Because of my father I became a firm believer in quality over quantity. This belief led me to my all time favorite knife: the Cold Steel Master Tanto. I received it as a present many years ago from my father. He told me this was a knife that would not fail me. He was right.

Over the years that knife was not only used to cut your standard everyday materials, it was used for things that even the manufacturer would cringe at. Or so I thought. I've cut buffalo hide, plastic, broken glass with the tip (didn't harm the tip at all), insane amounts of cardboard, and even metal. That's right! When it came time to tear apart my best friend's mom's aluminum above ground pool, I pulled out the old tanto and started hacking away. That knife has been used to break up granite rock, puncture tires (don't ask), pry open locked doors (my little one locked herself in the bathroom), and even to check to see if the starter in an old Buick was still working! I have yet to find something I can't do with this knife.


I don't have the space and you don't have the time for me to explain all the benefits of this knife so I won't try. But there are three points I would like to drive home.

First is the blade. Cold Steel used what they call San Mai III construction, a process very close to the methods used by the ancient Japanese master sword smiths. There are three layers of steel: a softer, high carbon core steel with two harder pieces of low-carbon steel fused to either side. The result is a sandwich of three pieces of steel all perfect for their purpose, thus creating an even more perfect blade. The softer middle steel flexes so stress does not snap the blade while still holding an amazing edge. The outer pieces of steel are hard, giving the blade great rigidity and strength while still allowing it to bend under sever stress. This blade is truly amazing to use.

Second is the overall design of the knife. The blade has a full tang, meaning the steel that comprises the blade continues all the way through the handle and attaches to the pummel. Any blade smith will tell you that full tang knives are superior to the alternative. The handle is a checkered rubber-like material Cold Steel calls Kraton. The advantage of this material is it is soft and flexible to the touch, promotes a high-friction grip when wet/gooey, and very resistant to damage.

And Third is the pummel. On the end of the knife is a metal cap that comes to blunt point and has a hole for a lanyard to be looped through. Lanyard holes, probably the most under-appreciated feature on a knife! One day I'll write an article just on the advantages and necessity of lanyard holes… I have successfully used the pummel of my knife to puncture car doors, smash cinderblocks, demolish ice blocks, break car windows, and even destroy padlocks. This thing eats anything for breakfast and begs for lunch!

Effectively what Cold Steel has done is create a knife that is a monster wrecking machine condensed down to 11.5 inches and 9.5 ounces. And if that's not good enough, the Master Tanto is the baby brother of a whole line of Tanto blades! Blades are 6″, 7.5″, 9″ and 12″. And if a foot long blade isn't good enough, Highlander, Cold Steel makes swords using the same technique. But that's another review.

The only downside this blade has the price. But then again if I told you I was going to sell you a knife that you could hammer, blade first, through a car door without hurting the point, break cinderblocks with the pummel, and use as a pry bar to open locked doors, how much would you expect to pay? I've seen custom knives that can do half what the Master Tanto can do go for hundreds more! So no, my friend, this blade does not really have any cons.

Source by Karen Stone