F.A.Q.s : Frequently Asked Questions

Does Cold Steel have a company store?
Yes, our new showroom is now open to the public at our HQ in Ventura, CA
Hours of operation:
Mon - Fri (10:00 AM - 6:00 PM)
Saturday (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
Sunday (Closed)
What is San Mai III® blade construction?
San Mai As of January, 2007, the following knives were being made with San Mai III® blades: All of the knives in the Tanto Series (#13BN, #13MBII, #13MBIX, & #13MBXII), The Tai Pan (#13D), The Black Bear Classic (#14BBCJ), The Military Classic (#14R1J), The Natchez Bowie (#16ABSJ), The San Mai III® Laredo Bowie (#16CCB), The San Mai III® Trail Master (#16JSM), The Outdoorsman (#18H), The San Mai III® Gurkha Kukri (#35ATCJ), Master Hunter Plus (#36G), Master Hunter (#36JSK), The San Mai III® Recon Scout (#37S), The Konjo I and II (#60SK & 60SKL), The Sisu (#60SS).
Folding knives with San Mai III® blade are: The Black Sable (#60BS), The Black Talon (#60BT), The Caledonian Edge (#60CE), The Hatamoto (#60H), The Spectre (#60SF), & The Talwar Folder (#60ST).
What is O-1 High Carbon?
O-1 is a high carbon, oil hardening tool steel. The "O" stands for oil hardening. Popular with custom knife makers because of its versatility, it can be used for stock removal as well as forged knives and is often utilized for tomahawks and axes as well. With proper heat treatment, O-1 will take and hold a very fine edge while remaining remarkably tough and durable. Known for its ability to be differentially heat treated, O-1 is an ideal steel for edged weapons and tools and while more costly than SK-5, it is a decided step-up in performance.
What is VG-1 Stainless Steel?
When considering a new material for a performance upgrade for the Cold Steel® Tanto, we tested seven different grades of steel including Shiro 2, V-SP-2, 10A, 440C, VG-10, ATS 34, and VG-1. Physical testing for sharpness, edge retention, point strength, shock, and ultimate blade strength showed that while many of the steels had increased performance in one or two testing categories, only one, VG-1, showed the greatest performance increases in the most critical categories. With an outstanding ability to retain an edge and proven strength in point and blade tests, VG-1 will provide Cold Steel® customers with superior performance previously unavailable in a stainless steel blade.
What is German 4116 Stainless Steel?
4116 is a fine grained, stainless steel made by ThyssenKrupp in Germany and is used for hygienic applications (medical devices and the pharmaceutical industry) and food processing which make it a superb material for kitchen cutlery. The balance of carbon and chromium content give it a high degree of corrosion resistance and also impressive physical characteristics of strength and edge holding. Edge retention in actual cutting tests exceeded blades made of the 420 and 440 series of stainless steels. Other alloying elements contribute to grain refinement which increase blade strength and edge toughness and also allow for a finer, sharper edge
What is 1055 Carbon Steel?
1055 steel is right on the border between a medium and a high carbon steel, with a carbon content between 0.50%-0.60% and with manganese between 0.60%-0.90% as the only other component. The carbon content and lean alloy make this a shallow hardening steel with a quenched hardness between Rc 60-64 depending on exact carbon content. These combination of factors make this one of the toughest steels available because, when quenched, it produces a near saturated lathe martensite with no excess carbides, avoiding the brittleness of higher carbon materials. This steel is particularly suited to applications where strength and impact resistance is valued above all other considerations and will produce blades of almost legendary toughness.
What is SK-5 High Carbon Steel?
SK-5 is the Japanese equivalent of American 1080, a high carbon steel with carbon between 0.75%-0.85% and 0.60%-0.90% manganese. As quenched, it has a hardness near Rc 65 and produces a mixture of carbon rich martensite with some small un-dissolved carbides. The excess carbide increases abrasion resistance and allows the steel to achieve an ideal balance of very good blade toughness with superior edge holding ability. Due to these characteristics, this grade of steel has been used traditionally for making a variety of hand tools, including chisels and woodcutting saws, and has stood the test of time and use over many years in many countries. Our working temper for these SK-5 steel knives are RC 57-58.
