Cold Steel City Stick, the "Real" One?


Hamilton Felix
November 28, 2011, 03:10 PM
Back when I had the broken leg, I thought it a good excuse to buy a Cold Steel City Stick. I preferred the plain stainless head, but they had a "closeout sale" on the skull head as so I bought that.

More recently, my youngest son took the stick outside more than once while I was not home, and beat the crap out of it on a large rock outside. I think I'll eventually be able to buff out some of the damage to the head, using a wire wheel. The shaft will never look the same, but it's not as bad as it could be.

Still, I decided I'd go ahead and get the plain stainless steel headed stick I'd wanted all along. But they've stopped making it. Twice now, I've been fooled by product descriptions that have not been updated; I've ended up with the new aluminum headed stick, and had to return it. I learned the hard way to always contact the seller first. I hate the balance of the aluminum headed City Stick. If I was worried about light weight, I'd buy the Slim Stick, but you couldn't pay me to have the aluminum headed City Stick.

Does anyone know where I can find a nice (doesn't have to be new, only clean) plain stainless steel headed Cold Steel City Stick?

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November 28, 2011, 03:18 PM
I did a Google Shopping search and see that Knife Country USA is selling them, supposedly:

The one I liked was the pistol grip City Stick, that one's been discontinued, too.

I keep hoping that they'll someday make a Fokos/Ciupaga/Valaska/Shepherd's Axe.

Hamilton Felix
November 29, 2011, 12:04 AM
Thanks but no cigar there.

Cold Steel Knives - Stainless Head City Stick: Model CS-91ST. 37 5/8" overall. Glossy black fiberglass shaft. Mirror polished aluminum head. Rubber ferule for traction. Made in Taiwan.

I've already contacted them. Apparently they still haven't changed the title, but the description says aluminum, and that's all they have.

November 29, 2011, 10:52 AM
Gooood luck.

If you have a City Stick, you likely aren't letting it go. I recently did the same, looked around and no dice on stainless. Apparently Cold Steel didn't like the slow sales curve.

Should I ever find a stainless pistol grip, it'd screw that on and use it. It would be much more comfortable and ergonomic. The stainless ball head really is more decorative than helpful, after 6 weeks it was beginning to cramp my wrist. I don't recommend it so much for real use, it just doesn't support the hand properly.

Best bet, buy the aluminum one now, while you can get that nearly indestructible fiberglass stick. Then shop around for someone to fabricate an appropriate head of your choice, they thread on.

Be advised, actual users of City Sticks shorten them to the correct length they need. Most casual cane carriers don't.

Hamilton Felix
November 29, 2011, 02:22 PM
Yep, I'm thinking I'll have to go the custom-made head route. Kid didn't help the shaft, but he didn't beat it as much as the head. Cap on lower end vanished, but wasn't much good anyway. I'm thinking about turning the lower end down slightly, then installing a stainless ferrule and giving it a little replaceable rubber or neoprene insert.

deputy tom
November 30, 2011, 09:46 PM
HF,PM sent.tom.

November 30, 2011, 10:16 PM
My dad had some very nice canes sice he had back issues. I would know what solid brass feels iike if I did what your son did when I was his age. Oh crap, now I have a son of my own (on the way) what should I do!

December 1, 2011, 03:03 AM
I have a pistol grip City Stick, and it'd take a helluva lot of money for me to consider parting with it. Talk about comfortable...

However, one thing I like about my new Slim Stick is that it seems like it's going to be easier to get a Fritz-style replacement handle for it (or a custom one made for it.) When I went to Ireland I carried an umbrella cane that had a fritz style handle, I think they're the most comfortable handle for me. One thing's for sure, both the City Stick and the Slim Stick seem to be tough as hell. However, I'm planning a few upgrades (

Hamilton Felix
December 1, 2011, 11:53 AM
Hey, sounds like deputy tom may have just solved my problem. (PM sent)

But that reinforced Slim Stick sounds interesting.

Uh.. fatcat4620, I don't know what to say about the kids. I'm probably not the wisest in that department. I have kids 37, 29 (she'll be 30 next month), 23 and now 9 and 12. Not learning my lesson, I remarried and adopted two boys younger than two of my three grandkids. They say you learn with experience, but I certainly don't have the child rearing thing down to a science. ;)

One thing all this web searching showed me: There are a lot of very interesting cane handle designs out there. Who knows? If I ever have time, I make take advantage of that screw-on handle design and start collecting and/or making handles and knobs.

