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Did you know? STR's Tips and Tricks for knife care

Discussion in 'STR's Backyard KnifeWorks' started by STR, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I saw this linked today (edit date) and thought it prudent to point out this is a 2007 post. As with anything in life we learn and grow. Some things may have updated since this post so I'd suggest catching current ones also to keep up with my learnings as I've posted them. I decided this morning to make a new sticky that will be added to as time goes by and new things come up. We'll call it the Did you know? STR's tips and tricks for knife care and maintenance thread. Feel free to add your own little tips for knife care if you know of any I have not mentioned. When I first started viewing forums I did so anonymously and never posted for several years back when I was what is referred to now as a 'lurker'. This was mostly due to the stigma attached to them as it was presented to me by others I knew in the industry. The jist was presented in such a way as to suggest that most of the folks that frequented the forums didn't know anything (it was usually said with a little more 'french' than this if you know what I mean, as in, 'excuse my french') and generally speaking I still catch wind of some knife makers and enthusiasts making fun of guys from forums and particularly ones with a lot of posts with various catch phrases or names for them from 'keyboard commandos' to know it all blow hards, or know nothings, and wannabes among others. I'm sure I now rank as one of those blow hards to some but hey, you can't please everyone right? ;)

    Before we get moving on this thread let me first point out that at no time in the past, nor in the future will you ever hear me say or read where I have said that I am an expert in anything regarding knives. I just like them and have had a passion for them all my life. In loving them so and being naturally curious I dove in and took them apart to see what made them tick. During all the years when I worked in dental I still played with knives as a hobby on the side doing repairs for others that also owned and used them. Later when the internet became more common place some of the companies that make knives noticed and in time I got to know some of them and of course forum members from all over. Today I see and handle a great many examples of what is out there currently in the hands of end line users. In doing this work I learned a lot and later after meeting with and discussing the various aspects of knife making with other makers and manufacturer reps I eventually became more knowledgeable and began making my own folders sometime around 1998. While I may know a lot I am by no means the end all answer to all your questions here but if I can answer what is asked, or find out the answer I will certainly do so.

    Seriously to get back to the topic at hand here. What prompted this thread was the typical repair requests I get in the mail from the good ole boys out there in the real world of end line users, from Kabar knives that refers to me quite often from their customer service desk, or referrals from some of the fine folks over at Spyderco, or Kershaw among other company reps that have suggested a time or three that someone contact me about one of several various things they were hoping for or had questions about. My adventures in knives actually started with repairs to them and led me to where you see me today. These kind of things come up pretty much on a daily basis these days. Usually these type jobs are so redundant and so small that I don't want to take time to do anymore than enter it in my log and get to work because adding time to warm up the scanner, type, document further and all just gets old and I already spend too much time doing that anyway. But this was something that seemed worthwhile since its happening so much and maybe just maybe it could save someone a little turn around time and expense to pick up some easy to do tips for knife care and maintenance..

    Todays tip to start this new thread is simple. In fact its so simple that had this gentleman called me on the phone rather than just pack stuff up and mail it to me after getting my name and address from one of the knife companies he called I could have saved him some hard earned money. Thats the reason for the new sticky. If it saves someone some $ I did a good thing. :thumbup:

    Every now and and then I get a knife sent to me that takes me back. A blast from the past like this neat little PK (Pete's Knife) Gerber original work hardened brass liner locking slip joint is always a joy to see for me. I love these knives, and every now and then I pull out the mint condition ones I own from the same 70s era. I really love to admire these since they are historical pieces to me from when Gerber was still solely a USA owned company before the days of Fiskars involvement with them.

    Anyway, the complaint was, as written by the owner of the knife, "I just got this knife on ebay. The lock is not working right and lets the blade close rather than stop it, I was going to return it but it was as is." I got another Kabar and had some issues with it too. Someone over at Kabar told me about you. Can you fix this one also?" There was a bit more but that is the relevant part.

    He sent me $20 and the note. Now take a look at the lock in the first picture. It doesn't engage, and no amount of snapping the blade open helps to correct that as reported.

