Marble's Fieldcraft

Jun 29, 1999
My first review. Here goes.
Christmas arrived, finally, with delivery of the Marble's Fieldcraft with stacked leather grip, which I ordered from Blowoutknives (thanks for the excellent service).
First impression: This is one solid piece. It's a scaled down (2/3 size) version of their Woodcraft, a classic blade which goes back nearly 100 years. That one was in good old 1095 high carbon steel; the new one is in 52100, which should be even better.
This is a substantial little knife. It weighs good in the hand. Every fitting is solid and tight; there is no gap whatsoever between blade and the brass fingerguard. It balances about 1/2" behind the guard. Think: trout knife on steroids.
The stacked leather oval handle is 3 3/4" from guard to buttcap, 1" deep and 5/8" wide. The thumb falls naturally on the beginning of the curve on the back of the blade. The grip is also available in tigerwood, curly maple and stag. I wanted traditional (and cheap – stacked leather is the least expensive).
The blade is 3/16" thick, the same as the larger Woodcraft, 3 5/8" long and 1" wide at its deepest point, with a continuous curve from choil to tip. Should be an excellent skinner. Nice distal taper, of course, and a rolled edge meaning no discernible secondary bevel. It was very sharp out of the box - I'd rate it as good as any of Cold Steel's new blades - but with a slight burr on the forward third of the blade. A few sweeps along a DMT fine diamond hone took care of that, and a stropping on a leather with chromium dioxide stropping compound, followed by a finishing strop on plain leather took it to a razor edge. This thing cuts like a big fresh scalpel. I whittled a piece of yellow cedar for five minutes, producing a pile of shavings, and it still shaved without any drag. I think I'm going to like 52100 steel. The heat treat and temper is followed by an in-house multi-step cryogenic process, according to Marble's.
A few nits: the grind is a little bit uneven at the choil and on the top of the blade, and a little rough just in front of the brass fingerguard. A light pass with a Dremel buffer wheel could fix the latter, but I don't think I'll bother. None of these affect its utility in the least.
The one piece pouch-type brown leather sheath, which I prefer, is easily the best production sheath I've come across. It holds the knife firmly without any need for a strap, yet it's not so tight two hands are needed to draw the knife. There’s no snap or strap to secure the knife; however, the flared buttcap would accommodate a Turkshead knot for a lanyard, if need be. The leather is 1/8" thick, with a very substantial welt 3/16" thick. A shelf or step on the welt inside the sheath intercepts the fingerguard and keeps the knife from slipping further down. There's a slight hole at the toe of the sheath where moisture can drain. I'll apply a coat of SnowSeal inside and out to seal the pores. It's obvious that someone put a fair amount of thought into its design. The butt protrudes 1 5/8" above the top of the sheath. Normally I like the belt strap longer so the butt doesn't protrude above my belt line, but I can live with this one. I'll probably hang it around my neck most of the time anyway. It wouldn't be difficult to figure out some kind of swivel extension if I want it to hang lower.
I'm going to be packing this one a lot this winter on the x-country trails.
Conclusion: Marble's has a little way to go on precision grinding, but the design is great, the steel is superb, and I think they're going to sell a lot of this one.
Thanks for the review.
I have never read a bad review of the marbles knives. All the feedback on the steel they use is positive. Hopefully it will work well in the field this winter. That is,if there is enough snow this winter for x-country. We have no snow on the ground in southern Ontario yet.

[This message has been edited by bansidthe (edited 16 December 1999).]
Update. 52100 takes an edge. Didn't even feel the cut until I noticed red on the DMT fine hone. Just a nick on the ball of my thumb, fortunately, that's healng fast.
On a similar topic, someone who sealed a cut with superglue asked whether it was potentially harmful. It's my understanding that this stuff was developed for field surgery by the military (something like, use big stiches, it's an enlisted man).
I have a few Marble's knives - all are well made, very good fit/finish, and they come out of the box with a great edge. The pouch sheath fits great, and holds the knife securely - no need to worry about losing it because it fell out, or popped out). The Fieldcraft is small enough that if you can wear it on your side and not worry about not being able to sit down in your car. The high carbon steels hold an edge well, and can dis-color with use, but have been, and will be around for a long time.

Marble's knives are a lot of bang for the $ IMHO. Too many of us fall for the folders since that is where all the marketing emphasis is place by the manufacturers. I wish more of the other companies had the common sense, and class to make fixed blades.

Folks who want a solid field knife use a simple fixed blade. I asked for a few more for X-Mass (hopefully Santa will be good to me....LOL). Every time my friends see the Marble's they want to know where I got it from, and am amazed at its reasonable price.
Go pick one up, handle it/fondle it, and you will end up buying it.

Ray 'md2020'
I was "fondling" a Marbles Fieldcraft a few days ago with curly maple handles.

I'll give it a one word review: