Questions about lock bar design

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by EagleIH, Jun 30, 2020 at 1:03 AM.

  1. EagleIH

    EagleIH

    109
    Dec 5, 2009
    Like probably everyone else here, I love Buck Knives, so I’m not trying to bash them; I’m simply trying to get a better understanding of the issues they seem to have with the lock bar, particularly on the 500 series. I’ve found a couple over the last few years that were flush on opening and closing, but most are not flush while closed. I understand that this does not affect the function in any way; however, what I don’t understand is that I’ve seen many lock back knives that are less expensive than the 500 series that the lock bar is fully flush, open and closed. My young son bought me a small lock back for Father’s Day a couple of years ago. He knows I like wooden handle knives, and this one was similar to the 500 series except there was only a bolster on the pivot end. I think the knife costs $20. The lock bar is almost seamless on that knife, open and closed. I’ve looked at others of that same model in the store where he bought it, and they were all like that, so the one I got wasn’t just a fluke. Is it something in the design of the Bucks that makes getting the lock bar flush more difficult during manufacturing? I know some manufacturers use a stop pin to protect the blade edge when closed instead of how the Bucks use a “kick” on the tang of the blade. Is this the reason it’s so hard to find a Buck with a flush lock bar while open and closed? What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your responses?
     
  2. bertl

    bertl Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    It may be the kick, but try giving the knife a thorough cleaning before doing anything else. Sometimes new knives have some grit that needs to be dealt with.

    Bert
     
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  3. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I guess it's the luck of the draw. As I like the Duke and carry one of mine at least a day each week. Both of these have a flush lock bar.
    If it bothers you just send it in to Buck and let them work on it. DM
     
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  4. EagleIH

    EagleIH

    109
    Dec 5, 2009
    I suppose a certain level of an uneven lock bar is considered acceptable by Buck. Perhaps they accept this as an inherent part of their design; I don’t know. I sent in a 503 for this issue a few years ago, and the warranty department called me and said there was nothing to fix, because they considered the lock bar being out that much to be within spec for them. Given that experience, I just accept that the lock bar likely not being flush both opened and closed is something you have to accept in these knives. I was just trying to better understand what makes this such a challenge for Buck with their design when even less expensive knives seem to consistently get this right.
     
  5. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    824
    Mar 31, 2018
    I think there’s two ways to look at it. One being from a collectors perspective that their knives are mostly for display and they want them to look perfect. And as long as they aren’t put into use they will remain pristine. To have every knife to leave the factory perfectly flush in all positions likely adds to the cost and I’m not concerned about how it appears but how it performs and that’s where I want my money’s worth.
    From the perspective of a knife user like myself I know that usage is going to develop normal wear at the back spring or lock bar where it contacts the blade tang as well as the pivot pin. This is expected over time and eventually to a point will need repair or replacement but as long as it is functioning at a safe and effective manner I don’t consider it as a problem or defect.
    I’ve seen many knives that started out flush but after years of use the lock bar was sunk in a bit and I could tell the lock key tab was bottoming out in the notch on the tang. At this point it’s not as secure and probably needs repair before it fails to hold in lock up.
    So in conclusion I’d say that you can put more money into looks if you’re willing to pay for it but as a user I don’t want to spend extra for a visual enhancement when it is going to wear in over time anyway. And knives are made to use.
     
  6. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Depends upon if you buy a knife to use or to look at. Since the knife is $20, it's to use and there is no "issue."

    Appreciate it like you do the son who gave it to you on Father's Day :) Use it and think of him. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."
     
  7. EagleIH

    EagleIH

    109
    Dec 5, 2009
    I definitely do. I treasure that knife that my son gave me more than all of my others put together. There are no issues with the knife my son gave me anyway; the lock bar is perfectly flush open and closed. I guess my point was trying to figure out what about Buck’s design makes it difficult for them to get flush lock bars when the $20 non-Buck my son gave me has a perfectly flush lock bar while opened and closed. I just wondered if it was the “kick” on the tang of the blade on the Bucks that made it difficult to get the lock bar flush while open and closed, as opposed to other methods of preventing the blade edge from hitting the lock bar, like a stop pin. Just curious really. I still love my Bucks, regardless. :)
     
  8. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Might want to ask in the Traditional forum. There are some in that forum that may know.
     
  9. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    824
    Mar 31, 2018
    On the cheaper knives I’ve seen that did have flush springs and lock bar they were ground down and the back spring / lock bar was very thin. Yeah it looked nice and clean but that thin lock bar is scary. I’d rather have a strong and secure lock bar than one that just looks nice. Looks nice doesn’t always mean it’s well made, strong and durable. Looks are also fleeting if it gets used regularly. How many cutlers have closed their doors because they tried to satisfy a very demanding customer base when you can’t please everyone all the time. And I’m thinking the first pocket knives made were a far cry from what we have available now. I’m satisfied with strong well made, durable, dependable and lifetime warranty knives for a decent price.
     
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  10. GPyro

    GPyro Gold Member Gold Member

    926
    Apr 18, 2019
    Well said.
    I've seen knives that look good, but I wouldn't trust them to field dress a whitetail deer.
    And if I don't trust them, I won't carry them.
    I trust my BUCK.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020 at 3:33 PM
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  11. EagleIH

    EagleIH

    109
    Dec 5, 2009
    That explains a lot. This makes more sense to me now. I wasn’t understanding that the cheaper knives were being ground down in order to make the fit and finish look better while also weakening the knife at the same time. I would much prefer a strong knife to one that just looks good, also. I’ve carried a 503 daily for many years. I’ve tried many other styles/brands, but I always come back to it for my daily pocket knife. Thanks for the explanation. It was genuinely helpful.
     

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