    Note the second picture of the lock after fixing the problem. It now snaps out as it did new.

    Problem?? Pocket lint built up where the back spring and blade meet. Cure?? A simple dental explorer and small screw driver like used in your glasses to tighten the screws. Use one or both to remove the pocket lint and the lock is fixed. Total time about 5 seconds.

    You can do this at home folks! But you can send it to me with some cash too if you just want to! :D By the way, pocket lint can and does block lockback designed folders from working properly too. I actually see and get calls for that more than this type. This one is such a classic it was worth posting about just for the rare view of the knife though.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  2. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    It seems anymore that not a day goes by that I don't get at least one email, private message from a knife or blade forum member or a phone call from someone with a knife question and many times the main question and concern of the person contacting me is regarding the lock on their folding knife. My advice is usually simple. Whenever possible I suggest that you contact the manufacturer or maker directly about it. Sometimes the things I have said in passing regarding certain types of locks have been misinterpretted to indicate to the person that hears it later from someone else through the grapevine by a third or fourth party that I am not a fan of one company or another. I assure you this is not the case. If its a folding knife I'm a fan.

    Its your fingers the lock is supposed to be safe guarding and in order to help that along and make sure it does just that requires some effort on your part to insure your safety when using a locking folding knife with a razor sharp blade. I might add that this goes for anyone and any knife regardless of who made the knife you carry. So, if you are going to carry any folding knife that locks and especially if you intend to put your knife to 'hard use' at least test the lock on occasion to be sure its doing its job securing the blade as it should and learn a little bit about the lock you prefer so you know enough about it's characteristics to be aware of just what it does under different loads of stress from twisting type lateral stress to vertical spine pressure on the tip of the blade. Periodic tests are OK now and then for your locking system on a folding knife but more importantly maintenance and examinations are highly recommened for folding knives, particularly if you carry it in a pocket deep where it rolls around among pocket change and keys down there where it can end up collecting pocket lint. So, to properly insure they are functioning as they should I'd suggest you occasionally test it and clean it. Just a simple thing like pocket lint can change the nature of how safe or unsafe your lock can be so be alert when using one.

    Contrary to popular belief you can test your folder lock without spine whacking it and I recommend you do test it in other ways than this. My personal opinion is that spine whacking is bad and spine tapping is better but more on that in a few. Many people believe spine whacking does not harm a folder but believe me when you have seen the insides of as many knives as I have seen you know it can take its toll on them. I see the knives up close exposing the parts where I can separate out each individual part to examine it closely under magnification. This is when I can tell that spine whacking does indeed take its toll on a folders locking mechanism and even sometimes on other parts in the system. The lock mechanism on a folder is made to exacting tolerances. If a part in a folding knife is just a few thousanths off things can really get out of whack in how it functions. Believe it or not spine whacking does appear to be responsible for sometimes knocking things out of whack in some knives. Folder lock mechanisms are not big bulky pieces of machinery folks. In many cases you can damage a folding knife's locking system the very first time you shock it with a spine whack. Of course you can easily do this and not even realize it a lot of the time. So what other method should I use you ask. Ok just keep reading.

    In the past I have at various times been asked to be one of several "field testers" for some knife manufacturers and they have sent me knives to evaluate and get back to them about after testing. Seeing a knife taken apart brand new to examine it and comparing it to one spine whacked repeatedly I can see things like sheared metal, indented spots on the locks, rounded off edges that used to be crisp straight lines or nice sharp corners and even hair line fractures that are all from that sudden tremendous shock to the locking system. So if you are in the habit of repeated spine whacks to make yourself feel better about your lock performance you may find this very well worth your while to read. Honestly after hearing from some of you that have sent me knives for repairs I'm surprised your locks have worked as well as they have after suffering regular intervals of this type of sudden shock and abuse to the small parts in the lock system. You may not be aware of it but it is highly likely that you have voided the warranty of your folding knife also because of abusive treatment. Spine whacking is not considered 'normal use' so keep that in mind when you think to do that to your knife.

