Newbie needs help

Nov 17, 2000
Am looking for fold-out knife that I can open/close easily, keep an edge longer, easy to sharpen/maintain, durable. That narrows things down, doesn't it!!

1. what are pros/cons between liner locks vs. axis lock by Benchmade.

2. What are pros/cons of different type of metals for blades?

3. What are pros/cons of different handle materials. Looking for something that doesn't get slippery when wet/damp.

4. pros/cons of straight grip design vs. contoured to fingers

5. Any overlooked suggestions? Things to look out for and avoid?

I'm sure this topic will open up a can of worms, but......

Let's give it a go anyway!!!
Welcome to

I'm sure you'll be getting plenty of replies. Generally, though, you'll get better results with more specific threads. Ask just one question at a time. The answers to these and just about any other knife-related question or to any of life's persistent questions can be found with the experts here.

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You might want to explore the "search" option there.

While you wait for your answers, Think W!

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
Welcome to the forums! Although a book can be written on the subject, I offer these words...

Liners are much stronger than lockback knives. The axis lock is supposed to be much stronger than liner locks and is truly ambidexterous (with liner locks you have to get one with the liner on the proper side for your dominant hand, or else things don't work as well as they should.)

ATS-34 is a great folder steel, along with 154-CM. AUS-8 and 440-C, although less demanded by the knife nuts here, do make good blades. There are some super duper steels out there like bg-42 and the CPM vanadium steels (they changed the names of the steels, but their old names are 440-V and 420-V) All fit your criterion but in differing degrees. The CPM steels will take a great edge and hold them a long time, but will take longer to sharpen. In contrast, Aus-8 will be easier to sharpen but will not hold its edge as long as a 420-V blade.

Straight versus contoured handles? I think they all come with curves now! Just make sure that there is something up front keeping your hand from sliding onto the blade, like a swell of the handle, a finger cut out, etc.

I would recommend a Benchmade AFCK. I have one and love it!! It has Ats-34 steel, a liner lock, g-10 handle scales and a finger cut-out. The blade is a slight recurve which adds to performance and with the lansly or Sharpmaker type set-ups are easy to sharpen. And, the handle is at an angle to the blade (Teh blade curves down, sort of, from the handle) which adds to performance as well.

There are tons of knives that suit your criteria. Perhaps suggest a budget and we can help you more!

"Come What May..."
I'm not really fond of liner lock knives myself,but I hear the new Microtech LCC is a tough handful.My everyday carry is a Benchmade 940 Osborne Axis Lock uses 154CM Stainless steel good performing steel.Very strong locking mechanism,not much chance of the action on an axis lock getting sloppy.Mine has a blue anodized aluminum handle that has a fairly good gripping texture to it even when wet,I believe they sandblast the handle before the anodizing takes place.The blade design is my favorite part of the knife,has a blade shape that looks like a strong piercing blade sorta like a tanto,yet it has a shape which seems to lend itself nicely to slicing.The lock itself is easy to engage/disengage for both lefties and righties.The knife is very smooth opening.There are other knives out there that would fit your needs also,but this is one of my favorite.Chow,Ralph

Welcome to the forums!

To follow up on what Gollnick wrote:

Click on this to go to Knife FAQ's- Your best place to find general information about the different aspects of knives, their construction, their maintenance, and how to test them yourself. This will give you a great intro.
I think it's hard to tell someone else which knife is best for them. Once you have some basic information about such things as steels and the various handle materials, you really need to go to a knife show or big knife store and handle a lot of different knives to see how they feel for YOU. If you have friends with knives you can also talk with them about their experiences and handle their favorite knives. After a while, you'll know what you like best. Good luck!

[This message has been edited by yitz (edited 11-18-2000).]
1. What are pros/cons between liner locks vs. axis lock by Benchmade.

Liner locks are inherently unstable. Only the best designed and manufactured are reasonably reliable. They are popular because they are easy to open and close one-handed and they will hold up real well under ordinary working conditions.

The Benchmade axis, like the REKAT rolling lock, and the old Gerber bolt-action, are much more reliable, but pretty much restricted to the specific manufacturers. Many lockbacks are so strong, they are almost fixed blades.

