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Lock strength vs lock reliability

Jan 11, 1999
There's been a lot posts about liner lock failure recently. This lock has been touted as strong in the past to justify it's use.

But, we can see that it isn't reliable when subjected to the various tests outlined by Joe Talmadge.

Many of us have come to the conclusion that 'it just won't do'.

Enter new patented lock designs (rolling lock, axis). Personally, I have some reservations about the rolling lock, but I do like the axis. However, it's patented and may not be available from anyone but BM, and the selection of size and styles will be limited.

The Microbar lock from MT may be great, or nothing more than a variation on a flawed concept in spite of excellent build quality, and it too is patented. It's also unproven in use due to it's newness.

Which brings me to the button lock. Not subject to the same failures as the leaf lock, white knuckle stress, engaging the locking bar with one's index finger, etc., etc. And it's not patented, it's in the public domain.

I'm thinking reliability is more important than pure strength. How much strength can your hand, wrist, forearm, etc. withstand?

The GT knives use a button lock for both their MA and AT knives. I've never heard of them failing or having blade play or requiring continual adjustment. Of course those guys are master machinists.

Someone recently quoted someone from BM as having said their auto lock was the strongest lock they made.

So why not make folders with well designed precision machined button locks?

Won't we ELU's get a better product and a better selection.

Ron Knight

Yeah I'm crazy, but what do you want me to do about it

[This message has been edited by RKnight (edited 11 February 1999).]

[This message has been edited by RKnight (edited 11 February 1999).]

[This message has been edited by RKnight (edited 11 February 1999).]

As an "ELU", I'm just going to stay away from linerlocks. Worrying about them, and sending a couple back to the manufacturer undermine the pleasure one expects to derive from having a good "tool".

I'm waiting to hear the verdict on the other locks. In the meantime, this ELU is waiting for the delivery of a Pinnacle and saving up for the REKAT. And, if I see a handle on one of the alternatives with other than the ubiquitous black, the wallet would come out faster than an automatic.


[This message has been edited by sing (edited 11 February 1999).]

[This message has been edited by sing (edited 11 February 1999).]
Lock strength and reliability is often a matter of construction. Designing it right, engineering it right and building it to spec. The Spyderco Native is a lockback ("front" or "mid" location). Average lock strength is over 500 inch/lbs of force. Not bad for a plastic knife? Yes, Virginia, there is a difference! Just thought to share my $.02.
There's a lot to be said for an unglamarous, but well-done lockback. They can be made very strong. The only relatively-common problem to watch out for is white-knuckle failures, if the lock release happens to be right where the bulge in your palm is. And lint collection in the little cut-out on the tang, which impedes lock-up. Other than that, it's a great lock. I switched completely to lockbacks (or switched completely *back* to lockbacks, I should say) for my usin' folders, before these newfangled locks starting coming out.