"Cold Steel", Warm Heart!

Feb 5, 1999
I have read and heard all of the negative comments about Cold Steel and I thought I would put in my $0.02.
First, let me say, I have used a variety of their knives over the years and have as yet to be disappointed.
Secondly, while I find their advertising a bit verbose and narcicistic, they are more than willing to back it up. Theirs may not be the strongest or sharpest knives on the market but they are pretty damn close.
Thirdly, I have had nothing but good experiences with them and their product.
Case in point: While stationed in Korea last year I used one of their extra large tanto voyagers to scare off some would be assailants (a#^holes) Sometime later my voyager was stolen.
I relayed this story to them(Cold Steel) and not only did they respond with a request to use my story in an upcoming magazine, but the also replaced my knife FOR FREE!
Name another company willing to do that....
I'm still waiting.
Anyway, say what you will, the knives work and work well and for that matter so does the company.

*Norse Knife Nut*

"Military" Fans Unite!!

"The only limitation is lack of imagination."

I haven't had to much problem with cold steel stuff, and I do like their tantos.
Most stuff said about Cold steel are suggestions, just a few are bad stuff.
I have some suggestions to make but I'll tell CS about it first.

BTW, have you seen the damascus Tai Pan on the cover of KI? pretty sweet.

If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!

Military "Military" fans unite!!!
From what I have seen, the biggest complaint about CS is those darn serrations. I HATE them...I LOATHED them...so mu so that I rewmoves them from my VG...actually I modified them, and the knife is better for it, and I can now sharpen it with a standard rod sharpener.

THe advertising does make me naseaus too. But I can put a helluva edge on this AUS-8...


"Will Dremel for Food!!"
"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"
MegaFolderians Unite!!
Dyslexics Untie!


Thanks for the reply. BTW congrats on the new blade.
I am still trying to get stationed up that way, but so far Uncle Sam isn't budging. My wife and I would love to live there, even if for a short time.
Tell me, would it be worth the effort?
You can e-mail me off line if you want.

*Norse Knife Nut*

"Military" Fans Unite!!

"The only limitation is lack of imagination."

I like my CS tantos. I have a large Magnum that I have used as a camping knife.I hold an edge and cuts like crazy.I got a Kobun a few months back,very sharp and easy to carry and conceal. Like CS fixed blades a lot

I own a 4 " Voyager and a Gunsite model, both are very strong (I have beat the heck out of them and they have not failed me).

You can spend alot more money on another brand and wind up with half the knife.

One of the problems that I have with Cold Steel is that they won't sharpen their serrated blades if you send it back to them, even for a few dollars. Their serrations are different from others (for those of you who haven't seen them) and, I don't know how you would sharpen them.

Don't you think there is something wrong with a company that doesn't support their products? I'm talking specifically about resharpening.

Hi William! First of all, let me congratulate you for stepping up and fighting for what you believe in, even though you know that there are many neg. comments against Cold Steel.

Not that I'm chicken to voice out or anything, but I'm the type who'd rather avoid a debate or discussion as to which is better, and why this company stink or that company etc...etc..

I've always believed that a product and a company can carry themselves, amidst all the attacks coming in. I have to say that if NOT for Cold Steel, I wouldn't have been as interested in knives as I do now.

I own a Master Tanto, a Magnum IX, and two mini-Tantos, all bought locally here in my country. After using and abusing them, they hold up to what Cold Steel has always claimed. I very much wanted to tell them how I felt about their products, just that they don't have any email addresses to begin with.
I get a lot of admiration from these, the quality and workmanship is very nice.

Now that I'm hunting for a new folder, I was thinking about whether to get some other brands, with different metals, or something... but I dunno why, but almost ALWAYS I have to compare them with what Cold Steel has (i.e. Voyager, Vaqueros, Gunsite).
Maybe its because they've proven themselves to me time and again (once against a rabid dog, mind you).

I'm pretty sure there's a lot of people out there that feels the same way I do, and is keeping quiet instead of debating it out. I always say, If the product is good, let it speak for itself! Lynn Thompson has the same idea, that's why the challenge has always been open. Vocal? maybe.. but heck, if you got it, strut it!

