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Escalator and Gunting, some comments on long term use

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Cliff Stamp

Oct 5, 1998
Thanks to Sal Glesser I have had two Gunting trainers for some time now and thanks to Andy Wires an Escalator live blade and trainer.

There were many changes made to the design as the Gunting evolved from the Escalator. The grip has a much more aggressive checkering for additional security, a couple of addition pressure point applicator parts and a completely redesigned clip to aid retention as well as to enhance grip changes. Of course the blade has the Spyderco hole and the thumb ramp has serrations which increase kinetic opening and again have martial aspects. All of these aspects are fully covered in the video by Bram.

Here is a shot of the blades :


What interested me most was the locks and I had an excellent chance here because I could observe long term use effects. One of the Guntings I have was one of the first prototypes and has been used a lot, the other is a relatively new one. The only effect the use had had on the older model is to cause the liner to engage about 0.015" further out as compared to the newer one. The lockup is just as stable on the new blades, both with tight lockups and no play. The lock obviously wears very well.

I have commented in the past about my experiences with the compression lock in terms of stability tests (spine whacks and such) so there is no need to repeat that here.

The Escalators are another matter altogether. The action on these is horrible. The grating is so severe you can actually hear the grinding. The locks have also become very unstable with use with play developing in both blades.

The lock on the Trainer failed (would not engage) and had to be repaired. It was serviced by Bob Talor which did fix the lock but left the action just as bad. The assembly also left the blade with a visible gap in the scales (bad picture) :


The live blade version has a severe problem as well as it will not engage again once the lock has been released. For example :


Note the position of the lock release in the live blade on the bottom leaves the blade unlocked. It sticks this way when opened and you can even do a kinetic opening and the blade will bounce back after opening (onto your hand) as the lock will not engage.

Interestingly enough this seems to be related to the piviot as if I loosen the screw this problem goes away but then the blade play increases and the screw backs out with use.

Some background detail on these problems can be found in this thread in which Andy describes the problems :


The problems he describes with the fit and finish and screws are readily obvious and were noticed even by a couple of non-knife people I showed them two. You can readily feel the liner above the scale for example on the live blade as the edge is sharp and catches on your thumb as you pass it over it.

The choice of a lock release on the Escalators also has significant disadvantages as compared to the Gunting's mechanism as the Escalator lock release can be disengaged during use especially if the blade is deep into a binding material like fabric and you draw it out quickly in an arc. It is also possible, but probably for it to be struck in a combat situation whereas any strike on the Guntings lock release cannot open the lock and would in fact impact on your hand.

The new Rolling locks have a different release mechanism so some of these problems may have been addressed, and users of the old and new locks have commented that the action has improved making them smoother.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 11-08-2000).]

Thanks for the first long-term compression lock report I've seen. Good to see it's wearing well.

Regarding REKAT's rolling lock, as you noted at the end of your report, it does seem to have improved. I have an older Carnivore with a horrible grating action. On the advice of some REKAT fans, I picked up a newer Sifu, and the action is nice and smooth. I also noticed Pat Crawford's custom rolling lock knives were smooth, so became convinced the grating was a REKAT quality control problem rather than a characteristic of the lock format itself. I haven't used my Sifu enough to comment on how it holds up long term, though. Still, I'd encourage you to pick up a newer REKAT one of these days to re-evaluate the rolling lock.

Joe Talmadge:

Good to see it's wearing well.

Indeed, I think if they come out with it on a more utility based model I may pick up a couple as gifts for friends.

the grating was a REKAT quality control problem rather than a characteristic of the lock format itself.

This was obvious to me as well after a couple of reports of people taking the folders apart and with some polishing and lube work getting a much better feel.

I'd encourage you to pick up a newer REKAT one of these days to re-evaluate the rolling lock.

