by Michael Janich
Mon Apr 10, 2017
To All Spyderco Enthusiasts:
In recent months, there has been considerable discussion in various social media forums about the Spyderco Advocate knife and concerns regarding the ball bearing washer system used in its pivot mechanism. We have followed these discussions very closely and have been researching the issue diligently. We’d like to take this opportunity to share our findings and update you on the actions we are taking to address the issue.
First and most importantly, the vast majority of the Advocate knives currently in use around the world are performing exactly as designed. A thorough review of our warranty repair records has not shown a significant incidence of customer issues with this knife. The issues that have come to our attention have occurred primarily after customers have adjusted the tension of their pivot pin screws.
The Advocate’s blade pivots between two washers, each of which contains a series of small ball bearings. Since the ball bearings are harder than the knife’s titanium scales, a small steel washer is included between each ball bearing washer and the corresponding scale to protect the scale from excessive wear. When the knife is assembled at the factory, great care is taken in tightening the pivot pin screws to allow the ball bearings to roll freely between the blade and the steel washer. If the pivot pin screws are overtightened, the bearings will not roll freely, the blade will not open smoothly, and the washers may be damaged.
A careful review of the Advocate’s design revealed that the steel washers used in its pivot are measurably thinner than those used in our other flipper models and are therefore vulnerable to the effects of overtightening. Although we are confident that the Advocate knives currently in service will continue to function properly as long as their pivots are left at their factory adjustment, we are taking action to ensure that future production of the knife is not susceptible to this issue. We have suspended production of the current version and are working diligently to redesign the pivot to completely eliminate this concern. We have also decided to suspend shipment of our current inventory of Advocate knives until a satisfactory redesign is complete.
If you currently own an Advocate and are experiencing difficulties with it, please return it to our Warranty Repair department for evaluation. If your knife cannot be easily restored to its proper factory adjustment, we will credit the full MSRP of the knife toward the purchase of another Spyderco product.
If you are a Spyderco dealer and one of your customers experiences difficulties with an Advocate purchased from you, you may either direct him to Spyderco’s Warranty Repair department or accept the knife in return for a direct exchange or refund. We will then accept the return of the Advocate in question from you and give you a credit of your actual purchase price.
Please note that this issue has only affected a small percentage of Advocate knives and is isolated to this model only. The issue DOES NOT affect other Spyderco models, including our other flipper-opening designs. A thorough review of our Warranty Repair records has conclusively confirmed this.
Thank you for your understanding and your continued interest in Spyderco products. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.