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What makes zero tolerance so tough?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by crimsonfalcon07, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. hatidua


    Jul 28, 2010
    As others have stated, if you hold a ZT knife in your hands, it often becomes apparent why people feel about them the way they do. I have a ZT0300, and live in Boulder as well. If you want to see one in-person, you are welcome to contact me. That said, I'm not putting any of my knives in a vice and swinging a sledge hammer at them ;)
  2. Tsujigiri


    May 25, 2009
    Big +1. It doesn't matter that another lock can resist closing better if the overall knife isn't as tough. ZT's thick liners or framelock design, along with the 4mm thick saber ground blades will be much stronger where it matters.
  3. Joshua J.

    Joshua J.

    Feb 27, 2005
    Where the 0200 and 0300 get their super duty rating is the pivot pin and stop pin. On many knives these are hollow tubes, where these two ZT knives use solid bolts (the 0200 stop pin is actually shared by many other Kershaw knives). The 0300 takes things a step further using the thumb studs for the stop pin. Again, on other knives this might be a hollow tube, but on the 0300 it is an incredibly thick solid rod that is pressed into the blade.
    The ZT 0300 undoubtedly has the strongest pivot pin and stop pin combo of any knife on the market right now.

    On both knives the weak link is the lock. That's not to say that they have a bad lock, but no lock will be able to stand up to the same pressures that the two pins can take.
    Other locks are probably stronger, and even better suited to hard use, but if you're actually doing hard cutting then the lock shouldn't be under too much stress anyway. My experience with the extra thick liner lock on the ZT 0200 (shared with the JYD 2) is very positive.
    Ankerson shows off the 0300 lock best.

    Also note that the blades are only .156" thick, which is pretty ordinary for medium/large folders. While the handle should take prying stress better than most knives, you won't get any extra lateral strength out of the blade.
  4. PassinBy


    Jun 6, 2008
    hahaha +1:D
  5. neuron

    neuron Moderator Moderator

    Apr 18, 2010
    Yet another +1 for this awesome post. :thumbup:
  6. Noctis3880


    Jul 22, 2009
    True. Though in the first place, I don't even think it's fair to compare the 030X with the Manix 2. Perhaps the 350 given that it's closer in size.

    For the strength of the 030X you have to walk around with a brick clipped to your pocket. If you want the strength without the weight, you'd have to pay for the premium that is Strider.

    Though I think the American Lawman goes the farthest in attempting to do it all without any obvious tradeoffs, and so does the Gayle Bradley(new version with skeletonized liners). The hollow grind just gives them an impressive ability to cut despite being hard use knives.
  7. Confederate


    Sep 5, 2005
    Cold Steel's marketing irritates many, but without it, I doubt other knives would be similarly scrutinized. People also wish CS would use superior premium grade steel, but let's face it, using such steels would make the CS knives prohibitively expensive. Premium steels just couldn't be made in the 5-7-inch size without being priced out of the market. (How many 5-7-inch fixed blades do you see made out of top-grade stainless steels?)

    The Spartan and the Rajahs all give customers what they want and need, combining strength and exceptional heat treat. Even then, some will prefer a fixed blade to a Rajah II. And that's fine unless you need or want a folder, and if it weren't for Cold Steel, you wouldn't have the choice. I think it's incredible that we can buy 5-6-inch folders like the Voyagers in so many configurations. They're incredible knives for the money. The Gunsite 5-inch is a beautiful knife with a polished tanto blade that's easy to sharpen, holds its edge and is strong and light to carry. I haven't heard any negative reviews on it and my 6-inch plain-edged Voyager is nothing short of extraordinary.

    Strength in knives has been largely driven by CS's goofy marketing, which has made other companies sit up and take note. Not that they do it themselves, but they can't get away with making folders that don't stand up to similar tests -- tests that YouTube posters conduct that are loosely based on CS's cheesy tests.

