Liner Locks ... Ti vs. S.S.

Nov 16, 1998
Another thread brought this to mind ...

I have had my Spyderco Military alot longer than my Benchmade Stryker and Emerson Commander and I guess even worked it harder than these other two, also. The titanium liner lock on my Stryker has moved all the way across the blade's tang because of wear and I now (just today) noticed my Commander which also has a ti liner lock starting to wear, but my Spyderco Military with the Stainless Steel liner lock is still only half way across the blade's tang, right wear it should be.

Shouldn't liner locks therfor be made out of Stainless Steel instead of Titanium being Ti is softer than S.S. and will wear faster? Has any one else noticed this too?


[This message has been edited by Mark W Douglas (edited 15 April 1999).]
Hi Mark - I was once having a conversation with Darrel Ralph about liner locks, and he basically said the same thing, that steel is a better material to use than titanium. Since stainless steel has a higher Rc rating that ti does, it will not wear down like you described. I have some ti liner locks that have worn a bit since they were new, and my two Military models are still perfect, and I admit to flicking them every so often. I guess the reason why titanium is popular is due to its high corrosion resistance and the inherent springy-ness that it has.

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

Hello Dexter,

Thanks for the reply. I know titanium is corrosion resistant but correct me if I'm wrong, the stainless steel being used for these liners are also a very high corrosion resistant steel as well. More so than the blade steels are, which we know anyways. The chances of these stainless steel liner locks rusting is so remote, you would have to be very abusive with the knife and never clean it, too. It would be less costly for the maker if stainless steel was used for the liner locks as well.

It can't be a weight factor being the liners are thin to begin with, I don't think you would notice any real weight increase because ss was used instead of ti. Oh well!

By the way Dexter, I liked the review you did in the current issue of Knives Illustrated on the Benchmade Axis and the GT Tanto Folder! Must be a joy to get the knives first hand to test them out. DMT's double Diafolds sound like a good improvement as well.


[This message has been edited by Mark W Douglas (edited 15 April 1999).]
Maybe someone who does make liner locks would be better served in answering this. Titanium has a few traits that serve in making a liner lock. First there is no heat treat involved with the proper alloy. Secondly it galls aginst stainless, this last part is a double edged they are very tight to begin but the more galling the faster the wear. Any lock that relies on friction has that disadvantage, including the Lock Back. Benchmades Axis and the Rolling Lock have a built in wear compansator they self adjust for wear. The Axis Lock locks on a inclining plane and The Rolling Lock on a cam and notch. Both are stronger than a Liner Lock or Lock Back. Hope this is a bit enlighting.

Bob Taylor
Mark, yes I have noticed the wear difference as well. The only liner lock I own that I still consider to be trust worthy is a Boker/Klotzli with a 440c liner. I have never owned a Benchmade that had a consistantly solid liner lock, and understand that it is SOP for them to replace the liners as part of their "lifetime" warranty.

I think it would take a long time to wear down the Ti integral locks from Chris Reeve or Mission


Well folks...Thats it. I have thought about my my next purchase for a while now and all this talk about ordinary liner locks wearing down scary fast has convinced me. I am going for the Pinnacle

I suppose a BM Pinnacle is not so very sensitive about dirt and lint either.

Tea drinker and hellraiser from Northern Sweden, above the arctic circle.

I asked this same question in the custom forum and AT Barr responded that Ti makes a better spring than stainless and would keep its sprind where steel will lose its bend. I have personally found that S.S. seems to last longer with less wear. A well made Ti liner lock is a thing of beauty, but too many people make crappy ones.
Hey Cous, I think you are on the right track. An integral lock is the way to go for a locking folder. The Pinnacle is a very nice knife (Benchmades Best), but if you want even a tad better integral locking knife (costs much more though) go for the Chris Reeve Large Sebenza or even better yet go for the Mission MPF.


" Knife Collectors Are Sharp People
Bob - Spyderco makes linerlocks. We like to think we have learned a little on this subject. (We did make the first production linerlock/detent piece - Bob "T") First, all of; you/me/us/we need to think both logically AND "out of the box".

