Knife lock question

Malpaso

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On a recent hike, I lost my carry knife, a Spyderco Rescue. I was looking at the Buck Strider 889 or 882 if I don't get another Rescue. The Bucks have liner locks, which I've never really liked (never seemed to be a strong design), prefering the back lock like on the Spyderco and others.

My question is, since many good quality knives use the liner lock, is there a benefit I'm not seeing?
 

NAlamo

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Liner locks are pretty strong - wouldn't worry about it . They have become common because they are inexpensive ,easy to produce and fairly fool proof to fit . I think the Strider is pretty safe lock wise and strength wise . Been carrying a Benchmade since they produced *butterfly* knives(Jody Samson WeeHawk) under the name of Pacific Cutlery . When they reformed under the Benchmade name and were producing the liner locks I switched and haven't looked back .
 

Ignoramus

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Liner locks have been known to have greater chances of disengaging under stress, paticularly during twisting and lateral stress. However, if the liner lock knife is made by a quality maker or company, I wouldn't worry about it. If you were to use it under extreme pressure, you should probably consider a fixed blade over any locking knife. My favorite lock in decending order are:

Axis Lock (Benchmade), Arc Lock (SOG)
Balisong
Frame Lock
Back Lock (particularly Spyderco's mid lock)
Compression Lock (Spyderco)
Ball Lock (Spyderco)
Liner Lock (I trust Spyderco's Liner Locks the most)

Interestingly enough, I prefer Spyderco knives over other companies in their price range.
 

ACMarina

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Yeah, the only knife I trust more than my Benchmade Stryker (Liner) is my Swamp Rat Howling Rat (Fixed)..

Not to say that I haven't been bitten by a liner lock before - I've not been bitten by a quality liner lock before :)
 

stoven

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If you are scared that a liner lock will fail you can always buy one that has a safety rotolock. I've had liner locks fail while using the knife to pry. I always test my liner lock knives by banging the back of the blade on the floor or table to see how strong the lock is. It sucks having a liner lock fail on you causing the blade to close on your fingers.

CRKT has just implemented their "auto-lock", a spring loaded rotolock, on all of their liner locks. When the blade is opened the safety lock automatically engages. It becomes annoying when closing the blade since you need to push the safety out of the way and then push the liner lock arm over.

Lockbacks are considered old technology and liner locks are newer. I personally prefer a frame lock over a liner lock. I agree with Ignoramus that Benchmade's axis lock is one of the best locks though.
 

carrot

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I really like Benchmade's Axis lock, but as far as actual knives go I am pretty much in the Spyderco camp. Spyderco's design and ergonomics just seem to suit me better, even though I am not a big fan of lockbacks. Anyway, my current EDC uses a compression lock, which at first appears to be a backwards liner lock that doesn't have the "twisting" problem and appears to be able to take more force than a linerlock. Like a linerlock, it is resistant to debris buildup and is unlikely to get "clogged up" like a lockback can. What I like most about linerlocks (when done right, anyway) is that they are really easy to open and close with one hand.
 

cutlerylover

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I have used many knives over the yars, and many different locking mechanisms, and I have to say that I have never had any knife lock fail yet (knock on wood) A quality knife manufactuer will make a sturdy linerlock, but if your that concerned about it buy what you like! When I buy or trade for a new knife the lock is not really an issue, although given the option to get a liner lock or a framelock I would pick a framelock since its the same concept but a lot stronger...
 

Gary123

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I have also used a number of different knives over the years with all types of locking mechanisms. There are a few things to be aware of with liner locks.

The test referred to above by stoven is a good one. Holding the handle with the blade facing up, bang the back of the blade against the palm of your hand to see if the liner lock will disengage. Also, inspect the position of the liner lock to see how it lines up on the butt of the blade when engaged. The entire thickness of the liner (or 90% of it or so) must be behind the blade. If a little bit of the liner does not quite make it to support the blade, be careful as it can slip off under pressure. Although, as the liner lock wears in, it will move over. If it is too far over when new (if it is all the way over to the other side of the blade or makes contact with the opposing liner), the piece must be rejected. But particularly critical, in my opinion, is how exposed the liner lock is to your index finger when griping the handle. Some liner locks are buried down into the handle. This is best, even though it can be a bit difficult to disengage as you have to dig down to reach the liner. But if the liner lock is raised or otherwise exposed, then you can inadvertently apply pressure to the lock when using the knife. This has happened to me with several knives, even though they were high quality.
 

lukus

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"Lockbacks are considered old technology and liner locks are newer"

Linerlocks go back a lot further than lockbacks. They were actually kind of popular in the 1920's with brass liners. More a case of what goes around comes around with newer materials and easier/better machining.
 

greenstuffs

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I wouldn't use a Axis-Lock because it has springs and may be prone to failure, my vote is for framelock with thin bodies unlike Axis lock BM's are much friendly to carry.
 

BigHonu

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greenstuffs said:
I wouldn't use a Axis-Lock because it has springs and may be prone to failure, my vote is for framelock with thin bodies unlike Axis lock BM's are much friendly to carry.


greenstuffs,

I've been out of the production knife scene for a bit so I'm not up to speed on a lot of stuff, but do you have any accounts of the Axis Lock springs failing? I have always heard this argument against the Axis Lock, but have not heard of an incident yet.

