Cold Steel Engage Review: Full-Sized Folder With Fight

Cold Steel Engage semi open
Stainless steel liners, G-10, lots of pins and screws and CPM S30VN stainless blade steel all add up to a hearty build for the Cold Steel Engage. (BLADE® image)

If you need a heavy-duty folder, the Cold Steel Engage can accommodate.

I have always liked Cold Steel knives. They’re made tough and I’ve never had a problem with edge retention on one. The Cold Steel Engage keeps this tradition going. The overall feel of the locking folder is on the larger size but this comes in handy when using pressure on cuts.

Cold Steel Engage Light Cutting

I went with single-walled cardboard for the first slicing test. The Engage quickly shredded the material into nice strips. It was smooth slicing and very controllable. The large frame provides a positive grip.

Cold Steel Engage Open
The handle’s integral single guard, single finger groove and bird’s-beak butt combine for a sound, secure grip.

Second on the list was plastic board. Again, the knife sliced very quickly and easily. The hollow-ground blade curled the plastic board a bit but that is to be expected. The handle made it easy to control each cut.

Cold Steel knife cutting leather
The locking folder made the skiving of 8-ounce leather fast and easy to control the cuts.

For finer work I picked out a strip of 8-ounce leather to skive. The Engage made the skiving fast and easy to control the cuts. I was just slower than the knife could skive. A nice crunching sound resonated with each cut. The Engage is very aggressive cutting leather.

Cold Steel Engage Heavy-Duty Tasks

It was time to whittle. The Engage made impressive curlicues in the pine. Making firesticks was a breeze. Whether deep or shallow cuts, the curlicues kept curling along. (It’s a lot of fun to make firesticks.)

Firesticks with the Engage
Making firesticks was a breeze.

Taking a seasoned branch, I whacked the Engage into it with a dead-blow hammer. Since the branch was all twisted and knotted, I had to whack the blade’s spine hard repeatedly. Finally, I got the wood split into quarters. The folder’s Atlas Lock was still 100 percent secure—tough stuff!

Edge Toughness

It was time for my favorite cutting medium: half-inch sisal rope. I’m getting sluggish at getting my fingers out of the way and had two nicks on my fingernail within the first 20 cuts. I had to slow down! The Engage, on the other hand, crunched 225 times and showed no signs of slowing down. This is one sharp blade for sure.

Engage vs antler
After whacking the whitetail deer antler 30 times, the author found no edge damage. The heat treatment is spot on.

To take the Engage one step further, I pulled out an old whitetail deer antler. After whacking the horn 30 times, I looked for any edge damage. There was none to be found. The heat treatment is spot on. Excellent job!

Edge Retention

For a final test I turned to the paper slice. The 20-pound bond copier paper parted quickly with no snagging. Man, this knife holds an edge! It zipped through the paper like it was nothing.

Engage closed
The knife has a short stainless steel pocket clip. Note the ridges on the slide of the Atlas Lock for enhanced purchase.

Overall Take

This is one very sharp folder. If you like them full-sized, the Engage is a match.

Possible Improvements

Some thumb notches on the blade spine would aid in finer cutting tasks.

Cold Steel Engage Specs:
Knife Type: Utility locking folder
Blade Length: 3.5”
Blade Steel: CPM S30VN stainless
Blade Grind: Hollow
Blade Pattern: Clip point
Blade Openers: Dual thumb studs
Lock: Atlas Lock
Handle: G-10
Handle Design: Integral single guard w/single finger groove and bird’s-beak butt
Lanyard Hole: Yes
Pocket Clip: Short stainless steel design
Liners: Stainless steel
Closed Length: 45/6”
Weight: 7 ozs.
Country of Origin: Taiwan
MSRP: $169.95

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