Cold Steel Warranty: Minor Fail, Or Just CYA?

Here's my Leathernech. If you're going to get one, get the 2011 version with FFG and SK-5. Now it has a standard Ka-Bar grind and 4116 Krupp

Here’s my Leatherneck. If you’re going to get one, get the 2011 version with FFG and SK-5. Now it has a standard Ka-Bar grind and 4116 Krupp

We’ve all seen Lynn Thompson chop through mountain of pigs. It entertains us because we’re weird. Cold Steel subjects their knives to a crap-load of random tests that include rope cutting, bamboo cutting, flex tests and pig cutting.

Here’s an example:

It’s obvious that Cold Steel is marketing their knives as some of the hardest use blades out there, especially those with the Tri-Ad lock. I am not doubting their capabilities. In fact I bought a Leatherneck SF (first run with the FFG blade) and a Recon Scout because they are great blades. My trouble is with their warranty. They do not think that batoning is an acceptable use of a knife, and that it should only be used in emergencies. At all other times, batoning constitutes ‘abuse.’

I think we all agree that a large fixed blade is not the best tool for wood splitting. But I also think that batoning is a fairly standard use for a fixed blade. In the video below, LateBoyScout was batoning with his Leatherneck SF when it chipped. Bad.

Cold Steel replaced his because it was improperly heat treated. Good. But then they sent him a letter waning him about batoning. Again, bad.

His explanation of emergency uses is fantastic. He compares it to his Glock 19 and how he has to train with it to make sure that it will be ready when the emergency arrives (skip to 9 minutes if you want).

Some scratches, but I think it needs more

Some scratches, but I think it needs more

Batoning should not damage a good fixed blade, even if it is full-flat ground. It has become a standard test for fixed blades. I can’t think of other manufacturers that would say batoning is abuse. ESEE? Nope. Becker? Busse? They would congratulate you if you managed to break their blades. Cold Steel seems to be a bit behind the times with this policy.

Recon Scout on top, Leatherneck on bottom

Recon Scout on top, Leatherneck on bottom

All in all, Cold Steel makes fantastic products, and I trust them, but their warranty kills me. I doubt I’ll ever need to use it, but if I do it may not be there for me. I think this policy needs to change.



  1. Aharon says:

    I just spoke with Anthony at CS and I think he had some good points: Batoning can be possibly done with some knives (for a limited time) yet it is knife abuse and the impact shock may or not damage the knife. I suppose much depends upon the thickness and hardness of the wood, the tool hitting the knife and the knife itself. For chopping Anthony said CS advises using an axe or a wedge. I’m not a woodsman or a bushcrafter yet I can understand that it is only a matter of time before a knife gets damaged from batoning. It might take a few hundred hundred plus times, dozens, or once.

    1. Aharon says:

      Afterthought to clarify my comment above: as a Becker knife man, I’m confident in using various Becker knives for batoning such as with the BK2 and legendary BK1 Brute (please bring it back soon!) on a semi-frequent basis though still not for use as a perceived mini-wedge.

  2. jwm says:

    I see batoning as the same as digging a fox hole with your knife. If you’re doing either one it’s because of a lack of preperation and planning on your part.

    It’s the same as using your knife as a screwdriver or prybar. You may well wind up depriving your self of your most needed emergency tool when its most needed.

    1. Mark Davis says:

      What jwm said…

  3. knightofbob says:

    I’ve never been impressed by Cold Steel products. The first fixed blade of theirs I ever handled had a blade wobble I wouldn’t accept in a cheap folder. Given the price, I think I bought a Ka-Bar instead that day.

    Wrap that at the best inconsistent, at the worst substandard product in a bunch of gimmicky marketing, and you’ve got a great way to keep me from buying something. I don’t care how many times you can stab through a car hood, that’s not how you kill a car. You’re just going to make it mad.

    1. ChuckN says:

      I consider Cold Steel knives to be cheap robust working
      tools. Can they compete with say Ontario for quality,
      definitely not. I know most CS knives aren’t high end
      and treat them as such. I usually carry a CS to beat on
      and a better knife when I need something with a good
      edge. Same goes for their axes. The throwing axes are
      decent and cheap so if you take a big chip out of the
      edge or break it, your wallet doesn’t whimper.

      1. knightofbob says:

        For me, I guess it’s just that I was given an extremely poor first impression. It’s hard to get past that. Plus, when I buy knives for actually using, I tend to spend on the higher side. It hurts in the wallet for a little while, sure, but I usually get over it pretty quick.

        1. AJ187 says:

          I own many knives and just as many Cold Steel knives. Never had any wobble in a fixed blade. Would try another someday. Great value, great designs.

  4. Mark Davis says:

    Batoning is over-rated. There, I said it.

    I’ve done a ton of backpacking. I also spent several years in the USMC infantry, which included a lovely week at SERE school (which, admittedly, was pretty light on the “survival” instruction). However I have NEVER batoned anything. Nothing, nada, zip. Therefore I was somewhat surprised when videos started popping up showing people beating the crap out their knives while chopping wood. I guess there are situations where batoning MIGHT be needed, but I’ve never encountered it. I understand how it will test a knife, I just don’t think it is representative of how most people use their knives.

  5. Sam L. says:

    Well, if’n ya leave yer axe/hatchet at home (and the Gerbers are pretty light and compact), ya might well want to baton yer knife. And it should hold up, bein’ hit with a piece of wood. A crowbar’d be too much–and way heavier than the hatchet left at home.

    Never had a Cold Steel knife. I’ve seen Moras batonned in YT vids, so I’m guessing they hold up to that.

  6. Michael Tannuzzo says:

    I own the CS Leatherneck Tanto.
    I took the knife out during a backcountry outing to test the knife.
    I used the Leatherneck to make notches in 1″ saplings to used for a Dead Fall Trap.
    The blade edge was damaged cutting “Notches”….
    I had to grind a new edge on a new knife.
    CS can argue the knife is made for self-defense, but I can do the same damage in a self-defense scenario with a butter knife that I can with the CS Leatherneck Tanto.
    This CS Leatherneck is just a tiny bit above those cheap China knives you can purchase on line for $9.
    The CS Leatherneck is “DEFINITELY ” Not a survival knife, the same way a Marine is Definitely not a SEAL.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cold Steel Warranty: Minor Fail, Or Just CYA?

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email