What is AUS 8A Stainless Steel?
The words "stainless steel" are misleading, because, in fact, all steel will stain or show discoloration if left in adverse conditions for a sufficient time. Steel is made "stainless" by adding Chromium and reducing its Carbon content during the smelting process. There is a serious performance trade-off with stainless steel. As the Chromium increases and the Carbon decreases, the steel becomes more "stainless". But, it also becomes more and more difficult to sharpen, and the edge-holding potential is seriously impaired. This is usually why most stainless knives are rarely razor-sharp and quickly lose what little edge they have. In contrast, at Cold Steel® we use AUS 8A Stainless, a high carbon, low chromium steel that has proven itself to be the ultimate compromise between toughness and strength, edge holding, and resistance to corrosion.
What is Rockwell Hardness?
The hardness of steel or other metals is usually measured on a scale called the "Rockwell Scale", this scale gives a number value to the hardness. This number is preceded by the letters Rc (for example Rc58). High numbers indicate harder material. If a knife is too "soft" meaning it has too low a Rockwell hardness, it will probably not hold an edge and will bend quite easily. If a knife is too "hard" meaning it has too high a Rockwell hardness, it will probably be very brittle and difficult to re-sharpen. When a knife is designed, it is important to determine from the beginning what kind of hardness will be required for its ultimate purpose. This will affect the choice of steel. Once the steel is chosen, a heat treatment sequence must be devised to result in the exact hardness needed in the final knife.
What is the difference between a Saber Grind and a Flat Grind?
grinds These two grinds are quite similar. They are both actually "flat", as opposed to concave (hollow ground) or convex. However, a "Flat ground" blade is typically ground uniformly from the blade back right to the edge. Where as in a "Saber ground" blade, typically only half the width of the blade is ground. The rest remains full thickness, like a traditional saber, hence the name.
What is the difference between a Rolled Edge and a Cantled Edge?
cantled and rolled Cantled Edge is the most widely used edge configuration. It consists of a final grind along the very edge of the primary grind. This final grind forms the sharp edge of the knife. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that the cantled edge is fairly simple to apply by hand or machine. It is also relatively easy to control the angle of the cantle to achieve a desired degree of sturdiness or fineness to the finished edge.
The Rolled Edge has been in existence for over 1,000 years and has been used by bladesmiths all around the world. But today it is qui te rare in the knife industry. Some of the finest examples of this edge can be found on early Japanese Katanas. It consists of a continuous curve from the primary grind right to the edge of the knife. There is no "cantle" at the edge visible to the naked eye. The only knife that Cold Steel currently makes with a rolled edge is the Stainless Trail Master. A rolled edge is quite difficult to produce in custom quantities and practically impossible in full scale production. The reason for this is that it must be applied by hand, using a "slack belt". The honer must constantly monitor his progress very carefully to develop a perfect rolled edge. However, the result is a cutting edge that will easily outperform a standard cantled edge, because it offers almost no friction during a cutting stroke. It slips effortlessly through the cutting medium. Apart from the difficulty of manufacture, the drawbacks to this type of edge are that it is typically very fine. This means that it is subject to chipping if it comes in contact with very hard materials such as bone. It is also difficult to re-sharpen by someone inexperienced with rolled edges. The only recourse for this individual would be to send the knife back to Cold Steel for factory resharpening or to develop a cantled edge in place of the original rolled edge.
Does Cold Steel re-sharpen knives?
Yes. We charge $10 for a fixed blade and $7 for a folding knife. Just send the knife with payment to Cold Steel (6060 Nicolle Street Ventura, CA 93003) and we will take care of it. Please note that we re-sharpen knives in batches, so it may take up to 4 weeks before your knife is returned to you.
Will Cold Steel re-sharpen my serrated knife?
