Recommendation? Cold Steel Air Lite loose blade

Discussion in 'Cold Steel Knives' started by GABE MULLOY, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    I previously posted this earlier in the thread.

    I just fixed mine. After a lot of inspections I realized that if I pushed the lockbar down, just that slight more pressure held the blade in solid. But it wasn’t spring tension, because of what I discovered. The lockbar was being stopped by the larger pin to early when closed. The pin the blade stops on when open. I took a fine diamond stone and started to file the face of the lockbar, the part the contacts the triad lock pin. I kept checking fitment. Finally the lockbar fell on its own with spring tension to where the blade play stopped in the closed position.
    Locks up solid when open. Locks solid when closed.
    I hope that all made sense.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
    willc, Dadpool and AF like this.
  2. Þráinn Njálsson

    Þráinn Njálsson

    Oct 16, 2018
    My drop-point had the problem.

    And I'd be careful about removing more steel. I stoned mine down enough that it fixed the original problem (unless I really try to make it do it), but now the lockbar sits deeper when open, and there is slight vertical play. It's still better than having the loose-blade issue, but just be aware, it won't be perfect.
    Dadpool likes this.
  3. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    Just to thrown it out there. When reassembling a triad lock knife. The pin the lockbar pivots on is smaller the the hole in the lockbar. It’s designed that way to have slight forward and backwards motion.

    Edit: due to the motion in the lockbar mentioned above, *too much* filing of the lockbar face can cause slight play. Only remove as little as needed to fix the problem.

    Filing the face of the lockbar cant create blade play because the blade tang grabs the back side of the lockbar to prevent closure and the triad pin prevents it from moving the other way.

    Check that your pins are in their correct location.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
    AF and Dadpool like this.
  4. Þráinn Njálsson

    Þráinn Njálsson

    Oct 16, 2018
    Yeah, the pins are definitely placed correctly.

    But I disagree that filing the lock face can't create blade play, although the last thing I want is a heated argument. I'm no expert here, I just know I didn't have play before I stoned the lock-face. Now I do.
    This is my understanding: If you file the lock face too much, you could change several things. One is to make the "hook" portion of the lockbar too narrow to fill the space between the stop pin and the blade tang. But I don't think I did that. A guaranteed consequence is that the lockbar WILL sit deeper than it did before you filed it. That's because the space between the stop pin and the tang hasn't changed, but the hook of the lockbar has gotten smaller. Another consideration is the angle of the interface between the back side of the lockbar and the tang. Also the angle that you file the lockbar face: you have to match the original curve. Whatever you do, you're basically wearing-down the lock.

    I could be wrong about that. But I know this: by stoning the lockbar face on my Air Lite, I created vertical blade-play. The lockbar sits noticeably deeper, and you can feel that there's less friction with the tang when it's locked. The lockbar just doesn't "jam" in place tightly. Maybe the spring isn't curved enough to press up on the lockbar when it's that angled down? I don't know for sure.
    Dadpool and 115Italian like this.
  5. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    I edited my post. You’re right, if you file away too much material you could create play. My explanation was ment to address fixing the problem. Filing it enough to fix the problem wont cause play because you dont need to remove that much material. But yes too much material removed can create a problem.
    Dadpool likes this.
  6. Þráinn Njálsson

    Þráinn Njálsson

    Oct 16, 2018
    I'm content to leave it there. Although keep in mind, the lockbar can shift forward and back slightly, due to the oval pivot hole. This is why snapping it open can temporarily fix the original, loose-blade issue. If I work at it, I can get my lockbar to shift forward slightly, causing the loose-blade thing to happen...and I also have play. But it's a complex issue, and I don't understand it.
    Dadpool and 115Italian like this.
  7. johnnywizzo


    Mar 1, 2018
    Why all the love for this model? It sounds like it's prone to problems.
  8. jlauffer

    jlauffer Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    If anyone is interested, just listed a drop point in the Exchange
    jux t likes this.
  9. insta9ves


    Apr 3, 2007
    It’s a great design, just can’t say the same for the execution.
    I own both the tanto and the drop point version, both came with very uneven grind. The tanto edge is even wavy. But never had lock issue.
    IMO the biggest problem is the super thin handle, they should’ve made it thicker. I find that thinner handle tend to have tolerance issue, since it’s more probe to flexing, and triad lock requires very precise fitment.
  10. Þráinn Njálsson

    Þráinn Njálsson

    Oct 16, 2018
    Design and features. It's quite thin and light, so easy to carry, but it's still very strong and capable. Nice blade shape. Nice ergos (for how thin it is). And the little things: effective jimping, nice G-10 texture, not-too-stiff clip... Basically, it's an extremely versatile knife, in a slim and sleek package.

    I have a love-hate relationship with it. It's just so close to being a perfect design. If only they'd come-out with an Air Lite 2.0, featuring better tolerances/QC, an aluminum backspacer, and maybe slightly thicker G-10. Then this knife would literally be my perfect EDC.
    Dadpool likes this.
  11. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015

    Seems like the production was rushed. Like maybe they needed another month to fine tune the knife or the equipment that makes the knife.
    insta9ves and Þráinn Njálsson like this.
  12. Dadpool

    Dadpool Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    Just to close the circle on my Air Lite's loose blade issue, my further attempts to gently sand/reassemble/test didn't solve the problem. Maybe they would have eventually, but the tiny recess in the G10 that takes a good amount of force from the spring tension is already blown out, and gets a little worse every time I put it back together. It's now a "parts drawer" knife, in case I need to scavenge its husk in the future.

    I solved the problem by buying a new Air Lite from a retailer with a smooth return policy, and after over 24 hours of ownership, fiddling, use, and breaking it in I'm happy to report that this one doesn't exhibit the loose blade issue. It stays shut just fine, and I can't force the blade to remain exposed no matter how much I try to coax it to do so.

    The second one is exactly the knife I wanted: a featherweight 3.5" tanto backed up by the strength of the Tri-Ad lock, slim in pocket and in hand, with G10 on the less aggressive end of things -- a great combination. :thumbsup:
    115Italian, Þráinn Njálsson and AF like this.
  13. Þráinn Njálsson

    Þráinn Njálsson

    Oct 16, 2018
    I'll have to get another Air Lite some day.
  14. daybd


    Oct 13, 2006
    I had the same problems while assembling the AirLite. That plastic backspacer ruins the whole idea of a great knife. The spring causes the spacer to flex. That tiny pin just cannot deal with the spring tension. Never had that problem with my Broken Skull (aluminium backspacer).

    But I think that instead of fixing that issue CS will just discontinue the model, like they always did before.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020

Share This Page