Why Toolless Disassembly Should Be The Future of Knife Design

22-rimfire

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Two obvious schools of thought..... tinker or don't tinker? You won't convince either group that their way is the better way. The only time I would take apart a knife is if it is broke and I might just toss it in the trash first.
 

Smaug

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Two obvious schools of thought..... tinker or don't tinker? You won't convince either group that their way is the better way. The only time I would take apart a knife is if it is broke and I might just toss it in the trash first.

Another school of thought is that it is a way to enjoy the hobby without buying another knife. There's sharpening, coming up with things to cut, flipping/fidgeting with them and now assembly/disassembly. :p

A side effect of it is that you learn how things work: I took my CRKT Piet apart last week to see if I could improve the action. It was the first time I took a liner lock knife apart. It took some head scratching to get it back together properly, but the action is better now, as I was able to get the oil just where I want it. I also know how liner locks are put together now. I feel like my brain grew a little bit, just then, hehehe. I might open 'er up again to buff down the detent a bit with a Dremel wire brush...
 

Mitchell Knives

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Until the modern "tactical" folder came along (specifically screw construction), knives were generally incapable of being disassembled for maintenance/cleaning. Countless slip joint folders have performed admirably for decades and have obviously never been disassembled. Most knives will likely never need to be completely disassembled. I can understand why some people would want to though.

Rather than design a knife that doesn't require tools to disassemble, I'd rather simply design a knife that doesn't NEED to be disassembled. Many knives already fit this description and can be completely serviced with only compressed air and lubricant.
 
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FullMetalJackass

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Eh, l like my Torx and bits. I don't like to disassemble, but I will be hard pressed to find a knife that does not need a pivot adjustment once in a while. I must have disassembled less than 5 knives in 30+ years of hobby anyway.
 

000Robert

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Great posts, not2sharp not2sharp . I would suggest that I use my knives more on a daily basis than most here. On site, they open heavy cardboard packing, cut dirty fiberglass strapping, trim moldings, trim boards, scrape, pry, wedge, cut off poly tips of adhesive and caulk cartridges, sharpen my carpentry pencils, cut an occasional shingle, occasionally trim sheet rock, the point is used to scribe/strike a line (holding the knife backwards and dragging the point) onto sheet metal for cutting or bending, and on and on. They get dropped by accident, fall off roofs when I slip, ride around in my dirty tool bags, and occasionally wind up getting messed up by accident. And there's nothing like getting glue on the knife that takes lacquer thinner to get off, or having it fall into a bucket of paint, getting tar all over it (the worst as it attracts sand/dirt/sawdust) or just dropping it on concrete.

Been in the trades for 50 years, never have I taken a knife apart. When I started, you couldn't take apart a traditional pattern easily, so we didn't. When they did get covered with adhesive/tar/butyl caulk, etc., I would soak the knife in gas overnight. Brush off the crap in the morning, dig out the crap in the handle with a toothpick, wipe it off, put 3in1 on the pivots and a bit on the blade and it was good.

I have knives that I have used for decades on a dirty, gritty, nasty job site that have been soaked in my super salty sweat (and rusted in my pocket, including some "stainless") and they have never been disassembled. I have a CASE copperlock from '76 that has two of the scale pins worn off, the crest is almost smooth, and the beautiful ruby colored scales are muddy chocolate brown from sweaty dirty hands using it as a work knife. Never been taken apart, but had a few hard cleanings in it lifetime.

Nor have any of my larger Cold Steel knives, my Browning Hunter (from '76 as well... I was on a buying tear... 2 knives in one year!) or my ZTs or the poor old RAT 1 that has received the short end of the stick for duty too many times to count.

For me, it isn't a case of *sniff with my nose in the air* of not wanting to learn how to turn a screw, or *snort of disgust for the common folk* they don't maintain their knives to our standards. (WE are the standard for the entire knife community here, aren't we?)