Yes. Just send the knife with $7 payment to Cold Steel (6060 Nicolle Street Ventura, CA 93003) and we will take care of it. Please note that we re-sharpen knives in batches, so it may take up to 4 weeks before your knife is returned to you.
How can I re-sharpen my serrated knife?
With care, your new knives will remain sharp for a very long time and may never need to be resharpened. If they do start to need resharpening it can be done in one of two ways: First, the back of the serrations can be lightly honed with a standard sharpening system to bring back the edge on the points and flats of the serrations. This method is fairly quick, but if done too aggressively or too often, it will damage the serrations.
Alternately, a sharpening system with very fine angles can be used to sharpen between the serrations on the front of the knife. This technique is quite time consuming but it is the only way to restore the edge properly. At the moment, we recommend the Sharpmaker system by Spyderco.
Does Cold Steel sharpen knives made by other manufacturers?
No. To avoid potential warranty problems with other companies we are not able to offer this service.
What Angle are Cold Steel knives sharpened?
This question assumes that you are interested in resharpening a Cold Steel knife. Our knives run a wide range of materials, grinds, types of edge and dimensions, depending on the size, shape and ultimate purpose of the knife. So there is no single edge bevel angle we can recommend. For example actual measured cantle angles for various model Tantos are 25.79°, 30.99° and 28.157°. We suggest that you use whatever angle most closely matches the one already established on the original factory edge. Generally, we recommend 23° to 25° as a guiding standard.
How do you sharpen a Cold Steel knife?
The theory of sharpening is quite simple, although in practice it requires patience and experience to become proficient. The basics are as follows: Start establishing a cantle with an abrasive (stone, sanding belt, etc.). Then further define the cantle by refining the scratch pattern with a series of progressively finer abrasives. A good way to see whether your edge is almost done is to look for the burr that forms along the edge and see if it is consistent all along the length of the edge. Once you have a consistent burr, remove it with a finer abrasive or a strop and your edge is finished.
For stainless steels: If the edge requires repair (to remove chips or dinks) or if the cantle has to be reestablished one should begin with a coarse silicon carbide stone (Norton's Crystolon Bench Stone). Initial sharpening should be done with a medium silicon carbide (Norton's Crystolon) or medium aluminum oxide stone (Norton's India Stone). To further refine the edge a fine aluminum oxide stone (Norton's India Stone) would be the next step, followed by a Soft Arkansas for final sharpening. If an extremely refined edge is desired, follow the Soft Arkansas with a Hard Arkansas or 6000-8000 grit Japanese Water Stone. Any ceramic system will work if there is not going to be a lot of material to be removed along the edge (the Sharpmaker by Spyderco is especially good for serrated models).
For carbon steels: The same procedure as listed above will work for carbon steels but we have had better results using only the Japanese water stones (Japanese water stones can be found at most woodworking supply stores and catalogs). We suggest beginning with an 800 or 1000 grit water stone and progressing through a 1200-1400 grit and finishing with a 6000-8000 grit stone.
Rolled edges: A rolled edge can be sharpened to its original configuration by using a slack belt on a belt sander (320-400 grit belt) to get a consistent burr and then polishing the burr off with a buffer or leather strop. One can also simply redefine the edge by establishing a cantle on it as outlined above.
Can a false edge be sharpened?
Yes, all our blades which have a false edge can have that edge sharpened. This is because the heat treatment is consistent throughout the blade. However, Cold Steel will not sharpen the false edge on a Cold Steel knife, because of time and safety reasons.
Are Cold Steel knives guaranteed?
We stand behind our knives 100%. We subject them to the highest standards in the industry and strive to make each one as perfect as possible. right now our return rate for defects is one half of one percent! This is remarkably lower than the industry standard. While we are growing in popularity, and producing ever larger quantities of knives, we are determined to never forget that we live or die by a single word, QUALITY.
