Cold Steel opinions wanted

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by vjb.knife, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    I would like to try one of the Cold Steel Triad lock folders but I have never seen them. There are no dealers here on the island so I have no oportunity to check them out. I have a good source but the question is which model? If you own one and like it, please let me know what you think of it.
  2. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I have one knife with the Tri-Ad. I like it for what it is. It's a Voyager XL. The lock is very robust. I have to say, it certainly inspires confidence.

    Here's my couple of gripes:

    The Tri-Ad requires more surface area to lock up. That that means is a LONNNNNNG handle on the Voyager. Not a big deal, but it makes an already larger folder comically gigantic.
    The other thing on this knife is that it sports a damn near unbreakable up and down lock up. However, it sports plastic scales with aluminum liners that will flex and loosen. Now, I have used a bit of locktite and the screw is staying put just fine. I just find it a bit silly to go MASSIVE only to be limited by your handle material. Then again this is an $85 knife and not a $450 one.

    It sounds like I am being overly critical of the Voyager, but honestly its a beast. I have put it through several hard weekend of tasks over the last couple of months and it is doing fine after I tightened it up at the pivot. The Tri-Ad has not given me one hint of trouble. It really is a very robust locking system.
    bigsurbob likes this.
  3. RoyalHolic

    RoyalHolic Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    Voyager XL is a monster knife and it's great! I'd go Code 4 in any configuration as it's slim and robust and while it's a bit slippery I would say it's one of their best offerings ever.

    Really depends on what you're going to use it for and how big you want it?
    bigsurbob likes this.
  4. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    Cold Steel is the best value in locking folders, if:
    • You don't require it to be "flippy"; it's not that quick to close
    • You can find a design you like
    • You have a strong thumb; that Tri-Ad lock takes a fair bit of pressure to release!
    I have had the following models:
    • Voyager, large, clip - Outstanding, but will shred your pocket if you use it as-is. The grip pattern is very aggressive and the pocket clip is quite tight. Fits the hand perfectly. I think I'm going to get another one and carry it in a belt pouch, or grind down the traction pattern under the clip. (and stretch the clip a bit out; it's too tight)
    • Code 4 - Also outstanding. Very thin, with a great blade steel. Consider this to be a more pocketable version of the large Voyager
    • Grik - Very good. It's a Delica-killer, if you ask me. Better lock better ergonomics. Not great for through-cutting, unless you remove the thumb ramp, to leave the hole.
    • Tuff-Lite - Very good. Unbelievably comfortable in the hand, for such a small knife.
  5. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    It depends on what you want it for. Voyagers and Recon 1s are tough and overbuilt. The broken Skull is ugly but a great "large" EDC, especially after I reground mine thinner behind the edge, removed the branding and cut off the clip. I daresay mine is actually quite beautiful now. The ProLite is a cheap option that is quite good.

    So you want a Triad lock knife. Great choice! But what's it for?
    skyhorse, jux t and bigsurbob like this.
  6. mattallamerican


    Jan 27, 2011
    just got the xl espada im very impressed
  7. Insipid Moniker

    Insipid Moniker Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    I think the Ultimate Hunter is an excellent and underrated folder with very good cutting geometry and excellent ergonomics. It does take up quite a lot of pocket space, but if that's not a concern then it's a great design that can get a ton of work done.
    Quiet, jlauffer, bigsurbob and 2 others like this.
  8. GIRLYmann


    Nov 7, 2005
    the locking system works like charm
    especially in downward punctures

    in fact for just about everything else too...

    a blade type can take on many forms
    imo, a locking folder would be
    utterly useless without
    a rock solid lock up.
    so, personal knife design preferences aside,
    anything with the triadlock gets ny vote.
    David Mary likes this.
  9. oldmanwilly

    oldmanwilly Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    I've got a Code 4, Recon 1, Large Voyager, and a Lawman. I think the Lawman is the best balance of the strong triad lock with a robust, but relatively thin and easily pocketable design. It is not a small knife but it is the smallest of these 4 models.

    I found the Code 4 to be too slim, so much so that it became uncomfortable to use for prolonged periods of time or on cuts that required more force than usual. That said, it is large but slim and so easy to carry.

    The Recon 1 is great with a solid design. It seems to me that the S35VN blade does not hold it's edge as well as I'd like, although it is still perfectly serviceable.