I doubt this will happen anytime soon as for reasons stated earlier they don't offer the kind of folder I am interested in now. I might however pick up a recent second hand one as I need a few benchmarks to compare the Busse Folder against when it comes out and the design of the Rolling lock should give it considerable strength, I am curious to see how it breaks when it does.

cliff.. I canot speak for REKAT but I can addrss the lock release on later Escalators..the release on the side became a problem..for it engages -disengages easily upon gripping the knife. A proto was done by Vinve Ford that put it in deeper to the handle to try to eliminate that problem...
The side release was done with a compression spring instead of a return coil spring...to rid of the constant spring breakage and lock failure...

Obviously I prefer the very simple compression lock...which is holding up quite well to everything we can throw at it here, in Canada, France, Germany..or anywhere!Its getting evolutionary tweaks as time goes on!!!

Thanks for the input and review...
Nice review Cliff.

Does lubrication positively effect the grating on the Rekat?

How much wear is left on the Compression lock before it starts having vertical play?
If it has worn 15 thousandths without any use(since its unsharpened), and merely with opening the knife how much wear would it have after heavy use?

Seems like a clean lock design, too bad they didnt put it in a nice utility format like the Military or the Starmate ASAP.

Any idea how the compression lock stacks up against the AXIS?

Have you submitted the gunting to any heavy spine whacking? It would seem that a heavy impact would cause some vertical wobble, but that remains to be seen, I guess.

As a benchmark, no degree of spine whacking affects any of my 5 Axis locks, and the one I have used for 2 years now has no vertical play.

"The most effective armor is to keep out of range"-Italian proverb

the release on the side became a problem..for it engages -disengages easily upon gripping the knife.

This was what I was thinking. It is next to impossible to accidently disengage the front release one with your grip, but possible during use. With the side release ones pretty much the opposite would be true.

Anthony :

Does lubrication positively effect the grating on the Rekat?

I have tried some Tuf-Glide with no real effect. I suspect some may be grit but they are not mine so taking them apart may not be an option. I will discuss this with Andy and maybe REKAT.

If it has worn 15 thousandths without any use(since its unsharpened), and merely with opening the knife how much wear would it have after heavy use?

I would estimate that the Gunting trainer has seen far more lock stress than many blades actually cutting things in a far long period of time. The kinetic openings are very stressful, more so even than wrist snaps, and far more than most cutting chores. Chopping would be comparable I would think, but not a lot of people chop with such small folders.

Note as well that it appears to me that the relationship between wear and liner travel is not a simple linear one as the seat is on a curve of sorts. I would guess as the lock wears it starts to take more wear to get the same amount of travel across the seat. However there may be other issues that would come into play then. Based on the amount of wear that this one shows, it will be several years before the results of that are known - or otherwise, some very dedicated person with a lot of time on thier hands.

Seems like a clean lock design, too bad they didnt put it in a nice utility format like the Military or the Starmate ASAP.

Yes, a Military with a compression lock would be a very nice blade indeed.

Any idea how the compression lock stacks up against the AXIS?

No, have never used the Axis or anything of a similar design.

Have you submitted the gunting to any heavy spine whacking?

Yes, no effect. I also viced the first one and did a few thrusts on it to see how it reacted. It held up fine. It seems to be a strong and stable lock. I will definately be picking one up later on as a Benchmark for the Busse Combat folder.

Thats correct. The seating of the compression lock is radiused to compensate for any wear and tear so it locks up tighter..
another thing most people mis is thatthe compression lock is the ONLY lock that as force is put to the blade,it actually force more against the compression site, locking the blade tighter...the lock finger id BETWEEN the blade and the compression point rather than on the end...
the more it is forced, the more pressure to keep it locked...

Cliff. yes the font spring lever used to get caught up in usage and release the blade..plus the coil spring broke alot from usage..The sideslide doesn't get effected by usage but by grip..it can open/ disengage at the wrong time..OUCH! yes..it happened several times... I learned a unique way to hold it..PLUS..lots of people are training themselves to pull the lever to release the blade to "flick it open" (effectively a gravity knife) and when in stress I've seem several do it inadvertently cause they're used to reaching for it...

hmm bigger blade, more force...might close faster ....