Our fixed blade sheath knives have a 5 year warranty to the original owner against defects IN materials or workmanship. Our folding knives are likewise warranted for 1 year. If you ever have a warranty problem with one of our knives, please return it with your original receipt and a short note and we will be happy to evaluate the problem and resolve it.
(NOTE: Do not send your knife back by way of the U.S. Post Office. We recommend you send it U.P.S. insured.) Please remember ANY knife can be broken or damaged if subjected to sufficient abuse and that ALL knives eventually wear out (just like your boots) and must be replaced.
Are Cold Steel knives still guaranteed after they've been sharpened by someone other than Cold Steel?
It depends. We have received knives back that have been almost totally destroyed by resharpening on power grinders etc. In fact, some bear almost no resemblance to their original shape! If the knife is damaged in this manner, by inexperienced or overzealous resharpening, it will not be replaced, since this is not a defect in materials or workmanship. However, if the knife fails structurally while in normal use after it has been correctly resharpened, it is still covered by our warranty.
What is Cold Steel's return policy?
When you buy a knife from a dealer please ask about his return policy. Each store has its own policy. Some will offer a full credit, others will allow you to exchange for an item of equal value. If you are ever dissatisfied with a Cold Steel product because it breaks in normal use or is in some other way defective, please return it to us with a short explanation of what happened. We will be happy to evaluate the situation and resolve the problem.
Do all Cold Steel knives have a full tang?
Full tang construction is an important consideration when evaluating the strength of a knife. Originally, "full tang" meant a handle in which the edges of the tang are visible all around the outside of the hilt, so that the tang is fully as wide as the knife handle. However, with the advent of "driven-on" Kraton® handles, full tang has come to mean that a very substantial tang extends completely through the center of the handle right to the back of the pommel. This describes the tangs on all premium Cold Steel knives.
How is Kraton® attached to the handles of Cold Steel knives?
To the best of our knowledge, Cold Steel was the first knife company in the U.S. to use Kraton® for the handle of a knife. Obviously we were correct in our choice of this material, because over the last 18 years almost every major manufacturer has adopted it for knife handles. There are two main ways to build a Kraton® handle.
The first is to make a "driven-on" handle. This is where the Kraton® handle is heated up to expand it slightly, then driven on top the tang of the blade. Once in place it can be held there by a ferrule or a bolt.
The second method is to make a "shot-on" handle. In this type of construction, the liquid Kraton® material is injected under heat and pressure around the tang of the blade where it hardens. Once it has hardened it is permanently attached to the tang and needs no bolts or a ferrule.
Did the Tanto really go through the car door?
Yes, this has been done in repeated tests without damage to the point. It has also been done in "real life" situations where the Tanto was used to cut the lock out of a car door to free a person trapped inside the vehicle. It is important to note that the point of the Tanto is undamaged after this ordeal. Some people discount this test because they say that some cheaper knives can also be hammered through a car door. But what they fail to realize is that none of these cheaper knives will have a usable point afterwards!
Why does the Safe Keeper III have a hole in its blade?
safekeep This is simply a design feature to add interest and to lighten the blade.
Are push knives illegal?
That depends on the blade configuration (length, single or double edged) and your local laws. We cannot give a legal opinion.
What is the maximum legal blade length that can be carried?
That depends on the blade configuration (single or double edged) and your local laws. We cannot give a legal opinion. It is your responsibility to determine the legal position in your own area.
What is "Blueing"?
Blueing is a process applied to the blade to offer a protective, less-reflective coat. There are many commercially available packages for both hot and cold blueing. The process results in a blue-black surface on the blade of the knife. It can be quite difficult to get an even bluing over the whole blade. Cold steel does not endorse or recommend this process yourself, instead you should have it done professionally to achieve the best results. Also please see the next item.
Can Cold Steel knives be blued?
Yes, but this is extremely difficult with the stainless steel models. However, all the carbon steel models can be either hot or cold blued. Please note that this blueing may affect your warranty.
Can I leave my kitchen knives in the sink or in the dishwasher?