    Granted some folder lock designs seem to suffer more from this type of sudden shock than others. There are many that suggest a 'tap' vs a 'whack' in the industry and although I do a tap myself on my own folders from time to time the real problem I have with even suggesting a tap verses a 'whack' to the spine of a blade to anyone else is that the definition of 'hard' or 'soft' or 'tap' or 'whack' is so subjective from one individual to the next that I'm sure some will still end up whacking the blades spines not meaning to, all the while being fully convinced that they are simply tapping it. For the record all lock types can show signs that this test method is not good for them at all, particularly when repeated. So as a caution I would suggest you not make a habit of doing this test to your lock.

    I recommend a simple spine 'pressure test' putting the blade under load while your hands and fingers are clear from the path of the cutting edge. You can see me holding a folding knife in the picture I've enclosed here below in the first link pasted at the end of this writing. This is the way I test my locks. The first thing to do if your lock defeats from this test is don't panic. The main thing you are doing with this test is discovering how the lock behaves under load. Does the blade move vertically at all to where you can visibly notice it moves away from the stop pin? Does it feel secure? Does the lock slide toward release under load or is it rock steady? Things like this are good to know. Get to know the folder you carry and how it behaves now under controlled circumstances so you can know when to be on guard in normal uses and gauge if it will work for you or not. In the event that your lock does defeat contact the manufacturer or maker and discuss it. I'm sure they'll agree it is not normal and want to see it and since you have not abused it to find out how it performs you will be fine for a warranty. Steady spine pressure is a normal occurrence in the hand when using a knife.

    I find it risky to mention one particular lock type here but its hardly possible to talk about lock defeats without mentioning the most frequently seen lock type in the folding cutlery industry. That of course is the liner lock. If you have a liner lock barely engaging the blade and you intend to hard stab it into a phone book to show off to your buddy I'd suggest you think again. I know at least three individual knife testers that quit hard stabbing liner locks or even testing them at all in some cases due to the fact that they can be very unpredictable from this kind of use when new. A liner lock is one that you need to break in good before you can drop your guard using it this way and even then be very careful using one if you didn't give the blade a good snap to open it. The liner and frame lock needs to engage properly to be effective and safe. Just like with a lock back design where pocket lint can jam in the lock notch and make the lock ineffective the liner lock can also suffer from things getting jammed in there to block it's travel to secure the blade opened. Pocket change and keys can get down inside there and cause blockage just as easily as jammed up pocket lint.

    Its also worth noting that many makers build liner locks on purpose with very little lock engagement when the knife is new. This is to allow the lock to break in slowly because we all know that eventually with use the lock will wear and move in more to self adjust for wear, which is what it is supposed to do but many users of the knives do not realize how precarious and easy to defeat many of these new locks can be when they barely engage the blade they are assigned to support. Further still, many users do not realize the risk of not giving a new lock, or even an old well used one for that matter, a good snap to open the blade to make sure the lock comes out and engages the blade well. These things can be dangerous folks if you do not understand them. So until you get them broke in and understand how it works you may be unknowingly risking your safety by not educating yourself in advance. Most accidents are from user error, not a faulty lock. When used as they are designed the locks most often do just what they are supposed to do. So, don't be stupid or too proud thinking just because your favorite maker or favorite manufacturer built you a knife, or just because you saw it do this in a video DVD that it means the knife in your hand is perfect. First test it, and then use it with common sense.

    Now lets discuss the test. Here are the test methods I prefer. The first test I always do is this one. I recommend standing with the knife like you see me holding one of my favorites here in the first link to a picture I have pasted below. But, pay special note here if you have a liner lock. I also recommend you make sure the lock on your folder is getting behind the blade well at least to the full thickness of the liner material itself before doing this test with a liner lock. If you just took the knife out of the box and the lock is not even coming out to engage the blade all that well yet because its not even broken in yet, skip this for now and come back to it later when you've broken it in. With liner and frame locks that have thicker slab type locks its not necessary to wait until the lock comes out to fully engage the blade. In fact on many of these that could be many years before they do that if ever. So most of those unless they are just barely engaging at all can be tested fine using this method. I would caution against spine whacking any lock that is new and particularly one that is just barely engaging the blade. Doing that could shear parts of the lock face and not only void your warranty but cause serious damage to your fingers or hands and maybe even cost you a lot of money for sutures. Again, remember always that these things are sharp and serious and you need to use common sense.

