Locking mechanisms

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Jul 7, 2013
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So, I'd like for this to be a general discussion thread about locks.

What's your favorite lock and why?

My favorite lock is Andrew Demko's Tri-Ad lock for its strength. I'm also a fan of the Axis lock and Spyderco's Compression lock for similar reasons, though I appreciate their user-friendliness and that they don't necessitate that the user's fingers be in the way of the blade during closing.

I know a lot of us here on BF appreciate liner locks. I used to hate them until relatively recently; I had thought framelocks stronger until seeing some comparative tests, in which both locks showed comparative strength to each other, broke under similar circumstances but the captured liner of the liner lock kept the knife from closing when the lock was broken. That's not really the primary reason I like them more than I used to, however...I just like that they're convenient and easy to use, which is ideal for a light duty EDC folder. Quite frankly, I carry slipjoints often, so I don't feel as though it makes sense to hate on liner locks when I'd be carrying them for the same purpose as those slipjoints. Besides, I like using them! These days I think they're conducive to good ergonomics, user friendly and allow for flow-through construction (unlike lockbacks), which makes them easier to clean. Also, unlike a framelock, you can't really over-travel the liner and permanently damage the lock when you disengage it. Playing with my Tenacious as I type this. :)
For those of you who like liner locks, what is it about them that you like?
 
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I like most locks for different reasons. My least favorite is the opinel ring lock. It's not convenient nor is it strong.
 
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I like most locks for different reasons. My least favorite is the opinel ring lock. It's not convenient nor is it strong.

I agree that the Opinel ring lock isn't very convenient, but why do you say it isn't strong? I can't see any way for it to be disengaged without breaking the knife.
 
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I first started buying pocket knives when I was in high school 12 years ago. Then I did not know a good knife from a crap one. Some of my first knives were from ebay or big 5 sporting goods. They were cheap Chinese imports for less than 20 dollars. They all had liner locks and they all came with blade play or shortly after started to develop blade play. That left a bad taste in my mouth and since then I have considered liner locks inferior. I prefer lock backs for their simplicity and reliability. When I buy a pocket knife I would like it to have the best chances possible of lasting a lifetime with the least maintenance possible. For that reason, I avoid knives with assisted opening. In my experience with speedsafe, they tend to wear out within a year or two. Now as I have learned about quality knives, I have learned that a good liner lock is perfectly acceptable, however perhaps not quite as strong and maintenance free as lock back. Having said that, my favorite locks are: Lock Back, Compression Lock (paramilitary), and axis lock.
 
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I agree that the Opinel ring lock isn't very convenient, but why do you say it isn't strong? I can't see any way for it to be disengaged without breaking the knife.

Here's one video. Don't get me wrong I like opinels as much as the next guy. [video=youtube_share;1qKuZskDzmU]http://youtu.be/1qKuZskDzmU[/video]
 
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I prefer lock backs for their simplicity and reliability. When I buy a pocket knife I would like it to have the best chances possible of lasting a lifetime with the least maintenance possible. For that reason, I avoid knives with assisted opening. In my experience with speedsafe, they tend to wear out within a year or two. Now as I have learned about quality knives, I have learned that a good liner lock is perfectly acceptable, however perhaps not quite as strong and maintenance free as lock back. Having said that, my favorite locks are: Lock Back, Compression Lock (paramilitary), and axis lock.
I can certainly relate with your train of thought regarding longevity and less maintenance. :thumbup: A good lockback is timeless reliability.

Here's one video. Don't get me wrong I like opinels as much as the next guy. [video=youtube_share;1qKuZskDzmU]http://youtu.be/1qKuZskDzmU[/video]
Wow. Didn't see that coming. On the plus side, at least Opinels are not advertised or widely considered to be hard use knives.
 
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I can certainly relate with your train of thought regarding longevity and less maintenance. :thumbup: A good lockback is timeless reliability.


Wow. Didn't see that coming. On the plus side, at least Opinels are not advertised or widely considered to be hard use knives.

Lock Backs, Reliable...Yes, Fast to deploy and close...Not quite. I think as with everything to do with knives, it is all about compromise.
 
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Here's one video. Don't get me wrong I like opinels as much as the next guy. [video=youtube_share;1qKuZskDzmU]http://youtu.be/1qKuZskDzmU[/video]

Ugh, this video again.

I must ask, have you ever used an opinel? This man doing this video is either extremely incompetent, or is purposely misleading people. I say that because he clearly doesn't even come close to fully engaging the lock, which is super noticeable if you've ever used one.

