If you are a regular reader of TTAk you are aware that Cold Steel founder and President Lynn Thompson has kicked off a poopstorm by sending Cease and Desist letters to a score or more of knifemakers. These unfortunate individuals had the temerity to use the ancient Japanese term “San Mai” when describing their knives that are made using the ancient practice of laminating a harder steel between two layers of softer steel. In other words, they made San Mai steel. The problem lies in that Thompson trademarked the term “San Mai”, or more specifically “SAN MAI” and an associated logo decades ago. Most lawyers I have talked to say that those receiving the letters are probably in the right, but the nature of lawfare makes that irrelevant. It would be catastrophically expensive for a small maker to fight an industry gorilla like Thompson.
We have shared Green Beetle’s video on making cable Damascus, and I have long been impressed by their work. In this latest video, they walk you through the laminating process all the way to a burl-handled, finished knife. A really beautiful finished knife. They do a great job time-lapseing what is a pretty extensive process down to just under 20 minutes.
I don’t know if they were one of the makers to receive a C&D letter or not, but I am sure they are aware of the kerfuffle. At any rate they chose to ignore it, and I support them. They could have taken Trenton Tye route by deliberately poking fun at Thompson and Cold Steel.