Cold Steel products made in India...

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Aug 4, 2013
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We know that Cold Steel has had their products made in USA, Italy, South Africa, China, Japan, Taiwan, India, and likely other countries.
I believe the American and Japanese made have been the most desirable by collectors of Cold Steel, but Taiwan has also proven to be a good source for them for consistent and nice quality items.
They, (meaning Taiwan), are obviously using some state of the art equipment, and therefore puts them in Cold Steel's full modern production and material category.

Now, for their products in the less than high tech materials and manufacturing methods category, their products coming from India are the ones that mostly come to mind.
While CS may be dealing with different makers in India to make this genre of their offerings, it seems that Windlass Steelcrafts is their biggest, (if not exclusive), manufacturer in that country.
I don't exactly know how CS gets sharpened swords, knives, and other implements, sharpened from over there. It seems that India's exportation laws prevent the items from being shipped sharpened, so either CS is having them sent to another country for that sharpening, or they are done here in the USA sometime after they arrive.
In any case, they are manufactured using traditional carbon steels, such as, 1055, 1065, 1085, and 1095.
Their handles are usually made of natural materials, including leather and rosewood.
Blades are not done using the stock removal method, but instead literally hand hammer forge their blades before they are sent to the grinding department(s).
My understanding is that their tempering/heat treating is up to modern tech, but pretty much everything before that point is still quite on the "old school" side of things.
Although these items may be considered mass produced, they are far from the true modern cookie cutter high tech methods used by the makers of most of the other CS products being made in other countries. Labor is usually the biggest cost factor for manufacturers, but in India's case, the low employee wages are still the better overhead cost choice over the expenses of acquiring the latest state of the art machinery/computer equipment.
This all translates to Cold Steel products that have quite a bit of "hand made" charm to them, but also means they are less consistent/precise as, let's say, their Taiwan made products.
I have mentioned before that I see pro's and con's to both genre's of products. I like the ultra modern made products, but I also like the products with the obviously less than modern made methods behind them. That said, I own specimens of both categories, (things that were made using almost complete "state of the art" methods, and things that were made more in the "old school" ways). What's my favorite of these two genres?... The more old school made items. It's just a personal preference thing :)

With Windlass Steelcrafts likely making the bulk of Cold Steel's India made products, here is a link to a Windlass Steelcrafts promotional video that gives some really eye opening glimpses at how old school some of their "manufacturing" really is. The video shows workers hammering away while making some sword blades, and they are using some pretty primitive looking tools in a very much less than modern looking environment.
These realities are a big reason why I can appreciate Cold Steel's India made products, even with them usually having more inconsistencies.
Although the video is from Windlass Steelcrafts, I'm pretty sure that all the other India manufacturers making similar products over there, are using similar methods...

 
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One of my favorite India made Cold Steel products is their 1917 Frontier Bowie Knife.
I like it enough that I added three of them to my collection hobby.

The first one shown is made of 1085 carbon steel. It's one of the very few knives that I have ever modified to get it to suite the look I could not get from the "as made" from the factory" offering. I removed the bluing from it's blade, gave it a satin brushed finish, and then convexed it's edge.

The other two CS Frontier Bowie knives shown here, (one in 1085, the other in 1055), were left with their factory look.




 
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It looks great with the finish stripped off. Maybe I'll do mine too.

I recently got the Facon, a big gaucho style bowie. Made in India too. I'll have to get off my lazy ass, do pics and update my Facon post from before.

Thanks!

That Facon was one I had been eyeing down.
I'm looking forward to seeing pics and your thoughts on your specimen :)

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention how I removed the bluing from the Bowie's blade...

I first removed the wood handle.

Degreased all the metal with denatured alcohol, (rubbing alcohol would have worked as well).

Masked off the guard and tang using electrical tape.

Then used '0000' steel wool saturated with 'navel jelly' to remove the bluing from the blade.

I then used some clean rags soaked with the denatured alcohol to remove the 'navel jelly' mess left behind.

Gave it's cutting edge the convex edge.

Then, I did my thing to give it that satin finish... Using 400 grit sandpaper, green colored scuff pad, and some more '0000' steel wool that I kept saturated with some metal polishing cream.

Then I again carefully worked on finalizing that convex cutting edge.

Soft oil ragged the metal.

Reinstalled the wood handle.

And... Wah-Lah, the mission was accomplished! :)
 
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Apr 11, 2019
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It sounds like you may have missed my review of the Facon, from late January. Here's a link https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/facon-review.1772746/ It was very well made. I do recommend it. I did compare it later to my Laredo. It's definitely a clumsier feel than the Laredo, but then is it fair to compare these two? I still haven't found a production bowie that can rival the Laredo for knifefighting practice.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks!

That Facon was one I had been eyeing down.
I'm looking forward to seeing pics and your thoughts on your specimen :)

Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention how I removed the bluing from the Bowie's blade...

I first removed the wood handle.

Degreased all the metal with denatured alcohol, (rubbing alcohol would have worked as well).

Masked off the guard and tang using electrical tape.

Then used '0000' steel wool saturated with 'navel jelly' to remove the bluing from the blade.

I then used some clean rags soaked with the denatured alcohol to remove the 'navel jelly' mess left behind.

Gave it's cutting edge the convex edge.

Then, I did my thing to give it that satin finish... Using 400 grit sandpaper, green colored scuff pad, and some more '0000' steel wool that I kept saturated with some metal polishing cream.

Then I again carefully worked on finalizing that convex cutting edge.

Soft oil ragged the metal.

Reinstalled the wood handle.

And... Wah-Lah, the mission was accomplished! :)
Thanks very much for these details on how you stripped that finish. I haven't stripped any knife yet and was wondering how you'd done it. It's definitely something that I could do, seeing as it's not too difficult.
 
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