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Design laziness and the proliferation of frame/liner locks

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

  1. cross1178


    Dec 27, 2013
    I only cut with the spine of my blades and most of the time I use them for hammering as well, and I know from watching YouTube , I'm not alone. When will the makers realize the design is flawed. 😜
  2. ToddM


    Oct 2, 1998
    Liner/frame locks persist partly because most people rarely experience any failures with them, even though other locks are stronger and more tolerant of lesser tolerances and stay secure in a wider variety of cutting situations. Mostly they are popular because they are cheap (no lock license fees) and easy/efficient to make (though not so easy to make right consistently as is demonstrated almost daily by the number of posts with liner/frame lock issues even from expensive companies). Don't fool yourself a lot of design/material choices are made due to cost, even in very expensive knives. Many of those other locks require licensing feels, more machining, more parts and all that equals more cost and that equals less profit. S35VN gained popularity mostly because it's very easy (IE cheap) to machine, not because it's an amazing steel. It's also a lock design that facilitates easy one handed opening/closing and flipping a knife open and it's all the rage for people to try and simulate something they can't legally own.
  3. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    If you are unhappy with the choice of locks currently available, here's a simple solution- design a new lock yourself (maybe not so simple).

    Instead of criticizing others for not coming up with a new folder lock, why don't you try to invent a new one and see how easy it is (or isn't). If you are successful at inventing a better lock, get a patent, and then get rich licensing your superior design to knife makers.

    I think it's funny when people complain that others aren't inventing something "better". Yet they themselves don't bother to try, or are incapable of doing so.

    I've been using liners and a frame lock for many years and I've been very happy with them. In fact, sometimes I prefer them. Of course I'm not the type of person who always needs to have something new and different just to have something new and different.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  4. Freman Bloodglaive

    Freman Bloodglaive

    Apr 14, 2013
    There are alternatives like the axis lock or the compression lock, but they are often tied up with patents.

    The lockback the liner lock and the frame lock require nobody to negotiate through what can and cannot be considered an infringement of some other design, hence they get used.

    It's kind of like Beta and VHS. Beta was better, but VHS was free to use. VHS won.
  5. CapitalizedLiving

    CapitalizedLiving Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 1, 2007
    To the OP...

    Titanium framelocks are the Katy Perry of knives. Her music doesn't exist to enrich lives or give us something to play in 50 years, but to feed a particular season of a particular year and possibly win an award. If you took her music and put it under a different name, no one would buy it, because her name is what makes it popular, not its intrinsic properties. And most fans only pretend they like it because they don't want to seem lame if they say it's sophomoric and uninteresting.

    Continuing the analogy, there are plenty of musicians making original music and many are willing to give it to you (via Bandcamp, for instance) for free or for a negligible cost. It may seem unfair that some indie producer can't make a dime while Katy can't pick her nose without ending up on the cover of Us Weekly. But that's how the industry works.

    Some people might think it's lunacy to compare knives to music, but they are both commercial industries with countless niches and a similar pattern whereby extremely popular stuff all looks the same, feels the same, and does the same thing. Titanium framelocks are popular because we, the buying public, have incentivized makers to focus on them, because its a fast way to create a high markup and gain a following.

    So no, I don't think framelocks represent design laziness, they are simply prolific because there is a buyer's market for them. I can't blame makers for making them nor can I blame buyers for buying them. Trends take on lives of their own, and people who want to chat about knives, show them off, and continuously buy/sell/trade to keep up with the newest new thing are doing what seems natural and what is rewarded by the most people.

    But don't worry, Katy Perry will one day be as irrelevant as Shawn Colvin, and the same fate will befall any knife trend, including the latest.
  6. Redmasta


    Jul 17, 2013
    I am extremely happy with certain locks that are available, you must of only read the title of the thread.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  7. Fanglekai


    Jan 7, 2007
    The next big thing is no lock

    On a serious note, no patents on liner or frame locks means no royalties to pay. They're cheap to manufacture on the low end. People are used to them for the most part. R&D is expensive. Patents cost money (lawyers...). Innovation comes at a price.
  8. Fanglekai


    Jan 7, 2007
    double post
  9. zhyla


    Sep 11, 2011
    There are so many locks, do we really need one more? I'm not opposed to it but I think we'll get by.
  10. EChoil

    EChoil Banned BANNED

    May 22, 2014
    It's the simple things that endure. I like frame and liner locks because they are reliable simplicity. Physics, geometry and fewer moving parts. Less to go wrong; less to malfunction.

    I disagree that they are fad or trends.
  11. asdf12345


    Jul 4, 2014
    Long after the last Axis omega spring has rusted away, liner and frame locks will still lock up securely enough to function. I think custom knifemakers use these locks because they feel it represents something that will stand the test of time, and thus is better as a heirloom or as something that one truly uses until they die.
  12. Elefantener


    Jul 1, 2014
    I do agree, however I understand why so many knife designers use them (Cost, durability, maintenance, simplicity, one handed,etc...) but I would like to see innovation with regard to locking mechanisms. Steel bent, cut, and shaped differently to create a new locking mechanism may cause me to buy different knives.

