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Riposte' of CS

Jan 9, 1999
Not to start a flame war or anything but while surfing the net here at work I happened upon the CS website where there is a big article on CS vs Gerber as to strength and sharpness of the Voyager series vs the Applegate folder. The article pretty blantantly slams Gerber ad nauseum. My question is this, actually maybe a couple.
First) Has Lynn Thompson ever comapred his voyagers to lets say, OK my Spyderco C16 for shaprness and lock strength fit and finish?
I don't believe so. Has he ever compared his TM with the Busse Combat Mistress? I don't think so. Frankly as he says in the article he should put up or shut up, or at least quantify his article and claims. I know a ton has been written over the past year or so about all this, but I guess it never bugged me til I read the riposte` article. I also do own a Lg clip point Voyager so I know from where I speak. The Spyderco C16 is better made and arrived much sharper and holds its edge much longer as compared to my voyager. All has to do with the type of steel used and the way the blades are ground. Not only that but I have used my C16 hard and to date it shows no signs of loosening up, where as my Voyager has blade play back against the spring. Just my 2 cents.
While it does have its attraction on the surface, would you believe Lynn if he did test a Trailmaster vs a BM? Would you give him the benefit of the doubt in regards to being unbiased and fair doing the testing?

The only comments I have seen so far comparing the Trailmaster and BM were from Ron Hood and I don't recall him saying the BM was a clear winner.

I don't like Lynn's advertising tactics, but I don't really like anyone's. CS makes great knives and I really like the Trailmaster, but I would take a Busse Combat Basic #9 over a Trailmaster anyday
My feelings on Cold Steel and their tactics have been stated many times elsewhere (and no doubt will be again) so I'll keep from getting myself riled up here. I do feel that as much as other companies don't want to sink to the level CS is working at, it's high time someone got in the mud with them just long enough to hold their head under. Bad advertising tactics are one thing, calling someone's bluff is another. Maybe Busse and Mike Turber will be our deliverance from Lynn's offensive prattle.

On the Riposte article, that is a clear case of picking on a "strawman," the weakest possible opponent to boost your own position. Gerber has a fairly unique item in the Applegate folding daggers, only comparable really to the new SOG folding Pentagon or CS' own joke/disaster Triple-Action Dagger. Gerber screwed up to advertise their knife as a "tactical" piece in the class of utility/defense knives like the AFCK or Axis. Their knife is also one of the most expensive Zytel pieces ever (the Zytel Vallotton Chameleons far outstrip it), though CS knives are far from a steal for knives with plastic handles, either. Like a lion picking the weakest of the herd, CS pounced on the Gerber instead of going after more formidable prey - knives that would clobber them in performance like the Military or trash them for value like the Endura.

It's the sort of thing I've come to expect from Lynn Thompson and CS. Their knives are by no means poor (well, the good ones aren't, but they also sell shameless junk like the Bushman or overpriced, underthought pieces like the Triple-Action series) but I will no longer support them either with my purchasing dollar or my recommendations. Get yourself a Spyderco or Ontario Spec-Plus instead.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
Jerry and Lynn are very well aware of my test which will most likely take place next month. I will anounce when I am going to do the test and anyone is welcome to come by and watch me preform it.

Of course I will post the results no matter who wins.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

The Voyager/Gerber article is interesting in that it's a comparison on paper, i don't remember reading in that "riposte" about any physical head-to-head tests done with the Gerber...Kinda makes it all a mute point...

Corduroy, in regards to CS, what do you expect them to do in promoting their knives if not go agaist an obviously inferior product. It would obviously not be very sensible to compare your product against a better one in hopes that this would gather positive attention.

What I don't like about CS's advertizing is something Cougar has commented on before, if you do some demonstration to show the quality of your knife then this has to be covered in the warrenty. From reading some of the CS catalogs I have seen, it appears that many of the things that CS does to promote their knives will void your warrenty. I don't like this as basically it allows you to make wild claims and know that they have little chance of being tested. I do however like that they are being fairly exact in some of their claims (degree of flex in regards to prying, amount of torque on the locks and so on).