The short answer to this is no! Most stainless kitchen cutlery is made from high chromium, low carbon steel. This makes it very "stainless", in that there is no carbon to discolor, even if the knife is left soaking in water for weeks. But it also means that it is practically impossible to sharpen to a good edge and that whatever edge it has will be lost very quickly.
At Cold Steel we use very high carbon stainless steel for our kitchen knives. The same steel, in fact, as in the Tanto. This allows us to create a blade that is very thin and incredibly sharp, while still remaining very strong. Unfortunately the trade-off means that the blade requires a little more care than some of your other stainless cutlery. For example, it is not recommended that you use your Cold Steel Kitchen Knives to saw through frozen food or to cut bones, as these actions will surely damage your blade. These small shortcomings, however, are more than offset by the phenomenal performance of the knives.
Although they will survive being in the dishwasher this is not recommended (apart from potential staining, the fine edge can be easily damaged in contact with other steel cutlery). They should never be left standing in water or left in damp conditions for any length of time. To keep our kitchen knives in the best possible condition, we recommend that the knives are rinsed in water, dried and put away immediately after use, as with any fine cutlery. Any discoloration that may occur over time, will not effect the performance of the knives.
What does Cold Steel recommend to remove stains from their knives?
Any of the mildly abrasive polishing pastes like Flitz or Simichrome. These are available at most hardware stores and gun stores.
Does Cold Steel ever make custom knives?
No, but there are hundreds of custom knifemakers in this country that would be glad to make a knife to your exact specifications. Listings can be found in any of the knife publications (Blade Magazine, Knife World, Knives Illustrated) or any of the Knife annuals.
Do all Cold Steel knives come with a sheath?
Most of our fixed blade models come with sheaths; they are either made of Concealex, Cor-Ex, or Leather.
Does Cold Steel sell replacement sheaths?
Yes, we do. Please call for price, style and availbility.
My pocket clip is broken. What do I do?
Cold Steel sells replacement clips. Metal clips are $5.00 plus $2.50 shipping. We are no longer replacing the older style Voyagers with broken plastic clips, instead, as a courtesy, we will replace the product at 40% off of the Suggested Retail price.
How do I become a Cold Steel dealer?
We need copies of the following: 1) Business license, 2) Tax ID form (not just the number) 3.) your FFL (if applicable), or 4) a Resale Certificate. Some states/counties do not require all this information to operate, please contact Cold Steel if you have any questions:
Click here for dealer inquiry form
I live outside the United States. Can I receive the free DVD and Catalog?
The free DVD and catalog offer is good only for residents of the United States. We will send a catalog and DVD to foreign countries for a nominal shipping charge. Canada is $5.00. All other countries $15.00. Please send a money order to Cold Steel for the amount in U.S. dollars or phone us with a credit card number at 805-650-8481.
Where can I download previous Cold Steel catalogs?
Is the DVD "Region Free?" Will it play on DVD players in other countries?
The DVD is region free and will play on virtually all DVD players world wide.
Does Cold Steel offer Military / Law Enforcement / Public Service discounts?
Yes. 10% off with valid ID. Cold Steel offers a public service discount to all active, reserve, and retired U.S. Military, Police, Fire, and EMS Personnel. To receive this discount you must type in the code "military" in the coupon code field during checkout AND email (customerservice@coldsteel.com) a copy of your public service ID. Specially priced items, closeouts, or those featured on promotional mailers are not eligible for this discount. This offer cannot be combined with other discount or offers.
Does the 10% Public Service discount apply to international personnel?
No. The 10% discount applies only to U.S. public service personnel.
What is the difference between the Imperial and Warrior Series swords?
We are aware that there are some people who want a battle ready sword but hope to find one at a more reasonable price than our Imperial Series swords. Our Warrior Series address this problem directly. In our efforts to reduce the costliness of the blades, we have omitted the expensive mirror polishing that we used on the Imperial swords and used a more practical finish. The Warrior Series shares the same steel, heat treatment, and sharpness of their more expensive counterparts.
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