The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

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PStone
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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby PStone » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:31 am

JRinFL wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:22 am
...Other than gimmicks, I really don't see any great revolutionary changes that can be made to knife design.
This is mainly what I took away from Michael’s original post. And I agree.

I don’t know what or when the next big innovation will be. But I am sure when it happens, all of us will say to ourselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby Ez556 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:36 am

Spyderco Manix 2
Chris Reeves Sebenza
BRS Alpha Beast balisong
Paragon Warlock gravity knife
Micro tech Ultratech OTF
CRKT Snaplock
Fox Knives aX-Dobolock
What do all these knives have in common? They can all be almost instantaneously opened and closed with one hand, they have a single blade and a pocket clip. What else do they have in common? Literally nothing else. Save a few having a pivot in approximately the same place, they share almost no other similarities to each other. I completely disagree with the suggestion that one-handed open/close and pocket clips are in any way limiting to knife design, or that that cause a “dead end”.
Last edited by Ez556 on Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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sal wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:28 am
But in reality, there is nothing quite like a gun. And it has been said, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".
Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am
Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.
Abyss_Fish wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:54 pm
Ti is uh, 300 dollars.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby Ez556 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:42 am

And the knives I listed are just the ones that don’t share any other similarities. When you get into the amount of knives that share an opening mechanism but differ in one-hand operable lock designs, or knives that share the same lock but vary in a one-hand opening mechanism, the possible design variation is unending. Knives were at a dead end until Sal put a hole in the blade and a pocket clip on the side.
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sal wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:28 am
But in reality, there is nothing quite like a gun. And it has been said, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".
Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am
Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.
Abyss_Fish wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:54 pm
Ti is uh, 300 dollars.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby TomAiello » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:50 am

Sharp Guy wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:35 am
MichaelScott wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:51 am
Looked at another way, the modern one-handed opening knife strives to be a fixed blade when open and a folder in your pocket. If one frequently encounters the need for one-handed opening knives in work, why not attach a suitable fixed blade to the ladder or toss one in the tool box? That argument does not hold up.
Because it's much more handy for me to keep a folder in my pocket where I have access to it all the time. I will not carry a fixed blade on my waste and they don't fit in my pocket very well.
I carry a fixed blade quite often (more than half the time). I usually carry a folder to accompany it, because I cannot re sheath the fixed blade as quickly and safely as I can fold and stow the folder.

I really like carrying fixed blades. I generally prefer to use them over folders for most tasks. But folders have a definite advantage in one handed tasks. Each has their strengths. Folders are discrete (a non-issue where I live), compact, and easy to deploy and re-stow. Fixed blades are more ergonomic (rounded handles that can fit my hand much better than any folder will be able to), stronger, and better suited to 'abusive' tasks. I carry, use and value both. I do not see them as a replacement for each other, but rather as complementary tools.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby TomAiello » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:53 am

MichaelScott wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:53 am
Implying better, safer transport.
I have several friends who work at a company called Kitty Hawk, which sells VTOL aircraft that can fit into parking spaces (so they can be used like cars). They are developing autopilot drones that can carry passengers, and will work on an Uber-like app system, utilizing google maps. The company is actually owned by Larry Page (one of the partners at Google). So yes, I think maybe we can (eventually) re-invent the airplane and the automobile, perhaps by merging them.

https://kittyhawk.aero

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby Albatross » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:54 am

It's not a percieved need for first responders.

I'm not sure there's much more room for innovation in the knife industry. At this point, I think materials are the next area to see a major innovations, not opening mechanism or lock type.

I do appreciate slip joints and traditional back locks, and have said that we don't need locks, let alone locks that can hold 800 lbs., but the convenience and efficiency of modern knives, is something I don't want to part with.
sal wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:01 pm

...But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of "deigning in the dark"...

sal

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby MichaelScott » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:56 am

It is obvious that my use of “innovation” was way too broad. Perhaps, “revolutionary change” is better.