    Hold your knife so if the lock defeats you won't get cut just as I'm doing here in the link. You owe it to your fingers to know not suspect or blindly trust that the locking mechanism on your folding knife works as it should. You don't have to cock your wrist as I did here in this photo. I'm just doing that for my wife to get it in the shot easier. Hold it with both hands and using your strong hand with the blade resting on that index finger knuckle simply push up on the spine of your blade holding the body tight so its steady keeping all body parts clear in the event the blade snaps shut. If you feel it is more comfortable to hold the knife with the lock sideways or up or down from the way I do in this picture and simply push down on the spine rather than up then do that. Its the same test in the end and it really does not matter which way you put pressure on the spine of the blade. The idea here is to load the blade. Sometimes if I have a blade to test I'll put on some gloves to make it easier to really muscle it.

    The second test I will do on rare occasion is a spine tap by tapping the blade on the toe of my boot or palm of my gloved hand. As I have said many times, this tap method is an entirely different test than a 'whack' on a hard surface. A tap represents to me more of a duplication of a 'real world' use of what can happen on rare occasions when using a locking folding knife. Lets say you managed to wedge the tip of your blade really well in a log and had to pull hard to get it out and accidentally just tapped it some into a soft or hard object behind or to the side of you from the momentum of your pull out. That is a real world tap. So, a single tap that can be sharp is all I recommend and I hesitate to do that as a habit. The biggest differences for me between a tap and a whack is the repitition and the force used. However, there is more to it. A single tap or even three light ones is far less damaging than ten hard whacks or even more to the spine of your locked folder. Spine whacking a liner lock hard can indent your lock from the much harder blade forcing itself into the contact suddenly and can lead to both sticky locks, vertical movement of the blade and increased movement across the tang contact we makers call the interface. This contributes to wearing out your lock and in the worse case scenarios it can lead to the lock leaving the contact on the blade altogether or trying to by crossing clear across the interface and wedging into the washer space area on the non locking side of the folder. In the event the washer is thick enough to allow the liner to fit in the space between the liner and the blade from too much lateral blade play in the pivot you could wedge it in there and get it stuck.

    So, regarding taps. Once you have tested the knife this way it is not necessary to continue doing this test if it passed the first method and a single tap or three. You know that the lock is good. Now use it and more importantly maintain it and keep it clean. Use the first method periodically to make sure nothing has changed. Also, and once again to be sure this sinks in, never tap or whack your folder if the liner lock is barely engaging the blade to secure it. This can not only damage the lock permanently by possibly shearing metal beyond repair or indenting it terribly but it can allow the blade to fly shut cutting whatever is in its path. I would also say in closing that its not a bad idea to test any locking type this way whether it be your trusted lock back, frame lock, Axis lock folder, or any lock type in between.


    Here is another link to liner lock and frame lock information on contacts.
    In this thread I have linked below I made several post that can also tell you a lot about the pros and cons of either a liner or frame lock as well as what I look at when buying one for myself.
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  3. alejandrino


    May 16, 2006
    Good thread, Steve!!Wish more people were like you!!
  4. bell


    Feb 26, 2003
    Thanks Steve.

    Great information.
  5. Barrabas


    Feb 8, 2005
    Really appreciate this info :thumbup:
  6. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Thanks guys. Here is another quote I want easily referenced for folks. I get a bit frustrated sometimes when I get a knife where everything and everyone from the maker to the guy that sold it to them to the materials is blamed for a failure and I think there are some good points to remind yourself of here even if they did come from my own mind.

