FAQ Regarding Cold Steel Products.
Q: What is Rockwell hardness?
A: 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.
Q: What is the difference between flat grind, saber grind and hollow grind?
A: Flat and Saber Grinds are quite similar. They are both actually “flat”, as opposed to concave “Hollow grind” 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.
Q: What is the difference between a rolled edge and a cantled edge?
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’s 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.
Q: How can I re-sharpen my serrated knife?
A: 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 Lansky Sharpener.
Q: What angle are Cold Steel knives sharpened?
A: 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.
Q: How do you sharpen a Cold Steel knife?
A: 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 dings) 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.
– 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.
Q: Can a false edge be sharpened?
A: 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.
Q: Are Cold Steel knives still guaranteed after they’ve been sharpened by someone other than Cold Steel?
A: 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.
Q: What is the warranty on Cold Steel Products?
A: We stand behind our products 100%. We subject them to the highest standards in the industry and strive to make each as perfect as possible. We warrant that this product is free of defects in workmanship and materials. This warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, damage caused by misuse, lack of normal maintenance, or disassembly. Remember, anything can break or fail if subject to sufficient abuse. So please do not use this product inappropriately. Please use caution when handling Cold Steel® products. Knives are extremely sharp. 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.
Q: Can I leave my kitchen knives in the sink or dishwasher?
A: 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.
Q: What are the laws associated with my purchase?
A: Cold Steel does not provide legal advice and is not responsible or liable for information found via Third Party websites. However, we have found the below Third Party websites helpful in explaining knife carry laws specific to each U.S. state. Please keep in mind, laws vary by jurisdiction and at the city and county level. If you’d like to know more about the laws in your area, we recommend you contact your local district attorney’s office.