An unscientific poll about knife pivot bearing types.

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Aldebaran, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    In another thread I have stirred up a fight and wish to get data. I have a strong aversion to ball bearings in knives and have been chastised by some for stating my opinion. So, I would like to make an informal and unscientific pole here. I expect that the results might be skewed for various reasons but I am willing to give it a try.

    The questions are as follows:

    If you have folding knives that have washers in their pivot design, have you ever had the pivot fail, or become very hard to use even when maintained properly, or require constant cleaning and lubrication to work properly?
    If you answered yes, how many knives of this type do you own and how many failures?
    If you answered yes, what kind of use do your knives get?

    If you have folding knives that have ball bearings in their pivot design, have you ever had the pivot fail, or become very hard to use even when maintained properly, or require constant cleaning and lubrication to work properly?
    If you answered yes, how many knives of this type do you own and how many failures?
    If you answered yes, what kind of use do your knives get?

    Please, try to be succinct with your answers. This is not intended to be an opinion thread like the other I started. The intent here is to gather empirical data for understanding. I am not anyone's boss nor would I want to be. I am just looking for real data without emotions attached.

    Thank you for sharing your time and data if you choose to do so.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  2. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    You should probably start a thread with a poll then. :)
    Should be able to set up a poll when starting a new thread.
  3. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    I looked and saw no option for making a poll. I looked again. Sorry I don't see any option.
  4. Hackenslash

    Hackenslash Don't feed the Trolls Platinum Member

    Jul 25, 2014
    No. No.
  5. cash71

    cash71 Banned BANNED

    Jan 20, 2017
    You know I'm new here but why are you so obsessed with the idea of ball bearings being bad? Their just a part on a knife nothing more. Are you trying to get people not to buy them. If you're unhappy with them just don't buy them. Are you planning of making some here unhappy with their purchases. In my mind I just can't understand your motivation for this, it's a no win situation.
  6. Jordan@DLT

    [email protected] Dealer / Materials Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Jul 22, 2014
    No failures on either pivot system, about the same amount of maintenance.
  7. BD_01

    BD_01 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    1. Yes. My PM 2 bound up once. Not completely; it just became very hard to open, close, and disengage the lock bar. I disassembled it to find out why. Never was able to identify the etiology and it has worked fine since then.

    2. No. I have 3 ZT's and 1 Spyderco on bearings. All have worked great since day one. My 0801 took a salt water bath at the beach and got all sandy. Cleaned it thoroughly without disassembly (the same day) and it's still good as new.
  8. mqqn

    mqqn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    I have had a washer based pivot fail, and have never had a bearing pivot fail.

    The washer knife was a terribly cheap S&W tactical knife that my young son bought for me with his own money, and so I used it until it finally just cracked and broke at the pivot. It was not the washer that actually failed, and this was just the case of a inexcusably cheaply made knife and not indicative of the superiority or lack thereof of the chosen pivot interface.

    My bearing based knives are typically more expensive and quality made knives.

    I did buy a ball bearing pivot knife from a fellow once who had reported that the bearings rusted no matter what he did. I told him I would buy the knife from him, and once I had it I disassembled the knife and it was free of rust and has remained so for over a year now under normal use and occasional carry.




    Apr 4, 2007
    No flat out failures with either type. But of the two I have had more problems with washer equipped pivots. Mostly from either the pivot loosening or tightening and not being able to reduce horizontal blade play to my satisfaction whilst retaining a free moving blade. I don't currently own any washer knives ever since the first IKBS production folder was released by CRKT a number of years ago. They are not needed at all. They are simply a preference. My feelings being that if we reduced knives to only needs most of us would carry a fixed blade or simply a pair of scissors if anything at all.

    And for what it is worth you were not chastised for sharing your opinion. Some just felt your negativity over a feature you have never owned or used might have been unwarranted seeing you lacked any first hand experience with the product and had based your opinion on applications of bearings in products completely unrelated to knives where it matters. I have no problem even if you were to say you don't like bearings because you don't like green eggs and ham sam I am. But just like the book, you may never know until you try them. And I believe that was the point most were trying to make.
  10. Todd21969


    Apr 23, 2013
    I have never had a pivot fail.

    In my daily knife use I have gummed up IKBS ( CRKT Ripple, that I no longer own), PB washers( Spydero Military, Para 2, HK Axis), Nylatron washers (Emerson Mini CQC 15).

    All of the above pivot systems and knives have become gritty, sluggish, and harder to open before cleaning. But again no failures.

    For routine maintenance I don't disassemble, just flush with hot running water and blow dry. I also stopped using lube and ran the knives dry.

    The IKBS did gum up faster than the PB, which gummed up faster than Nylatron. Though none failed to open, lock, or close.