    One of the things that I have also noted from end line users in presenting whether their lock is a 'good one' or not is the 'credentials' of the maker and how that can play into trust of a lock or trust in a maker or company and while its all well and good and certainly worth weighing in your decision before you buy the knife I think that people forget that the knife should speak for itself in the end based on the condition its in each time its cleaned and maintained and that all knives are as unique as we are as individuals. Just like people they age, they wear, their skin cracks, they get blemishes, and from this natural aging as well as use and abuse it more often than not has nothing to do with how well it was made or by whom when you buy a used knife or when you develop a problem with one. With that said, circumstances are sometimes responsible for lock failures and accidents and not the knives or the makers of said knives. As I said above in another post user error is most always the cause of accidents but of course not always. Neglect on the end line users part is many times the real fault or failing to recognize the limits of the folder they carry or the fixed blade they have on them. I mean lets face it if you have a car and don't take care of it very well, don't expect it to function flawlessly all the time. You are not going to get far four wheeling your Ford LTD and you would be ill advised to write Ford complaining after it gets stuck or busts a spring and a gasket from trying to do some boulder hopping in one when it was never designed to be used for that in the first place. It won't do what a truck will do any more than you lighter duty gents folder will go off into hard use areas for heavier duty knives if they are not designed to handle the stresses of where you take them. Many end line users forget that there is more to maintaining a folder or fixed blade than just the cutting edge. With common sense and some education on how the lock works, the limits of the design, what the steel is made out of for your blade and how it behaves in certain stresses can be a lot of aid to someone and prevent needless accidents.

    Also, we makers are all only human. It doesn't really matter how many books the maker of a knife has written, how famous the maker is or how much metallurgical skill, knowledge, or experience they have, or if they have mechanical engineering degrees, belong to the Guild or anything else when it comes to the individual knives and circumstances behind why and when a lock fails. I see them all from all levels of the craft and in price ranges from very very high end expensive knives to the lowest priced China made knives on the market and yes even some of my own and for some normal as well as bizarre reasons.

    Locks can defeat. We know this much. They need to be looked over and even tested over time to make sure you are still getting that same level of function and that they still deserve that trust you have handed over to them regarding your fingers. Unlike the human body the locks do not heal themselves. They wear over time and use and they can develop problems and when that happens you have to be alert enough to how it is behaving to notice any changes. In the event that one defeats its most always when you least expect it when your guard is down thats when it can catch you which is why I always stress that for hard use knives folders do one thing fixed blades don't do and thats fold. It doesn't matter if its a top line axis lock gold series or the gents liner lock from Wal-Mart that is made in China there is always a chance a folding knife can bite you. You should always be wary of them regardless of any hype you might read or see on videos. This goes for all locking type folders. I'm sure people can relate to this that have carried a knife for years.

    All manner of things can happen to change the lock up of a folder as pointed out in another post. If its a trusted daily knife it deserves some daily or at least some routine weekly or monthly routine care and going over and your fingers are worth that believe me. Pocket lint can take the most trustworthy well built lockback and turn it all around for you in the time it takes to flick it open and use it to cut down a cardboard box to fit in the trash can. The next thing you know you are in the ER with your wife holding your hand asking if you are going to pass out while you are being stitched up by the on call doctor. Yes it happened. My wife reminded me of it just tonight. According to her it looked like a murder was committed in our kitchen. Only 4 stitches, and many years ago but I have the scar that went to the bone in my index finger to show for it. (we were still newlyweds) Live and learn. Know your folders and inspect them regularly, you can thank me later when you remove that debris before it causes you a big doctor bill too.

