The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
be aware that there are far more CHEAPLY MADE Chinese made clones
of many popular models of cold steel blade designs:facepalm:

than actual cold steel knives being sold,
many stamped COLD STEEL
quality varies wildly
from almost totally functional, at a discount, prices absolute cheap trash,

I've used a san mai trail master, and a carbon V version for 4 decades ,
I paid about $170 $ about $200 back in the early 1980s
and they have held up well.
keep in mind cold steel built a reputation building higher quality knives
a few of my hunting buddies see this,
and bought similar blades,
unfortunately some guys ,
lately...did not shop looking for quality and verify vendor source,
and chose low price knockoffs.
these trail master blades are a quality knife that is a bit too large,
to use easily, to dress out game.
but its been used for that by me several dozen times, and yes the original trail master blades , well,
they work and hold an edge well.
(but you might need to spend a few seconds honing to maintain the best edge.)

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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
as stated earlier, the quality of the Chinese knock-off knives similar to a cold steel trail master,
varies WILDLY, I've seen some that were a very good value,
and others that Id rather drop in a trash can than own or use...
it won't take you long to find out what quality you bought,
but a true cold steel trail master is a very high quality blade,
you can trust for any reasonable use.
be aware just because its stamped COLD STEEL/TRAIL MASTER,
does not guarantee you get the original manufacturer quality,
ID suggest you remain and are very wary of lower priced clones that are sold by vendors you don't know
in my opinion ,
your better off spending a bit more and getting the intended and expected
of the name brand, rather than wasting cash on a clone that may not hold up.

and yeah the carbon V is very good and the SAN MAI, IS marginally better STILL!
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
keep in mind that any knife you buy you'll want to do the required research
most people want a pocket or small every day easy access knife , many people prefer folders,
but these are convenient and easily carried more than useful for many jobs,
for most people cutting string, tape or opening packages is about the most stressful application the blade will be called to do.
factors in any knife like blade thickness, the fact its full tang
( IS IN MY OPINION MANDATORY )in any dependable edged weapon or serious tool.
especially if it might be called on as an all around tool, or in a pinch, defensive weapon,
or survival tool expected to last fully functional for decades in use.
while folders are convenient and more easily concealed ,
the fact that the blade is not as securely fastened to the handle is in my opinion a flaw in the dependability.
handle materials , and sheaths are another thing to research carefully and think through,
or with age or exposure to direct sun-light..

Id also look at blade width and thickness, any knife with less than about an 1/8" spine thickness,
is prone to braking under torsional, or bending stress, and thin ,
unsupported tips and thin edges are much more easily damaged.
you also want to look over the sheath design and construction,
stitched nylon sheath , molded plastic, some KYDEX,
and some stitched leather sheaths are very prone to failing , as they age, or holding moisture,
that can result in damaged blades, or rather non-secured to belts, web gear or suspenders.

handles less than 4" and blades less than maybe 3.5" are generally useless in many jobs,
now you don't generally require a larger blade for all around daily carry use,
as slicing is generally used much more than any chopping kindling or stabbing , slicing and ripping use,
such as deboning larger cuts of meat, & processing game.
but you will generally find larger & heavier blades very useful as a second,
or main tool, when concealment is no longer useful or even wanted.
(camping, hunting, survival, potential weapon, or tool)
while its a P.I.T.A. the fact remains that quality is rarely cheap

related threads

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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member

youll have a hard time finding a better value in a survival/hunting/tactical knife than the rather common old ka-bar
its hardly EXCELLENT at most jobs but it will work reasonably well at most things. a blade could reasonably be expected to do!
they generally cost about $80 for a real KA-BAR

the cold steel recon tanto is a much less expensive option that will work reasonably well in most applications

if your one of the guys that never expects to do more with a blade than open boxes
I generally have one of these in a pocket and they do a good job for that use and blades are easy to replace and dirt cheap
they can be used to dress out a dear, (not ideal but they work)

the knife below has been on 50 plus hunting trips and gets carried frequently.. for a dirt cheap blade its a good value
the sharade woodsman

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