    "Long after the last Axis omega spring has rusted away, liner and frame locks will still lock up securely enough to function. I think custom knifemakers use these locks because they feel it represents something that will stand the test of time, and thus is better as a heirloom or as something that one truly uses until they die." ~ asdf12345

    *Cough* *Rocklock* *Cough* *Sticky lock* *Cough* *Cough* *Guitar strings* *Cough* :)
  13. Goosey


    Mar 19, 2012
    I just wish there were more many more midlocks out there... midlock 710! Midlock Military! Midlock Sebenza! Midlock ZT0566!
  14. Elefantener


    Jul 1, 2014
  15. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    I'm happy with liner and frame locks. I focus on user friendly steel and ergonomics. I could care less about innovative lock mechanisms. In all my use of folders, I have never run into a liner or framelock failure.
  16. DocT


    Mar 25, 2012
    I know I am about to get blasted for this but here goes anyway. I despise liner locks. They are weak, tend towards failure, and the detent is the only thing marginally holding the blade closed. The come upon in the pocket or purse, fail with puncturing cardboard, large fruit, and other simple things. I have had a lot of them fail and more come open in my pocket so I quit buying them. I have one and only one, a Spyderco Cat, currently and a pile of them in my junk box from 'good' manufacturers. I wife tossed hers, too. I know a lot of people who have had similar experience and will not buy a knife with a liner lock. Some, however oddly, still do, thinking they will get a better result (didn't someone say that is the definition of insanity?)

    I agree that more needs to be done to bring out new locks. The holy grail would be a folding knife as strong as a fixed blade. The Axis (and similar) and Compression Locks are a step in the right direction. They work, are strong, and easy to use safely.

    Of course, this is my opinion, but it is based upon actual experience, and I know a lot of others who feel the same way. On our farm we used to laugh when a newby would bring one to work because it was sure to be a fail waiting to happen.
  17. jla3156


    Jan 20, 2014
    To me, only the very seasoned and well known custom makers and large knife companies really have the ability to come up with new lock designs. New or smaller makers just don't yet have the money, time, or following to be able to design, make, patent, and release a totally new knife lock with any real success. That's why you see benchmade and spyderco with so many patented locks. The other problem as others have said is the ability of custom makers to be able to use different locks without having to pay for it. If the large companies would release their designs and allow anyone to use their locks then the diversity of design from custom makers would grow vastly. I like what Jake Hoback did with the Hoback Rolling Detent, he came up with an improved design for the detent on frame locks and then release the design for anyone to use as long as they give him credit. The knife world as a whole would benefit immensely from more of this type of openly shared innovation.
  18. marthinus

    marthinus KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 10, 2006
    Michael Walker, the designer of the liner lock, at one stage was facing the option to patent the liner lock, he decided not to, because of this he made it possible for many makers to start using it. Chris Reeve was also faced with a similar choice and decided not to. Hence a lot of makers decided to start using these locks as a sign of respect to the individuals because of that decision.

    I know of a maker that walked up to Michael Walker and thanked him for not patenting the liner lock. This brings us to the following.

    Those locks are innovative and where designed by knife makers. The Axis Lock patent has been renewed and refined by William J. McHenry, Jason L. Williams for some time and licensed by Benchmade.

    The compression lock was designed by Louis S. Glesser, Peter H. Jhones, Vince Ford and licensed by Spyderco.

    Tri-Ad lock was designed by A. Demko and licensed by Cold Steel.

    Now you can use these locks, but royalty fees applies. This fee is not always in every makers budget. You can use it without any royalty but that, in the small knife community, is not seen as good character.

    There is nothing "cheap" about doing a frame/liner lock and it is not an easy lock to make reliable. A lot of people do R&D on these locks to perfect them as far as possible.

    The following link can be read where I discuss some aspects of the liner lock.

    I tried to repost it but there seems to be a problem. It starts at post #2 until post #16

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  19. KNaB


    Oct 18, 2008
  20. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    No, I read every post in this thread before replying. In your opening post you said "Isn't it time for them to expand their horizon with something new and more innovative?", and "I guess throwing on a frame/liner lock is the easy (cheap) way out."", and "...if they can get away with just throwing on the basic frame lock", and "Since the Axis lock and Compression lock I haven't really seen other makers build upon, improve, or innovate with a new locking mechanism...".

    Looks to me like you were being rather critical of knife makers for using frame and liner locks in their knives instead of "something new and more innovative". If you want "something new and more innovative", like I said, why don't you "build upon, improve, or innovate" a new lock yourself instead of accusing knife makers of taking "the easy (cheap) way out".
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014

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