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Cold Steel – A big name brand with big name knives


If you’ve spent any time researching knives, own a knife or interested in anything that involves knives, you’ll know the name; COLD STEEL. Over the last 35 years Cold Steel have made a name for themselves in the knife market and a brand that’s recognised worldwide. Their knives, tools and axes are renowned worldwide not only for their unique design but also their razor sharp cutting blades.

In the not so distant past knives were either strong and couldn’t hold its edge, or held its edge but lacked strength. (We’ve talked about carbon steels and stainless steels in our knife care post, which shows you the differences in the two, especially in terms of maintenance). Cold Steel though didn’t abide by the norm. Instead they addressed this problem by putting a high carbon steel between two layers of low carbon steel. This gives the knives not only high strength but good edge retention.


History of Cold Steel

The company Cold Steel was founded in 1980 by Lynn Thompson who was into martial arts all of his life. These martial arts had a big impact on how the company grew with its primary focus on quality and dependability whilst keeping to the principles of strength and edge retention. Cold Steel has been an innovator when it comes to knife production and quality and is one of the main driving forces that shaped the knife industry as a whole today.

It was Cold Steel that first gave us the chequered Kraton handle that improved the grip of many knives, thus making them safer to grip and allowing for easier usage. Cold Steel also introduced the American ‘tanto’, a style of blade that was once exclusively owned by the Samurai in feudal Japan.

Cold Steel are also responsible for innovations like the San Mai III® and the Tri-Ad™ Lock which gave the world some of the safest locking folding knives. Knives that are still as popular as ever.


Fixed Blade Knives


Fixed blade knives have been around almost as long as mankind and Cold Steel is today one of the leading names when it comes to fixed blade knives. Full tang fixed blades are one of the many specialties that Cold Steel has, and all of their knives undergo rigorous testing before being offered to the public (you may have seen some of their ‘Proof’ videos).

Cold Steel are constantly churning out some really top quality fixed blades such as the Finn Bear, Roach Belly and the Survival Rescue Knife. Which makes it always a pleasure to hear when new lines of Cold Steel knives are coming out.

Cold Steel Finn BearCold Steel Roach Belly

Folding Knives

Most people would normally think of a fixed blade when they think of Cold Steel, but don’t be fooled into thinking they are a one trick pony. They have built some brilliant folding knives, and with the development of their Tri-Ad™ locking technology, they have gone some way to really develop folding knife safety.

The main point of contention between fixed and folding knives, is that folding knives does not have the full tang construction that ‘purist knife collectors’ and enthusiasts like. The Tri-Ad™ locking system though is going some way to bridging this gap. Knives like the Recon 1 Tanto and the Pocket Bushman are two of the most popular folding knives from Cold Steel here at Heinnie Haynes.


Tri-Ad™ Lock




Above is an image taken from the Cold Steel website looking at their Tri-Ad™ lock. Andrew Demko is the originator of the Tri-Ad’s™ novel locking mechanism. It’s a successor to a patented lock design originally created by John PerMar.

The Stop Pin is the cornerstone of the Tri-Ad™ locking systems strength, among other subtle refinements, is the inclusion of a “stop pin”. This pin re-distributes the load of vertical positive and negative pressures on the lock. By distributing the pressures it helps relieve areas of the lock that are prone to breaking. Instead of the pressure being firmly on just the liner of the mechanism, the pressure is now also transferred into the handle frame, away from the lock.

“Negative pressures on the lock produced, for example, by prying, digging, piercing or even abusive spine whacks are redistributed because the stop pin receives the forward pressure from the rocker and transfers it into the liners protecting the rocker and its pivot from failing.”

On a final note; outside of keeping the lock free from the build-up of pocket debris, the Tri-Ad™ lock requires very little maintenance. It’s designed to be ‘self adjusting’, in the sense that, over time as parts begin to wear, the Tri-Ad’s™ design will allow it to adapt so the locking bar always wedges deeper in the lock channel between the stop pin and the shoulder of the precision cut tang notch. This feature allows for a very safe and secure lock-up over an extended period of time. This is a great feature!


Tomahawks and Axes


Not content with just the knife market. Cold Steel has taken up place in the world of axes too. Some of you may be forgiven though for not knowing about some of the tomahawks and axes, because they are often branded under the ‘American Tomahawk Company’. This is part of Cold Steel though.


We’ve found these tomahawks and axes from Cold Steel to be extremely popular, especially the Trail Hawk and Frontier Hawk. Why? Because they are simple and effective! What more could you want? They are also well priced for the quality of tomahawk you get. If you want a simple and effective axe, then it’s well worth looking at the ones below!

Cold Steel Frontier HawkCold Steel Trail Hawk


Counterfeits and Fakes


Because Cold Steel are such a big name in the knife world, there are counterfeits being made and sold. These knives as you can imagine do not live up to the same standards as the official ones. It’s also worth noting that some of these fakes look very real. Best thing to do is check if you have seen or found a site selling fake knives then contact Cold Steel and read their counterfeits page for more info



Cold Steel has made a mark on the knife industry in a big way. You will be hard pressed to find a self confessed ‘knife guy’ who does not like at least a couple of Cold Steel knives.

They have been around for less than four decades but through their innovations and continuous development of their existing knives, they keep impressing. Let’s see what Cold Steel comes out with in the future . . .


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