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Buck problems in the General forum

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by dogstar, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. dogstar


    Jan 23, 2011
    If this is true, that is too bad. Unless you work for Buck, it's hard to know for sure, but it's much better to discuss causes than to repeat what the last person said.
  2. J Hubbard

    J Hubbard Moderator Moderator

    Mar 29, 2001
    Over 80% of our knvies are US made. That # is planned to go up.
    we welcome all feedback good or bad. The bad, we use to try to improve ourselves.

    As always if some of you that have not returned our knives and want to (instead of putting them away in a drawer), contact us and we will take care of you.

    I'm seeing a pattern of we did have some production issues over the fall on our 110 builds.

  3. oregon

    oregon Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Thank you for your thought-provoking comments. As I understand "snap cut" with open knife in your hand you cock your wrist reach to the target and then snap your wrist swinging the blade into the target then retract the arm. Isn't this using a pinned together folder, designed and manufactured for push/pull cuts on soft meat, like a machete when a machete or shears might be the appropriate tools? In this neck of the woods and snap cutting Poison Oak protruding into the trail you run the risk of getting some resin on your skin with unfortunate results. I've used shears to keep the target well away from bare skin. A pain to carry but less itchy outcome as long as you can avoid touching the cutting edge after the deed. Some small brush, Madrone and Scrub Oak, can defeat even the shears due to their toughness. For young Blackberry vines, soft and green, a sharp folder is the ticket as they offer almost no resistance to the blade swung in anger (if the folder is screwed together with adjustable pivot you have a chance of easily restoring a sprung folder to spec. while a pinned together folder may take some real work in order to bring back to spec.) The mass of the Buck 110 gives real momentum force to the swung Hunter which can concentrate the impact at the pins (not to mention the heavy knife flying out of my sweaty hand and poking a bear on the other side of the creek!). While lighter folders, like the Spyderco Endura (which I've used on green berry vines with success), wield much less force attributable to mass, since they have much less mass, so the relatively light impact force goes to your hand, wrist, arm and so on and work the knife's parts less.
  4. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    I've had no problem from other locking folders becoming loose doing very light cuts on the same type small thorns, that overgrow my hiking trails. That's about all I cut because of the fact that they stick me as I pass. I had hardly used it in that manner before it became loose. I'm not going to carry some huge blade to cut this light stuff when there's dozens of locking folders that do indeed hold up just fine.
  5. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    So, yes I remember setting out with my new 110 on my side. I walked a few miles and had used it like my other folders, when I checked it finding it loose I was surprised. The knife is long gone now and I just use other folders, without any problem what so ever.
  6. Plumberdv


    Sep 26, 2008
    For those of you who have had them loosen up after use:

    Did gaps develop between the bolsters and the lock bar near the blade end? A bit of spreading at the bolsters where the blade pivots is the only way I can see for the blade to develop much side to side movement and that should show up as gaps.


    May 30, 2007
    FWIW, the one thing ive realized long ago is that alot of people dont want to hear how your experience was exceptional when theres wasnt, you get labled a fanboy or when you have a problem your labled a hater... i long ago learned to just stay out of said threads it gets tiring and really isnt productive, descends into bickering...
    that thread is just going to further deteriorate
  8. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    I only paid about 27 dollars for mine, on sale. It didn't work out for what I wanted. After I see it's a heavy folder with a small threadless pivot pin. I can see why it wouldn't hold up as well as a larger threaded pin. The blade is also light for a folder with it's weight. I just found I don't care for the design
    Not a big deal for the money I paid. Plus I wound up trading it for a few fishing lures so it wasn't a total loss
  9. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    Dave, I've had 4 Buck lockbacks loosen up with use.

    None of them developed significant side to side play that I would associate with the bolsters separating.

    On all 4 knives, the issue is first felt by movement of the lockbar that I can feel as I'm pushing with some force with my thumb on the back of the knife at the joint. The lockbar starts to pop up noticeably.

    As the vertical blade worsens, the lockbar movement becomes more pronounced and is joined by a "thunk" sensation as pressure is applied or released from the blade. In short, I can feel blade thunk backward when I cut and then thunk back into normal position at the end.

    Possible culprits include: imperfect mating of the blade indent and lock bar, loose or bent pivot pins, loose or bent lockbar pivot or deformed pivot bushing.

    Hopefully Jeff Hubbard will get around to providing more information based on the knives I've sent him and give us an update. I would love to get a Spitfire but just don't trust the lockbacks at the moment.