As detailed in Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions all major scientific revolutions (plate tectonics, physics, cosmology, chemistry, etc,) are created by people who work outside the accepted paradigm of their field. The most famous case being that of Albert Einstein (or arguably Darwin) who could not even get a job teaching physics. On a minor scale, I would suggest that the next revolutionary knife innovators will not be found among those who have accepted and work under the current paradigm.
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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby JRinFL » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:07 am

There have been revolutionary changes in matter separators, however they are no longer called knives. To be a knife and be called a knife, it will have to remain in a certain constrained design paradigm.
Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date. :rolleyes: :spyder: Native in 440v was my gateway Spyderco! :spyder: Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my enemies.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby Ez556 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:08 am

All the fields you listed are just that: fields. A field of technology or work/study is very different than an object. When you bring an object into a different “paradigm” it becomes a different object. There are already cutting tools in a different “paradigm” than knives. They are called scissors, axes, rotary tools, chain saws, nibblers, scalpels, plasma cutters, water jets, and nail clippers.
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sal wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:28 am
But in reality, there is nothing quite like a gun. And it has been said, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun".
Sumdumguy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:35 am
Does that complexity decrease the simplicity? Not at all.
Abyss_Fish wrote:
Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:54 pm
Ti is uh, 300 dollars.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby JRinFL » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:11 am

Ez556 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:08 am
All the fields you listed are just that: fields. A field of technology or work/study is very different than an object. When you bring an object into a different “paradigm” it becomes a different object. There are already cutting tools in a different “paradigm” than knives. They are called scissors, axes, rotary tools, chain saws, nibblers, scalpels, plasma cutters, water jets, and nail clippers.
Exactly!
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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby donovan » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:16 am

I believe knife making/design became a mature technology probably 20 years ago. Now you can tweak the design, try exotic steels, new handle materials etc. but just like cell phones and computers changes are now incremental, not radical. Spyderco was the driver of the last radical changes with pocket clips and one hand opening and then new steels that created the modern knives we all use and enjoy today (thank you Sal). Fixed blades, slipjoints, and lockbacks still exist and have benefited from these changes as well. The revolution is over and I think we won.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby VooDooChild » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:21 am

Einstein was educated in math and physics. Just because his job wasnt in a position in those fields, doesnt mean his research was outside of those fields. He didnt come up with relativity theory by studying poetry.
sal wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 8:14 pm
... "The edge is a ghost"...

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby steelcity16 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:32 am

MichaelScott wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:51 am
Looked at another way, the modern one-handed opening knife strives to be a fixed blade when open and a folder in your pocket.

As it should. I think we will all agree that a fixed blade is the best and safest knife when in use. As others mentioned, the problems arises when trying to carry according to local laws and/or for comfort, conceal from the non-knife sheeple/karens, un-sheath, and re-sheath a fixed blade. This is where the one handed locking folders come into play. They solve all of this, and for the most part, good strong backlocks like the Native LW feel nearly as solid as a fixed blade in general non-abusive use.

MichaelScott wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 7:51 am

If one frequently encounters the need for one-handed opening knives in work, why not attach a suitable fixed blade to the ladder or toss one in the tool box? That argument does not hold up.

Because most people don't spend their entire day on a ladder or right next to a toolbox. They are moving around from place to place in a factory/office/shop, going to restaurants, out to stores, out for walk/hike, out for a bike ride, out to the park, playing with their kids, going to meetings, driving from A to B in their vehicles, etc, etc. This is why EDC is the buzz-acronym of the past decade. Having a functional knife on you at all times that is legal and concealable and can handle any situation in the safest, quickest, and easiest manner possible. If you are out in public around other people, it is much easier to pull out a one handed opening knife, cut something, and one hand close it and have it back in your pocket before anyone even saw what you were doing, rather than fiddling with some antiquated nail nicker with both hands.