What's up Guys, I've handled a couple of CS folders and they looked and felt pretty good. My only problem is that they don't make any liner-locks. I once watched my boss cut the heck out of himself with my old lockback EZ Out when it closed on his finger. After that, I just did'nt trust lockbacks any more. Does anyone know if they will come out with a liner-lock soon? I also don't like the molded plastic (or whatever it is) handles with rivets. I may be ignorant, but give me laminates and screws anyday. Milled titanium ala Sebenza is nice too.
Joe" Paranoia is Bliss" Rosenthal

Rock On!

Yes, Cold Steel stuff may not always be "the best". They usually give you great value for your money without having to compromise on quality where it counts. The construction is not "custom quality" but it's more tough enough. We were throwing knives at trees, to learn throwing skills. The 4" Voyager tanto was the least expensive knife we had with us so we used that. The trees were hardwood and we didn't hold back on the throwing force. It survived quite well, the only damage being 1/32" at the tip being bent a bit. It still opens and closes smoothly. What else, at that price, will survive that type of abuse?

Lynn Thompson may be seen as being egotistical. You will probably find most succesful people somewhat strong-willed. Do you want a weenie to be making something that your life may depend upon? I also admire him for not being affraid to try something different. Who else offers sjamboks, spears and carbon steel rolling pins for your toy collection?
I credit Cold Steel's Tanto for re-kindling
my interests in fixed blades about 10 yrs ago.

Since then I have bought and used many Cold Steel blades. I think the shealth knives are generally robust and reliable.

Once, while abusing a tanto as a throwing knife, it snapped in two when it slapped sideways against a log. They promptly replaced it with a new one!

Lynn Thompson's knowledge and contribution to the edged tools/weapons world has been significant. His periodic "Special Projects"
catalog is quite interesting and informative.

I'm not done buying their products!

Can you say customer service??
I' ve posted once on my experience with CS.
I' ll no longer spend money nor will I recommend their products to my friends and customers. LT and his minions at CS displayed the worst customer service (or a lack of, more correctly)that I have ever had the displeasure to experience in my entire life! That was unfortunate because I found his knives to be reasonably good products. But what happened to the "we back up what we say" ad pitch? Sorry to rain on your parade but THAT is my experience.


"To earn a million is easy, a real friend is not."
Well, for what its worth, early on all the negs about CS made me curious enough to check them out for myself.

On a whim, I order a CS Recon Scout SECOND (special products discount price $50) Wow, if that hefty hunk of razor sharp hardwear was a second, let me see top of the line!

I've been a fan ever since and that SECOND is still a blade I have close to hand every day of the week!

Life is a journey, not a guided tour -- GO ARMED!

Lightninjoe: Gerber's lower-end products use 425 steel, which is not only low-grade, it's generally produced with a "casting" type process of some sort that causes all the edges that should be squared off to be "rounded and worn looking"...like a rounded off rock in the streambed. Hard to explain better, but the upshot is they make LOUSY lockbacks because the "rounded" effect causes sloppy lockup. If they'd precision machine just those bits they'd be in better shape; to their credit, Buck also uses some 425 but they avoid this "sloppy lockup" issue with a few well-places machine grinds...the Crosslocks are some of the most solid out there despite the steel grade.

Cold Steel lockbacks are a WORLD better than Gerber's. See also the recent knife test Mike Turber did, where a 4" CS lock held up extremely well. That's also been my experience on the 6" Vaquero Grande, which I've had for over two years, performed hundreds of snapopens and THEN tried like hell to force the lock - and could NOT, through pressure or banging.

Most Cold Steel stuff is a good value, some is a bit "clunky" in overall design but you gotta give Lynn credit: he's got GUTS. Business guts to produce a broad range of stuff, "politically incorrect guts" to produce knives that can ONLY be seen as "pure combat monsters, like the Vaquero Grande or any of the bigger Tantos, or the Safekeepers.