    All I'm saying is that thanks largely to Cold Steel, we've seen an evolution to ever stronger locking systems. CS also really watches its heat treat. (I have an old Recon 1 with a 440A blade that quickly sharpens to a wicked edge, and it holds it remarkably well. I can't tell the difference between it and many AUS8 blades I own. I've tried 440A steel in many other makes and none of them are worth a damn. They just never get sharper than a nail file!)

    I've never bought a Zero Tolerance, but I'm tempted by the favorable reviews in this thread. I've never put any of my Spydercos under destructive tests, but on several I've been disappointed because the pocket clips stretch too much. But the locks have been solid and the blade steel exceptional. They just look too much alike for my taste.

    The technology for making exceptional folders has progressed so far that spending hundreds of dollars for one doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And I'm happy that some people are willing to destroy their knives so we'll know which ones hold up the best.
  8. matt1987


    Nov 2, 2009
    toughness is over-rated and gimmicky imo. if you're not stabbing through metal or bricks etc whats the point of having a 7oz boat anchor in your pocket? for me, i'd much rather have a fine tuned spyderco or sebenza anyday. but to each their own...
  9. Tsujigiri


    May 25, 2009
    I'm going to have to disagree with the claim that Cold Steel is a driving force behind the toughening of knives. If they were, we'd be seeing test videos of knives from other companies. The philosophy behind Cold Steel's strengthening and all other companies' is very different. Other companies strengthen the whole knife, whereas Cold Steel focuses mostly on the lock, and how well it can resist someone trying to cut with the back of the blade. Cold Steel claims that they're an industry innovator, but they'll shamelessly make claims like that while describing a knife with an axis lock copy. There isn't much truth in their self-promotions, and I see them following more than leading.

    Also I don't think it would be that much more difficult to make a 5-6 inch folder with premium steel; other companies just don't want to make folders that big. You don't see very many fixed blades that size with high end steels because fixed blades and folders are very different; the market for fixed blades is more limited and you won't see as many of them period.
  10. Revolverrodger

    Revolverrodger KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2007
    Are you guys weak and anemic ?
    I carry the ZT 301 and don't even notice it's there.
    Sure it's heavier than other knives when you look at the numbers, but in the real world who can tell the difference between carrying 4 ounces or 8 ounces ?
    I just don't understand it.
  11. Lone Hunter

    Lone Hunter

    Mar 2, 2000
    Matt thats one of the things I love about knives. There are so many differant types that each user can find those that suit his needs the best. Me I've learned that over built boat anchors may just get me or someone else out of a jam when shtf as they say.

    22 years working as a FF ( Lt on a truck co. ) has shown me that opening mail, slicing fruit and yard work while nice is not the limit of what I want my knife to do. That and seeing how fast some of the brothers destroy a SS Spydie...... a brand btw of which I own a couple dozen .

    We have two main types of tools on the load,cutting and prying, something that is not lost on me when off duty.
  12. thegeek574


    Sep 3, 2010
    I just looked, and for a consumer piece of 154CM, which is a "high-end" steel, that measures 8 inches long and about the same thickness as the blade now, it would cost 10 bucks.

    disregarding the fact that they could get it cheaper wholesale, let's quadruple the price to $40 for the added difficulty in machining and heat treating. Now, a rajah 2 is going for 90 dollars right now, and so lets add 40 dollars to that. that starts to look like $130, which is not what i would call prohibitively expensive.

    As to the fixed blades, bark river has a very nice selection with stainless steel.
  13. rororo64


    Sep 5, 2010
    I do think that toughness in a folding knife is way overated. I usually don't buy a folding knife because its mega tough, because I, and im sure others will not subject their folders to a world of abuse that a fixed blade wont even be able to handle. When buying a folding knife the things that are the most important to me is quality, reliability, steel and looks. That being said, Zero Tolerance knives excel in all of those aspects and the 0551 is probably my favorite knife. If I want a super tough knife, id get an ESEE 5 or a Bk2
  14. GaryXD


    Sep 1, 2003
    I've been wanting to say the same thing for some time. I don't understand why a 180# man is unable to carry a 8oz knife.
  15. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    Inferior in edge holding, not in toughness.

    You say this like it's a bad thing.

