It is not lockback vs. linerlock vs. axislock vs. rollinglock

May 22, 1999
Or even linerlock vs. linerlock. In my previous thread;
I asked the question who has broken a knife. And of the 20 respondants so far only two had lock failures! What blew me away is they were lockbacks not linerlocks. The most common breaks were the TIP of the blade and problems with INITIAL CONSTRUCTION or quality control.

The most common ways the knife was broken was PRYING and THROWING. The rest could be lumped into general abuse. I'm no statistician.

What did I learn from this? Look for Quality materials and construction. So I won't be looking for a knife this weekend, I'll be saving my pennies for a Sebenza. AND don't pry with any knife or throw my folding knives. Use the tool for what it was designed for. I always have my PST II or Swiss-Tech. Throwing knives can be had for very little cash I think.
David, your survey has some interesting conclusions that I think will be particularly valuable to newcomers to this forum.

It drives me crazy to see people either (1) abuse a knife by throwing it, (2)using it as a pry bar or, worst yet, (3) trying to make a cheap, dull knife perform heavy duty cutting tasks.

All are dangerous practices. If we can educate even a few people here that knives are tools designed for specific tasks, then we have served a good purpose.

This forum has done an outstanding job in educating knife users and I hope we all keep up the good work!

Life is a journey, not a guided tour -- GO ARMED!

You may not have gotten the information that you wanted from the question you asked, "Who Has Broken a Knife?" It sounds like you wanted to know who has had a knife break or FAIL in use. I don't consider a knife broken simply because the lock has disengaged and closed on my fingers unless I couldn't fix it.

I have had knife locks fail numerous times while doing heavy whittling or splitting light kindling. The knife gets wedged into the wood and the lock fails when you try to draw the blade back out of the aborted cut. Sometimes this happens on a very good lock that has collected lint in the blade pivot and/or lock area. The lock never fully engaged and slips back out when stressed towards the closing direction. The knife is not broken in this case, even if I'm bleeding all over the place.

Mostly I've had this problem with lockbacks (because I detest liner locks and only own a couple). I didn't include failures in my response to your previous question, just broken parts.
One of the manufacturers, I don't remember which one,
states in the warranty/instructions
"a knife is the most expensive and least efficient crow bar you will ever own"
I should've mentioned in the other thread that I had one knife's lock fail...but not due to breaking. It was a POS. It was an old Taiwanese brass-type handled lockback sort of like a Buck knockoff.
This was years ago. I had it as an expendable, beat-it-up knife that couldn't cut at all. So I opened it and pressed the back of closed like a slopjoint! I looked at the well of the was almost flat!
Taiwan has come a loooong way since then!
Jeff Clark is right on. Actually, Steve Harvey, in one of his first responses to the other string, said basically the same thing. While many of the lock debates have been about strength, many more of them have been about *reliability* (I've been a crusader in trying to make that distinction stand out).

Have I ever broken a folder? Well, I've broken the tips off a bunch, I've chipped edges and especially serrations. But most importantly, I definitely have had locks fail on me -- not break, but fail nonetheless. This only happened a couple times, because I quickly learned how to test a lock, so that it wouldn't happen to me again. I also became the poster boy for lock failures, and for quite a while there people were emailing me lock failure stories. And believe me, I heard a lot of 'em.

The large majority of folder users who use their folders to open mail and cut carrots may not ever run into lock failure problems. But start zeroing in on guys who use their folders hard, and you'll hear about failures. And here's the thing -- there are many many people who use their folder only lightly, but want to know that it *could* stand up to hard use if it had to.

Given the way the question was posed in the other string, I gotta think your conclusion is classic "junk science"
Just kidding, but don't think you want to get too complacent about lock reliability.

Other than that, good quality is what it's all about. There are reliable locks of all types out there, for sure ...


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 30 June 1999).]
Lockbacks are probably still the most common type of lock, it would make sense they would fail the most. Especialy considering that you pay way less for a good lockback than liner/axis/rolling/what-have-you lock. They're more likely to be bought by people who will put them through their paces. I don't have the statistical data, but working from field observation, most who buy liners and such are collectors. It's about ratios, not incidents. something happening 10 out of 1000 times is actualy less than something happening twice out of 100.

I would argue it IS about which is best. I want the lock that has the most strength and reliability. As soon as one is made, and incorporated in a knife that I like, I will buy it. Right now, the knife that has the best strenght, reliability, and design for my purposes happens to be a tried and true lockback. Other than that, I feel no particular connection to lockbacks. Simply put, I want the best.

Yeah, quality is a big factor. A bad knife will fall apart fast. Most of us are painfuly aware of that. I've never broken a good knife, but I have broken a lot of bad ones. Wether or not it breaks being the judicial factor.