Ever heard of GSM Outdoors? They just bought Cold steel.

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I found a few different numbers when I looked. I saw one figure that I think was 36 worldwide.

Yeah, I saw that but wasn't sure how accurate it was. They reported 28 jobs for their PPP loan, so it's probably less than 50; 36 is probably pretty close.

I wonder if we will ever see the likes of someone like LT again. He's was the perfect combination of business savvy and carnival barker. Billy Mays with a broad sword. I think if anyone else attempted to be that, it just wouldn't come off as genuine. He really embodied the company and moved with the times without diluting his brand. He knew his lane and he kept to it. Crazy-strong folders, swords, and defense items marketed as something so utterly common place that the absurdity of the product was completely forgotten when you started to watch him beat up an employee with a scarf.

I wish him all the best. And I think what is happening in this thread is that we have a community disconnect between those being sad (and maybe a bit pessimistic) that a real cornerstone of our hobby is probably no more and those that are not ready to accept the probability that this really is the end of Cold Steel as we know it. Using educated speculation to be bummed (and a bit ticked off how the sale was handled) does not mean that we are out to get LT or run his company into the ground. It's really not been a dog pile, and those few that actually have been snarky about being glad CS is basically gone have been publicly chastised by many of us arguing our points about why Cold Steel most likely will not come out better at the end for real honest to goodness knife knuts (GSM profitability is not my concern).

At the end of the day, there are lot of things we don't know about this yet. However, there is a lot of information that we DO know that can't be ignored either. Furthermore, love, hate, or be lukewarm towards, the sale of Cold Steel is most certainly an end of an era. I think a lot of this would be been easier to digest if there had been an official statement on the subforum here. The way it was handled looks and smells like a corporate muzzle, so I don't begrudge people finding it dubious that Cold Steel is really going to move on to bigger and brighter things.

I think LT was able to "get away with" his personality because it'd been a staple in the industry for years. If somebody tried it today, it'd probably get panned like ZT's advertising. I think the only way you could really pull it off is to go the ironic route (something like TacticalKnifeBro).

I don't know if Cold Steel will ultimately change all that much, but I think it will probably change in a way that BF members won't like. Using an entirely un-scientific barometer, 32 of the 50 most popular Cold Steel products on BladeHQ are priced under $50 (and only 6 above $100). If roughly 2/3 of what they sell is budget-oriented, is it really that much of a change for them to stop catering as much to the high-end pocket knife crowd? Since folks around here tend to be myopic and a bit out of touch with how niche our hobby is, it's easy to forget that a huge part of Cold Steel's product catalog is cheap mall ninja "tactical machetes" and the like rather than enthusiast-grade knives.
 

Quiet

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You have a vivid imagination... "ultra whiny" "ride off into the sunset" "white knighting" "bungstung" :) Hyperbole weakens your argument, by the way. I'm not defending Lynn Thompson. It's his company and what he does with it is his business. I don't have any experience running a knife company.

Of course I hope the quality of Cold Steel knives won't go down. I'd guess everyone on this forum does. But not everyone is claiming they know for sure it's going to happen. I'd guess the odds are good that quality will go down. But there are also odds it won't. Ever buy a lottery ticket?

You're still talking like you have a copy of the purchase agreement (and could interpret it) and can read the future. The few facts available so far that I'm aware of: 1) LT sold the company, 2) The employees were laid off. 3) The new owners changed the warranty. 4) Lynn Thompson and Andrew Demko are staying.

I don't think any of these point toward a certain reduction in quality. A lot of people would say that #3 does, but it could be a decision made for other reasons. Are you a firearms enthusiast? Do you think Browning and Ruger make quality products? Neither has a ten-year warranty. Or five-year, or even one-year. They don't provide any written warranty. Does it reflect on product quality or customer service? Not in my experience. My assumption on future loss of quality in Cold Steel is based on what has happened to some other companies' products after a corporate sale. But it doesn't happen to all companies as was pointed out previously regarding Remington and DuPont for example.

If the quality goes down, that will be a real shame for sure. I just started buying Cold Steel knives and I hope they continue to offer knives I'd want to buy. If they continue to manufacture a quality product, great. Either way, braying about it is in vain and claiming to know what is going to happen is questionable.

Actually, you know what, let me ask you this. Have you ever seen any hobby based company ever (beer, knives, virtually anything) where a company that made its name on the innovation of its owner, gets bought...and somehow not only does the quality, innovation, and design remain, it actually does reach "new heights" (remember, this is what LT claims will happen, because his employer directed him to say it)?