    Lastly as I started to mention in more detail in post number two, when it comes to new knives you really should expect to break them in before testing them or trusting them. I know many people voice frustration at this thought and some have voiced that to me thinking that they don't believe for this much money a folder should need a break in and blah blah blah but listen guys. You should realize that parts are new in a new knife just like they are in a new car when you drive it off the lot. Lets break it down for you for a typical tactical folder just in case you don't know though so you can understand why a break in is often times needed. I'll use a typical example of what you find in a lot of new knives. Washers. These can be phosphorus bronze, teflon, nylatron, nylon or just plain old plastic. They are also various thicknesses and diameters. These fit over pivot barrels that are also new. The fit is usually tight. After time they begin to stretch and conform some and fit the barrel they are straddling better. They squeeze in on a blade that can be coated with a baked on expoxy coating, bead blasted, satin or hard chrome finish. Lets say you just opened the folder and its just been opened and used for the first time. Now you have had a first action of the blade experience and it may not feel smooth. Thats because its not. The washers need to rub down where they move. Over time that bead blasted, or coated surface on the liners and the blade will polish from the movement and as a result the blade will feel easier to open.The lock. Some locks seem to move better new than others. Some seem to never change but in truth most work a little better to a lot better once they have experienced some wear to custom fit themselves to the blade they work against everytime they do their jobs. With a lock back you have a spring contacting a rocker arm and a blade rolling over the rocker as it moves where both surfaces mate together better to smooth out over time. Sometimes a lock sticks a bit when its brand new and thats because its just getting to know the blade its assigned to support. In time they'll fit to each other better with some wear and use. Pocket clip. These are usually something most modern tacticals come with and a lot of them are tight and require adjustment to suit the owner. Some knives require a clip to be moved to suit the owner so its maybe tip down carry when you get it and you'll need to know the proper tool to take that off and move it to the tip up or to the left handed carry position to fit your needs to make the folder suit you.

    Other types of locks have mechanisms that require some getting used to. You may figure out that you can open and close the folder more than one way, or you may find out that the pivot tension is too tight for one way but works ok for another and these things can be experimented with to find the pivot tension and blade action that works for you. No two factory knives or even two customs come with the same tension on the pivot. You may want to adjust it to suit your tastes before using the folder. I recommend you adjust it to where it is smooth enough to allow easy opening but tight enough to not allow lateral blade play.

    Once you've broken in and tuned your folder to your liking then its a matter of getting to know it and using it with common sense. Good luck with that and enjoy. With proper care and some understanding of how things work on your part, your folder can offer a life time of service to you and maybe if your grandson is lucky and you take care of it well enough that knife can start him out on a life time love affair with a pocket knife as one my grandfather gave to me did.

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  7. annr

    annr Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    Last month I sliced off the tip of my finger and it bled for about an hour. I could see that I only cropped the upper layers of skin so I elevated the arm, applied pressure; the finger grew back in about 1-2 weeks. Thank God!

    It was my first folder, a SAK, a gift, and I didn't realize how tight the spring was. When opening the knife I released the blade thinking that it would snap open; it did just the opposite, cropping my finger. The knife is very small and hard to grip when opening ( I don't have alot of fingernail to pull the blade) but I guess that I was careless and used bad technique.

    I don't think that this blade has the kind of lock that you are talking about but it got the best of me. Is there something that I can do to make the knife safe? besides leaving it open?
  8. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I am not sure I follow how exactly it got you. You all but had the blade opened or you lifted it up and it snapped back closed? Sounds like you are in the same ball park as me with fingernail biting. I keep mine short. Rarely do I bite them anymore but I do keep em filed down because after years of biting they are weaker than they should be so when long they don't do me much good anyway.

    I would say it may or may not be feesible to install a thumb stud on the blade that allows it to aid your getting it opened better with more control but without seeing it that is about all I can suggest.

  9. annr

    annr Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    Seemed like the former (it all happened very quickly). I thought that I had passed the point where the spring would shut the knife and that when I released the blade it would be open--and I was wrong.

    Don't worry the nails aren't bitten, just cut short, tickle the ivories!

    Would you want pics? or the knife?
  10. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    If you can post some thats fine.

    Start a new thread for it though as this one is one of my sticky posts and not where I'd prefer it to continue for diagnosis and setting up work.


  11. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I get some infrequent requests but they do come up now and again. One such request is whether I can fix an off center blade. Many times its dependent on several factors. When the gentleman that asked me about this one said, "I have a BenchMade 804" I didn't know the knife. Otherwise I might have been able to tell him how to maybe fix it himself but it wasn't possible. I've had 'long' knives come to me for this many times but they are not frequent.

