How much play is too much?

What is your play limit?

  • Little horizontal, no vertical

    Votes: 20 27.0%
  • Little play in any direction, nothing above wiggle

    Votes: 11 14.9%
  • No play at all

    Votes: 44 59.5%
  • Anything below maraca

    Votes: 2 2.7%

  • Total voters
    74

dkb45

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2012
Messages
4,434
Reviewers seem to have one major gripe with any and all knives, and that is blade play. A knife can be perfect in every way aside from a little lateral wiggle, and many reviewers will call it junk. I get if the knife has play to shake like a maraca, but what is the community consensus?

For me, the most important issue with a knife is action. If the blade doesn't open and close smoothly (and quickly for a flipper) then it's subpar to me. Many knives have tolerances just off enough that you can loosen the pivot to induce a smidge of play for the price of incredible action, or the inverse. To me so long so the lock doesn't slip and the blade doesn't rattle, a touch of wiggle isn't going to harm anything. I like to think I'm not alone.

Case in point: My Stedemon BP-02 has good action with no play. Loosen the pivot to induce a smidge of play and it has full on guillotine action, rivaling my North Arm Skaha. Never noticed the play in use, but I love the insanely free action of it.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2014
Messages
334
In a perfect world I would prefer to have no play at all. But with many a little bit of play is almost unavoidable, esp otf autos. I just try to dial my folders in to a place I'm happy with both action and having as little wiggle as possible.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Messages
518
If you try hard enough, you will find many/most of your folders that you think have zero blade play actually have.

What I would like to see....not what I may or may not have. If I try hard enough I can create blade play....not what I would like to see.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
1,164
All my 940's have a touch of horizontal play, but the rest of my BM's have even less. My larger BM's have absolutely no play at all that I attribute to larger pivots and washers. Of course no AO knives have any play because the pivots can be tightened down anyway.

I used to stress a little over what people told me was that blade play was bad, but I liked the smooth, almost too loose action that the axis lock affords so I backed the pivots off and I'm happy as a clam. Same with centering, as long as it looks fairly centered, again - happy clam. Besides, my doctor said to reduce stress, so I don't stress about it anymore and just use the damned things.

Both my PM2 and P3 have slight horizontal play but anything with ball bearings, no.
 

sharp_edge

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Messages
4,739
All my 940's have a touch of horizontal play, but the rest of my BM's have even less. My larger BM's have absolutely no play at all that I attribute to larger pivots and washers. Of course no AO knives have any play because the pivots can be tightened down anyway.

I used to stress a little over what people told me was that blade play was bad, but I liked the smooth, almost too loose action that the axis lock affords so I backed the pivots off and I'm happy as a clam. Same with centering, as long as it looks fairly centered, again - happy clam. Besides, my doctor said to reduce stress, so I don't stress about it anymore and just use the damned things.

Both my PM2 and P3 have slight horizontal play but anything with ball bearings, no.

A large pivot and large washers definitely help reduce/remove side to side blade play. To me, a tiny amount of horizontal play is acceptable but vertical play is not. Not sure if it has something to do with the lock but I find Benchmade folders are more sensitive to pivot tightness than other brands.
 
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
184
No noticeable blade play in any direction. The keyword is 'noticeable'. Call me spoilt but none of my knives have noticeable blade play, and a lot of them are budget knives.

That said, my Real Steel T101 Thor did develop substantial side-to-side play once. I tightened the pivot and the blade-play hasn't come back. Still drop-shutty action. It is my only folder on bearings, though.
 

afishhunter

Basic Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
8,517
I only carry slipjoints and a Buck 110 or 112.
The Bucks have no vertical or horizontal play when open. One 110 has a little horizontal play when closed, but not enough to hit the liners.
For a slipjoint, if I can feel horizontal wiggle (checked by holding the blade at the tang next to the bolster to reduce leverage to a minimum) I don't buy it, or carry it if it was an online purchase.
Note: Roughly 99.x% of my slipjoints are inexpensive sub $20 Rough Riders. All are tight and get carried.
 

Peter Hartwig

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 29, 2008
Messages
4,467
If I notice the play, it is too much and I will try to fix it. I don't go looking for it. If it isn't obvious it doesn't matter.
 

22-rimfire

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2005
Messages
19,385
I am okay with "a little" side to side blade play, but not a lot on a new knife. Vertical blade play.... I consider that a reject knife if it is new. This is the main issue beyond f&f and centering that I look at with a knife. With slip joints, I look at springs, dye issues, general walk & talk, and blade centering.
 
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K.O.D.

Sanity Not Included
Platinum Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2013
Messages
9,010
Depends on the knife. Price range, type of knife, et cetera.

If it's a modern folder, over $100, it should have no noticable play.

Knives with pinned construction--traditionals, lock or slipjoint, it's understandable.

OTF--comes with the territory.

If a fixed blade has play, there something seriously wrong.

That is my problem with framelocks. Brand new knife, has lock rock. Manufacturer/maker-- give it time, it will wear in. No, I don't want to give it time. It's new, it should work correctly. It's like being told a pair of pants "will stretch/shrink" because they don't have the right size in stock.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
5,904
:) Most of my carry knives are Cold Steel with Tri-ad locks . IMO , these should have zero play and that's usually the case . :cool::thumbsup:

I do have a couple newer ones with very slight "lock rock" . They are perfectly functional and safe , but it still bothers me to feel it . :(

I expect that they will eventually wear in and have zero play like the others .
 

AntDog

Gold Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2001
Messages
20,475
Blade play is one thing I absolutely won’t tolerate on a modern folder. Traditionals I cut a bit of slack.

That said, I don’t yank the blade around like it owes me money. If I can grip the blade and give it a couple nudges left, right, up, and down and it doesn’t wiggle, that’s good enough for me.

Anybody can force any folder to have play if they shove it hard enough. I don’t see the point in that. No blade will have absolutely no movement under maximum force.

When it all comes together and you have a knife that opens smoothly and has zero play, it’s a beautiful thing. My Sere 2K is like that. Buttery smooth opening with a mighty “clack” to no play lockup.
 

Sharp & Fiery

Keep ‘em Sharp
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
May 14, 2012
Messages
3,619
No blade play for me...yup. Im a perfectionist, so i dont like any play at all.
My Spyderco Nirvana has a tiny bit of horizontal play and it bugs me to no end. And i mean tiny, its so subdued that i may even be imagining it. Lol.
 
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