I think there is in fact room for innovations in a number of areas, but I don't see it being done in the traditional folder arena, I see it at Spyderco only for the most part. That is rust-proof/corrosion-proof folding knives. I've seen a number of posts of slight corrosion in different areas on Salt knives, so it clearly isn't 100% perfect in all cases and thus some innovation is needed to get to 100% rustproofness. After that, I would like to see innovation that can take this a step further to make 100% dishwasher safe Salt folders. I am a busy guy with 3 young kids and at the end of the day it would be great to throw my folder in the dishwasher and have a nice clean sanitized knife to use the next day. The Dishwasher can wash off the day's dirt, bacteria, grease, oil, grime, etc. and I can use it for food the next day worry free. I have done it many times with Salts as it is with no noticeable damage, but to actually research this area and be able to advertise them as dishwasher safe folders I think would really drive more demand and make me more comfortable putting them in there. Think about how many folders you see being used for food prep in the "what did you use your Spyderco for last" thread. How nice would it be to throw them in the dishwasher worry free? When I was in the office I would use a Pac Salt in my cube to cut up my lunch. I didn't want people in the office to see it, so I would use it and fold it back up real quick and put it in my desk. I couldn't wash it in the sink at work because too many people in the bathroom. So I would take it home and it would be all dried food gunked up. The dishwasher worked, but again, it makes me nervous since I doubt they were designed to be dishwasher safe. I worry about how the FRN will hold up to daily cycles in a super hot dishwasher. It doesn't even have to be all Salt knives at first. Maybe just a food specific Salt series folding steak knife. I am always cutting up food for my kids and some restaurants (when you could go to restaurants) were more fast casual and didn't provide a proper knife for cutting food. Again, I want to be able to do it discretely and quickly (one handed open/close) and put it away since I am in public, and that leads to dried on food. Thus, a dishwasher safe folding steak knife is the innovation I want! :D
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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby metaphoricalsimile » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:29 pm

MichaelScott wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:03 pm
JRinFL wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:18 pm
It’s interesting that the OP brings this up considering his critique of the Swayback. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=87377
The OP says, “The Swayback was designed as a one-handed knife. It didn’t meet even that basic requirement.” I have a two-handed swayback slip joint which, in addition to having two blades, works much better and quicker than the Spyderco SwayBack.

While most of you have expressed why you like a one-handed knife, no one has addressed my claim of stunted innovation other than small changes to that basic design. The fact that you like them isn’t the point.

And, yes, our ancestors are dead. That is why they are ancestors.
One-hand open blades have been innovated on for what, 40 years now? Older style folding knives were innovated for a couple thousand years (there are examples from ancient rome). Fixed blades were innovated on for several tens of thousands of years. I don't think you've done a good enough job of showing that there is actually room for innovation in non-one-hand open knives. You claim that the one-hand-open folding knife is stifling innovation, but there is an implication there that there is room for innovation that is being missed out on in favor of a specific design path, and I don't think you've supported that claim with evidence.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby Baron Mind » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:34 pm

MichaelScott wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:37 pm
Every modern folder design must have these elements: bearings or washers of some type, an opening and closing mechanism that can be operated with one hand, a lock (in the majority of cases) that can be released with one hand, some kind of pocket clip, and a single blade.

Battles rage about the best clip, where it must, or must not be placed. Which lock is best, strongest, easiest to operate. Not to mention steels and steel-like blade material,grinds, shapes and scales.

As we all know our ancestors functioned very capably with none of these. A handle, one or more blades for different types of cutting tasks, interesting shapes and scale materials from bone to micarta. Bolsters are common on traditional knives, as is 1095 carbon steel.

I suspect it is exceptionally rare for a knife cutting task to require all that a modern one-handed knife offers. If one is in a situation that frequently requires that, a fixed blade knife is often a good choice.

Why do I say this? My thinking is that, in contrast to quality traditional knife makers, these one-handed requirements continue to stifle innovation except in the narrowest sense. Ceremaic detent balls are not earth shaking events. Nor are ball bearing washers.

I’d like to see Spyderco and other top companies break out and show us some real innovative (dare I say multiple blade) designs.
Those features aren't restrictions or limitations, they ARE innovations. They are the evolution of pocket knife design. To eliminate a lock or a one handed opening mechanism would be a step backwards. We don't want to see inferior designs just to because they're different. "Hey look at my new knife, it's different than anything on the market, it requires TWO hands to open instead of one!" Not exactly a selling point. Innovations will come, but discarding modern improvements to the folding knife wouldn't
be innovation, it would be regression.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby MichaelScott » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:43 pm

The core definition of “paradigm”. Not from a dictionary but from the man who discovered it:

“For well-integrated members of a particular discipline, its paradigm is so convincing that it normally renders even the possibility of alternatives unconvincing and counter-intuitive. Such a paradigm is opaque, appearing to be a direct view of the bedrock of reality itself, and obscuring the possibility that there might be other, alternative imageries hidden behind it.”