Truth be known, I've had ideas about staffs for a while. Friends collect interesting wood and make up staffs and walking sticks. Some of the fancier ones sell at rennaisance fairs. I was thinking that with modern LED technology (I'm a bit of a light nut too, member of Candlepower Forums) one might make a "Gandalf staff" that would sell to the fantasy crowd.

I even once suggested to Cold Steel that a tactical level (over 60 lumens) LED light could be built into the skull headed City Stick, perhaps using LED's in both eye sockets. Imagine: a cane that's a defensive stick, a "blinding light," and also able to light the way ahead when walking at night.

December 1, 2011, 05:06 PM
Glad to see that I'm not the only one who over-thinks things.

Hamilton Felix
December 2, 2011, 06:43 PM
Yep, heh heh, it's fun to get carried away now and then. Heck, if we had the engineering skills and a few R&D dollars, we could probably sell a bunch of "light canes."

And a Sam Adams fan, too.....

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
--Samuel Adams

Actually, I have the same birthday as James Madison, but I like to collect quotes from many of the Founding Fathers.

Hamilton Felix
February 16, 2012, 05:53 PM
I know Cold Steel contracts out manufacture and changes suppliers at times. Thus I suppose the product line also changes. No word from Cold Steel, of course, but my guess is that the steel headed City Stick was "too effective," not too heavy, thus was discontinued.

In any case, Deputy Tom made me happy; I now have a plain Stainless Steel headed City Stick. I noticed some things, leading me to believe my two City Sticks were made at different times and/or places.

The plain stainless City Stick I got from Deputy Tom has a slightly "flatter" finish on the shaft -- not really flat, but more on the "semi" side of semi-gloss than is the shaft of my skull headed stick. Probably a good thing, since one can more easily enhance gloss and polish than get rid of shine.

The plain stainless headed stick weighs about 21.5 ounces.

The skull headed stick weighs about 24.6 ounces.

The shaft of the plain stick weighs 14 ounces, the head 7.5 ounces.

The shaft of the skull headed stick weighs 11.6 ounces, the head about 13.

I expected the skull head to be a bit heavier, just looking at the design, though I didn't expect quite this much difference. I was suprised at the difference in the shafts, though.

You can feel it. The plain headed stick will be faster when swinging the head. The skull headed stick will be faster when holding the head and swinging the shaft.

It's all interesting. Makes me wonder what other variations exist. You know, inquiring minds and all that. :)

February 17, 2012, 08:21 AM
I even once suggested to Cold Steel that a tactical level (over 60 lumens) LED light could be built into the skull headed City Stick

I bet you didn't get a great reception. I suggested a few different weapons that could be made cheaply and well to them, years ago, but I think the founder was too busy collecting tight bike shorts. :confused:


Owen Sparks
February 17, 2012, 10:07 AM
The one I handled briefly at a gun show felt far to light too be an effective weapon unless you turned it around backwards and hit with the head.

Hamilton Felix
February 17, 2012, 11:33 AM
I like the ones with a good solid stainless steel head. I think going to aluminum was a big step backward.

Spec ops Grunt
February 17, 2012, 11:43 AM
I bet you didn't get a great reception. I suggested a few different weapons that could be made cheaply and well to them, years ago, but I think the founder was too busy collecting tight bike shorts.


You just don't understand his warrior lifestyle.

February 17, 2012, 11:56 AM
but I think the founder was too busy collecting tight bike shorts.

That is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.
And I love that painting of that goofball/warrior.

It's really a pity because I've found their products to be pretty good but I just can't take them seriously.

February 17, 2012, 12:04 PM
Okay, Spec Ops Grunt, you had me giggling in the USO.

Hamilton Felix
February 17, 2012, 04:12 PM
That's Great! HILARIOUS! I don't know whether Lynn Thompson is laughing, but I sure am. My wife and I are both Boris Vallejo fans; she'll get a chuckle out of this image.

I'm going to see if I can clean up my banged up skull headed City Stick, but I'm going to write off canes from Cold Steel unless I find more deals on used ones. I believe I see which direction they are headed.

February 18, 2012, 06:38 PM
I think if you view Thompson as a latter-day P.T. Barnum or even a Ron Popeil then you'll understand him better. The products don't sell themselves. Thompson hasn't been afraid to get out there and sell his stuff. Different people have different notions of how to sell. It's easy enough to take cheap shots at Thompson, but he's made a good living for himself selling both quality knives and toys for grown men, and he has no need to apologize for it.

