On CS Vaquero and Voyager: weakness at the pivot?

Mar 29, 1999
Dear Forumites,

I would like to know if I have found a defect in CS Vaqueros and Voyagers or I just have to look at them better.

I sent this concern to Dexter Ewing and Leslie Ireland, and Leslie adviced me to send it to Cold Steel. Since it seems CS doesn't have an e-mail address anymore, I sent it by air-mail as a common letter on the 14th of July.

I haven't received an answer yet from Cold Steel, so I am posting my concern here, hoping you will write your opinion or someone has the answer to my concern:

" Rome, 12 July 1999

To: Cold Steel, Inc.
Customer Service / Knives Design and Manufacturing
2128-D Knoll Dr.
Ventura, California 93003, USA

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a knife collector and user from Italy.

I know Cold Steel since 1986, when I read about You on an Italian magazine on knives and firearms. Since then, I bought several knives of Yours, either in Stainless or in San Mai or in Carbon V.

Because a knife in my opinion and needs is a real tool (I use each knife I own), I wrote You some other times, asking some questions about the steel, the strength, Your best knife to satisfy my needs, etc. Always You replied me, and quite always I was so lucky to receive an answer from Mr. Lynn Thompson himself.

Last time (it seems to me it was 1992) I wrote You about Your Carbon V knives, You were so kind to send me a VHS video about some of Your tests on Your Knives (a pre-release of Your current "Proof" video). Many thanks again! Now I am writing You about what can be a problem in a knife of Yours. If it will be true, it can be fixed quite easily.

Last Christmas I bought a Vaquero Grande in a very famous knifeshop in Rome, Italy.

I am sorry to disturb you, but I noticed a thing on this knife that can be a problem.
I don't know if this happens only in the two models I saw, or it is a general problem of all models.

I wrote about this fact to Mr. Dexter Ewing and to Mr. Ireland of Northwest Cutlery, and they saw my concern and told me to tell You the problem and my solution.

If you look at the head of the pivot rivet that keeps the blade on the "Vaquero Grande", on the side where "Cold Steel" is written on the blade, you see it is quite big and fills its "hole" in the Zytel handle.

On the other side, where "Vaquero" is written on the blade, it is very small. This because the bigger one is the "real" head of the pivot rivet, the other is the head that is created when the pivot itself is hammered to fix the blade to the handle.

I think the small head of the pivot can give a problem of weakness if the knife is used "laterally". I know, a folder knife is not a pry bar, but it can happen to have to apply a SMALL amount of lateral force to fulfill some cutting jobs.

I think that in this case the little head is too small to avoid to damage the handle, because being so small it will apply too much force on a too small surface of Zytel, which can break, destroying the folding mechanism.

In my opinion it can be solved inserting a washer between the Zytel handle and the small head of the pivot. More precisely, a washer must be inserted on the pivot, on the side where the "small" head will be created, AFTER the pivot itself is inserted into the handle and BEFORE hammering it to fix the blade creating the small head. It will give two advantages:

1) you can hammer the pivot better, because it will be harder to damage the handle, being protected by the washer;

2) also if the small head itself of the pivot will have the same current dimension, the force will be exerted on the washer, that will apply it on a larger area of the Zytel handle. So it will be harder to break the Zytel, because the pressure will be significantly lower.

I am looking forward to hearing your opinion on this idea. If you think it is good, I’ll try to apply it, removing the old pivot, inserting the washer and hammering a new pivot (it is very cumbersome to send my knife back to You from Italy. I'll tell you if it will be successful). I’ll appreciate very much if You could suggest me a good replacement for the original pivot (what steel, what hardness). Could You please send me these informations?
You can send me Your reply by e-mail, to the following address: cfalcioli@usa.net. This to avoid very big delays of Italian Mail Service in delivering paper mail. By the way, do You have an e-mail address that I can use to send You my news?

If I can ask You one single thing more, could You please give me an advice about sharpening the small serration on Vaquero, Hai Hocho and the like? I bought a triangular ceramic sharpening rod, but it doesn’t work well.

I am looking forward to hearing from You soon. Thank you very much.

Carlo Falcioli"

This is my concern. Do you have an opinion on it?



Your post prompted me to examine my CS Gunsite Voyager. FWIW, on this model there is a washer on each side of the handle between the heads of the pivot pin and the Zytel. (BTW, there are washers on both sides of the back spring pin as well.)

On first examination, it appeared that the pin heads simply rested against the Zytel as you described. Since the washers are black, it is hard to distinguish them from the surrounding material by eye alone. You might want to use a sharp pin to determine if there are, indeed, washers in place.



I saw a picture of a Vaquaro Grand being bent laterally to 50 degrees without any damage. I can't see what you described as being a problem.

I looked at several of my CS Voyagers that I use as work knives and there is a washer it is just black like Brian said above.


Drac Noroc

A mind is like a parachute, it only functions when open.
Yep washers here too on both a 4" Voyager and my Vaquero. They really are hard to spot though. One of the washers on my Vaquero somehow got a scratch in it which made it easier to spot. FWIW the Voyager I have here is a friends, I reground and sharpened the blade cuz he broke 1/4" off the tip prying some boards apart and the pivot it still in proper adjustment. Marcus
No problem with either of my two 4" Voyagers, 1 clip, 1 tanto (plain edge). Open easy like an old Zippo.
Many Thanks, Friends!

I did the "pin-test" myself to discover if there is a black washer or none at all, but I wasn't able to scratch it significally to see a steel washer.

If you all made this test with the results above, I am satisfied and happy.

I'll send your answers to Leslie Ireland at NW Cutlery, because he asked to keep him up-to-date.

My former post was not intended to close this thread.

I am sorry if I was rude, my intention was only to thank all the people who posted their opinion on the rivet of Vaquero.

If someone likes to add his opinion, I'll wait two or three days before collecting the answers and sending them to NW Cutlery.

I have five ColdSteel folders. Three of them I have used extremely hard over the years with no problems. My five inch Tanto blade folder has even been used to chop tree branches as large as 1 1/2 inches in diameter without damage. I think that these knives will give you excellent service doing tough jobs.