Cold Steel is known to many as a company that makes a range of edged products from rescue tools to folding knives to machettes. Price ranges for these knives can be as cheap as $15 and as much as $700. With many people already knowing that I am cheap at some times, I tend to like to push the limits of what a budget knife vs. a bank buster can do. I picked up my cold steel GI Tanto blade for a little less than $30 and waited impatiently for it to show up. My initial impressions, the sheath looked like it was made by a 6 year old and the handle wasn’t much better. Although, at the time you will be reading this, Cold Steel has already corrected both of these issues with both a kydex sheath and a redesigned solid scale handle. Fair enough, Im crafty anyways so I made my own kydex sheath (a how to will be here eventually) and I re-wrapped the handle with some of my trusty lime green paracord (other than looking awesome, its a lot easier to see now too).
From here we can get into the scientific facts of how far it bends under how many pounds of stress, but I have no idea how to do it. On top of that, it isn’t always relevant to know this information. I get that we want our knives to handle a metric ton of pressure, but at what point will that actually happen to an extent where it will even matter? Instead, I run my knives through a series of chopping, slicing and slashing exercises in order to see how tough the blade is. Knives will always dull, but some faster than other and some will even chip or crack easier. So far I havent experienced much of any of the above. Out of the box, the knife could easily chop up sub 1 inch branches, slice a tomato with ease and even shave fine fibers from wood to make tinder. In a knife of this style I cant imagine much use for it beyond that (other than hunting applications).
After upwards of 8 months of fairly regular use, I still have not sharpened the blade and the knife really doesn’t look any worse for wear. I can still slice a tomato, I can still chop up sticks and I can still shave down fine woods. Im going to say that for $30 it worked out pretty damn well. Im certain there are valid reasons to spend more money on better quality knives, but for a general purpose outdoorsman kind of knife, I couldn’t have asked for much more. Consider this one if you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll be surprised how well it performs for the price.