Thickness has much to do with strength. (make a knife 2" thick and it will be very strong). Geometry has much to do with strength. (Poor geometry on a good design makes a poor luck) Design has much to do with strength. (Good quality on a poor design will have less reliability) Ultimate strength is different from defeat strength. Catastrophic failure is different from non catastrophic failure. (Did it break the knife or the finger?)

In just about any decision that must be made, there are factors that influence choices. If there were no good factors to a given choice, it would not be part of the choice. (except for corruption, greed, etc)

"Which is better?" is often an unrealistic question in a any area. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each choice, would be more objective as you search for the "truth" to your question.

Bob - the Golden made Linerlocks (Centofantes', Terzuola's and Military) are all self adjusting for wear and each contains an adjustable eccentric "D" nut pivot. This permits the factory to re-adjust the position of the blade tang ramp/ linerlock interface. Even if worn "all the way accros", we can adjust back to "0". This provides more potentional for future tuning than with the Lockback, Axis or Rolling Lock. "All good, just different!".
just some more opinion.
I own linerlocks from Benchmade, CRKT, and Kershaw. No significant wear problems yet, but I tend to use my lock backs more. One knife I haven't need to worry about it the Kershaw 2415 Liner Action. Its liner lock is stainless steel, and it's designed to snap all the way over. If you look under the blade tang, though, you'll see it's quite a unique liner/blade tang contact point. You also need to apply a little pressure as you thumb it open, and the liner assists in snapping the blade out FAST. If you try to open slowly, you risk accidently cutting your thumb.
I've practiced and flicked this knife hundreds and hundreds of times, and it's still rock-solid. I feel the fact it's purposely designed to snap all the way over lessens my worry about as much liner wear, as opposed to it catching against an angled blade tang like a normal liner lock. So perhaps design, too, may play a part. Time will tell, I guess. Jim
Flipping or flicking, is really a stupid thing to do. Period. It is hard on the knife, serves no useful purpose, and is likely to result in injury. A person was nearly impaled when another person was showing off her flicking technique, and the knife slipped from her hand and flew across the room.

I suggested that the woman, our hostess, practice in another, empty room. I even loaned her one of my folders, custom made by a well known maker. She flipped my folder for about 30 min. There is now a flat on the stop pin, and the knife does not lock up solidly. This was my first experience of how damaging flipping can be. Otherwise I would not have loaned her the folder. The reason I loaned it to her was because I had examined her BM625 Leopard and BM612 Leopard Cub. Both had been damaged severely; the blade wobbled, the stop pins were nearly completely dislodged, and, in short, were near basket cases.

Sorry, but I cannot see any good purpose to flipping. If you want to do it, fine. Just use your own knife. Walt
Not to change the subject of the thread, but my Liner Action does NOT have a stop pin. The blade stop is the integral angled back of the handle which forms a ramp. You need to apply a little downward pressure to unseat the blade from the ball detent, which is very strong. Thus the blade snaps open with only a press/flick of the thumb, not a forceful, dangerous snap of the wrist. Trying to open it slowly in fact is uncomfortable and not too safe.
I do NOT flick my other linerlocks because they're not designed that way. And I do not flick others' knives, nor do I allow them to flick mine open.
Sorry, this is WAY off the subject.
I too, have noticed the lock on my Stryker was moving over to the other sde and fairly quick too. I have only had the knife for 5 months.

My solution....? I ditched the Stryker and got myself another Military. No problems at all with the liner.
In fact the only I only have two knives with titanium liners/locks that I trust or will keep. The Sebenza(of course) and the BM975(no problems thus far and I have had it for over a year)
God Bless.

*Norse Knife Nut*

"Military" Fans Unite!!

"The only limitation is lack of imagination."

[This message has been edited by William Johnson (edited 20 April 1999).]

The Spyderco Military with the stainless steel lock is nicer looking, too, very shiney! Just wished Spyderco wouldn't have changed the blade by eliminating the finger choil the older ones had. Glad I bought of few of them when I did! Still, a longer wearing lock than the Stryker, that's for sure.

God Bless you too!

A few months ago I was strongly considering buying a Striker. Now, due to reading in BF I have decided against it. Not that it's not a good knife...but it seems like maybe titanium linerlocks may not be the best way to go. Live and learn!