Liner lock vs frame lock

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by BigHutch, May 22, 2020.

  1. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    It seems to me that frame and liner locks are both an execution of form over function because a band of metal will buckle in compression long before it will fail in tension (as in a back lock).
  2. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    Ron Sabbagh and Mr.Wizard like this.
  3. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    Okay, I will. It's always good to correct my misconceptions. However I haven't seen a break test like Cold Steel does that gives me high confidence in these; can you point to any?
  4. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    @jbmonkey I found one limited test and indeed a couple of the liner and frame locks were very strong but in this admittedly small sample the lockbacks averaged better. I am not an engineer but I still think that built to the same level a back lock can be stronger than a liner lock simply because of the way the members are loaded. Although much of their marketing is cringe-worthy Cold Steel has shown that their lock is extremely strong especially considering the low price-point of many of their knives.

    allenC and not2sharp like this.
  5. scottyj


    Jan 29, 2009
    In red. That's awesome. Well said man.
  6. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    if you read the article fully, you'd have seen Michael mentions most makers seem to fail on the important angle that makes it very strong when done right.

    I'm not interested in arguing, only sharing info from credible industry people. believe what ya want.
    Mr.Wizard likes this.
  7. guy g

    guy g Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 22, 2000
    My experience is limited to Buck and Benchmade linerlocks , Chris Reeve frame lock and Lone Wolf City Knife slipjoint as the ones I've used most . I've seen no difference in performance, nor have any lock failures happened. Plus 2 lock blade Vics and the slip joint line.
    For me this covers literally the last 20 years of collecting.
  8. unwisefool

    unwisefool Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    jbmonkey likes this.
  9. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    Cold Steel have tested many of their own liner lock models. Here is the first one I found when I looked, a plastic handled liner lock that holds triple the weight the Sebenza frame lock folded up at, incidentally:

    I maintain that properly executed liner/frame/back/button/etc. locks are all fine for any practical use. That said, if I was worried about lock strength I'd personally go with the Tri-Ad first and then a big group of other strong locks next (e.g. AXIS).

    Assuming we set aside some supposed strength advantage to the frame lock (lol, go back and watch those Sebenzas fold up at forty-five pounds, then watch this clip of a liner lock suspending 135 pounds using the same methodology), there are some practical advantages to liner locks, comparatively. For example, the liner lock offers better looks with the ability to have symmetry between the sides, and a better feel in hand for the same reason.

    I always think about the Sebenza failing hard in that video when someone says they only carry frame locks because liner locks are "too weak". It's not like these are some gas station frame locks failing, these are the gold standard of frame locks we're talking about, renowned for their perfection.

    I like my Sebenza, but liner locks are fine with me too, and back locks and button locks and knives that don't lock and whatever else.
  10. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    @evilgreg I am definitely not saying that a liner or frame lock cannot be made more than adequately strong; rather that for a given grade of materials and general build quality there are lock geometries that are inherently stronger. I haven't watched those CS tests in years but I think their own Tri-Ad lock on knives of similar size/weight held a lot more than that liner lock, which is exactly the point I was trying to make: if you are seeking the strongest lock possible liner/frame lock is at a mechanical disadvantage.
  11. BillZee


    Apr 30, 2020
    Putting extreme testing and misuse aside.
    I prefer liner because it's covered.
    The issue ,the easier they are made to access to close. The greater chance moving your finger to adjust grip can shift bar to unlock. Has happen to me...... I have worked on a couple of knives to prevent this.
    The want for a knife easy to open and close can cause safety problems. I think the axis style locks and others try to address this issue.
    Fixed blade and old standard lock back are the best.
  12. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    the thread isnt on which is the strongest lock.....its on this.....

    "Is the Microtech Socom Elite liner lock a super tough lock? How does it stack up to a tough ZT frame lock?"

    so helping the OP understand how strong a liner lock can be, is helpful.
  13. Ron Sabbagh

    Ron Sabbagh Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 15, 1999
    For the OP.....assuming from this discussion that a well made linerlock and frame lock will perform similarly with standard EDC tasks...
    let me add that the Microtech Socom Elite was Blade Magazine’s 2019 American made knife of the year.

    It has a 20+ year history of kicking ass

    Hope that helps
  14. DangerZone98


    Dec 7, 2019
    I have the Spyderco Resilience as my only liner lock knife, and it’s pretty solid so far. I am curious about getting frame locks sometime though. What problems have you had with them?
  15. allenC


    Jun 18, 2000
    Over the years I've drifted away from liner locks and frame locks.
    I've had more trouble out those two styles of locking folders than any other styles of locking folders.
  16. jstrange


    Mar 31, 2012
    I like liner-locks better than any other lock. Doesn’t mean I think it’s the best necessarily, or the strongest, because it’s not. I just like the ease of use and generally solid lock up. To me, frame-locks are not as comfortable to use and I often have difficulty deploying them due to my grip causing pressure on the lock-bar.

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