What is a lockbar insert?
The term ‘lockbar insert’ pops up more and more on our website. However, what is it and why would you want it on your knife? We at Knivesandtools will tell you more!
What does a lockbar insert look like?
A lockbar insert is a small steel plate that is screwed onto the end of a titanium lockbar of a framelock. As a result you will always notice a small screw or a change of material at the end of the lockbar on a pocket knife with a lockbar insert.
Why are lockbar inserts used?
Lockbar inserts are often added to pocket knives with a framelock where the lockbar, the latch that falls behind the blade, is made from titanium or aluminium. These materials are softer than steel and will therefore wear out faster than the hardened, steel blade.
For the titanium lockbars this isn’t a problem. Titanium is tough and strong enough to last for years. Especially when the connection with the blade is perfect in terms of geometry. The steel blade, however, could in time ‘corrode’ itself into the titanium. As such the lock might be a little more difficult to unlock. This is also called a ‘lock stick’.
Apart from that, when you think of warranty a lockbar insert could also be a great option. If, in the long run, something happens to the lock making it impossible to be used, the manufacturer can simply place a slightly longer lockbar insert. As such you prevent that a completely new lock side needs to be added.
Okay, but titanium is rock-solid right?
Many claim this, it is, however, a misunderstanding. Where some knives are hardened up to 55-63HRC titanium has a hardness of only 36HRC. As a result it cannot be used for a blade, but it can be used as a flexible part such as the lockbar. It is, after all, incredibly tough and can easily bend.
Is a knife without a lockbar insert a bad knife?
Because of the advantages of the lockbar insert you could almost say that a knife without such an insert is inferior. That is fortunately not the case. There are after all brands that place a titanium lockbar so neatly and precisely, the lock will stay in great shape for years as well. In addition, there are knife companies that harden the contact surface at the end of the titanium lockbar which is called ‘carbidising’. During this process hard carbides are melted on top of the surface which ensure that the lockbar will be just as hard as the blade.
Aside from the fact that there are of course many other knives that are already enhanced with a lockbar completely made from steel. If they are, the addition of a steel insert is quite unnecessary.
A premium pocket knife with a well-executed lockbar insert is a technical masterpiece. Practical to have, but certainly not indispensable. Knives without a lockbar insert are just as good!