Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Steel® Kudu ringlock folder review

My knifecenter order arrived today just in time. I was on my way out the door, headed to work, promoting the products of the company I work for at my favorite local petstore. The order contained Christmas gifts for Ma and Pa, and my Cold Steel Kudu ringlock folder. It's funny, on knifecenter's site, and even on my receipt, it's listed as "Kubu". Oh well, I have a long history ordering from them, and if a silly misspelling is the worst thing they've ever done, I can forgive it. Anyway, like every Cold Steel knife I've ever bought, the blade is *wicked* sharp, right out of the box. As I mentioned earlier, when I placed the order a week or so ago, the blade is Krupp 4116 mirror polished stainless. I've been very impressed by this steel in Cold Steel's Finn Bear and Roach Belly economy fixed blade knives. It's one of the few stainless steels I've seen that is nearly impervious to the salt air and moisture present where I'm living currently. For under $10.00 USD this is one hell of a knife!

Blade: 4 1/4"
Krupp 4116 Stainless steel flat ground blade
Overall: 10"
Thick: 2mm
Weight: 2.4 oz.

So, the Kudu went with me to work. The staff at the store got in an order of fish and fish tanks, which I helped unbox. The Kudu zipped through tape, cardboard and plastic straps with ease. I used the sharp tip to excise some UPC/sku labels from dogfood bags for customers, for my company's frequent buyer program. For a knife with a 4.25" blade, the thing handles with some grace. The Kudu is almost feather light, riding in my back pocket all day. There is no clip, but the ring that you pull to unlock it can be attached to a carabiner on other gear. I tried it using a Grimloc carabiner affixed to a belt loop. When I wanted the knife, I just pressed the Grimloc's lock plunger and grabbed the knife. This would be a good way for a soldier, or a hiker to secure the Kudu to a pack or shoulder bag. Cold Steel supplies the lock bar with a simple split-ring style keyring, so you could actually slip that off, and thread a lanyard or something else through there to act as the lock-pull, if desired. The Kudu, is a species of antelope. The knife features a silhouette of the animal and the word "KUDU" laser-etched on the "front" side of the blade, while the reverse sports Cold Steel's distinctively lettered logo, followed by "China". The Kudu is not half as ugly as I thought it'd be, I'd seen plenty of pix and done research, the look is kind of growing on me. The handle is woodgrain textured Zytel and one side has a stainless inlay in the shape of a kudu horn.

Cold Steel's 1 year warranty on folders, and 5 year warranty on fixed blades, is better than no-warranty-at-all. I prefer a lifetime warranty, such as the warranties offered by Benchmade and CRKT, but hey, Cold Steel's products are meant for serious use, and in their own advertising they blatantly abuse their products, maybe they feel their customers as a whole are more destructive than those of other companies, whatever, ANY warranty at all, on an $8.95 knife is good enough for me!
I like the fact that the blade-pivot portion of the Kudu's blade is notched multiple times, so as the blade is folded closed it makes a series of little stops, instead of just slamming shut. That's an important safety feature for a two hand closing knife. I always liked lockback knives with what we used to call a "half stop", or a notch in a folder's tang that ensures you won't lose a finger when closing the blade. Here's a picture that might give you an idea of what I mean:

The Kudu also comes with an instruction sheet for the mechanically retarded, probably just to avoid any stupid lawsuits by "Bubbas" who might acidentally perform an impromptu finger-ectomy with their new $9 knife.
I am kind of miffed that on my Kudu, the tip of the blade appears to be bent ever so slightly. It's apparent that it's just a very minor factory defect, not too worried about it, most people wouldn't have even noticed, but I give every new knife a thorough look upon unboxing it. I actually have a Spyderco Police model that has a bent tip from having lost control of it on a high-speed buffing wheel, the knife was sent flying into the air and landed tip-down perfectly in the carpet of the back room of the old cutlery shop, the tip hit the concrete below and bent. That was my fault and after a touch-up on a ceramic rod, the knife was like new again, except for a slightly bent tip. So, I can live with a slightly curved tip, especially on a $9 knife I will probably beat the shit out of anyway.

Overall, I'm happy with my order. There are days when i spend $8.95 on lunch alone, not to mention energy drinks, snacks etc. I'm sure I'll get at least 3-4 years solid use out of the Kudu, then maybe pass it on to a buddy, or retire it into my collection. It's not particularly pretty, but it's functional, sharp, and Krupp 4116 stainless is very functional. As I said, I'm most impressed by its stain resistance. Cold Steel's Kudu is probably the best $8.95 I've spent all year.


Mick said...

I love my Kudu. Mine has seen a couple of outdoor adventures and many small jobs around the house.Everything form gardening to food prep.
Another Cold Steel knife in the same vein is the Canadian Belt Knife. I prefer it to the Roach Belly. I just picked up a Pocket Bushman, it's a bit more expensive, but uses the same steel and is rock solid.

Aaron said...

Thanks for reading, and the comment Mick! I've heard great things about the Pocket Bushman...Tactical Knives mag gave it thumbs up, and it seems pretty beefy. I must applaud Cold Steel for going against the grain, and their willingness to do weird, different stuff, instead of just high end folders all the time.

Bladerunner said...

I have a Kudu on the way, thanks, in part to this review. I'm hoping I'll like mine as much as you like yours. Already a fan of the Okapi so the design is already a hit with me. looking forward to the Krupp flat ground steel.

Aaron said...

thanks Blade-
yeah, good time to get a Kudu, as I believe 2008 or 2009 was the last year Cold Steel produced them, though you can obviously still find them around. It's a tough spare knife to have around, definitely not 'tactical' but as a tacklebox knife they're great. I keep mine in my car for tasks that I'd really like to avoid if I'm carrying a more expensive knife. Thanks for reading Bladerunner,