Lynn Thompson WAS Sold Steel. Simple as that. A tremendous part of this (as has been explained multiple times in this very thread) is his willingness to make things HE wanted, regardless of whether they would sell well or at all. He did it because he wanted to, and he didn't care in the slightest whether or not people thought he was crazy, and in a lot of cases, it's clear profit wasn't his number one motivation. How many Halberds* do you think they sold? Do you think those were a highly profitable product to keep around? Probably not, but he did it because he wanted to. Simple as that. Sold Steel has made a ton of crazy products over the years, in which a lot of money was dumped for design, R&D, production, etc. not all of which sold well.

Now, though, now he's just an employee. He was ordered to make a video that attempted to smooth all this over, but the fact is, think about this: the first time he wants to do something crazy, and someone in Accounting at GSM tells the Sold Steel Brand Manager "Yeah man, that's a dumb idea, and it won't make us any money." and he gets told "No", how long do you think he's going to stick around? Anybody can make folding knives, and drop-point fixed blades. LT did make those things, many of which were good working tools. However, he also like to make weapons, throwing knives, battle axes, baseball bats that were obviously to be used as weapons, push daggers, swords, shields, shovels that can double as throwing axes, on and on. All this crazy stuff. Now, he's just an employee. He's going to be on a leash. A leash made of money, controlled by whoever controls GSM.

Can you honestly and sincerely tell me that Sold Steel will retain the nutjob craziness it's known for, that it's fans love, that it's detractors love to make fun of (and half of whom probably own at least a few CS products they don't like to talk about), and that plenty of people for nearly 40 years depended on for cheap, durable products?

I candidly do not believe so.


* Hell, pick ANY of the polearms they made, really
 
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If they never sold swords or all those crazy bucklers and things i would never miss it. The shovels,axes,throwing stars are good but al that roman and midevil crap i can do without, and like Quiet said, they might drop alot of the weapons like those baseball bats,sword canes and similar stuff. who knows we shall soon see.Im sure they will go through the records of whats been selling the best and worst and go from there.
 

skyhorse

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The Roman Gladiator shields made of genuine plastic could come in handy for domestic disputes. :)
 
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Quiet, your imagination continues to impress.

(remember, this is what LT claims will happen, because his employer directed him to say it)?
His employer directed him to say it? Did he or GSM management tell you this, or are you merely guessing?

How many Halberds* do you think they sold? Do you think those were a highly profitable product to keep around?
I don't know... tell me: how many did they sell? What were the financial metrics on them? You're guessing the pole arms were not profitable. Again; merely guessing.

He was ordered to make a video that attempted to smooth all this over...
He was ordered? Wow... Did he or GSM management tell you this, too, or are you still just guessing?

but the fact is, think about this: the first time he wants to do something crazy, and someone in Accounting at GSM tells the Sold Steel Brand Manager "Yeah man, that's a dumb idea, and it won't make us any money." and he gets told "No", how long do you think he's going to stick around?

"the fact is"? You know for a fact this is going to happen? Amazing... Your idea of what is a fact is obviously a bit different than most people's.

He's going to be on a leash.
You know this too? Again, amazing...

Can you honestly and sincerely tell me that Sold Steel will retain the nutjob craziness it's known for, that it's fans love, that it's detractors love to make fun of (and half of whom probably own at least a few CS products they don't like to talk about), and that plenty of people for nearly 40 years depended on for cheap, durable products?

Of course not. Do you know it won't? You are guessing. I don't imagine I can see the future and then claim my visions as "fact."

I'm not continuing with this. Knock yourself out.
 

Quiet

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Quiet, your imagination continues to impress.


His employer directed him to say it? Did he or GSM management tell you this, or are you merely guessing?


I don't know... tell me: how many did they sell? What were the financial metrics on them? You're guessing the pole arms were not profitable. Again; merely guessing.

He was ordered? Wow... Did he or GSM management tell you this, too, or are you still just guessing?



"the fact is"? You know for a fact this is going to happen? Amazing... Your idea of what is a fact is obviously a bit different than most people's.


You know this too? Again, amazing...



Of course not. Do you know it won't? You are guessing. I don't imagine I can see the future and then claim my visions as "fact."

I'm not continuing with this. Knock yourself out.

You've been wrong at every turn, and have absolutely nothing of value to add to this discussion, so news that you're not continuing this is great. Thanks!

:rolleyes:

What I know is that you seem ultra upset that we are discussing this situation, and you can't stop it. Ah well.
 
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Sold Steel made "switch" and has dropped AUS-8N 4116 and A2 in favor of 4034 just prior to sale...

Those are the "New heights" they plan to reach I guess...
Bud K, Master Cutlery, United Cutlery, Pakistani and Chinese E-bay/AliExpress makers better watch out!

