Learning the different locking mechanisms of pocket knives can be intimidating for a novice owner. Don’t worry; most pocket knife locks are simple. There are a few standard ones that you need to know to open any pocket knife.
All pocket knife locks have the general operating principle – a piece will block the pivot action of the blade and will release it when moved out of the way. The method of releasing the blade depends on the knife, lever, frame, button, section, or any other part of the knife.
Types of Pocket Knife Locks and How to Close the Knife
If you have a bit of knowledge about working knife locks and know what to look for, you can figure them out. Even a novice won’t require much time to become proficient. The most commonly used locking systems of pocket knives are –
- Slip Joint Lock
- Liner Lock
- Frame Lock
- Axis Lock
- Button Lock
- Compression Lock
The above locking systems are relatively standard, but there exists a few unique blade locks which a couple of knife models use or single companies produce. If you encounter any lock not covered in this article, don’t fret. Almost all knives work on the same principles as standard locks. So how to close a pocket knife has a pretty simple answer which you can figure out quite easily!
How to Close a Slip Joint Knives?
Let us delve into the specifics of closing a slip joint knife properly. With practice, you will grow more comfortable and will be able to close a pocket knife faster and with one hand.
- Grip the knife open in your dominant hand. Face your body away from the body; the blade should face upwards.
- With your non-dominant hand, carefully hold the knife (back of the blade). Keep on applying pressure to it as long as it doesn’t fold into the handle.
- You need to ensure that the blade is folded as far as possible into the handle before carrying or storing the knife.
This locking part is used in traditional pocket knives and relies on the downward pressure applied by the user from closing the knife. As these knife blades have no proper locking mechanisms to keep them closed, you have to lift the blade out of the handle when you want to use it. Similarly, except for the pressure applied by you, no system is present to keep a slip joint knife blade open. Thus, be mindful and keep on putting sufficient pressure to keep it open.
The locking systems of slip joint knives are very straightforward and exist that easy to operate. But you run the risk of incurring grievous injury if you aren’t careful. For example, you might accidentally close a pocket knife by putting downward pressure. This is very dangerous.
How to Close Frame Lock Knife
Many pocket knives have frame locks, so you will benefit by learning how to work with this locking mechanism. The particular steps are given as follows –
- Keep the knife in your hand; face your body away from the pivot and blade.
- After carefully lifting your thumb over the handle of the knife, pull (or push; it depends on the knife) the frame lock to the handle cavity’s side.
- Use your thumb to keep on holding the frame section to the side. Then, with the index finger, push the blade upwards to close a pocket knife.
- Move your thumb away while pushing. Then, keep on pushing the blade into the handle until it falls into place.
A solid but straightforward concept, this locking part can be opened and closed easily. The part that holds the blade in place when open or closed is the extension of the knife’s outer frame. When closing and opening a frame lock, move a framed piece to the side, allowing free pivoting of the blade. Any movement of the knife blade is prevented when the portion of the frame moves back into place after you release it.
How to Close a Liner Lock Knife?
It bears similarity to the frame lock, though the liner lock knives mechanism is a bit less vigorous but found in many different knives. Given below are the steps to close the knife –
- Keep the pivot point and the blade facing away from your body while holding the knife in your dominant hand.
- With your dominant hand’s thumb, reach across the knife’s handle. Then, shift the liner to the handle cavity’s side.
- Start folding the blade into the handle using the index finger; continue to hold the liner piece to the side of the handle cavity while doing this.
- Remove your thumb after folding the blade about ¼ of the way. Until the blade clicks into place, keep on folding it into the handle cavity.
There is only one difference between a liner lock and a frame lock –the part of the knife holding the blade in its place. In the case of a frame lock, the outer frame of the knife holds the blade inside the handle cavity. But in the case of liner lock, an extra piece (not a part of the frame) is inserted to do this job.
A liner lock is less durable than a frame lock as it isn’t an extension of the frame. But both locking mechanisms are tough and incredibly durable; you won’t be able to tell the difference when using a pocket knife for regular or heavy-duty tasks.
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How to Close a Lockback Knife
The Lockback system is a well-known mechanism used on decorative knives, folding hunting knives, etc. But it is less prevalent than other systems mentioned here. Read on to learn about the motions of closing a Lockback knife.
- Use your dominant hand to grip the Lockback knife; the blade should face opposite the direction of your body.
- On the handle’s back, closer to the knife’s end (it is a bare-metal spine part that looks like a part of the knife tang), push the release button with your dominant thumb push.
- With the non-dominant hand, start to fold the blade towards its closed position, all the while pressing down the blade release on the handle’s back.
- After letting go of the blade release, close the knife until it is in place.
This locking mechanism is very robust and doesn’t get unlocked by accident, typically used on traditional-style hunting folders. Significant effort and thought are needed to close a Lockback EDC pocket knife. It makes them apt for intense tasks that could prove dangerous if the blade were to open unintentionally.
Although having more or less a simple closing mechanism, Lockback knives are highly reliable. There is a metal piece running along the back of the handle which holds the blade open or closed with the help of a strong string.
When you use a compression lock, release on the knife’s handle, the spring gets released, which lets the blade sway open or closed. However, it is kept in place by the spring when the release isn’t compressed. So, you can use this knife without worrying about unexpected closing.
How to Close a Button Lock Knife
A button lock is a novelty locking system found on spring-loaded folders or stiletto-style knives. Most people find them flashy and desirable. To close a button lock knife swiftly and cautiously, follow the instructions below –
- Use your dominant hand to grip the knife. The button release on the handle should face upward, and the blade should point differently. Push the button release down firmly with your dominant thumb.
- With your other hand, fold the blade to its closing position while compressing the button with your thumb.
- Release the button when the blade closes about a quarter of the way. Then, keep on closing the blade until it is in its proper place in the handle cavity.
Button locks are famous as the blades are quick and easy to deploy. But there are safety concerns as only a button stands between you and your knife deploying in your pocket. Therefore, this locking mechanism is mostly used on numerous switchblades.
Pressing the release button releases a spring that flings open the knife blade quickly. The speed at which button lock knives open depends on the spring’s strength. Due to its fast release, button lock knives are illegal or restricted in numerous areas due to safety and practicality concerns.
Do checkout our post on Sharpest pocket knives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which aspects of a pocket knife should be checked before using it?
Do we have to clean the pocket knife after each use?
What safety precautions need to be taken while using a pocket knife?
You need to be diligent when using a pocket knife. Never cut towards your body and hands. Take a break when you get tired of using your knife. Have a first aid kit nearby while working with a pocket knife. Avoid walking with an open knife; keep it folded shut.
External toggle, snap lock, fulcrum action are a few miscellaneous blade lock types.
Strange and unique locking mechanisms are brand-specific and relatively hard to find. Although various locking systems are available in the market, the best way to learn how they work is to consult the brand’s website. You can also gather the information from your seller or watch videos online.