As a contractor, I maintain my equipment as needed because the tools and their use is how I make my living. That includes my job site cutlery from the lowly utility knife to my personal favorite of the day. Although my standard of keeping the blade/handle/pivot oiled and cleaned without disassembly doesn't meet the standards of some, since it has worked for me in actual use conditions for a half century. I think I will go with what works. Seems a few here agree...

Robert

I agree. But I take them apart just because I like to.
 
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You're welcome to speculate about sloppy gimmicks, but based on my hands on experience, I conclude that CRKT and Ken Onion have produced a quality knife that will offer useful service and serviceability for many years to come.

Ha, it's still a gimmick, and to be honest, an ugly one at that.


"Let me reach into my pocket and flip a goofy eyesore level, then flip the folder around and wheel my little wheel....."

So much better than just finding a driver.
 
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A lot of knife enthusiasts (including myself) also like to mod and customize their knives. Different handle scales, back spacers, blade coatings, etc, etc. Being able to easily disassemble a knife makes it a lot easier to perform such mods.

I'm sure that if all folders were pinned together, or assembled in a way that made them very difficult to take apart, that there would be a lot fewer very cool customized folding knives in this world (and on this forum).

It's not necessary to disassemble a knife to have a properly functioning knife, but being able to easily take knives apart certainly makes owning knives a lot more fun for those of us who like to customize them.
 

000Robert

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That's how Jiffy Lube makes their money..... in the old days, it really was 3,000 miles. Then it became 5,000 and now with synthetic oil it's 10 or even 15K. Good thing I think.

I took my Toyota pickup to the dealer for an oil change at 3K. It was new. They shuffled me right out the door.... come see us at 5K and we'll change the oil at 10K.

Do the owner's manuals recommend that you take apart your knives? I would guess, No.

As a kid, I took apart an old pump shotgun...... wiped all the parts down and put it back together..... mostly.... except for this one part I could never figure out where it went. I do not take apart knives. I will rinse them off, lube them, even use something to kill germs if I feel it's necessary. But take apart, not so much.

Oil is good for many miles in a car. The most important thing is to change the oil filter. I new a guy that built race engines and he never changed his oil. He would change the oil filter every 3K miles and add a quart of oil to bring it back to the full level. Every four or five oil filter changes the oil would be pretty much new anyway.
 

midnight flyer

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I agree. But I take them apart just because I like to.

And certainly nothing wrong with that, right? We all enjoy our knives in our own ways. I really like some of my knives a lot, but since in my line of work I can literally carry and use any knife I want they have no novelty factor for me. Add in the fact I scratch cook about 14 meals a week for the family where I chop, slice and cut up food as prep requires, most of the time my knives are looked at fondly as useful tools. I am lucky I guess, I don't need to look for a reason to handle them to enjoy them.

Robert
 

not2sharp

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A lot of knife enthusiasts (including myself) also like to mod and customize their knives. Different handle scales, back spacers, blade coatings, etc, etc. Being able to easily disassemble a knife makes it a lot easier to perform such mods.

I'm sure that if all folders were pinned together, or assembled in a way that made them very difficult to take apart, that there would be a lot fewer very cool customized folding knives in this world (and on this forum).

It's not necessary to disassemble a knife to have a properly functioning knife, but being able to easily take knives apart certainly makes owning knives a lot more fun for those of us who like to customize them.

That is a valid point. But, surely, you don’t need tool less disassembly to accomplish that. How often would you modify the same knife?

n2s
 

000Robert

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And certainly nothing wrong with that, right? We all enjoy our knives in our own ways. I really like some of my knives a lot, but since in my line of work I can literally carry and use any knife I want they have no novelty factor for me. Add in the fact I scratch cook about 14 meals a week for the family where I chop, slice and cut up food as prep requires, most of the time my knives are looked at fondly as useful tools. I am lucky I guess, I don't need to look for a reason to handle them to enjoy them.

Robert

I'm not looking for an excuse, I just like to take stuff apart and put it back together. I also like to see how different oils look after a while.
 
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Until the modern "tactical" folder came along (specifically screw construction), knives were generally incapable of being disassembled for maintenance/cleaning. Countless slip joint folders have performed admirably for decades and have obviously never been disassembled. Most knives will likely never need to be completely disassembled. I can understand why some people would want to though.