    The Large Voyager is just an excellent knife, especially for the price, with the most comfortable handle of any of these 4 knives. Its AUS10A steel sharpens up easily and holds its edge well through fibrous material. It would probably be my favorite Cold Steel folder but for the fact that it's a little bulky (I cannot fathom carrying the XL version). As mentioned above, the clip and handle scales will definitely need to be modified if you want to even try clipping the knife into your pocket.

    Any triad model will work well. Just figure out what you want to use it for.
    Alberta Ed and David Mary like this.
  10. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015

    Ever thought about putting a radius on the edges of your Code 4 scales? It might help comfort in the hard cuts. Also, the large Voyager can be modded to be quite a bit less bulky by grinding the handle undersize to expose the liners, and if you straighten the spine by removing the clip, all of a sudden it becomes a poo man's Triad locking Military.
    Edgeoflife, oldmanwilly and GIRLYmann like this.
  11. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    tri-ad lock is the best in the business, and Demko is one of my personal favorite knife makers but.....cold steels rough texture scales on many of their models and super tight pocket clip setup makes for a pocket shredder literally, and hard to remove and replace one handed. this keeps me from ever carrying them.

    you can sand down under the clip or bend the pocket clip and other modifications, being careful sanding g10.....follow proper safety gear and controls........but its silly that about every other maker has mastered a proper pocket clip but cold steel.
    Lee D and David Mary like this.
  12. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I LOVE the triad lock.

    Favorite locking mechanism, bar none.

    Black Rhino x2, Recon 1 x2, and voyager are rhe versions I have.

    I'd buy a bunch more if I had unlimited funds. I tend to focus on customs, and slipjoints, and knife making equipment, or I would own more.
    David Mary likes this.
  13. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    If you’re looking for an EDC, it’s hard to beat the mini Recon 1. It’s not exactly “mini”. It’s a handful, but carries nicely.

    If you’re looking for something bigger than that you really can’t go wrong. They’re all tough, well made, and razor sharp out of the box. Just pick a design you like the looks of and go for it.
  14. studio


    Jan 14, 2007
    I went budget and got the Finn Wolf. Definitely inpires confidence in the lock, but edge geometry is a bit off for my usage. I found the plastic handles to be fine on not scraping up pants. It has become my project knife for now.

    If I were to choose again, I would spend a few more dollars and get a Voyager or Lawman.
    buckfynn likes this.
  15. vjb.knife

    vjb.knife Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2002
    Thanks for the info guys, I am thinking something relatively conventional for general pupose use and to see how this lock works. Probably the Recon 1 or the Ultimate Hunter in the S35V blade (I am a sucker for orange handles for some reason.) I remember 6 or 7 yesrs ago I bought an XL Espada for a friend and that thing was a beast and a half. He carrys it in the front belt area all the time, which seemed to be asking for trouble from the Police, but AFAIK he has not been stopped for it. I did not realize that the Espada series had the tri-ad lock at the time or know what one was. Thanks again for all the opinions and info. I will let you know what I end up with.
    rover, Dadpool and bigsurbob like this.
  16. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Recon 1 is one of those knives that does everything well. It also captures the spirit of Cold Steel.

    I find most if not all of my Cold Steel folders to be rock solid and very high value. The heat treat is also spot on. I have not experienced chipping in the S35vn or the CTS-XHP.

    All models mentioned earlier are also very good.

    Attached Files:

    Smaug, jbmonkey, oldmanwilly and 4 others like this.
  17. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    I agree 100%, but I have to ask @MolokaiRider , how can you stand deep carry clips on tip up knives??? ;)
    MolokaiRider likes this.
  18. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    I guess I never really thought about it before. I’ll have to try switching it and seeing if it makes a difference.

    You may be on to something!
  19. David Mary

    David Mary Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    I tried them but found it was just too much extra time and movement to get the knife open. It had become cumbersome.
    JDRanger likes this.
  20. Dadpool

    Dadpool Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    At the intersection of the Recon 1 and the Ultimate Hunter sits the AD-10, which is my favorite out of the 10 or so CS knives I've owned.

    IMO if you want a knife that showcases what CS is capable of, and want the smoothest Tri-Ad experience, that's the one to get. :)
    Lee D, Quiet, jlauffer and 1 other person like this.

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