean I buy it, but I like seeing progress). But this is more or less why I think we don't see much.
  18. NeilB


    Jul 26, 2013
    The other advantages of the liner/frame lock is that the state of the lock is easily visible to the user and you can see the state of wear without having to tear it down. Useful. If we are going to have a "better" locking mechanism, it's going to have to clear that bar to get my money. Unless it's got a snobby steel blade, of course. :)
  19. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    Somebody should invent a lock with a dohickey...
  20. fetzer85


    Oct 17, 2012
    I want something really strong and tricky to a 'Wacklock'. A Wacklock would be a knife with a Walker Liner lock AND a backlock. Imagine that.

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