Rather than design a knife that doesn't require tools to disassemble, I'd rather simply design a knife that doesn't NEED to be disassembled. Many knives already fit this description and can be completely serviced with only compressed air and lubricant.
I agree with this, but I go even farther and think that we have a very strong tendency to over lubricate our knives. I lube my knife pivots with approximately the same frequency I lube my door hinges and for the same reason, the very rare cases when they start to squeak or stick. Again, I don't think there's much harm in lubricating folding knives when they don't need it, but I can assure the folks here that they work just fine without any lube for years on end.
 

herisson

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Yup... "If it's not broke, don't mend it". I have never needed to take apart a folding knife to clean it. Pinned or even bolted build... Flush it out with alcohol, blow it out with compressed air, instill a drop of neutral oil. There you go.
It seems to me the amount of bolted builds you get today incite people to do the "mechanic" stuff while having no understanding of bolts, threads, Loctite and not even speaking of torque.
 

Quiet

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I don't see any reasoning for future knives to be designed to be taken down without tools. Others have covered every base. I've owned most likely over a thousand knives in my lifetime, and can tell you that I can count the ones I've disassembled on one hand. Two of them were CRKs and I only did it because I wanted to see what all the fuss over machining tolerances was about. If you are abusing a tool to the point where you find yourself needing to take it apart and clean it, time to start carrying a fixed blade.

There are plenty of beautiful knife designs out there that would be objectively ruined if they had to be altered to be able to be disassembled without screws or bolts.
 

herisson

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To be honest, I don't think the tendency towards "bolted assembly" is to please the obsessed owner who needs to take apart his knife every two weeks to make sure it is perfectly "clean" and totally up to his standards of "flipping like lightning" and "dropping shut" just the same. It is an industry thing. Assembling threaded things is the new standard. It's easier, faster and quicker to QC. So, there you go. Some people more privy to the industry may contradict. Just my experience.
 

herisson

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Oh, and I'm sorry. I didn't answer the original question. I'd hate to see quick / toolless disassembly become a thing in the knife industry. Would you like to see pop out rivets on fixed blades, too ? Let the owner use his item, let the seller / retailer take care of possible problems, with the knowledge / experience / proper tools he has been bestowed with.
 

herisson

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Two obvious schools of thought..... tinker or don't tinker? You won't convince either group that their way is the better way. The only time I would take apart a knife is if it is broke and I might just toss it in the trash first.
"Tinker" for those who know what they are doing, sure, enjoy !
"Don't tinker" definitely for those who have no idea. Hell, to you nitwits, it's just a screw ! It does not mean you are to dismount it (randomly) and re-install it, just as randomly, and then whine about how the knife is a piece of crap.
 

herisson

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I don't see any reasoning for future knives to be designed to be taken down without tools.QUOTE]
On the contrary, I see plenty reasons for "preventing people to mess with their knives", period.
 
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The idea of field stripping a firearm makes sense because burnt powder cools on internals and gets stuck, often causing malfunctions with neglect. With a knife the dirt is not usually so hard packed in there that you can't dip it in water and shake it around to clean it out.
 

22-rimfire

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The idea of field stripping a firearm makes sense because burnt powder cools on internals and gets stuck, often causing malfunctions with neglect. With a knife the dirt is not usually so hard packed in there that you can't dip it in water and shake it around to clean it out.
I guess it depends on how you use your knives. Me.... it is very unusual for a knife to get so dirty that a rinse and perhaps a cotton swab won't do for reasonable cleaning. I am in the "no tinker" camp. But not because I couldn't as herisson herisson suggested as "nitwits", but rather because it simply isn't necessary due to normal use.

Yes to the firearm analogy. I REALLY do not like to take apart any firearm..... But then, I am a big DA revolver fan and don't care much for 1911's or AR's that people are so fond of taking apart. I went to the Glock armorer's school. I honestly was a bit uncomfortable with the disassembly. I don't want to loose those springs that you have to know ahead of time are under tension.
 
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