The Column, No. 123:

Cold Steel Announces Transition from CTS-XHP to S35VN Blade Steel

By Gary Zinn

Cold Steel Knives has announced a transition to Crucible CPM-S35VN steel in forthcoming production of knife models that have previously been made with Carpenter CTS-XHP steel. This news was broken to the knife community at large on the Knife News website, February 23, 2018.

The Cold Steel announcement (below) indicates that the switch is largely motivated by the company's difficulty getting a sufficient supply of CTS-XHP steel in a timely fashion. Cold Steel notes that they judge S35VN to be "arguably" equivalent to CTS-XHP in strength, durability and edge retention properties. They intend to price knives using S35VN the same as they have with CTS-XHP.

Here is the Cold Steel announcement, as reported in the article on the Knife News website:

Dear Cold Steel Customers,

We'd like to let you know about some changes you will begin to see on Cold Steel products sold both in the U.S. and internationally. We have found that it's become increasingly difficult to acquire the quantities of CTS-XHP steel needed to produce our products within a timely fashion.

While we are very pleased with the outstanding performance our CTS-XHP products have provided customers over the years, we are challenged by its inaccessibility and feel that using American CPM-S35VN offers a formidable solution to this problem. We feel we can deliver the same, great quality products to our customers sooner and for the same price, by using American CPM-S35VN steel, which arguably offers the same strength, durability and edge retention properties that are associated with CTS-XHP.

Our goal is to always have satisfied customers and we feel that by eventually using CPM-S35VN for more products, it will allow us to get our awesome blades in your hands sooner and help to prevent long backorder wait times. This change will not take place overnight, but rather will be a gradual process. Thank you for your continued support and stay #neverunarmed!

Sincerely, Lynn C. Thompson and the Cold Steel Crew

The Cold Steel statement indicates the transition in question will be a "gradual process." Knife News reports that company officials expect the transition "to take less than a year." Knife News also reports that 37 Cold Steel models will be affected by the change, while recent Cold Steel releases, such as the Golden Eye, SR1 and the Lucky One, already use S35VN.

Within the last year, I detected a definite move toward use of S35VN, or closely related S30V, in moderate to premium priced production knives. (See CPM S30V and CPM S35VN Knives - A Rising Market Force.) The migration of Cold Steel to S35VN in a substantial number of its knife models is further evidence of this trend.

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Copyright 2018 by Gary Zinn and/or All rights reserved.