In the folding knife business, there have been few changes in the design of locking mechanisms. You’ve got your liner locks, frame locks, lockbacks, slipjoints, buttons and the Axis and Arc type locking mechanisms from Benchmade and SOG. These locks are tried and true and have lasted throughout the years in a variety of designs and purposes. Some are stronger than others and have become popular because of their reputation.
But with this stability in design comes a relatively slow innovation process. If the locks work, companies stick with them in their knife designs. Something truly unique hasn’t hit the knife market for a while. Now, there’s something that could change that and perhaps be the new staple in folding knives.
Knife designer Andrew Demko has been working on the new AD15 knife and scorpion lock for some time now. Pictures first surfaced on social media in late October of 2015, and now knives with the new locking mechanism have shown up at knife shows as custom pieces. The lock is not on the market yet, though I bet when it becomes available, it will be in high demand.
Demko’s new scorpion lock is unlike anything I’ve seen before. The lock snaps down over the blade with a bar that fits into a cutout. A pin built into the blade gives a second point of contact for the lock bar. A second lock near the pommel of the knife serves as a safety to keep the lock bar from moving when engaged. This type of feature is common for folders that are intended for hard use.
You may already know Demko’s name. He designed the Tri-Ad lock for Cold Steel. The Tri-Ad lock can be described as a lockback with an added stop pin to disperse the forces exerted on the blade. Cold steel has wasted no time marketing the Tri-Ad as what they call the strongest locking mechanism around. There are numerous videos in which the company puts their folders through a variety of torture tests.
I own a Tri-Ad lock folder and I can say that the lock is quite strong and can handle tasks better suited for fixed blades such as batoning wood (of course a fixed blade would be the better option, but it’s good to know my folder can handle a tough task). One significant advantage of the new scorpion lock over the Tri-Ad lock is that it can be easily closed with one hand.
The big question now is whether and when the scorpion lock will go into mass production. While Demko has done work with Cold Steel, there’s no word on whether the company will pick up the design. Since Cold Steel has built a reputation on the toughness of their knives, they would probably torture test the lock before working on production models.
Until that happens, it’s possible the lock will only be available directly through Demko. Custom knives will likely have premium quality materials, but could come at prices that are too steep for some users.
Still, with the market filled with designs that have changed little over time, it’s refreshing to see innovation in the knife world.