He may be a bit of a blowhard, and somewhat lacking in a sense of humor but...gotta give him credit. If you need a defense capable knife and you're on a budget, you could do a LOT worse and in a few cases, he's the only game in town (such as MEGAFOLDERS!!!).

Jim March
My own experience with CS products are four of the Voyagers: Tanto and Clip points, in both medium and large. These are among my favorite folders, particularly the large plain tanto Voyager. These are knives you aren't afraid to use. The locks are super-strong and snap into place like a bank vault. I don't know Lynn Thompson, but I will say his catalog is certainly not boring! It's very interesting. Like many others, I will not buy their serration pattern, but their knives are among the sharpest, along with Spyderco and a couple others. In fact, I just consider my Voyagers as cousins of my Spydie clipits. If a product is well-built, serves me well, and I happen to like it, I will get it, regardless of the company's president's sales method. (there are limits, but these don't apply here). After all, you're buying a product, not a person. Just my 0.02. Jim
I've heard a lot of anti CS stuff since I came to This Forum, but I've got to say, most of is is comparing it disfavorably to custom stuff. remember, CS is production!
I only have one CS right now and it's one of the original Recon Tantos. Same blade and handle as the original Tanto, just something wrong with it that made it a Second. Mine's got a slightly assymetrical grind. It's higher on one blade flat than on the other. Purely cosmetic, and I've gotta admit, it's the Fixed blade that I use the most. My Lile is such a PITA to sharpen that I just don't mess with it (D2 sux) but my Recon, just cuts and cuts and cuts. I use it for everything from trimming my nails, to lopping off small saplings and when I'm done at the end of the day it still shaves hair. Like the commercial says,
"It doesn't get any better than this."
Now I've just got to get my act together and order that Trailmaster! (pant, drool, pant)

I cut it, and I cut it, and it's STILL too short!

I have 3 CS knives. LTC Kukri, Stainless steel Master Hunter and Recon Tanto.
AUS8 came very sharp but it didn't last for long. I never manage to sharp it to the same level (using Spyderco Sharpmaker) just very close. Because I removed coating from my RT, a dulled it before to avoid any cuts. It took me many hours, and many thousands of strokes to rebuild the secondary bevel at 20 degs (from 23 I guess). The steel (Carbon V, 1095?) is extremely hard (59 Rc, CS datum). It holds an edge very good. LTC never needed resharpening, regardless the fact that it was used for a lot heavy chopping. Just a few touches with a sapphir rod (alumina coated steel) and LTC shaves again. Also the coating is excellent in spite of abuse.
I like the design, I like the steel (Carbon V), I like those knives.

Actually, CS is the only brand I can buy in the stores here in Croatia. Spyderco and Fiskars/Gerber are also available, but I don't like folders (too much bad expirience).
The prices are also under US retail prices.


PS. Sorry if this was hard to understand, but English is not my mother tongue.
I've had good experiences with Cold Steel fixed blades, particularly an LTC Kukri. Came sharp as the dickens, and stayed that way through tons of chopping brush, etc. "Carbon V" whatever it might really be, sure seems to do the job.
I'm on a budget, but prefer decent quality. Cold Steel is always on my list of knives to consider when I make another purchase. I have their MegaFolder and a smaller El Hombre. I really like both of these for their quality at a low price point. Admittedly, I will probably never use either of these on a daily basis. But they are good enough to keep handy, just in case.

One day when I can afford more custom knives I may drift away from Cold Steel. For now, they're still on my short list.
I'v always thought that they had a good product, especially the Carbon V knives, which I consider their best knives out of all the steels they use. Also, the price is right. My only gripe is the serrations, they SUCK. I'd take plain edge over their serrations anyday of the week. But other than that they have excellent products. Now as far as service goes, I have never dealt with them so, don't know, but just because someone submits a story and gets a new replacement doesn't mean that they have good service. It just means that they wanted to use your story and basically gave you a replacement for it. I'd be willing to bet that if other people had their CS stolen without a story, it would not get replaced. So this was more of a trade than a service factor.