That is a funny Boris satire, though. :D

February 18, 2012, 08:57 PM
he's made a good living for himself selling both quality knives and toys for grown men

Nobody I know uses the words Cold Steal and quality in the same breath :)

mediocre quality is more like it.

** name intentionally spelled that way due to their blatant copy of some custom makers knives without authorization**

February 18, 2012, 09:14 PM
Another way to get his product advertised was to get them into movies. I know a lot of guys who wanted to buy a CS Tanto after seeing Nick Randall, Rutger Hauer's charcter in Wanted: Dead or Alive ( use one.

February 19, 2012, 07:47 AM
Another way to get his product advertised was to get them into movies

Hey, it worked for HK.


February 19, 2012, 08:49 AM
I agree with JTW Jr.

Hamilton Felix
February 19, 2012, 01:50 PM
LOL! I guess Cold Steel is a bit like PIAA lights. Some of them more or less work, but by far their biggest product is outrageous claims and over the top advertising hype.

Hey, BS sells. :rolleyes: Take a more or less OK product that shouldn't sell for a lot, hype it to the max, the Joseph Goebbels approach all the way, and suddenly it sells for a lot more. Then you keep adding to the propaganda while dreaming up silly products to sell. Eventually, you're making a LOT more money than if you'd just stuck to a few useful products at a modest price.

You can fault Lynn Thompson on a number of things, but he knows advertising and merchandising.

Some of Cold Steel's products are OK, but I'd never pay full retail for them. Look for the sales, pick up a used SRK for $20 at a show, just ignore the hype and use your own eyes.

February 20, 2012, 04:05 PM
I think a lot of you heaping scorn on Thompson now are guilty of hypocrisy. In the 1980's the Cold Steel Tanto line of knives had as much prestige (and quality) as anything available at the time, and the Trail Master Bowie was the Bowie knife that everyone wanted, Cold Steel couldn't keep up with the demand for them. Mastersmith Dan Maragni consulted and designed for Cold Steel back then, also. I haven't followed with the history of the company, but at one time Cold Steel made high-quality knives for those who could afford them, and knives of lesser, but still good, quality for those who could not.

Maybe the quality isn't what it once was, but I can say that of other US companies also *cough*(Gerber)*cough*.

February 20, 2012, 05:13 PM
What you are missing is the fact that Cold Steel doesn't actually make ANYTHING any more , and hasn't for a long time. They are a marketing company , everything is made by someone else , nothing is US made.

Spec ops Grunt
February 21, 2012, 12:21 AM
Eh, I wasn't even alive in the 80's. I don't think I can be hypocritical saying that from my experience, they are a meh company.

The problem with Cold Steel is that there isn't a Cold Steel knife. You don't know who manufactured it or where, and they use confusing nomenclature for the steel they use. Not only does quality vary between models, it varies between years, as they change manufacturers.

I know they make some good stuff, but it's not worth the headache to me. With Spyderco, Benchmade, Case, Mora, Vitorinox/Wegner, etc, I know what I'm getting.

Then of course there are business reasons not to like them, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

Hamilton Felix
February 21, 2012, 04:16 PM
You don't know who manufactured it or where

Good point. I knew my wife would like the black OSS that they used to sell. Did some searching, found one "almost finished" from when the Camillus factory closed and some of their contract work for Cold Steel was still in the plant. The Cold Steel name has been ground off, but the rest of the black finish is there. I know their more recent "San Mai III" laminated version of the OSS is made in Japan.

I really don't know who all has manufactured the OSS, or where it has been made.

They admit some of their stuff is from China. Still, if you catch a closeout sale and you want a cheap machete to toss in the trunk, you may find a fair deal.

February 23, 2012, 10:34 AM
I think a lot of you heaping scorn on Thompson now are guilty of hypocrisy.

Nope. I loved me some Cold Steel, once upon a time. Then I grew up. Experience is useful, if you let it be. ;)


February 23, 2012, 06:20 PM
How can people be guilty of hypocrosy when you acknowledge that they weren't what they once "was"?

Companies change, their commitment to quality and design change, great becomes good then barely adequate then ...

Look what happened to Marbles, one of the great American knife manufacturers all the way until they nearly died, were revived and now have others make their knives for them overseas.

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