Ever heard of GSM Outdoors? They just bought Cold steel.

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Dec 29, 2007
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Well Cold Steel has always been a polarizing company. That's their thing. I would definitely rate them as one of the ground breaking companies in that production knife boom of years ago.

I can't speak from any experience but I'd have to guess that the owner couldn't see his kids taking on his role. That is a pretty typical turnover in any business like this . A couple companies like Chris Reeve and Spyderco are lucky in that those original driving forces have kids who're carrying on their vision. There are no guarantees that will happen.
Lynn doesn't have any kids.
 

The Mastiff

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Apr 21, 2006
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5,409
My guess is, if there was any stipulation about creative control it is limited in time. I also guess the entire operation will become extremely cost-sensitive. That is all too often the pattern of these buy-outs.

As you rightfully state, they are not in it to advance the industry, only their bank accounts. They often milk the brand for all their worth while churning out increasingly sub-standard products and then bail when things start taking a turn.

Along with Gerber, ask Marlin/Remington/Bushmaster how the FGI/Cerberus buy out went...

I can see them trying to retain the same designs they have today, well the high sellers, but shift production to China. That in itself doesn't automatically equal bad so long as they stick with quality makers and allow for sufficient per-piece manufacturing costs. I suspect new models will become increasingly targeted at low-level offerings with strong attempts to penetrate retail shelf space. I can also see a big push in the tactical weapons segment, but again, with a huge shift to Chinese-made budget quality.

What is Cold Steel's USA manufacturing foot print? I only ask as it might be a point of interest to watch for it staying open as I would guess it has the highest operating costs.

I don't think they have any manufacturing footprint here in the US or anywhere else. Everything is done by buying stuff from vendors. I think that ( moving to all PRC vendors) does automatically equal bad. There are several reasons for that most of which can't be discussed here.

The move away from A2 steel Trailmasters tells me something. IMO, the old Lynn would have looked at it as a challenge and done what was needed to source some of appropriate quality instead of shrugging it off and moving to steel more suitable to liners while halfheartedly trying to convince us it was a good thing. When that didn't go so well he turned it over to Andrew Demko. :) Only the promise of a 3V Trailmaster calmed us down. With a new company I wonder if we will see that? I'm glad I got the O1 Trailmaster and 52100 bowie style. Large companies that buy out smaller ones do it for the brand. I doubt we will see more O1, 52100, etc. Maybe 3V though. Who can say.
 

Dknight16

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Mar 25, 2013
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I first learned of Lynn and Cold Steel knives through the pages of Pistolero magazine back in the 80s. Those guys were a hoot and so was Lynn. I still have my Large and Small Shinobus. End of an era for sure.
 

Quiet

"That guy"
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These venture capital companies exist only to make money -- as much as possible. They don't buy a knife company because they want to advance the industry.

They are not like innovative knife people such as Les De Asis founding Benchmade or Sal Glesser founding Spyderco.

In the flashlight industry, some of the Chinese companies entered the market and churned out truly innovative and high-performance products, although most didn't. There are a few excellent Chinese knife companies, but most produce low-quality, low-price knives.

It's difficult to guess what will happen to Cold Steel because we don't know the terms of the sale and how much freedom the knife-people at Cold Steel will retain. Nonetheless, I'd guess this sale won't improve the Cold Steel product line. The hedge fund guys have done terrible damage to the newspaper industry, while making big profits.

One really big element will be whether or not Demko sticks around. If I were him, I'd be trying to revoke my designs so they can't be used on $60 AD10s with 8cr13mov.
 
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Thompson's brass was enough to turn me away from the company. Now maybe they'll turn down the volume a bit.
 

BITEME

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It sound like the end of Cold Steel. Their brand will now will now appear exclusively on cheap Chinese made garbage. Lets face it, if this were good news for collectors they would have been happy to tell us. Taylor will be buying the name for cheap in a year or two, as soon as GSM flips them.

It's a good play for Lynn Thompson. I guess he was ready to retire. He has been an industry leader for over 40 years and his production options have been narrowing since Camillus ended and Japan largely dropped out. I wish him well in his retirement.

n2s
Yeah the ride is over, the production problems with the 4 max was the beginning of the end .
 
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Nov 7, 2005
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6,081
all hail the new coldsteel !
featuring everything
you could possibly want.
now finally super affordable
in super tough 420j2 ss :)


CLICK N CUT
40a_1.jpg

SPECIFICATIONS
- Weight: 2oz
- Blade Thickness: 1.5mm
- Blade Length: 2-1/2"
- Blade Steel: 420J2
- Handle Length/Material: 4" High Impact ABS
- Overall Length: 6-1/2"
 

Quiet

"That guy"
Gold Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
15,708
all hail the new coldsteel !
featuring everything
you could possibly want.
now finally super affordable
in super tough 420j2 ss :)


CLICK N CUT
40a_1.jpg

SPECIFICATIONS
- Weight: 2oz
- Blade Thickness: 1.5mm
- Blade Length: 2-1/2"
- Blade Steel: 420J2
- Handle Length/Material: 4" High Impact ABS
- Overall Length: 6-1/2"

Wow, insert J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man movie laughing here. Traaaaassshhhhhhh.
 

whp

Joined
Apr 26, 2009
Messages
3,385
Just ordered a Bush Ranger.