    It did take slightly longer to flush out the IKBS, but we are talking about 10 extra minutes.

    The above are just my observations over a couple years of use in a dirty, dusty, sandy enviornment.

    Having the rather uncommon job of running a Stone Splitter at an open pit gravel mine.
  11. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    Perhaps I feel that I might be wrong and want some data outside of my rant thread? I can be wrong you know.
  12. Locutus D'Borg

    Locutus D'Borg Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 1, 2012
    I've never had any pivot fail or get gummed up.
  13. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Not to be snarky, but I think you should absolutely buy a knife you like the design of that has bearings, and then decide for yourself. :)

    I have found that some knives with features others loved, I ended up hating.
    Other times, practically everyone hated a knife, and I ended up finding I really liked it.

    If you end up finding that you don't like something about bearing pivot knives, then you know for sure. :thumbup:

    Or, you might find you like them.
    I hated knives with flippers till I got the ZT 0561.
    The other knives I'd handled with flippers sucked; uncomfortable in the pocket, and it bugged my hand.
    After trying it out on a knife that did it right though, I decided that flippers were okay.

    Much like bearings though, I wouldn't pay more for a knife just because it had a flipper, but the presence of a flipper no longer holds me back from buying a knife if it appears they did it right.
  14. unwisefool

    unwisefool Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    Oh you and your silly rational ideas.

    I've had both and never had either washers or ball bearings fail. And I have definitely used mine.

    Sent from my D6708 using Tapatalk
  15. CornSyrup


    Jan 21, 2017
    I have several problems with your post as well as your attitude.

    "Empirical data" is what you intend to receive but that is not what you could ever hope to get via responses from posters who may or may not have agendas, may or may not be able to detect or perceive either problems or successes with their knives, and may or may not have knives representative of a pivot style, a particular manufacturer's finesse in building that pivot style, or even the performance of the pivot of an "average" knife of the same model.

    Further obstructing your goal of "empirical data" is the fact that you do not quantify or even clarify what you mean by the following:
    "ball bearings"
    "pivot design"
    "pivot fail"
    "very hard to use"
    "maintained properly"
    "constant cleaning and lubrication"
    "work properly"

    I suggest that your approach to not only acquiring information, but your approach to what information itself is, is misguided.

    A sample of a possible "empirical" approach to this issue might be as follows:

    "Given two folder designs of identical dimensions and materials, and a +/- 0.01 tolerance of fit on both folders' components, and where one folder utilizes phosphor bronze washers, polished to 1000 grit on both sides and with a tolerance of +/- 0.01 and the other folder utilizes captive stainless steel ball bearings, polished to 3000 grit with a tolerance of +/- 0.01, and both folders are utilizing a 6AL-4V titanium frame-lock with a lock face angle cut to 9 degrees and contacting the blade tang at 2mm across, and the detent set to break at 5 pounds, and lockbar tension set to 20 PSI, measure the difference in ft/lbs of force necessary to rotate the blade one radian, measured from initial and final conditions after 10 hours of pivot rotation at 60 RPM while suspended in a particulate stream of silica particles measuring at most 1/16mm in diameter and traveling into the knife at a speed of 10 m/h."

    You do not even take into account the multitude of different washer systems and the multitude of different bearings systems, and the consequences inherent in their interactions with different blade materials, frame materials, pivot styles and lock styles. Nor do you take into account the wide variance of tolerances to which these pivots are built, nor the precision with which the contact surfaces are straightened and surface ground, all of which affect the function as well as longevity of the pivots.

    I propose that you are unqualified to engage the issue and most certainly unqualified to pontificate on it. In another thread, you say:

    I think you need to gain an awareness of what "data", "experience", "referential fields and situations", "experiences of others", "personal experience" and "logic" all mean and how they relate to the subject matter at hand.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  16. GotSteel


    Mar 1, 2016
  17. ginaz


    Apr 19, 2001
    we're here to discuss knives, not each other. let's try to stay on topic or simply ignore the thread if it riles you so.
  18. CornSyrup


    Jan 21, 2017
    I do not know what side of the topic you stand on, but this is an easy way to dismiss people you disagree with while contributing nothing to the topic yourself.

    In this case the OPs lack of clarity about the data he is asking for is relevant to the topic because the topic concerns the data he is asking for.
  19. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    OK, I gave the poll idea a try, but it seems that it is just pollution bait. I admitted that it wasn't scientific and informal but some people have to be childish I guess. Sorry to those who took the time to reply to the thread, it was wasted time.
  20. CornSyrup


    Jan 21, 2017
    Their responses were wasted time, but that is because the thread itself has no substantial premise, just like your other thread.

    Just as you aren't in any position to weigh in on bearing vs. washer pivots, I feel that you aren't in any position to weigh in on people being childish, either.


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