Axis Lock - What's Changed and Why?

Discussion in 'Benchmade Knife Company' started by Professor, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. Professor

    Professor Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Ok, question for you fine folks. And I'm sincerely asking because I'm thinking those in the know will have more insight than me, which ain't difficult since I'm old and half crazy.

    Why does the Axis bar go all the way forward now on many (I won't say most, but I mean most) Axis locking models? Specifically, why is there so little room for wear and tear of the Axis bar with the blade tang/liner interface? Example, on late model Grips (not sure about the new, flat-ground models), large and mini, you can see daylight between the Axis bushing along the liners and the area before the stop pin. This is area to wear in. As a result, no Grip or mini I own has blade play up and down (vertical, if you will). Side to side you can tweak with the blade tension screw of course. My Grips are rock solid for a "plasticy" folder.

    New models, starting with the HK Axis models as I noticed, seem to almost "bottom out" inside the liners with no room for wear, and almost every one I've owned, large and mini, had vertical lock rock. Same with the last four Adamas models I've either owned or handled, as well as several new Axis-locking models.

    I love this lock and believe in it. I just don't understand the change or the reasoning behind it. Was it a change to make the lock more impact-resistant, ala hardcore spine-whacking?

    Help me help you. :)

    Prof.
     
    marrenmiller and mdrgn79 like this.
  2. Knicked Digits

    Knicked Digits

    252
    Dec 24, 2016
    I’ve checked on mine, which are within the past year old. Though there isn’t any space outside of the washer portion of the axis bar that rides against the liners and the end of the slot, but inside the liners there is space for the bar to move forward. Just not as much as I’ve seen before.

    I wonder two things with this.
    As we’re getting into more and more wear resistant steels, perhaps the company feels that such long slots aren’t necessary any longer. Or the angle of the tangle that engages the axis bar is smaller. It stand to reason that it’ll take longer to wear the tang all the way to 100% lockup, as it were.

    My second thought is that this may be a low key way for the company to see more blades come in in the future that need replacing because the slot isn’t as long or the angle is less steep. This would also be due to the steels being more wear resistant. That’s money on the table and I’m sure they want to see some sort of profit in all their departments.

    Or perhaps its a combination of both. Who knows?
     
  3. Professor

    Professor Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    Yeah, it's hard to say. I have to wonder if Cold Steel's impact tests, specifically against the spine of the blade, had anything to do with the engineering change. That would be progress for sure if it defies impact and does not force failure of the lock, though I've always admired the original engineering's ability to really lock up tight further back on the blade ramp. It's as if, in that original design, the points of contact were forced against one another in a self-tightening manner that absorbed any "slop" in the tolerances of the blade hole/pivot pin, stop pin, and Axis bar.

    I realize there are new models that lock up perfectly tight, I've just seen and owned a few that don't. A theory, I think maybe the larger the model, like the Adamas with its thick liners and blade, for instance, the more difficult it is for the parts to adequately mate and absorb the "slop." I use that term very loosely, and it's misleading, as Benchmade has always had pretty danged good tolerances with internal parts.

    First world problems, right?
     
  4. Knicked Digits

    Knicked Digits

    252
    Dec 24, 2016
    The Adamas was one that I checked. If the bar were to press all the way to the end of the slot, then the chance of the bar and tang not connecting is high, or the tang will wear beyond where the bar the can reach. I’d like to think and hope that Benchmade would be smarter than to think that removing any extra wear room as a way to introduce a new contact point is a good idea. That would be the equivalent of saying that a lock bar on a liner or frame lock is strongest when it presses against the opposite liner.
     
  5. Professor

    Professor Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Indeed, you get what I'm saying 100%. I see much validity with your theory on the hardness of the steels in your first post, though I sure like the old interface better. I'm going to check out some more models at my local Sportsman's Warehouse soon. Curious about the Bugout and the Freek.
     
  6. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Hey . . . we have something in common right off.
    Surely the weak link(s) are the bar and liners, not the blade tang, which I assume haven't changed in material and hardness.
    The last Benchmade I bought was a Mini Grip 154 about a year ago (I'm not sure how long it sat on the shelf before migrating to my neighborhood) and it has bunches of room to wear. All my previous Benchmades are about the same :thumbsup:

    Interesting change; sorry to hear yours has play . . . maybe time to send it back / in for the big fix 'em up.
     
    marrenmiller likes this.
  7. Dogdrawz

    Dogdrawz Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 15, 2016
    :D:thumbsup:
     
  8. Knicked Digits

    Knicked Digits

    252
    Dec 24, 2016
    That’s what I get for not proof reading. My grade school teachers would be disappointed in me. :D
     
    colin.p likes this.
  9. AKnife

    AKnife

    May 10, 2009
    My guess is better tolerances in the lock. BM probably changed the tang geometry where the bar of the lock rests which would mean less travel is needed to get a solid lock-up.

    I've noticed more solid lock-ups on the "newer" axis locks than previous ones I've handled. It's a main reason I picked up a g10 griptillian. Rock solid lock-up and was still drop shut smooth.

    Recently grabbed a 940 which has always had a smaller axis lock, but it's solid and smooth as well.

    My mini rukus is 1 or the other. Solid or drop shut smooth. I have it tweaked where is solid enough, but more of a fling closed smooth.
     
    Lapedog likes this.
  10. Professor

    Professor Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    AKnife,

    All of the BM models you mention have the former Axis interface engineering. Check out newer models like the Bugout, Adamas, Crooked River, etc.
     
  11. Knicked Digits

    Knicked Digits

    252
    Dec 24, 2016
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is my 940-2. As you can see there is still plenty of room for the lock bar to slide forward but the washer covers the end to f the slot.

    I was looking at my mini grip earlier and noticed the you can still see through the slot for the axis bar. I didn’t grab any pictures unfortunately. The mini grip is within the last year old so I’m guessing it’s just the design per model.
     
  12. AKnife

    AKnife

    May 10, 2009
    Yeah I guess they're still older designs, but besides my mini rukus they all have the later Axis lock lock-up/travel.

    I noticed the axis lock on the G10 grip was 100% more solid/smooth than the regular 154 grips. Just from what I've handled @ brick and mortar shops.

    The 940-1 I have is probably the most solid 940 I've handled as well. I always admired the design, but anytime I'd check one out it would be off center or have blade play/flex. I'm guessing it might be Benchmade's questionable QC, but lately I've seen an improvement.
     
  13. Professor

    Professor Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    I’m with ya, I’ve seen improvement too. Hoping new designs don’t stray from a successful recipe.
     
  14. marrenmiller

    marrenmiller Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 6, 2017
    So I'm not the only one who noticed this...

    My relatively new Contego in M390 has almost zero room for wear; it's even wearing unevenly, with one side of the bar engaging visibly further into the knife than the other. I wore my old 154cm Barrage out to the point where it needs service to address vertical play, and my newest custom Barrage came from the factory with very little room for wear (and even came back to me that way after sending it in for warranty repair), but some other Benchmades I own have tons of space left for wear, like my 710-1501/Ritter Grip/Presidio 2/Bugout.

    I think that the issue might be down to the individual knife design, and that Benchmade may not consider a knife with less room for wear to be inferior. I don't think it'll do anything to make the knife more or less durable, as that's going to be a function of the liner/axis bar thicknesses and hardnesses.
     

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