    What happens is that the longer handle offers more leverage. When you tweak the knife laterally even if its titanium you can actually cause it to take a set sometimes to stick one way and that is what happened here with this longer knife. I've seen this in Military and other longer knives like the Cuda Maxx also. When a knife is used hard with a lot of lateral stress if you notice it then has an off center blade or as in the case of this 804 when I recieved it when it rubs one side when closing the blade you may have tweaked the liners and put a slight bend in them.

    What you do is gently bend it back the opposite way with the blade open tweaking it little by little until it rebends and what you notice is that the blade is suddenly centered again. Voila! Just like that. Now this blade is more centered than this flat bed scanner shows. It looks like its off toward the lock more because of the angle the lid makes it sit when I gently close it down to scan. Its actually right on.

    If you try this with your folder just take it easy and don't get carried away with it and you will be fine so long as you know your own strength. Tighten your pivot first and make sure there is little or no side to side blade play. Bend check, bend check and so on. You don't even have to take the knife apart to do this.

  12. kda89508

    kda89508 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    Steve, You are amazing! This is my knife and I cant wait to get it back but Steve has only had it for a DAY! Steve, I want to THANK YOU for your AWESOME TALENT! Kevin:thumbup::thumbup:
  13. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Do you often carry a favorite chisel grind folder from Emerson or one of the other makers doing one this way with the one side grind? If so you probably have run into the same problem sharpening these on the Sharpmaker or other similarly styled sharpeners as some others have.

    Try this method next time you go to maintenance the edge and see if it doesn't help you out a lot.

    First hold the knife against the opposing rod sharpener on your sharpmaker and lay it flat on the rod to get its angle. First stick them in the 30` slots ( picture 1) You may or may not be able to tell I forgot to do that for my demo pics but for the purpose of showing what I mean these still work.

    Then move the knife over to the sharpening rod on the left keeping it at the same angle as the right side rod and sharpen the edge using this angle on your Emerson when using the Sharpmaker or other similar sharpener with ceramic rods. (Picture 2)

    Once sharpened on the grind side pull out the rod and laying the flat surface on the flat of the blade just run the edge back side gently across the hone to remove the burr. Finish up by some hard strops on the back cardboard of a legal pad on a hard surface and you should be good to go.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 6, 2008
  14. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    If you want to thread your own G10, Micarta or FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon) handles to flip a pocket clip to another position and have no metal backing behind it you can do it yourself.

    All you need is to remove your clip, mark and drill your new holes using a number 50 drill or a number 48. I like the 50 for softer materials personally. Use the 48 for metal. Then you need a 2-56 taper or plug tap to make threads. You don't even need the wrench usually because these materials are so soft that in most cases you can do it by hand. But if its harder than you wished for use the chuck of a drill to hold it or if its variable speed just run it slow and spin some threads in it. Then simply back it out.

    Threads in these materials by themselves can work if you follow a few simple rules.

    1) Based on my own experience doing this I'd say never use loctite or super glue in the holes. I used to recommend it but it backfired. What I've found is this. If you do use thread locker you risk tearing out the threads the moment you do back out a screw and they will not tighten again or will be very prone to stripping easier afterwards. If they don't get pulled out the first time it will damage the threads enough that the hold is weakened.

    2) Never overtighten the screws. This will tear out the threads easier than the glue will.

    3) As already stated don't make a habit of taking the screws in and out a lot.

    For what its worth if you do strip one you can always break down the knife flip the scale around and drill a 1/8" hole very shallow. Then buy ya a 1/8" diameter pivot barrel which is tapped for the same 2-56 screws most pocket clips use and you can slice off a very thin end cut off the barrel and insert that end cut thin piece in the 1/8" hole drilled on the underside of the scale. Then repeat for the number of screws needed reinforced. Tighten your screw down into the inserts and you have a metal backer behind the scale for each screw. If you cut it place the cut side down because its rougher and sometimes will have a little nub if you cut it thin enough to just leave a part sticking out when you break it off rather than cut it off. This broke off part sticking out acts as retention on the G10 to hold it from moving when you tighten the screw. Be aware that the same rule applies about removing the screws though because the backer threaded inserts can fall out without the screws there to retain them. In this case with metal you can then use loctite with little worry.