Anyways.. I'm happier with the compression lock..glad to hear youREALLY understand that a DRONE takes much more abuse than a knife..Sal saw that atthe NYC show..he was amazed and asked me how manytimes a minute did I think I Kinetically opened the blade...
Ok roughly at easy opening about 10 times aminute for the whole period of the show..and of course I do it all the time...
"BAM" its open...

Thanks Cliff...
Two points of contention -

1. The Escalators in question are prototypes - something nobody seems willing to address. They were not for resale, nor were they for long term use. Instead, they were sold to Bram's students instead of tested, evaluated, and returned. The ones you have were the initial prototypes, and they went through much more than they ever should have. No one wants to mention this - instead all we hear is how crappy these "Escalators" are. Draw your own conclusions.

If you want to compare apples to apples, why don't you use a production Escalator and see what happens? And see what happens after 2 years of use on the Gunting, not 2 weeks (or months). This is faulty methodology.

2. With regards to product improvements, I'm not going to say anything - as a product is used out in the field, you find areas where you can improve it. I'd be suprised if there hadn't been improvements like grip checkering, thumb ramp serrations, etc.

Just my 2 cents


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for BladeForums.com

Insert witty quip here
Bram, as you know, if you really want to get a feel for how much force a kinetic opening puts on the blade, have someone do a few off of you, especially on bare skin and the violence of the opening will be readily obvious. My brother readily helped out here, looking back he was a bit to eager it seems.

Spark, the Gunting *prototype* has been in use far longer than a few weeks and as Bram has indicated the design includes measures for long term wear that are straightforward. I can easily say that just in the few weeks that I have had it, it has taken far more lock impacts than a normal folder would in a year.

As for why I don't comment on a new REKAT, I would if I had one, but for reasons I stated earlier :


I will not be buying one anytime soon. As for the Escalators being older models with the newer ones possibly being improved, I noted that. Without the new ones to compare against it is obvious that a more definate statement can not be made here. If the lock was changed to address the problems specified here then obviously this would be valued information.

Spark....let us get our facts straight.....The Escalators WERE NOT PROTOTYPES!!!!! They were the first production ones. All the first ones have the front lever lock. Just like the pocket Hobbit & the Pioneers. After the first run the Escalator's were changed to the side slide. ...just as all the REKAT line ups were

Gee, how do I know? Bram had all the students buy them.... None were to be TESTED Spark..we bought them outright..( they were SUPPOSED to be numbered BUT hey..someone didn't do it!)and guess what... My lock failed...cause the spring kept breaking.

BUt they were not Prototypes!...We all saw the one prototype that Bram had..It has a thumb stud, sharp secondary edge..and the front lever...The whole REKAT line up was done with front lever lock releases for the rolling lock...REKAT sold them...

They were ALL PRODUCTION Escalators...

So SPARK get it correct!
Spark: I'm sorry if this seems like gang-bang BUT you have it slightly wrong...OK totally wrong!
There was ONLY one proto type, It had the front lever relase and it had a double edge.. ( the clip was sharp) and the thumb stud was for right handed opening..

The first whole run of Escalators was the same as the whole REKAT line up..They all had front releases..The Pioneer series,( I have several..), The Pocket Hobbit and of course the Escalator...
The problem which was blamed on mis-tempered springs, was that in usage, the lever return springs would snap at the bend point.. I personally started making my own springs from auto springs...
REKAT then went to the compression side spring release to eliminate the breakage..compression is easier on the spring than bending...( especially at one point constantly....)
If Mr Taylor/ REKAT has another story about the springs..well Spark..theres nothing I can do about that...

I personally sold and REKAT SOLD those knives.. I DID not EVER get knives for testing..Bob sold them to me to resell to my students and friends, and public. He, I and Chris sold them at shows...
Of course IF they say we, I, didn't well I guess I can get ALL those that bought them to post..No one was testing, evaluating or any thing..
They were sold and bought outright...

So Spark..please check it out BEFORE you post WHAT you think is true..
This is about the same as the napkin drawing Spark...
Hi Spark! How ya doin?!

