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Folders and Locks

Apr 9, 1999
Well I guess you can
tell that I'm a fixed blade kind of guy but I do own an endura. Please answer me this...

can I get a list of the different kinds of locks, rings, sleeves and I don't know what all, who makes them and pro and con?

What is my endura lock called? When folks talk about locks failing I'd like to be able to place it into perspective, thank you very much.

The Fighting Old Man
Well, here's a quick run-down of what I know, some from personal experience, some from reading posts.

1. Lockback. This is what your endura has. The lockback is obviously much safer than a slipjoint (non-locking) folder. Lockback style locks do a good job of keeping the blade in the handle, and a decent job of keeping it out during light cutting. The lock itself is a spring-tensioned bar on the back of the knife which slips into a notch on the back of the blade when the blade is opened. To close the blade, you simply press down on the other end of the locking bar, and like a lever, the locking end is lifted out of its notch in the blade.

2. Walker-lock or Liner lock. Most liner-locks are walker-locks. I believe that what differentiates a walker-lock from a liner lock is the presence of a ball-bearing detent. Put simply, this is a small bump on the liner, which, when the blade is closed, pops into a small hole in the blade. This keeps the blade from falling open in your pocket. A well-made liner-lock is stronger, and hence safer for heavy cutting or tactical use, than a lockback. The liner lock is a piece of bent metal on the inside of the knife handle. When the knife is opened, the liner is able to slide out from its formerly straight position against the handle scale, to a point resting on the tang of the blade. The blade cannot be closed while the lock is open. To close the blade, the user presses it back into its original position, allowing the blade to be swung closed. o
o Knife open
Knife closed (below): o (left)
: o: :=handle scales :__:
:|o: |=liner :/ :
:|o: _=blade tang :| :
:|o: o=blade :| :

Hope this drawing makes the operation of a liner lock a little clearer. Maybe not

Liner locks are generally made of stainless steel or titanium, each having its own advantages (e.g., light weight vs. strength, or longitevity of wear vs. corrosion resistance.) The disadvantages of this lock are that it requires fairly tight tolerances to work right (drop your liner lock in the mud, and you can forget about reliability), if made poorly, it is not particularly safe, and some people express concern about accidentally disengaging the lock when they are holding the knife very tightly ("white-knuckling") Liner locks are manufactured by many companies. Spyderco's Military is reputed to be an extremely reliable liner lock.

Integral lock. I believe this lock was first pioneered by Chris Reeve. This is another version of the liner lock, only instead of there being a thin, separate liner to the knife, which may fail under pressure or be accidentally disengaged, this variation of the liner lock uses part of the handle, which is notched so as to bend, instead of an additional liner. This is usually much thicker, and hence stronger than a liner lock. Many people believe that this is the strongest lock available, due to the fact that gripping the handle tighter only reinforces the lockup by pressing the handle in tighter behind the blade. The Benchmade Pinnacle and Chris Reeve Sebenza are both examples of integral lock knives.

Rolling Lock. This lock consists of a half-cylinder of metal which rotates as the knife opens, to allow the tang past it, than rotates back by means of a spring so that the knife is held in place by a solid, semi-cylindrical piece of steel. The biggest advantages of this lock are that it is extremely strong, and that as the knife is used, the lock is designed to adjust itself for wear, by rotating further as the metal is worn off of the lock. This means that the lock should have an extremely long life. Early models of this lock had a fairly inconvenient locking lever which one had to depress in order to disengage the blade. The newer ones I have seen instead have a side-mounted slide, which should be more convenient. Additionally, my Pioneer with this lock went through its first spring very quickly, but the current one has lasted for quite some time. Another potential disadvantage, though one I haven't experienced, is that it would be possible for dirt to foul up the locking mechanism, by jamming the spring, or something of the sort. This lock is currently manufactured only by Roundeye Knife and Tool (I think) though Spyderco is coming out with a number of Rolling Lock models in the future, though how soon I don't know.

Axis Lock. This is Benchmade's foray into the high-strength lock arena. I don't really know how they work, but I believe that the general principle is similar to the Rolling Lock in that a bar of solid metal is machined to slide into a cutout on the back of the blade. I don't have any personal experience with this one, but I have heard good things about it.

I hope this somewhat wordy explanation of the different kinds of locks has helped.