    Until then, I'm restricting my Buck purchases to their fixed blades.
  10. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    I didn't know the 110 was designed and manufactured for push/pull cuts on soft meat. I always hear it brought up whenever there's a thread on tough folders, so I don't think most people know that either. I always thought of it as more of a general purpose knife for rugged outdoor use. But, just to be clear, I don't use folders all that hard. I was doing nothing that would even come close to requiring a machete or shears.
  11. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    Here's a Buck I really like, I'm hardly bashing the brand. I've been around Buck knives all my life. They offer a great value and I've never had any problem out of the fixed blades. No breakage, chipping, rolling, handles loosening up, nothing. (and I have chopped with those)

  12. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    Your post has me thinking of all of the poison oak I encountered hiking in the Ventannas in central CA back in the day. Man, that oil turned up everywhere. Ugg...

    I don't "snap cut" as Jill describes but I do "bend cut" brush a lot and can offer this comparison and observation. In the end, I conclude, like you do, that the 110 is a better hunting knife than general purpose cutter.

    By bend cutting, I'm referring to bending a branch or sapling over to stress the wood grain and then slice cutting at the point of the bend. A good sharp knife will usually go right through the wood causing it to separate easily - until it doesn't. And then more force is required.

    Obviously, a fixed blade is preferred for this type of cutting but not always feasible or practical. Here is my 110 next to an Opinel #10.
    Buck 110 and Opinel #10 by Pinnah, on Flickr

    I've found that working on wood and around the property to be (literally) dirty work and have found that dirt and sand tend to foul the pivot and lock of the 110. The Opinel's lockring will get gritty but it produces no damage and the springless friction joint is less susceptible to fouling as well. The flat/convex grind also goes through wood noticeably better (a good reason why Ron Hood speced it for the Punk, I believe).

    In contrast, I prefer the hollow ground 110 for cutting meat and it's much easier to clean out a bloody 110 under hot water than it is an Opinel (the wood tends to swell under hot, soapy water).

    This is not an add (or bashing) of either knife. Just noting that I prefer different knives for different tasks.

    This said, the issue I've had with my Buck lock backs is that this sort of "bend cutting" has produced increasing amounts of vertical blade play due to the hard pressure I use. The Opinels are seemingly impervious to this sort of "abuse" showing absolutely no blade play of any kind despite even harder and longer use.

    So for me, this is the issue. If we can agree to set aside the differences in blade geometry, what it show to me is that the Buck lockbacks just aren't as sturdy (for this kind of use) as the lockring design of the Opinel. Or, my experience is that you don't need to move to a fixed blade to get rid of blade wobble.

    While I agree that the Buck 110 is a hunting knife and should be used first and foremost as a hunting knife, I grimace when this is used to explain away blade play issues. I don't think that's what the Buck name was built on and I don't think that's what Jeff and his time are striving for - to produce a lock back that is only up to the task of cutting soft meat. I think that sells Buck short.

    As an engineer, I have to believe this is a solvable problem.
  13. Old Hunter

    Old Hunter Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    I can only speak to my own experience with two recently made Buck knives; a 301 made in 2012 and a 113 Ranger made in 2011. I've carried the 301 as one of my primary EDC pocketknives for the past four or five months and it has performed all tasks normally assigned to a pocketknife in an excellent manner - it is as tight and intact as it was the day I bought it. I used the 113 to clean two deer this season - it still has the factory edge and I wouldn't hesitate to clean another deer with it right now. OH




    Aug 14, 2006
    In the end,Buck always stands behind their knives,if there is a problem,they will try to help you instead of ignoring the problem and you.I have had bad 110 knives out of the box too,but Buck replaced them and i was more than happy with that.I have several new 110's that are rock solid,and i do use my knives hard.I have a 110 that is beyond abused,it will never go in for warranty,i'm already past that stage because i've beat the snot out of it,it is still good to go after all the abuse i've given it.They must know how to build them right,otherwise this one would be gone by now,LOL
  15. A.P.F.