  15. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Have pivot barrel with a screw on one side only that turns freely when you try to get the screw out?

    What helps is to open the blade and with a gloved hand or better yet a wooden vice like I have on one of my work tables, clamp the blade in good and then using a wood burner with a tip inserted in it or a soldering iron hold the tip once heated up in where you stick your Torx driver to turn the screw and let it heat up the screw good. Don't get it red or anything but heat it up to help break the seal of any loctite in there. Then quickly put some sideways torque on the blade pushing the body of the folder to the left or to the right and hold it there to bind the pivot barrel. Once the blade is under a bind on the pivot barrel then give it a couple good quick snaps to loosen with the torx driver for the screw and try to loosen it. It usually works but it may take a couple of tries.

  16. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Does your Emerson or Strider folder constantly lose pivot tension? Mine sure do and its one of the biggest pet peves with them. I've never owned one of either brand that the bull pivot didn't loosen up on its own changing the tension after I got it just where I wanted it. On my Emerson folders you can actually see the slot head move over time and use and I've marked it with a pencil to track it. My new M Wave is no exception. In the past I've had little luck with the blue loctite working and when it does it does not last as long as it does on other smaller diameter pivot barrels.

    After several trial and error testings on some of my most problematic folders I have found that the best thing to use on these bigger pivot barrels is a product called Sportsmans Goop. This holds the pivot screw where you leave it but is not so strong as to lock it up so you cannot take it out later. I've even found that the first time and sometimes even after the second removal that it holds pretty good without reapplying.

    The first time you apply it simply take out the pivot screw male part and tip and spin just a bit into a small amount of GOOP. Then reinsert and let set for 12 to 24 hours. Hold the screw out in the air with the GOOP on it for 2 minutes first and it will set up faster.

  17. SakuTheGreat


    Oct 8, 2006
    Where do you get the Sportsman goop
  18. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Atwoods, Hobby Lobby and Big Lots have it here.

    Not sure if you can find one of those stores where you are or not. I use this stuff for a lot of things. Best contact cement you'll find in my opinion. I've sealed up holes in aluminum boats with the stuff and it held for over 15 years before needing reapplied.

    They make it in Sportsmans, Outdoor, Household, Plumbers, Carpenders, and I don't know how many other names. They are all the same for ingredients so it won't matter which you snag. Any will work fine.

  19. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I should add some more on this regarding 'bull pivot barrels' and particularly those of the Strider PT, SnG and Emerson production and custom folders.

    Virtually every single one of these I've ever owned has had pivot screws that did not stay put. On my Emersons with Waves on the blade this was a real issue and I would literally have to adjust the pivot at times twice or more per day.

    Now, as I said above I tried the blue loctite. It can work but it never seems to hold. Red is too strong. Goop is a great product and works well but its here that I wan to elaborate. Its not so much how much you get on the threads that helps. Its what you can manage to get in under the head and squished out around the side edges of the flat head screw that helps. It makes the entire contact area the screw touches very tacky and stops the movement. If you put too much in there it can actually force its way under the washer and even work its way across to the other side so its key to first plug the hole a bit. Put some in the G10 flat area the screw head seats down on. You can get some on the threads but its the head where you want the Goop and what does the trick. Once you have a tacky layer under the head of the screw it will work for a few removals after that before you see the problem again. At least this has been my experience.

    If you have one of those folders that has a pivot that has been loctited in place but spins freely with no retention to keep it still on the non screw side like you see in the Kershaw Leek among other company production folders here is a trick. First clamp the blade in a wooden vise in your work bench. Heat up a soldering iron or a wood burner tool and let it get hot. Hold that tip in the pivot screw for about a minute and then apply some lateral (side ways) pressure on the body leaning in on the blade so as to bind the pivot. As you do this back the screw out and see if it doesn't give then for you and start coming out as it should.

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2008
  20. BoBolLee65


    Jan 21, 2008
    Could you tell me the easiest-way to heat-treat or harden my D2 steel knife blade I just made? and can it be done a cooking-grill with coal? Thanks.

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