Sold Steel is coming for ya!

Soon at every gas station.
 

nephron

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I think Covid helped or started with the timing of it, just speculation though. Probably never get the real story.
 
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sharp_edge

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I have a sincere question and apologize if it has been addressed in this thread (have to say I did not read every post): if GSM buys Cold Steel (meaning it pays LT lots of $$) and immediately lets the skilled staff go and weakens the warranty, which will likely result in the product becoming downgraded, inferior, and eventually irrelevant to the knife industry, what benefits does GSM get? I can think of reasons like killing a competitive product to promote its own, but obviously this is not the reason in this acquisition.
 

Lodd

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Allright, so I've given it a bit more thought in the past few days, and here's what I think. We don't know for sure what the background of the sale of Sold Steel is. We also don't know for sure what the future will hold. However, some of the things we do know allow us to speculate.

The whole way in which this happened looked a bit messy. You know, the whole website change, radio silence, hacked together videomessage a few days later, changing the warranty and then back again. The damage control. Either this was done in a rush, or done by people who don't care much. Think about it, if this had been in the works for a while and if the new owner was passionate about continuïng Sold Steel's businessmodel or taking that ship in a new heading, you'd think they'd prepare it a bit more, right? Maybe start with a carefully prepared video announcement and then change the website. Maybe get the warranty text right the first time. Maybe do an announcement on the forum, ask customers for their understanding in the transitional period. You know, that kind of stuff.

As some of you may know, I'm pretty vocal about companies needing to take care of their employees properly. But the truth is, we don't know what happened. Could be that Sold Steel was doing poorly for a while, and it was this or nothing. Could be that LCT took the easy way out without a care in the world. We don't know. Although I'd note that this too, was something LCT could have conceivably prepared for if he cared about his 'legacy' and had the time for it. You'd think that after 40 years he'd desire a more graceful exit from the stage, right?

The most important thing is this: the stories about most or all people getting fired. I have no reason to doubt the poster, but the guy on the phone is just one source, so not exactly a smoking gun. (It would have been better if multiple people confirmed this indepently). However, from what I've read in the other thread in the CS subforum, the phone isn't being answered. That's not a good sign. Why is this the most important? Because Cold Steel wasn't LCT or Demko. It was the entire team that worked there. The purchaser who knew exactly the right suppliers, their quirks and what to look for when it came to finding deals. The operator who knew the machined through and through. And so on, and so forth. That's a lot of knowledge and skill walking out of the door. You can't hope to continue this business in anywhere approaching the same manner without this crew. Not without a transitional period.

Now, I respect LCT for the brand and business he created and for his contributions to this hobby. The marketing wasn't my taste, but looking back on it, it has that quaint 90s edgyness to it that I'll remember fondly. And CS did create some good knives and some great bang-for-buck options. In the end, we can only speculate about what is really going on, but based on the above, I can at least speculate that it 'doesn't smell right'.

Is the above mostly speculation? Sure is.

Is that a bad thing? No it isn't. Because if you're interested in the knives, you almost have to speculate. It's a bit of game theory, really. Up until now, Cold Steel was a known factor in terms of quality. You knew what you were getting and how much it cost. So, if you have one or more CS knives on your wishlist, should you pull the trigger now, or is that just FOMO talking? My line of thinking (as listed above) led me to believe the former. I ordered a CS Recon tanto and and SRK. I see the CS knives on my local webshop going out of stock pretty rapidly and I can't guarantee I will ever be able to purchase those knives at that quality and that price ever again if I let them go now. Especially if the info about the firings is correct. I mean, who is gonna source their steel now? Either LCT or Demko know how to do it, or GSM will take over. Same with the production. Same with logistics.

So don't just wait, speculate!
 

Steely_Gunz

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I have a sincere question and apologize if it has been addressed in this thread (have to say I did not read every post): if GSM buys Cold Steel (meaning it pays LT lots of $$) and immediately lets the skilled staff go and weakens the warranty, which will likely result in the product becoming downgraded, inferior, and eventually irrelevant to the knife industry, what benefits does GSM get? I can think of reasons like killing a competitive product to promote its own, but obviously this is not the reason in this acquisition.

I think this is an excellent question and probably worth thinking about between our spats and squabbles.
My guess is that a corporate egghead has crunched the numbers, understands the eggs that must be broken, and figures there is still a delicious omelet to be made in 5 years. Eyes on target generates sales, and people have a short memory. Basically, deal with the 29 pages of a niche market grouching and cater to both new buyers as well as purchasers of Cold Steel that don't get as deep into the weeds as we do. Someone has figured that money is to be made somewhere.
 
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