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Thread: Framelock hardware for hard use knife

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Framelock hardware for hard use knife

    I'm starting to see light at the end of my shop redo tunnel, so I'm ordering some parts for folders. I've got 2 original designs that I'm going to do next and one is more of a general use pocket knife with bearings that the average Joe would carry. The other, is a beefier hard use knife with washers that could stand up to some serious field work. At least that that's the plan

    I was thinking about using the Beta Titanium screws from Alpha based on the claims of toughness. Supposed to be way better than regular Ti screws. But, they only have them in 2-56 size. Also, pivot size, does it really make much difference? So here's some questions.

    Would you use 2-56 Ti screws in a hard use framelock? I'm sure they're great for my general use design, but the hard use? Or, should I look for Ti 4-40's?

    Would it be easier to find a counterbore bit for the 4-40 screws possibly? The first folder I made I couldn't find a counterbore for 2-56 as best as I remember.

    Would it make a framelock significantly tougher to have a 0.25" pivot over a 0.125" or 0.187"?

    Pretty much, you guys that make hard use framelocks, what hardware do you recommend?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    I think 2-56 are fine. I use 1/8" pivots and 2-56 screws, and being the worst abuser of my own knives, I've been carrying/using a large framelock for 3 years now, with no dis-functions or problems. Seems that most use 3/16" pivots on "heavy duty" folders, but personally I've never seen the need.... in the short length that's between scales/liners, it would take a sledge hammer blow to tweak a 1/8" pivot.

    That being said, the fad these days in folders is "bigger is better" when it comes to hardware. Last year at the Blade Show I handled some Ti framelocks that used 6-32 screws, and 5/16" pivots..... I had to literally laugh at them.... even in Ti they needed a set of wheels... they were so heavy, and the 7/16" pivot screw heads were just comical. To me the knives looked like some kid had gotten loose with a mismatched set of legos! I guess "different strokes"...... but I think there's a fine line between "heavy duty" and just plain dumb.

    www.caffreyknives.net
    Caffreyknives@Gmail.com

    "Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
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  3. #3
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    Jun 2014
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    Yeah, Ed, I guess that's why I was asking. Seems like a lot of guys are building with bigger hardware to me too. I was kind of wanting Ti screws so I could anodize them and I thought 2-56 would probably be ok. Just keep seeing the bigger stuff and started thinking maybe those guys new better. I used a 1/8" pivot on both my friction folder and my liner lock and they seem fine, although the hardest use they ever see is opening a box. I wonder if part of the popularity of the larger pivots is so there's more real estate on the head of it for engraving or customizing?

  4. #4
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    I wonder if part of the popularity of the larger pivots is so there's more real estate on the head of it for engraving or customizing?
    That MIGHT apply in some cases, but for the most part, I have to believe it's the "Mall Ninja" attitude of many buyers...... Bigger has got to be better. There has been a trend within the "tactical" arena of clients buying/ordering folders, then seeing how much abuse they can take before they fail....then the individual tries to return it to the maker for "repair" or a refund. I know of several makers who've experienced this, including myself. It's pretty easy to spot how the knife was abused, and when I have a situation like that, I tell the client so, and tell them that they have two choices.... the knife is either theirs "as is", or they can pay my hourly shop repair rate for me to fix it.

    www.caffreyknives.net
    Caffreyknives@Gmail.com

    "Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
    Visit me at Table 2Q at the Blade Show!

  5. #5
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    Ok, one more strength question if I may. I've been looking online for folder strength tests and found a few framelocks being pushed to failure. Seems that the milled lock bar relief is the weak point in the design, which leads me to the question. Does putting the pocket on the outside of the frame make it stronger? I had thought maybe it was just cosmetic. Now, I'm wondering if putting the pocket on the outside, keeps the spring portion more in line with the lock face, thereby, making it a little stiffer against buckling. Or does it even matter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Does putting the pocket on the outside of the frame make it stronger?
    In my experience the answer is no. I've experimented with each (relief on the inside and the outside). In general in order to achieve a good "lock up" and still be able to comfortably disengage the lock by hand, the lock relief is going to have to .060" or less. The biggest issue with having the lock relief on the inside is that IF you contour the handles any at all. It will result in a "cut out" showing up if the relief is cut on the inside. This is another example of what I often speak of.... the "Give-n-Take" we always deal with in knifemaking.

    There's a fine line between trying to build a "strong" folder, and easily slipping into the realm of absurd. If someone is doing something to a framelock that would cause a .050" web/relief to deform/fail, there's no question, they are abusing it. The reason we got ourselves into a spot where folders are being abused to see where they will fail, is because of Makers who do the "overbuild" thing, in hopes of gaining some type of sales advantage, when all that's really been done is encouraging people to abuse knives.
    Be careful before you go down the path of "overbuilding" a folder, then advertising it as such. It will often backfire into people buying a folder from you, pushing it until they find the failure point, and when it does fail, they will want a refund, or expect you to repair it for free. As I mentioned previously, it happens more then most realize, and I know a lot of folder makers who wish they'd not gone down that path. My advice is..... if you want to create an "overbuilt" folder design, simple do it, and don't make any claims or advertise anything about how overbuilt it is...... if you do, then don't be surprised when a client wants a failed knife replaced or repaired for free.

    www.caffreyknives.net
    Caffreyknives@Gmail.com

    "Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
    Visit me at Table 2Q at the Blade Show!

  7. #7
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    Good advice, thanks. I don't think I'd say I'm trying to over-build, just want to be sure I don't put any obvious weak points in my design. Like the relief for example, it's got to be there regardless, so if it's stronger on one side or the other, I want take advantage of it. I hadn't thought about the effects of chamfering or countouring though, glad I asked before I found out the hard way!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Central Minnesota
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    The vast majority of frame locks I see use a 3/16" pivot. When 1/8" and 1/4" sizes are used, it seems to depend on the size of the knife. Keep in mind that a 3/16" (outer diameter) pivot can use several different size internal threads as can a 1/4" pivot. Internal thread pitch can matter. A 3/16" pivot can be tapped in #2, #4 and #6 size. This usually means 2-56, 4-40 and 6-40 or 6-64. The finer the thread pitches 56 and 64 allows you more precision to adjust friction tension than say a 4-40 screw. You wouldn't think a 56 and 64 pitch thread would be a big difference in adjusting tension but it's noticeable.

    2-56 screws are maybe 90% of the screw sizes used. Finding a counter bore that fits a typical 2-56 button head is a challenge, especially since button head cap diameters range from .156" to .162" but they are out there. A #2 cap screw counterbore is made for socket cap screw heads which are slightly smaller than a button head cap diameter. This is where CNC milling (or manual milling) on frame locks in thick Ti gives guys an advantage to use end mills for the slightly larger typical button head screw diameters.

    4-40 screws often get used on larger "oversized" frame locks. It's rare to see 1-72 screws on anything and 0-80 screws only seem to get used on small dressy folders.
    Tracy Mickley
    Forum owner and administrator

    Mickley Knives www.Mickleyknives.com
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    NW Arkansas
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    Thanks Boss. After talking to Ed, and now you, I will stick to 2-56 screws and I think I'll go 1/8" pivot for the lighter duty model and 3/16" for the hard use version. Now time to get out the wallet!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Great Falls, Montana, USA
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    Now time to get out the wallet!
    That's always the tough part when it comes to folders! I remember when I started making them.... I got a little 3"x5" padded envelope in the mail with folder "stuff" in it..... over $300! UGH!!!

    www.caffreyknives.net
    Caffreyknives@Gmail.com

    "Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
    Visit me at Table 2Q at the Blade Show!

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