Dear Mr. Thompson:
I recently ordered a "Third-degree Second" Italian Swordsman"s Dagger, for what I thought was the astoundingly low sum of $40.
The reason for ordering the "bargain-basement" dagger was mainly because I'd needed a top-drawer prop for a photographic project--- and wanted a truly historically-accurate offhand-dagger. I'd wanted a very good knife, but it did not matter so much if it was "perfect"---- if the knife had imperfections, it would seem much more like it has been used and carried by a genuine warrior.
Well . . . the knife & scabbard both bear the very fine number "2" to signify they were "Seconds;" but I'll be hanged if there are any imperfections that can be seen further away than a few feet! The stitching on the leather grip-wrap is slightly to one side; there were still traces of the polishing media on the pommel and guard; but I can't see anything else!
I'm over 60, and have had a good bit to do with edged weapons.
For one thing, I have quite a few of your knives & edged tools: From the "Bird & Trout Knife" through the OSS; the "Number 2;" a couple Bushmans; three Laredo Bowies; two heavy & two light sword canes; three "City Sticks;" five tomahawks; two shovels; a Gladius machete; and others . . . I have a modest assortment of your wares!
I've also owned "Museum Replicas" ever since ACC first offered working-grade replicas of ancient edged weapons, beginning with their vanguard offerings-- the Viking sword, and hand-and-a-half sword. I've also owned several top-drawer "issue" British and Spanish swords, and even a few authentic antiques, a few centuries old.
At one time, I'd expanded on the fencing classes I'd been taking, and studied the "art of the sabre." I'd even bought a couple classic "Wrist-breakers," once my level of skill had advanced sufficiently.
I'm not writing this to brag, but rather to point out that I am familiar with "real" edged weapons, and know quality cutlery when I see and handle it.
The Italian dagger is an excellent example of this "sort" of sidearm, and your version is superior to anything offered by other makers--- whether custom one-off sword-smiths, or commercial producers. Even the "Sub-Seconds" version, for $40, which I'd bought.
The original idea had been to get a very accurate replica to use in the photos, later adding it to my collection. I'd been prepared to find dings, blemishes or other imperfections, and had even rationalised their (potential) presence as being things that would make it look more realistic, in the photos.
But I'll be hanged if I can see the "imperfections!"
I actually feel as though I have, in some way or other, taken advantage of you!
After all, I bought a $250 dagger for $40.
Well, I'm stunned. Your "Quality Control" surpasses anything I've experienced, 'till now. In a business world where "pushing product on people" takes precedence over "providing quality products," your corporate attitude about quality-control is unheard-of!
It's easy to see why Cold Steel's reputation amongst members of elite units is on a par with what I remember guys saying about Randall knives, in the 1960s. No joke--- Your knives are spoken of with the same pride-of-ownership that I remember from guys who'd got custom blades, in the 1960s.
If you would do me the favour of sending me an email when the "Cutlass Machete" is finally off of back order, I will have "everything Cold Steel" I need!