2. What are pros/cons of different type of metals for blades?

Steel may be (high-)carbon, which will tarnish unless cared for properly – which you should do for all tools anyway! Carbon steel generally outperforms stainless, in toughness, edge-holding, resharpenability. (Where did THAT word come from???) Stainless steels are less easily corroded.

Titanium is difficult to work and very difficult to harden to as good an edge as any steel. It is non-magnetic, so it gets chosen for demolition work, for example. It is light and tough, but not a first choice for a working daily carry folder.

Several cobalt alloys make excellent knives, since they can be made to cut well, resharpen easily, and corrode NEVER. OK, not never, but not in your lifetime. Dendritic cobalt, talonite, and stellite are the ones you’ll read about here. They are a pain to work, and tend to be rather expensive. Maybe not a first knife, but definitely worth keeping in mind. (You’ve got to check out David Boye’s dendritic steel and dendritic cobalt and Rob Simonich’s work in talonite.)

By the way, knives are also made of different composites, like zytel, G-10, or cheap plastic, which are generally known as handle material. These are usually stealth knives – metal detectors won’t spot them. Ceramics are also useful, but not in the field: they are brittle, but they are SHARP

3. What are pros/cons of different handle materials. Looking for something that doesn't get slippery when wet/damp.

I’m gonna pass on this. Knifemakers generally do not put slippery handles on their knives, although some materials are more comfortable than others. But handle shape has a lot to do with this, too.

4. pros/cons of straight grip design vs. contoured to fingers

This is a classic case of what works for me may not work for you. It isn’t always possible to guess from a picture, and it isn’t always easy to find a store nearby where you can pick one up and try the grip. You will also find that the human hand is a flexible gripper, that can adapt to a variety of handles.

Don’t forget, for a working knife, you may want one kind of grip, a fighting knife another. A small “gentleman’s”pocketknife may do fine with a simple, sleek shape.

5. Any overlooked suggestions? Things to look out for and avoid?

Don’t buy knives with multi-colored wood handles.
There are tons of knives that suit your criteria. Perhaps suggest a budget and we can help you more!


How about between $100-$150.00 for budget?
I would wholeheartedly recommend the Microtech LCC, Spyderco Military and Spyderco Starmate. I have personally found that Benchmades quality control is lacking. The Microtech is far superior to the Spydercos in fit and finish, but the blade steel in the Military and Starmate is CPM-440V, and therefore gets the nod in that respect. I'm sure you'll get lots of suggestions, but it sometimes just takes a little time living with a knife to decide if it's for you or not. My favorite right now is the Microtech, but every Spyderco I've owned or seen has been impressive, too. You'll most likely find that you'll need more than just one or two knives if you stay around here very long!

Chris Turner

"It's only a flesh wound!!!" - the Black Knight

"Well, they wouldn't hang a man for an accident, not even in Arkansas." - Captain Woodrow F. Call
Reb, welcome to the Forums. You're on the search for the perfect knife, you'll be happy to know that althought there are many great knives out there, there isn't one perfect knife or combinations of features that will suit every need or everyones taste.

That's the fun part, if you like knives. I would suggest that you set yourself a budget first. You'll find good knives from about $10 on up. Start by searching the links here, start to become familiar with the manufacturers and their product lines and prices. If you see something that appeals to you do a Search on that knife. If you like the reviews it gets here, you may have a winner. Then since it sounds like you want a user, I would look for one to come up on the For Sale Forum, and buy one that had been used and not abused and save yourself some money. Knife stores and shows are great to handle knives, but it won't be too long until you'll know what looks good for you even without handling it. You have found the best source for getting info on knife buying right here at BladeForums.

Enjoy your journey.

"Will work 4 Knives!"
My PhotoPoint Site
Reb, you've gotten some good advice from the guys on the Forum. Let me add something that may be obvious. If at all possible, find a good knife store in your area & check out the various brands & models. That will help give you a better idea of what you like and along with researching BladeForums should help you find that perfect knife for you. It also maybe help save you some money by not buying something you'll end up not being satisfied with.