I recently came into possession of a Trailmaster thanks to Cobalt. I spent some time discussing how I was going to evalute it with Mark Porras of CS. I was very impressed with him as a result of the conversation as I made it quite clear that I was going to do several things that had faulted other knives. He was not overly concerned and as long as I was duplicating what I had done with other knives and not overly stressing the CS blade in comparasion.

That being said, I have worked the CS blades further than I have done with other blades. This is simply because it was not overly bothered by those levels of stress so I have moved on. I have been using the Trailmaster for over a month now and it performs well on all manner of cutting including heavy chopping. It chops about as well as the heaviest Ontario Bowie, the Marine Raider, and the Trailmaster outperforms it in every other area because of its thinner grind. It also has a more ergonomic handle and better edge retention. The tip is also slimmer and allows for very deep penetration (well over an inch from a 10" throw).

I was concerned about its durability becuase of the slighter geometry and did think that the Marine Raider would be more durable. However the Trailmaster has proved pretty good in this respect. I have done full powered stabs into soft-medium wood and hard twists and pulls to break the tip out. I have also done some throwing from 10' (straight dart type) and at 15' (half turn distance). The penetration is very high due to its thin tip and decent mass.

The lateral strength is also very high. I have done full strength pulls to the side with the blade stuck in a stump (about 4-5" in diameter). I can pull hard enough so that the wood starts to crack and the Trailmaster holds up fine. It flexes slightly but returns to true. Prying at this level faulted the TUSK, several Ontarios and the first GH khukuri. I have also done heavy work putting direct stress on the edge of the Trailmaster. I have repeated the 4x4 edge test (pressing really hard, as hard as I could) and moved on to chopping into a stump so about 1/2 - 3/4" of the edge was in the wood and then twisting violently to break the wood apart.

The net result of all of this is nothing. THe blade is uneffected. The handle shows some wear after all the chopping but the blade just has a decent polish from scrubbing all the sap off. The edge retention is high enough that I still have not touched it to a stone, a steel + ceramic rod + strop has been doing fine.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 28 June 1999).]
Mr. Stamp,

Of course I do not expect CS to compare their knife to a product that thoroughly clobbers it in performance or value per dollar. But what I take issue with is that they make implicit in their article that the Gerber is a stand-in for every other knife out there. They say "There can be only one!" and:

"Due to space limitations, there just isn't enough room in this issue of Riposte to examine the claims of all our competitors who assert that they make better knives than Cold Steel®. So, in this issue of Riposte we will deal with the one claim I feel is the most noticeable."

Space limitations? How about because some of those competitors can validly claim to make better folders?

You see, if this article were just about the Gerber I wouldn't take issue. But the implication is clear that the Gerber is acting as representative of all other folding knives that claim superiority over theirs. This is akin to proclaiming yourself heavyweight champion of the world and "proving" it by winning one minor bout. The Gerber has clearly been mis-marketed, and CS seized upon this to make it a representative of all other makers' "tactical knives," which it most certainly isn't. If they had tackled a Benchmade or Spyderco I'd be more impressed.

Look, as I've said many times, CS makes some fine fixed-blades and better-than-average folders. The Trailmaster is probably the best thing in their line. Would that this weren't so, or we could have done with them. But they also make crap and advertise all of it by the most offensive means possible. Why don't you take a Bushman out and do some performance tests? Or one of their Opinel-style folders? Or a Triple-Action? CS has no standard of quality to their line; you could stock an entire knife store with their catalog, from the top-shelf displays to the bargain-bin junk. All united under the CS name, which makes them little more than a distributor at this point.