Sad news about the sell out.

Now I’m contemplating taking it easy on my current CS knives, as they may be non-replaceable.

I can t take it easy on my Cold Steel knives, because I got them to use. I stopped being a knife “collector” a few years ago.
I might get a couple I was on the fence about. And a couple backups for some favorites.

I hate that Cold Steel might stop being the current best priced quality user knife maker in the market. I would miss their great heat treatments, and the strength, f and f, and ergonomics of their upper level knives. Maybe Lynn Thompson and Andrew Demko will stay involved for a while.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
63
I never heard about this company or them buying Cold Steel. To me it looks a bit strange there was nothing about that on any knife review sites and YT channels I watch. In general I like Cold Steel, if this change don't break them, I don't mind it. But if new owners will reduce quaity or value, I just won't buy from them and won't be too sad about it.

I wonder if it is a coincidence or something related. I just saw that fake Code 4 appeared on some Chinese sites. Listed under real name and look very close, together with a brand box. I know there are other fake models, but first time I saw this one. And they usually photoshop logos or put a different name on the shopping site. Maybe cloners also noticed the change and thought a bigger owner with other brands under them will care less or that people will now buy more before new management change things.

Whatever the reason, I guess be more careful now when you buy a Code 4 from someone else than trusted store.
 

Planterz

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
21,814
My guess is, if there was any stipulation about creative control it is limited in time. I also guess the entire operation will become extremely cost-sensitive. That is all too often the pattern of these buy-outs.

As you rightfully state, they are not in it to advance the industry, only their bank accounts. They often milk the brand for all their worth while churning out increasingly sub-standard products and then bail when things start taking a turn.

Along with Gerber, ask Marlin/Remington/Bushmaster how the FGI/Cerberus buy out went...

I can see them trying to retain the same designs they have today, well the high sellers, but shift production to China. That in itself doesn't automatically equal bad so long as they stick with quality makers and allow for sufficient per-piece manufacturing costs. I suspect new models will become increasingly targeted at low-level offerings with strong attempts to penetrate retail shelf space. I can also see a big push in the tactical weapons segment, but again, with a huge shift to Chinese-made budget quality.

What is Cold Steel's USA manufacturing foot print? I only ask as it might be a point of interest to watch for it staying open as I would guess it has the highest operating costs.

That's my take as well, as has happened to many old companies that were "reborn". The "golden age" of Gerber ended when Fiskars bought them, and old, defunct brands like Camillus and Schrade were reborn as purely Chinese brands. I wouldn't say that I expect this to happen to Cold Steel, but if it does I would not be surprised at all.

One really big element will be whether or not Demko sticks around. If I were him, I'd be trying to revoke my designs so they can't be used on $60 AD10s with 8cr13mov.

Oh yes. We obviously don't know the details of the sale. It could be that certain people will be kept on to continue making the same knives to their old standard, and/or with stipulations that nothing really changes. Demko's design/production/royalties contract might have stipulations that he has to approve of anything made with his design and name and/or that his involvement can be continued or severed at his discretion in the event of change of ownership of Cold Steel.
 
Joined
May 1, 2004
Messages
1,220
Than
I never heard about this company or them buying Cold Steel. To me it looks a bit strange there was nothing about that on any knife review sites and YT channels I watch. In general I like Cold Steel, if this change don't break them, I don't mind it. But if new owners will reduce quaity or value, I just won't buy from them and won't be too sad about it.

I wonder if it is a coincidence or something related. I just saw that fake Code 4 appeared on some Chinese sites. Listed under real name and look very close, together with a brand box. I know there are other fake models, but first time I saw this one. And they usually photoshop logos or put a different name on the shopping site. Maybe cloners also noticed the change and thought a bigger owner with other brands under them will care less or that people will now buy more before new management change things.

Whatever the reason, I guess be more careful now when you buy a Code 4 from someone else than trusted store.

Cold Steel has had a grey market leakage problem for years. There have been real Voyager XLs, AD15s and Recon 1s sold over the years on Aliexpress. Not stating anything for the Code 4, just sharing info.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
4,458
That's my take as well, as has happened to many old companies that were "reborn". The "golden age" of Gerber ended when Fiskars bought them, and old, defunct brands like Camillus and Schrade were reborn as purely Chinese brands. I wouldn't say that I expect this to happen to Cold Steel, but if it does I would not be surprised at all.



Oh yes. We obviously don't know the details of the sale. It could be that certain people will be kept on to continue making the same knives to their old standard, and/or with stipulations that nothing really changes. Demko's design/production/royalties contract might have stipulations that he has to approve of anything made with his design and name and/or that his involvement can be continued or severed at his discretion in the event of change of ownership of Cold Steel.

I remember reading Sal talking about this sorta scenario with Gerber and no heirs that wanted that to run the company. I've seen the very same thing with other products. Once that passion is lost...

We shall see.

It isn't loading now, but a few minutes ago their website showed a one year warranty to the original owner: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/coldsteel-sold.1762892/page-3#post-20172791
 
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