Liner Locks, Thumbs up or Thumbs Down?

To Yekim:

Your liner lock analysis makes sence but is not quite accurate for a well made liner lock. For a poorly made liner lock yes, a difference in liner angle and bottom of blade angle is what pushes the liner out of engagement. For a well made liner lock there is close to zero side force at all.

When starting the Magna project with Kit Carson I visited his shop and spent two days with him learning how to make liner locks correctly.

The way Kit makes a liner lock is by grinding a 7 degree angle on the bottom of the blade. Bending the liner over creates a 7 degree angle as well. Therefore the bottom of the blade and liner should butt up flush with each other at 90 degree angles. If the angle is much higher than lets say, ten or more degrees or there a difference between the blade and liner angle, the lock will either not engage or fail.

Outdoor Edge Cutlery Corp.

David Bloch,
David -- thanks! I think

Here's a note about a guy who makes liner locks and who really impressed me. The entire conversation following this was pretty good.

I take it on a knife by knife basis. I have a couple of liner locks that think are pretty reliable, but as a rule, I don't trust them. You have to test every one to know if your getting one that works or one that doesn't. Based on my experience, probably close to half the liner locks in existence are unreliable, whatever their price. Sure, they work fine for people who would be just as well served by a slip-joint, but what kind of recommendation is that?

David -- impress the hell out of us! Outdoor is already proving it to us by introducing the Magna, Impulse and later on the Apogee.

If you're gonna sell your collaborations to nail-cleaning and bagel-cutting "masses" only, then by all means build a linerlock.

The linerlock might stay for a while, but why stagnate?

If you want to be an innovative manufacturer (as you have to be to stand out among the many manufacturers) explore new grounds!


Kit makes excellent knives, in fact I have commented to several people that he makes linerlocks the way they should be made. If it is possible for your company to produce knives with as much care and effort put into making the locks reliable as Kit's, then I will be first in line to buy one. I did not get a chance to check out the Magnas at the Blade Show and get a closer look, which I guess is unfortunate.

I guess my point is that a custom maker can take the time and work out the bugs of every knife that goes out, his reputation hangs on each knife, and you pay for that. When you spend $400 on a folder you are buying that makers reputation and hard work, and (most of the time) they will make sure that there is not a flaw in it. I think that the linerlock is too finicky of a design for a large company to produce and still keep the level of failure down to an acceptable level without having alot of added costs down the line. I have seen knives from alot of upper end companies fold with just a slight tap to the spine. Spyderco, MOD, Benchmade, Microtech, etc.. These companies have a reputation for quality and yet they seem to have a hard time making their linerlocks 100% reliable. I have heard whether or not any of these companies have hired a guy that sits at the end of the assembly line to grip/whack/torque every knife to make sure that it is good. I am not quite sure what exactly goes on in QC at these places either, but given the amount of knives that make it out that are easy failures, I am pretty sure that there isn't much more than a visual check.

I know I seem like I am being a winer or just like to arue, or that I may never be happy, but having unobtainable goals is what drives all progress..


It is not a matter of whether or not you are paranoid, it is a matter of whether or not you are paranoid enough.
Ok ive been following this thread and my interest is piqued. I have big hands, I am entirely unable to get my afcks liner to fail by gripping tightly. I havent tried torqing yet, no big boxes that need opening. How do you grip the knife exactly when it fails, is it a particular position or just brute grip strenth. I could understand a particular grip making it fail, or is it just a problem with unreccessed liners.
Okay, my turn.

I won't add anything that hasn't been said before. I will say that I am another one of those guys who has the uncanny ability to disengage a Spyderco Military just by squeezing it. And I don't have to squeeze all that hard, either. The problem, in this case, I believe, is that the liner lock access point is not sufficiently recessed into the finger cut-out. This is enough to prevent me buying a knife I would otherwise love to own.

On the other hand, instead of the Military, I bought another liner lock knife, a Benchmade AFCK, which I am inclined to trust. So if I like a knife, I will buy it in spite of the liner lock.

Generally speaking, and all things considered, I'm getting away from liner locks these days. Perhaps the main reason is that the knives I'm interested in of late, for other reasons than lock type--i.e., blade and handle design--don't happen to have liner locks. There is also a bit of distrust influencing me, thanks to Joe Talmadge's crusade. He and other anti-liner lockers have got me thinking, although I'll admit I have had no problems with the liner locks I actually own and use.

I'm anxiously awaiting the debut of the Rolling Lock Military.

David Rock