The escalator I bought was the latest version made, and still had the same if not more problems than everyone else's. They are well documented here:

The real problem no one wants to talk about is the quality of Rekat knives. You can do a
couple of searches on the Rekat forum and find a million problems with almost all of them, of course you can find just as many ways to fix those problems yourself, at home, which is what we all like to do with expensive knives. Draw conclusions from those. If these problems were "prototype" problems with the escalator, why are many of the same things happening to other knives?

It would take an incredible amount of audacity to sell the public a knife that was supposed to be a prototype for testing as a production model, especially at that price, and especially again for the quality we got. I personally spoke to Mr. Taylor, and at no point did he mention or represent the knive as a prototype. That alone speaks of problems. The fact is, that they were ALL production knives.

The Gunting's have been in use for awhile, even the very first ones (prototypes) are still functional and holding up well, for over a year now, doing everything everywhere from Russia to Isreal to Egypt and back, they've even been coast to coast. As for the latest version, I have put mine through far more abuse that I would ever have dreamed of submitting my delicate escalator too.

The "improvements" that you mentioned in the Guntings, were in the original designs of for the knife, and were supposed to be included in the escalator, for some reason they didn't make it.


[This message has been edited by Driscoll (edited 11-17-2000).]
Oh yeah! Just in case the post seems suspiciously close, we all just happen to be sitting right here at the same computer, at the Clearwater Seminar.

Since we are all of the same mind, we decided to take turns giving a few thoughts.

No personal offense.

Bram, Jody, David
I saw the escalator when it first came out. I handled one and took a pass. I'm glad I did.

Spyderco did the Gunting right.

Usually one can find something on a production knife that could be changed to improve it for your personal taste, style, whatever. With the Gunting, I'm still looking...the only problem so far is that you end up having to carry both the live and the drone everywhere because everyone wants to play with the red one.

I think I need another drone just as a loaner.

How was breakfast guys?

[This message has been edited by steve22595 (edited 11-18-2000).]
Breakfast was great.... thank's for asking. The only thing missing was your company. We had a great day of slamming and jamming today. Hope to see you soon.
Nova Benedict...homefries with onions...
fresh coffee..cheescake, danish....
breakfast was OK..
It made the GUNTINGs easier to hold..
Cliff take note..if you eat a killer breafast the GUNTING stays in your hand longer..
hello from all of us! We missed you!
I had some cereal and a powerbar as I hit the door this morning. I'm really jealous, but I think I'll be able to top it here in Van.

Glad you all had a great time.


We checked through several of our collections...we have several Escalator drones with front release levers, many Escalators with lever releases,several Pioneers, (tanto blade, upswept,,,)a couple of pocket Hobbits, and a few of the later Escalator slide releases...
There are more of the lever releases than slide releases...
Mikey, Michael, Doc, Jesus,Ramon,Tony, Gunnsimth,Tim, Frank, Freddie,Peter...and several of each of their students have lever locks..
NONE ever was told to "evaluate,test,return or that the knives were not sold outright..."

Steve: we did left to right 6 count drill than David & Andy went right-right to left left, then reversed it..then made left priority, then right priority...
Very cool..
Terry had a great time..Jody definately needed more coffee this morning...
Then we ate a Lenny's again!

Sounds like a great time. Sorry I missed it.

We'll probably have to have you out here longer just for the food. I'm making my list. Dim Sum, Sushi (fresh uni), Mini kiwis from Granville Island. ANything else?....Oh yeah, I guess we'll fit some training in there as well.

Off to do some more event planning.

The other weekend in NYC Sal was watching me open the DRONE Kinetically "BAM" on my hand, close it and "BAM" open it again..over and over again..its a good stress relief..'Sal was pretty amazed and asked me if I realized how manytimes I opened the DRONE kinetically per minute over the course of the whole day..
going easy about 10 times a minute...
The same Drone has banged on Spets boys, Israeli guys.. seminar guys..the RIddle, Commandments of Steel, Beach Blade..private training, Paris show,..etc...all since last January...

its still going strong..no vertical play, no slippage... and I do bang them...

I think I put the compression lock through a real world testing..
Yes,, I do realize the impact taken on the lock each time it Kinetically opens...

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