    Get flamed for preaching to the choir? You think you're a hero for criticizing Cold Steel on this forum? :rolleyes:

    In case you haven't noticed, the latest offering from Cold Steel are about as practical and effective as they come. They are among the toughest folders money can buy, and for the money unbeatable in this respect.

    This thread is about Zero Tolerance, particularly when compared to a Spyderco Manix 2. If you insist on dragging Cold Steel into the debate, why not discuss the brand on its merits, ie the mediocre but tough (and therefore relevant) AUS8A steel, the unbeatable Tri-Ad lock, and the fact that an American Lawman costs a third of a ZT0300? Wouldn't that make more sense than trying to score cheap points by appealing to the forum's resident anti-Cold Steel bias?
  16. mdc5162


    Nov 3, 2010
    OP, I currently have a manix2 cts-xhp and zt551 in front of me. As stated the manix is touted as a tough spyderco but in the hand it feels like a feather compared to the 551. Not saying that the manix isnt tough or rugged, I just got it so I have no user experience. But the 551 blade is noticeably thicker and the handle is much thicker (almost quarter inch thicker). If I had to guess by feeling I would say the manix would fail/ get damaged, hurt, broken before the zt 551.

    Either way, both absolutely great knives. The manix is a better slicer but if I was going in the woods I would probably grab the zt. What do I know though, I only got these knives a couple days ago.
  17. Tsujigiri


    May 25, 2009
    You kind of just proved his point. Sure most people here don't like Cold Steel, but there are a few very outspoken and particularly sensitive Cold Steel fans here as well.
  18. Überich


    Feb 20, 2011
    why don't we just agree on this: people who want tough knives will not make a mistake in getting a zt knife (as long as they can afford it).
    people who don't ever think of using their knives for rough tasks don't need such a beefy knife and won't have to carry all that overly too muchy weight :rolleyes:
    and then there are those who can't afford a zt and should be happy enough with cold steel or the like (i think there are more important things in life than what your blade is made of)
    still: there's not much that compares to a zt - IMHO(!!!) not even some (few though) of the striders i've seen (poorly assembled/finished, with blade-play,...)
    i didn't hear one complaint about the quality of any of the 03xx series zt knives yet from the people i know or heard of!

    i just like to get knives (fixed or folders) that are able to do nearly anything and don't care if the trade-off is that they don't slize paper as well as a spyderco - at least i will not have to worry that the blade snaps if treated rough... as was said before: to each their own!
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  19. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    Well said sir! There are trade-offs for the different designs. Hard use or slicer. This is how I take care of that problem. An EDC carry combo. I figure I'm pretty much covered here except of course for fixed blade needs which I don't come across often enough to need to carry one. Fixed blades are also illegal to carry here unless you have a specific reason.

    [​IMG][/URL] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]
  20. thegeek574


    Sep 3, 2010
    1. I would rather have a knife that will keep an edge and survive when used carefully than a knife that will get duller quicker, and yet can be bent 90 degrees without breaking. just my preference.

    2. as far as i am concerned, it is a bad thing. these are knives that are built for hard use and yet designed with features that seem to yell "mall ninja". take, for example, wave. you will not need to wave a knife if you are intentionally cutting something, and so having the feature seems to be useless. i know the thumb plate can be used as a opening mechanism by itself, but i would rather see a frickn' monstrous axis lock or something along those lines. i just think it would be more practical.

    3. I knew there would be at least one or two of you.

    4. Explain to me what models you are referencing.

    5. Alright, alright. i have a bias against CS, you have a pet peeve with people who have a bias against cold steel. understandable. I was not appealing to the forums, i was talking from my experience. the cold steel products i have handled were not my favorite, and therefore i am not impressed. I have already covered most of the points in your list, and i realize that the american lawman costs 1/3 of the 0300. however, if you are going to spend money on a knife, i would prefer to have a titanium framelock in s30v than 3 triad locks in aus 8. again, preference.

    BTW, prove that the tri-ad lock is unbeatable. i do not want a cold steel video. i am too cynical to accept their "SMASH SOME PORK CHOP" mentality.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

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