Seems at play here.
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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby wrdwrght » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:03 pm

I suspect a paradigm shift in Spyderco’s industry, if not Spyderco itself, will not be recognizable except to historians who have dug deep to explain why [insert favorite knife company] is no longer on the scene.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby JacksonKnives » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:46 pm

MichaelScott wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:43 pm
The core definition of “paradigm”. Not from a dictionary but from the man who discovered it:

“For well-integrated members of a particular discipline, its paradigm is so convincing that it normally renders even the possibility of alternatives unconvincing and counter-intuitive. Such a paradigm is opaque, appearing to be a direct view of the bedrock of reality itself, and obscuring the possibility that there might be other, alternative imageries hidden behind it.”

Seems at play here.
It's interesting to bring Kuhn into this.

IMO, the idea of a paradigm shift can't work when we're talking about a tool. It goes the other way around: tools are artifacts of paradigms.

That is, the closest thing we've seen to a paradigm shift in the knife industry is the shift from knives as tools to knives as collectible, functional art.

As Ez556 says:
Ez556 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:08 am
When you bring an object into a different “paradigm” it becomes a different object. There are already cutting tools in a different “paradigm” than knives. They are called scissors, axes, rotary tools, chain saws, nibblers, scalpels, plasma cutters, water jets, and nail clippers.
A knife collector you run into at the larger shows today, with a few $20,000 pieces and no interest in cutting anything with any of them, is far removed from our ancestors who invented edged tools. Someone with a Walker Zipper would recognize a connection to the early man with a knapped flint blade, but the early man would not recognize the collector.

A tool like a pocket knife can and will adapt to that new use... but the invention will be born from (as the old saying goes) the necessity of the users. If people start cutting new things, in new situations, knives will adapt and morph to meet that need.

A new paradigm shift would involve a new use. Our current paradigm is mostly inhabited by men who cut things at work, and men who sit on the couch and flick their knives open. The influence of those needs on popular knife designs is clear.

Razors are perhaps a good example of this. Gillette's safety razor isn't representative of a real innovation in making better blades; it's a paradigm shift in recognition of the needs of men shaving themselves in their bathrooms (and especially while on deployment in wartime) instead of walking to a local barber. The razor didn't get better, it adapted to the needs of a new kind of user, and is almost totally unrecognizable.

To sum up: if you want designers to innovate new tool designs, go out there and think of some new tasks. The tool designs will follow. If the man in 2337 is still slicing through soft material on a daily-yet-infrequent basis, his knife will probably resemble ours.
Last edited by JacksonKnives on Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby TomAiello » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:47 pm

metaphoricalsimile wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:29 pm
One-hand open blades have been innovated on for what, 40 years now?
Probably more like 140 years.

If you consider that an automatic knife is able to be opened with one hand, you can date the onset of one handed opening to the creation of automatics. I believe that was sometime in the 1800s (but perhaps earlier):
The advent of mass production methods enabled folding knives with multiple components to be produced in large numbers at lower cost. By 1890, US knife sales of all types were on the increase, buoyed by catalog mail order sales as well as mass marketing campaigns utilizing advertisements in periodicals and newspapers. In consequence, knife manufacturers began marketing new and much more affordable automatic knives to the general public. In Europe as well as the United States, automatic knife sales were never more than a fraction of sales generated by conventional folding knives, yet the type enjoyed consistent if modest sales from year to year.

In 1892, George Schrade, a toolmaker and machinist from New York City developed and patented the first of several practical automatic knife designs. The following year, Schrade founded the New York Press Button Knife Company to manufacture his switchblade knife pattern, which had a unique release button mounted in the knife bolster. Schrade's company operated out of a small workshop in New York City and employed about a dozen workmen.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switchblade#History

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Re: The perceived need for instantaneous one hand operation has driven folding knife design into a dead end

Postby MichaelScott » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:29 pm

VooDooChild wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:21 am
Einstein was educated in math and physics. Just because his job wasnt in a position in those fields, doesnt mean his research was outside of those fields. He didnt come up with relativity theory by studying poetry.
I don’t get your point. Can you please clarify?
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