I'm just trying to satisfy my curiosity about the Axis Lock. I do own two knives with the lock though do not use them often.

Thanks!
 

carrot

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I have actually heard of one (never both at once!) of the omega springs from the AXIS coming out, but since the AXIS uses two, it will still function properly until you can send it to Benchmade to have it serviced. IMHO the liner/integral and compression locks are the best in terms of simplicity, but the AXIS is not at all unreliable.

Besides, if the springs really did both fail at a bad time you can always jam a small stick into the AXIS hole and lock the knife open anyway. At least, that's what someone on Benchmade Forums theorized.
 
S

stdlrf11

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I bought an 889 a few weeks ago.
The liner lock failed on me. I sent it back to Buck this week.

stdlrf11
 

greenstuffs

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BigHonu said:
greenstuffs,

I've been out of the production knife scene for a bit so I'm not up to speed on a lot of stuff, but do you have any accounts of the Axis Lock springs failing? I have always heard this argument against the Axis Lock, but have not heard of an incident yet.

I'm just trying to satisfy my curiosity about the Axis Lock. I do own two knives with the lock though do not use them often.

Thanks!

I have never used a Axis-Lock till the point to failure as BM is not my thing, i've tried a few they are nice but never got to a point to own one. As failures i've read few at Blade Forums as malfunctionning. Not failing as blade closing accidentally. Besides if you use a axis-lock, framelock till the point to lock failure you should be using a fix blade instead.

stdlrf11 said:
I bought an 889 a few weeks ago.
The liner lock failed on me. I sent it back to Buck this week.

stdlrf11

I wouldn't use a liner lock as EDC some linerlocks will fail as easy as twisting the blade when cutting cardboard. And you have no control over the lock because the handle is coverign the lock.
 

Any Cal.

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Liner locks often put less pressure on the blade when closed, and as they open, thus making them easier to open than lockbacks.
 

bjn70

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It seems that if you are handling the knife in a vigorous manner, as in jabbing/twisting that maybe our fingertips could contact the linerlock or axis lock and cause it to disengage. The way I use my knives I'm not typically that rugged with them so I don't worry about it.

To me the advantage of a linerlock is that you can disengage the lock and close the knife with one hand. The axis lock works pretty well like this but I haven't had personal experience with it. My EDC knives have included several different Benchmades, an EDI Genesis, and now a Kershaw Chive and a Kershaw Leek. I don't worry about the linerlock failing.
 

Joe Talmadge

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If I can give a contrary view: I will not buy liner locks for any use other than gentleman's folders. I will not buy a liner lock for hard use or defensive use. There is a large contingent of people who agree with me.

Reliability-wise -- not strength, reliability -- liner locks can be made to fail in the highest proportion of any lock I've ever seen. In my experience testing more locks than I can count, it's not even true that all you have to do is buy your liner lock from a good maker, liner locks from the best manufacturers and custom makers can be made to fail in shockingly high percentages. Most people don't test their locks, and use their knives only for light use, so never see the problem. But there's a good reason that liner locks have gotten a reputation for bad reliability among those who use their knives hard. They are, quite simply, very difficult to manufacturer consistently reliable.

My advice: If you're planning to use this knife for hard use, don't get a liner lock. Instead, get a well-done version of just about any other lock, from lockback to axis lock to framelock to compression lock, etc.
 

Osprey_Guy

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I've carried the same liner lock every day for 5 years...It's one I made using kit knife components back when I first started making knives. I wear it in a belt sheath and it sees a lot of action. I probably put it to use at least several times a day. I've used it in all sorts of situations, some of them are what I would definitely consider to be abusive... including hacking/chopping at branches out in my yard and digging at roots in my garden (I of course do not recommend doing this with any good knife ...but in my case, if something breaks I can simply replace it). ;)

FYI- It's very similar to this one, that I made around the same time:
GreenbaumEV4engravedadj.jpg


If the knife is of decent quality and the lock enagages the blade properly (see Gary123's post above), than I would feel perfectly confident in the lock holding up in nearly all situations. However, if you seriously think that you're gonna get extremely aggressive with your use of the knife, then the only sure bet is a fixed blade.

Dennis Greenbaum :cool:
 
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Joe Talmadge

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Osprey_Guy said:
If the knife is of decent quality and the lock enagages the blade properly (see Gary123's post above), than I would feel perfectly confident in the lock holding up in nearly all situations. However, if you seriously think that you're gonna get extremely aggressive with your use of the knife, then the only sure bet is a fixed blade.

Thanks for the counterpoint to keep me honest. As always, an anecdote here and there is enlightening, but you have to hear a whole lot of them to spot a trend (which I have -- and the trend is, the format is unreliable). I'm not claiming 100% of liner locks are unreliable, nor am I questioning whether yours in particular is unreliable if you've actually used it hard and are certain about it. I am claiming that the percentage of liner locks that will fail simple tests or fail during fairly simple use is much higher (my sense is, an order of magnitude) than for any other format. Not everyone who bought a Ford back in the '70s got a piece of junk, but you can bet there were many more unhappy Ford owners than Toyota owners, though I'd say that this comparison understates the difference between liner locks and lockbacks/axislocks/etc.

There's no reason to leap from the relatively unreliable liner lock to a fixed blade. There are plenty of other lock formats that provide more-than-acceptable reliability for even hard use.
 
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