Are ball bearings really needed

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Nov 13, 2015
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What if, for example, a zt 0562 was made with PB washers. Then teflon washers added between the PB washer and blade. Wouldnt the knife flip just as good? A little grease or oil should make everything smooth.

Im not knocking anything just curious and looking for thoughts.
 
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Jul 7, 2014
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Yeah if the frame lock tension is reduced a little it may even be smoother.... It's just cool to say your knife has bearings in it. They are not needed and I'm hopeful it will slowly die out.
 
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They are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist and add nothing more than another potential point of failure. :) Well that an added cost.

Teflon washers are not neccesary either. I have knives with bronze washers that are smooth as glass.
 
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Sep 18, 2004
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No, ball bearings are not needed. Are they beneficial or are they detrimental to the durability and suitability of a knife in certain conditions? I, personally, am still on the fence. My Ritter Grip blade swings free like it is on ball bearings and has no play at all. My only two ball bearings knives so far seem to be OK, but I am still putting them through their paces so that I can make a more informed conclusion on ball bearings in knives.
 

Ironbut

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My ZT 0562, which is a Hinderer collaboration, has bearings & functions very smoothly; but then again, my Hinderer XM-18 doesn't have bearings & is just as smooth.
 
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I've only had a couple of knives with bearings. They're fine until you get dirt, mud, oil, etc. into the mechanism. Grit city. Bearing pivots seem to be sensitive to dirt in a way that PB washers aren't. Then you've got to take them apart for cleaning, which can be fussier than a folder with regular washers.

I look at it like a Colt Gold Cup National Match vs something like a Glock 17. As long as you're on the range, keeping the gun clean and well-lubed, and feeding it Federal match ammunition, it'll be reliable and a real pleasure to shoot. But if you're out in the mud dumping 300 rounds of cheap reloads into steel targets? Probably won't run as well as the Glock.
 
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My zt 0630 and 0620 are both smooth like they ride on bearings. The 0562 is smoother and helps when using the flipper. I think the are best on frame lock flippers. Something with a axis lock wouldn't benefit much from one. The axis lock springs don't put as much tension on a blade unlike the frame lock.
 
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No they are not needed. I actually prefer the feel of knives that use washers. Gives it more soul in my opinion.
 
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Yes, they are absolutely necessary. Otherwise how would we identify BF members who like to complain about things that don't effect them in the least?
So exaxtly who are you insulting with your criptic message. A bladeforum member who has a bearing flipper like say the poor guy having problems with his spyderco advocate. Or me for starting this thread. Either way we're affected.
 
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Is lockbar tension helping a flipper flip better or worse? Does the lockbar tension aid in a stronger detent which loads the blade for a good flip? Would a strong detent with a good preload work fine without bearing? Ive heard a hinderer with a good detent flips great.

On another note, My buck paradigm that i deassisted rides on teflon washers and swings so free and smooth.

Great input so far.

.
 
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The lockbar tension can be good or bad. It is good to have enough to preload. You don't want to much that after it starts to open it causes resistance. It also effects the closing of the blade. I de-assisted my zt 0350 and had to make the detent hole a little bigger to allow a stronger detent. This was after adusting the lockbar tension. It is a smooth flipper but not as smooth when using the thumb studs. The thumb studs still work though.
 
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Apr 4, 2007
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This has been debated a million times. My views are no they are not needed. But as a knife enthusiast I find the thought of a "need" in regards to a knife a bit silly. None of us need a knife. We want them. We choose to carry and use them. For me it goes WAYYY past a need. Its desire. And as such I like anything that improves the way a knife works or performs. And to me, while I don't need bearings, I want them. To the point that if its a standard folder I wont buy it if it doesn't have a bearing system. And I actually prefer true IKBS to a caged system. I don't need it but if the company wants me to buy it it becomes a need. Even if we all did NEED a knife, if that was all it was about we wouldn't have a forum because there is only so much you can say about a mora. Which is what we all would have if need was the only box to check.
 
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Is lockbar tension helping a flipper flip better or worse? Does the lockbar tension aid in a stronger detent which loads the blade for a good flip? Would a strong detent with a good preload work fine without bearing? Ive heard a hinderer with a good detent flips great.

On another note, My buck paradigm that i deassisted rides on teflon washers and swings so free and smooth.

Great input so far.

.

The smoothness and fast action of any flipper is all based on the detent and the lockbar pressure. You can reduce or increase detent strength to a degree with reducing or increasing the pressure but it will have other effects on the knife and sometimes the window for error is narrow. For instance if your lockbar has too little pressure the flipping will be easier but the lock may fail or fail to lock up at all. Increase the pressure too much and now the ball will have too much pressure on the blade as it rotates making the knife feel less smooth and not as fast. Bearings in the pivot isn't so much about smoothness. That is all the detent ball material, size and dressing of the ball if it is as well as the finish of the blade mixed with pressure. But in general detents are made to flip hard or soft by design and lockbar pressure is simply the only thing of all variables that remains able to be adjusted with ease. Washers can be just as smooth and fast. The real differences are if machined properly a bearing knife will center easier and will not require as much dialing in of the pivot as you can really crank down on them before they bind up. And that is really where I think a bearing has the benefit. Not smoothness but just having less resistance all around.
 
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How about instead of the bearings vs. washers debate we discuss the merits of convex grinds....
Merits? Convex grinds are great. This isnt a debate. Just a discussion. Ball bearings are great. No doubt about it. But are they needed to make a good flipper?
 

shinyedges

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It's always funny when someone starts a "discussion" and has their mind made up several years in advance.

I agree with purp, are washers at all needed? Is a knife needed? Billions of people get by everyday with no folding knife.

Are bearings needed? Nope no more than a lock on a folder is needed. Does that mean they shouldn't exist? Please.

If you like Teflon washers, enjoy them. I've yet to see a bearing knife fail where a washer would have prevailed.
 
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