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Please educate me on the CS Tri-Ad lock.

Discussion in 'Knives' started by horgerg, May 2, 2014.

  1. horgerg

    horgerg Loaded Pockets

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    So far my only Cold Steel knife has been the Pocket Bushman.
    I kinda like it, but it's a beast, not EDC material.
    But I've heard good things about the Tri-Ad lock, and I'm thinking about trying out a smaller CS knife with that lock.
    But first I would be interested in some second-opinions. :)
    So, what's NOT so good about the Tri-Ad lock?
    Have you ever had one fail, disengage accidentally?
    Do knives with the Tri-Ad lock tend to have any blade play issues?

    If I decide to buy one, I've narrowed it down to 3 specific knives, so I'd appreciate some opinions on these as well (materials, f&f, weight, etc):

    • CS Mini Lawman
    • CS Mini Recon 1 (spear point)
    • CS Medium Voyager (clip point)

    Thanks very much in advance.
     
  2. Yablanowitz

    Yablanowitz Loaded Pockets

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    I only have one knife with a Triad lock, a Voyager XL, so my experence is limited. On my Voyager, the lock engages very deeply, requiring a very long push to release. The Triad is basically a lockback with a stop pin, which eliminates vertical play due to the clearance between the lockbar and its' pivot pin, a common complaint with lockbacks. It should be very strong and durable, especially in a smaller knife.
     
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  3. Havoc

    Havoc Loaded Pockets

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    My experience with the Triad lock has been mixed. The only cold steel knife I've handled with blade play was caused by an individual who believed his Recon 1 doubled as a pry bar. The triad lock is rather stiff to disengage though. Stiff enough that I won't buy another knife with the triad lock. As far as lock strength goes I've never had a single lock failure on any knife in my lifetime so I have no idea what people do to their knives to cause such a failure in the first place. I'll just say the locks far stronger than you'll ever need if you use it properly.
     
  4. Blerv

    Blerv Loaded Pockets

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    It's essentially an evolved lockback design. If you like Cold Steel products it's a very nice design. If you don't like Cold Steel products, it's just another strong lock.
     
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  5. horgerg

    horgerg Loaded Pockets

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    Actually I'm not too fond of Cold Steel designs, and I think the black coating on their blades looks like crap. :) BUT if the lock is really that strong and reliable, I'm willing to make some compromises. I prefer utility over looks when it comes to knives.
     
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  6. IMightBeWrong

    IMightBeWrong Loaded Pockets

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    I can't help but be deterred by Cold Steel every time I see one of their silly videos of big guys sweating and breathing hard for no reason in air conditioned rooms while cutting up meat wrapped in denim...
     
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  7. Yablanowitz

    Yablanowitz Loaded Pockets

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    Simple solution there. Don't watch their videos. Problem solved.
     
  8. horgerg

    horgerg Loaded Pockets

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    I went to a knifestore today and handled a Mini Lawman. When I first saw it in person I thought that the blade / handle ratio was very poor. Then I examined it more closely, opened it, tested the lockup, etc, and I found that it seems to be a very good reliable EDC knife with great ergos. The dimensions are almost exactly the same as the PT, so size-wise it's perfect (the blade is a tad shorter, but not significantly).
    The only thing that I didn't like was the very stiff pocket-shredding pocket clip, but this may not be a deal breaker. I think I may get one soon... :hungry:
     
  9. IMightBeWrong

    IMightBeWrong Loaded Pockets

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    Mostly tongue in cheek, although the videos are amusing. I have a couple of Cold Steel fixed blades and wouldn't mind a couple of their folders.
     
  10. chrisk91

    chrisk91 Loaded Pockets

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    The triad lock is a very strong lockback. The spring is very stiff at first, but it will wear in with time. I love my 2(!) American Lawmen and my recon 1.
     
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  11. Wydern

    Wydern Loaded Pockets

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    Definitely a very strong knife, probably more than I would ever need in a folding knife. However; I have had my Recon 1 for some 3? years now, and the back-lock's spring hasn't loosened at all.:confused:
     
  12. MTFatboy
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    MTFatboy Loaded Pockets

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  13. horgerg

    horgerg Loaded Pockets

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    I've looked at some video reviews as well, and apparently the Tri-Ad lock is not the cure for my blade-play hate. It seems that even though it's a very strong lock, some knives have some up-down straight outta the box. If I want to be perfectly honest, even the sample that I've handled at the store had a tiny bit. So the search continues...
     
  14. MTFatboy
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    MTFatboy Loaded Pockets

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    I'm with you on the play problem, and while I've never experienced it with a Buck, my CS, or a Spyderco (I have only limited first-hand use of the latter two), I'm sure any lockback will eventually wear so that it wobbles. The way I see it, there are only two options to avoid it: Find a lockback machined by the obsessive compulsive spawn of the devil himself (or by @metropolicity ), or go with a liner/back panel lock, like a decent Kershaw/ZT. Rather than perpendicular ground parts butting together, the blade/lock contact surfaces are paralell angle grinds spaced so the lock only slides part of the way in. It would still take beastly effort to force the knife closed against the lock--such that something or someone else might conceivably break first--and it eliminates blade play. The lock moves until it is tight against the blade, and it stops. There is enough lock in reserve that as the parts wear, the lock will simply move in further. It should never wobble. If anyone makes a lockback whose lock/blade interface is slightly trapezoidal rather than square, with enough tension in the spring and tolerance in the lock that the lock can sink deeper as it wears, then it should provide the same positive lockup with zero play over the life of the knife. I don't know whether Spyderco or any others are doing this.

    You might consider a Buck 110. You can order one from their custom shop with an S30V blade and choose from a variety of premium scales, and if the blade ever does develop play, their warranty and service are fantastic.
     
  15. Yablanowitz

    Yablanowitz Loaded Pockets

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    If you hate blade play that much, stick with fixed blades. Anything with moving parts has to have clearance between those parts or they don't move. If there is clearance between the parts, there will be play. Whether or not you can feel it, it is there. Usually, the vertical play in a lockback is caused by the clearance between the pivot pins and their holes in both the blade and the lockbar. The blade and lockbar can be fitted together with zero clearance (which makes it a real pain to disengage) and still have vertical play due to the fit of the pivots.
     
  16. horgerg

    horgerg Loaded Pockets

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    That would be the point. If the tolerance is tight enough so that I can't feel any wiggle or hear any rattle, that's good enough for me. I'm a reasonable guy.
    My Strider PT doesn't have any blade play that I can feel, but the lockup is quite late (~5-6 years of EDC) and I'm sure some play will develop sooner or later as the Ti wears more and more against the much harder steel. I think this is an unavoidable issue with Ti framelocks, that's why I'm trying to explore other options.
    As for fixed blades, I could not carry one with me all the time (it would be awkward at work), so they're unfortunately not an option.
    I have a Spyderco Paramilitary, which has the best lock IMO, but the knife itself (especially the handles) are too bulky for me for EDC. If there was a Delica with pillar construction and a compression lock, my search would end immediately. ;)