    Mar 3, 2006
    Well, all of this talk about 110's has reminded me that it is about time to order another Custom Shoppe version. :)
  16. Lenny


    Oct 15, 1998
    OK, I might as well weigh in.
    I've only purchased 110's from the custom shop.
    You'll find another post of mine elsewhere in this forum about my troubles.
    In summary, I've owned 6 custom 110's
    2 were perfect out of the box with no blade play.
    They got used lightly and then sold still with no blade play.
    The other 4 all had some sort of blade play right out of the box.
    One got sent back to Buck for a fix and came back exactly the same way so I sold it.
    One just got sold right away.
    I currently have 2 at Buck right now for a fix, one is back for a second time.
    I told Joe that I wanted them back with ZERO blade play and perfectly centered.
    He contacted me last week and told me that I'd be satisfied with one and that they would refund my $ for the other.
    Very good customer service.
    The "good" one is on its way back right now.
    I wonder what he meant by "I'd be satisfied with one"
    Given their track record, I don't imagine it means ZERO blade play.
    I'll keep you all informed.
    Keep in mind that these all were from the Custom Shop which I assumed meant that they
    got extra care in assembly.
    Apparently not.
    And I got the simplest configurations (420 steel, NS bolsters, Oak handles), but they still cost over $70.
    Clearly, there is a problem with modern 110 production when you compare them to vintage ones which have
    served all types of people in all types of professions with no blade play, centering problems, or lock failures.
    Jeff says they are addressing the problem, but how long does it actually take to perform a root cause analysis.
    Dissect a new production one and dissect a vintage one and look for the differences.
    Make changes to tooling, design, training of assemblers etc as required.
    This is standard practice in virtually every industry that turns out product.
    I for one would like a perfect 110 that I could use every day and not even think about lock failure or blade play
    regardless of how I use it (abuse not included).
    And I'd gladly pay $100 or more for it.
    I just don't get why Buck doesn't get it.
  17. jill jackson

    jill jackson

    Sep 5, 2006
    The cheap walmart 110 I bought and found unsastisfactory was about 5 years ago.


    Aug 14, 2006
    One thing I have noticed with buck 110 folding hunters is that NONE of my old 1960's and 70's models have ANY issues right out of the box,and the walk and talk of the blade when opening and closing is smooth as it gets in a folding knife design,these were the knives Buck became famous for ,and I can see why.I have 15 old style 440 c buck 110 folding hunters,and NONE have any issues,I mean nothing.
  19. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    David, are these all 2 dot or older or are any of them 3 dot?

    IIRC (and I certainly may not be) the 3 dotters is when the pivot bushings were introduced.

    Circuitous story.... I was trying on heavy hiking boots and tried on and liked the Merrill Widerness. "Yes, those are very comfy out of the box but they don't hold up well." the sales lady warned. She was right.

    Years later, I worked in product management and learned of the necessity of supporting the product demo as a use case, very separate from actual usage.

    Anyway, what I took away from this was that some product "features" help things sell, especially to the inexperienced. As a business case, it leads to more sales and is a win, provided you can manage the increase in problems when customers mature.

    I wonder if pivot bushings are like that. Make for more sales due to better opening but more prone to buckle under hard use?

  20. Plumberdv


    Sep 26, 2008
    I'm firing up the old BBQ grill in preparation of perhaps having some crow for dinner. I guess I've never REALLY given many 110's and other Buck folders a real critical going over. Looks as if I'm going to find out how crow tastes. :foot:

    I did as I said I was going to do and bought a new 2013 model 110 yesterday just to check it out. I didn't even ask the clerk behind the counter at Wally World to take it out of the box, and just took pot luck. When I opened it up at home and looked it over. It looks great, no glaring issues and no (not even a tiny bit ) of side to side play.

    So far, so good. The blade is a tiny bit off center but nothing that would make me send it or take it back. THEN, I checked the up/down lock up and bingo. There it is! There's quite a bit and it's movement that I can see and not just feel. Holding the knife tightly in my right hand and pushing/pulling on the blade in the open/closing direction, a lot of movement is felt in the blade and also in the locking bar (someone remind me of the proper name please).

    I also noticed that there is a definite "rounding" at the corners of the butt of the blade and the locking bar where they come together which I don't see in some earlier models. A flaw? Does it cause any issues? I have no idea, but it is there, and I wonder if it's caused by blanking dies wearing out or is it the result of other processes done to the blade after it's blanked?

    I'm in the process of gathering together as many 110's of as many years production that I can, starting with some new in the box 2 dots and do an "investigative" report on what I find now that I'm developing a more critical eye and feel. I will say that I've checked both a NIB 2 dot and 3 dot so far and both have barely perceptible vertical blade movement, not even close to that evident in the new model, but none the less it's there.

    Stay tuned in future days for a new thread if you're interested.

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