Why are frame-locks so popular?

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Strong-Dog
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Why are frame-locks so popular?

Postby Strong-Dog » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:11 pm

Please help me understand why so many people like frame-locks so much, and why they associate them with "hard-use" and strength. I like the frame-lock on my Ti Millie, and my Domino's lock is o.k., but I would pretty much rather have any other locking mechanism save say a poorly designed back-lock. Frame-locks, from what I understand, are not that strong relative to other locks on the market. Plus, their are so many issues that can plague frame-locks such as excessive wear, lock-rock, lock-slip, shearing, etc. I understand why makers like frame-locks, but why would an end user prefer a frame-lock over a BBL, compression lock, Axis-lock, powerlock/Triad-lock, linerlock, or well designed back-lock?
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JNewell
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Postby JNewell » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:18 pm

The two considerations that favor a good framelock for me are:

1. It can be (if well designed) the easiest folder to deal with in cold weather and/or with semi-functional fingers.
2. It tends to be least likely to accumulate dirt/grit/crap in areas where lock function could be adversely affected - the lockbar face will pretty much scrub and flush the tang clean.

There are lots of other potential issues, though - there is no perfect lock and no perfect knife. Lots of YMMV here.

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Postby SolidState » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:52 pm

In terms of customs, they are generally far easier to fit and finish than back locks, and especially easier than compression or stop or power locks. You simply need a beveled flat on the tang and a properly cut liner.

In terms of use, I've never really understood or liked them... even though I'm working on designing one right now.
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Postby Blerv » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:57 pm

I think people appreciate the simplicity of design and authoritative clunk into place. It's one of the few locks that gives you a peek of everything that is going on which intrigues the tinkerer in all of us.

This simplicity allows it to be made quite strong and your grip pushes the lockbar further (or keeps it from unlocking as easily) into place so typically it's seen as very safe. That and they tend to be made with titanium which along with carbon fiber is like nerd gold. :p
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Postby Commendatore » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:20 pm

Maybe weight, cleaning if constructed without back spacer and low number of moving parts.

For me every lock which can be operated ambidextrously is preferred to liner-/framelocks. I have enough fixed blades for rugged work and use with gloves. I even prefer :spyder: slipits to one-sided lock designs but that´s just my preference.

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Postby Evil D » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:37 pm

My interest is in the simplicity of the design. I like the fact that there isn't a space between the liner and a scale for crap to collect. If they can work out the lock wear issues (proper heat treat) then I would prefer a frame lock over a liner lock probably every time. That said, I would rather have the same knife with a compression lock every single time.
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Postby 3rdGenRigger » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:26 pm

They can be made thinner due to the lack of needing stainless liners like most G10 handled knives, and can have a thicker blade as a result which could mean increased strength (Same width overall), but only circumstantially depending on what the knife is being used to accomplish. For example...the Techno has a 4.5mm wide blade, and the Native 5 has a 3mm wide blade, and they're very nearly the same width overall. The same principle applies to back locks, though in my experience for the opposite end of the spectrum. My Delica has no liners, but the blade is the same width as a standard Delica (2.5mm if memory serves me), and as a result it's thinner even than my Chaparral that has a 2mm wide blade (Though they could have bade the blade thicker to keep the same width as a standard FRN D4). I would imagine simplicity of manufacture (Especially in the case of titanium handled knives due to materials cost) and ease of use are the biggest reasons for their popularity, with ease of use as a close second. I don't go out of my way to break the locks in my knives, and any of the previously mentioned locks mentioned in this thread can be engineered to be as strong as needed as per the requirements of said particular knife design.
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Postby Donut » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:06 am

I think it's easier for custom makers to make and they tell their users that it's better. The customers seem to be believing it.
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Postby The Deacon » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:23 am

I'm sure it's a combination of factors. For users, I'd say the perception of strength and minimal vulnerability to malfunction due to dirt/gunk, while not the only factors, are high on the list. From a maker's standpoint, I would think the fact that it either was never patented, or that the patent has expired, its low parts count, and the relative ease of building one that works properly and looks decent are among the considerations.

EDITED TO ADD: The Reeve Integral Lock is not on my list of desirable locks. In addition to being handed, and almost always wrong handed, the exposed lockbar creates an unfinished and asymmetrical look that I find esthetically unpleasing.
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Postby Pinetreebbs » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:31 am

Ease of use and more than enough strength when using a knife, as a knife.
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Postby Jazz » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:51 am

I'm not a fan. I know there's no perfect lock. I'll take a back lock any day with a strong enough spring. I'd really like a back lock with the Extrema Ratio safety... Sal?
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Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:26 am

I would say I prefer a good solid framelock for three reasons, most mentioned in other posts:

1 Stronger. Whether you agree or not, they appear stronger to me, and have perhaps a more psychological assurance that the blade is not going to close on my fingers.

2 The feel and weight. I like a lightweight knife at times but there is more of a psychological safety feeling of something a littler weightier in the hand.

3 Looks/cosmetics.

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:28 am

Is this a liner lock or framelock? Also, is there a mix between a liner and a framelock?

http://www.knifeworks.com/katzkagemusha ... blade.aspx

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Strong-Dog
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Postby Strong-Dog » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:25 am

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Is this a liner lock or framelock? Also, is there a mix between a liner and a framelock?

http://www.knifeworks.com/katzkagemusha ... blade.aspx

There is such a thing as a bolster lock, which I quite like actually.
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Postby RanCoWeAla » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:35 am

I don't know what the fascination with frame locks is. My favorite lock is still the old tried and true liner lock and with those the lock is contained in the handle and you don't have to worry about over extending the lock bar and all that nonsense.

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Postby Evil D » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:52 am

Whether they're stronger or not depends on the thick/thinness of the spring cutout area on the frame lock side. The issue is that you have to cut deep enough to make the metal spring and bend easy with your thumb so it's easy to operate while still being strong enough to not buckle under pressure. All that aside, to me there is more contact area at the tang, and that alone is an advantage over a liner lock.
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Postby bdblue » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:03 pm

I think they are interesting because they take more effort to manufacture correctly and they look like they take more effort. OTOH I prefer my knives to have scales on both sides so a framelock with scale on one side looks unfinished to me, it has a "pretty side" and an "ugly side". The big exception to this is the ZT 0561. Something like a Ti Military or a BM 760 is OK since it has a smooth Ti scale on both sides.

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Postby wrdwrght » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:34 pm

I'm not overly fond of RILs. I like a compression lock.

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Postby this_is_nascar » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:37 pm

I'll take anything over a frame-lock. I just don't like the looks of them, nor how they operate. I don't own a frame-lock and chances are, never will.
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Postby TheRaven » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:36 pm

I think there's a lot of frame lock hype. A lot of people say frame locks are the strongest. If you need a strong knife, you don't want a folder! And in my experience, other types of locks are plenty strong regarding folder use.


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