I have three opinels(#6,#9,#12), the lock on all of them travels about another 1/4in, and none have had any slack like that, which is what causes the "lock failure" he shows.

To be clear, I'm NOT saying the opinels lock is the best ever (under severe pressure the lock ring actually pops off the knife). It is more than enough for normal use. That video is purposely deceiving people in my mind, which I feel is a rather low thing to do.

Looking at it another way, how strong is a lockback folder with the lock held down 3/4 of the way? How about a liner lock with the lock being held out of the way? That's effectively what the guy is doing, which drives me nuts. Anyway...

My favorite lock then I guess is the liner lock, or frame lock. They're much easier to use one handed for me than lockbacks, and I've not used any other fancy locks. Lock strength is the last thing on my list of priorities for a lock, and as long as the knife stays open during normal use (like cutting through cardboard), then I'm happy. I am a light folding knife user though, if that means anything.
 
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stabman

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Still like titanium frame-locks best; the elegant simplicity is nice, and my grip reinforces the lock (prevents slipping off the tang, which is the usual mode of failure).
Some people claim that twisting cuts will disengage the lock, but I submit that they have malformed alien fingers. ;)

Tri-Ad lock is cool on huge knives, where a slight sacrifice of convenience is worth it for extra strength.
 
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I love frame locks, they are smooth to open, look great, easy to unlock. Strong enough to keep the blade from closing on my hand, because I don't use the spine of a folder to bear weight and they only need to be strong enough to use the point. While gripped are more than solid enough to use a folder in the correct manner. This is more hard use than I'd ever use a folder for.

[video=youtube;iI5k2J73LAs]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI5k2J73LAs[/video]
 
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Still like titanium frame-locks best; the elegant simplicity is nice, and my grip reinforces the lock (prevents slipping off the tang, which is the usual mode of failure).
Some people claim that twisting cuts will disengage the lock, but I submit that they have malformed alien fingers. ;)

Tri-Ad lock is cool on huge knives, where a slight sacrifice of convenience is worth it for extra strength.

Maybe you Canadians just have bizarre hands. Probably why y'all apologize all the time. ;)
 
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I have no preference. I'll take whatever lock comes with the knife if I like the knife. Hell, I even use slipjoints.
 
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My two favorite locks on knives are the compression lock on my PM2 and the lock back on my Native 5. The Native is smooth enough that I can press the lock, shake the blade down, and then the choil rests on my finger, allowing me to move my digit and close it the rest of the way.


My only frame lock (currently) is on a Slysz Bowie. I love the knife, but the combination of it being so smooth and having to have my thumb in the way of the blade when closing has resulted in some close calls. It takes a very sensitive and mindful touch to not overextend the lock bar and close the blade very slightly before moving my thumb and closing it the rest of the way.

For me, being that I only edc for light tasks, I'm all about functionality over raw strength.
 
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I like the Axis lock and Compression lock for their ease of use, and the fact that you can easily and safely open and close them with one hand, and without putting a finger in front of the blade. They are both also very rugged and reliable.
I like the Tri-Ad lock for its ultimate strength and ruggedness. If I had to choose it would come down to the compression lock and the Tri-Ad. Can't say which would win.

But I still love the liner locks the way Spyderco does the Military. That never felt unsafe or weak to me. I love Ti framelocks for their looks as well. I guess if you use your brain just a bit, you're alright with all of them, but a strong reliable lock on a folder is a big plus for me.
 

evilgreg

Why so serious?
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I love frame locks, they are smooth to open, look great, easy to unlock. Strong enough to keep the blade from closing on my hand, because I don't use the spine of a folder to bear weight and they only need to be strong enough to use the point. While gripped are more than solid enough to use a folder in the correct manner. This is more hard use than I'd ever use a folder for.

That's a lot of caveats and provisos and whatnot; that CS video must have scarred you. Cold Steel Tri-Ad and Benchmade Axis people just say "it's a strong lock". Now we CRK fans saying "it's a strong enough lock, if you don't put weight on it or push too hard or stare directly at it in an intimidating manner". ;)
 
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That's a lot of caveats and provisos and whatnot; that CS video must have scarred you. Cold Steel Tri-Ad and Benchmade Axis people just say "it's a strong lock". Now we CRK fans saying "it's a strong enough lock, if you don't put weight on it or push too hard or stare directly at it in an intimidating manner". ;)

That video has influenced me to have a long, hard think about what I use my knives for, what my tastes and needs are, and how what I carry meshes together.
 
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