Product Review: Cold Steel Polypropylene Dagger Waster
Reviewer: Joel Norman
Web link: http://www.coldsteel.com/bokkens.html
Price: $26.99 from the manufacturer, but as low as $16.00 from online vendors.
I have seen the Cold Steel longsword reviewed in a number of places, and the consensus seems to be that it’s great given how cheap it is, but that there are better products out there for those with the money to spend. Their longsword is durable, too, but shorter and more unwieldy than other wasters. Fair enough; that was sufficient to scare me away from the longsword waster.
However, so far, I haven’t seen any reviews of the dagger: http://www.coldsteel.com/bokkens.html. I wondered if it would be a worthwhile purchase for the HEMA practitioner, and it was only about $16 from the online vendor I found.
You can never have too many dagger wasters, right? I certainly can’t, since I usually teach dagger first (thank you, Jay Vail), and even sometimes to people who have no interest in swordplay, since dagger and ringen are great components of modern self-defense.
The obvious advantages of the Cold Steel longsword apply to the dagger as well: it’s pretty darn cheap, and pretty sturdy, too. In fact, I think it is the most sturdy dagger waster I have seen. Unlike the longsword, the dagger waster is not shorter than other wasters: it’s longer. It has a couple of inches on my Hollow Earth wooden dagger. It’s almost gladius-sized. But there certainly were large daggers back in the day, so this one is merely at the long end of the spectrum.
Like the plastic longsword, it does have the problem of a far-too-pointy end. Since daggers are either all or mostly stabbing weapons, this I see as more of a concern than it was for the longsword. But of course the tip can be sanded or filed down, which I will have to do. Still, it’s annoying to have to work on it at all.
The dagger seems to lack the balance issues most reviewers have commented on for the longsword. With a sword, you have strong and weak sections. With a dagger, all you have is strong. So there isn’t enough blade for it to be blade-heavy. The dagger doesn’t feel off-balance, anyway, just not excessively light.
It did occur to me as I assembled my dagger (yes, you have to attach the crossguard manually, just as you do with the longsword) that one could forgo the crossguard and just use the dagger as a rondel simulator. I decided not to, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t. Again, though, be sure to get rid of that point.
Pros: As with other Cold Steel products, it’s cheap and durable. Big, too, if that’s what you want.
Cons: Too pointy. Though that can be remedied, it’s still an annoying problem