If all you care about is the best knife for your bucks (no shame in that!), I'll admit that CS has some fixed-blades worth looking at. If warranty, attitude, and the integrity of the knife industry are part of your purchasing decision, I urge you to look elsewhere.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
Corduroy, I haven't read the article or Gerbers advertizing claims so I can't comment on that specifically. But obviously if Gerber presented themselves as a target CS was going to take the chance to promote their knives. As for direct comparasions against Benchmade of Spyderco I don't see them doing a lot of cross comparasion against each other either. The big names rarely go against each other, its not limited to CS.

As for the other products in their line I can't comment outside of what I have handled but specifically to the Bushman, I have heard lots of good things about it. Specifically MPS has commented that it is one of the best low priced fixed blades around. It would not do well if I repeated what I did on the Trailmaster with the Bushman, but then again they are designed for different things.

As for the warrenty, I'll agree, until it changes I won't be buying a CS fixed blade. I don't quite understand their policy in this respect as the quality is there, I don't know why they don't back it.

You know, I don't specifically recall the article accounting that they'd actually tested the Gerber either. I love my TM, and I'd be hard-pressed to find a better bowie for the money. But the Voyager series is not even in the same league as other folders. Yeah the price might be better (I paid 69.00 for the CS, and 95.00 for the BM mentioned hereafter, so we're not exactly comparing apples to oranges in terms of price), but they're not as durable. I considered carrying my new Gunsite as a self defense folder over my BM Axis-Lock. Lock "strength" and "out-the-box-sharpness" aside, I threw my large Gunsite folder into a 6x6 treated post on my fence exactly 25 times from 3 feet away; it stuck every time. I repeated the test with my BM 710 Axis. What I was going for was to see how the locking mechanisms, pivot pins, and in the axis's case, the stop pin, all held up to the blatant abuse. The Axis's mechanism was absolutely unscathed and lockup was still rock solid. There was no lateral or up and down movement of the blade that had developed, and the visible stop and locking pins were not dented or scratched. The mechanism on the Gunsite had become very loose, as if the stop pin had bent slightly or the handle material had "stretched" around the pivot pin hole. There was about three millimeters of measurable up and down play in the blade. I was pissed, and ended up selling the CS to my neighbor for peanuts. He needed a decent tackle box knife.
In hindsight, I know this is an impractical test of a knife's abilities. More importantly, a knife should above all else cut well. I think the Gunsite would've outcut the Axis due to it's larger blade and tiny (and practically unsharpenable) serration teeth. I don't know for sure, and I don't care. My personal preference is for ample durability and resistence to long term wear. I'm quite familiar with the excellent cutting abilities of the ATS 34 blade steel of the Axis. I'm hard on the equipment I use, and it's got to stand up to what I can dish out. My overall point is that yeah, the CS Gunsite may be able to support 130+? pounds held in a vice, but I damn sure bet you it wasn't worth a tink afterwards. Just my .02.


[This message has been edited by Professor (edited 28 June 1999).]

By any chance, do you have the test of the Trailmaster on your website? If so, could you provide me a link to the page? I'm interested in reading about it. Thanks.

Cliff's reviews are at http://www.physics.mun.ca:80/~sstamp/knives/reviews.html -- everybody who hangs out here will want to bookmark that site and check it frequently.

I'd like to see you test a Bushman, Cliff. A number of people are recommending it as a good beater knife for the price, and I think it'd be interesting to compare that with more expensive knives and see just how much extra performance you're getting for your money....

I think many of the members here (and probably many more lurkers) either can't afford to spend a lot of money on a knife or can't bring themselves to do it (yet...). Even those of us who think nothing of $pending hundred$ on a custom knife still buy low-buck knives, too, for the trunk of the car or for a gift or whatever. I'd like to see more discussion of low-buck knives here.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Dan, you can see the review of the Trailmaster its about halfway down off of the main review page Cougar posted the link of. All the *'ed reviews are a work in progress. Specifically in regards to the CS blades I have timed runs and the final durability testing left to do as well as directly comparing it to some knives by Busse. As for the Bushman, and lower priced knives in general, I'll keep it in mind.