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Once Great Knife company that slid downhill bad

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by sceva, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. sceva

    sceva Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Marble's ; It's sad to see what they are marketing now. Pakistani, Chinese. Worse to come?

    My recent purchase of a Mike Stewart era ( 1997-2001) Marbles Special Factory Order knife
    ( https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/marbles-hunter-with-blade-etch.1669812/ ) started me looking at other Marble's knives just to see some of the variation in blades, handles etc. There are still a lot of nice ones out there but there is a lot of junk too. The Pakistani ones I saw listed are especially bad.

    This one great company put out some really good knives from their start in 1898 up into the 1970? When Mike Stewart came on board in, I believe 1997, they were once again making some very nice ones. It seems like they started downhill post 2001 - 2002 with possibly new ownership, First no longer making their own blades and getting them from Camillus but still pretty good then after Camillus closed, going off shore. I guess they would rather complete with low end , Walmart, etc than upper end, GEC etc or even Buck, Case, etc. I even see Low end Marble's with bad design clearly marked Pakistan and ? Soligen Steel, listed on the auction site as vintage Marble's with a Classic Gladstone made price on it. I bet Webster Marble is rolling in his grave.
  2. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Marbles cutlery division closed in 2010. There is no current connection to the original company. The name was sold. The trademark name is now owned by Smokey Mountain Knife Works.
  3. Stelth


    Jul 15, 2007
    It's like current the new products of Schrade, Bell & Howell, or Westinghouse...Chinese crap that has nothing to do with the name they are operating under.
  4. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I didn't know that. Thank you. I guess SMKW decided to make Marbles more of a low end product line. What goes around comes around. I have to say that at least they are up front about where things are manufactured unlike some. I am a big fan of the Rough Ryder slip joints and find them well made and a great value.
    GIRLYmann likes this.
  5. GIRLYmann


    Nov 7, 2005
    They"ve lost their marbles going down that road.
    But i suppose a brand that old was probably
    never a household name in knives for gen z...
    DocJD likes this.
  6. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Well their machetes and such tools as well as the majority of their axes and hatchets are excellent tools for the money, made in El Salvador by Imicasa which you may know as the parent company to Condor knife a and tool.
    DocJD likes this.
  7. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Did not know that. Thanks.
  8. buckeyejake


    Dec 28, 2013
    I owned a couple of them . Not bad at all . The good news is that Hess knives can trace it heritage to marbles.
    As they worked there . Nice well made old school hunting knives. 1095 steel and many options.
    The steel comes from great eastern, so you know it's done right .
    I have a Tiburon that is my favorite. Please take the time to look at them . It will be the best 100 dollars you ever spent on a knife.

  9. cchu518

    cchu518 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Oh stop...please.

    So many great options out there these days and there are many traditional out there with a great 440a hear treat that is good as any of the best old schools traditionals out there with better rust resistance.

    Don't even get me started on those junk Bucks from the 80s with a heat treat that no one could sharpen back then.
  10. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    The axes can be a little more unpredictable , but are all under $50the machetes are basic and less fancy than their condor counterparts but come pretty sharp unlike just about every other machete not made by Imicasa.
  11. JupiterPaladin

    JupiterPaladin Gold Member Gold Member

    May 4, 2016
    I have a Marbles scout machete and can honestly say it's been pound for pound the most useful outdoor blade I've ever owned. Admittedly I have very standard usage for a rural area, I'm not clearing acres and acres of wood, but definitely a fair amount nonetheless.
    Murphjd25 and danbot like this.
  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I always wondered why SMKW didn't have their own line of machete type tools. Now I have my answer. They in fact do through the Marbles line. I was shocked a while back when SMKW had advertising insert in our local Sunday newspaper and we're not close to them, about 2.5 hr drive.
  13. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I bought a set of Marbles Ideals in Stag with aluminum pommels... ... I've been told they were part of the last blades made but don't have the Gladstone stamp ... that they were assembled elsewhere ...

    Now I don't know positively ... because I asked about them here and another place ... all anyone could tell me for sure is the box is right that they could be ...

    So I am not positive they are but I know they were made before and bought in late 2005 or early 2006 ... and I used the smallest 4" and it is a very nice knife ... just good old carbon steel but it gets nice and sharp easily and holds it fairly well ...

    Maybe someday I'll try reposting a couple and see if a tone can tell me for sure what they are.
  14. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    That’s why we need to support the good American companies we have left.

    Buck, Leatherman, Case, Estwing, KaBar, Becker. The list is small but seems to be stable for now.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    Grateful, AntDog and buckfynn like this.
  15. GronK

    GronK Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 1, 2001
    I got caught out when Marbles changed. I owned several American made Marbles fixed blades but hadn’t bought the nice slipjoints due to the price. A bit later I spotted Marbles brand slippies with checkered mop covers for <$20 each. I bought 5 without looking closely. Got ‘em home and discovered the truth. After noting crappy construction throughout I found the very lightly marked “China” on the blade. Lesson learned!
  16. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    I was lucky I only got burned by a crappy China made Marbles match safe.
  17. theJman


    Sep 2, 2015
    "excellent" and "Imacasa" in the same sentence seems like a bit of a stretch. For sure Condor is not a symbol of high quality, or even medium quality for that matter.
  18. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I have to disagree, my Imicasa / marbles machetes are excellent tools made by a company who knows their shit in a country where they use machetes every day.
    I don't know what else you could want in a $14 machete that actually comes with a good paper cutting edge.
    I don't baby my machetes they're constantly cutting in or around rocks and I have yet to experience a single chip, easily fixed dings but chips absolutely not.

    And the axes and hatchets are all under $40 mostly in the $20 range, you can't expect a whole helluva lot for the money in a new axe these days and in my experience the price point is far exceeded.

    Maybe you've had a bad experience but I surely have not.
    willc and Frontiersteve like this.
  19. mwhich50

    mwhich50 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    Interesting. I was wondering why Marbles knives had such a large display area in SMKW. BF members really need to visit SMKW. I think it is my favorite part of vacationing in Gatlinburg Tenn. It is like a mini-Disneyland for knife enthusiasts, and takes me around 2-3 hours to see/fondle everything.
    jux t likes this.
  20. theJman


    Sep 2, 2015
    I'm 0 for 3 on the knives I've bought from them, they were all very poorly made. The 2 or 3 I've seen that other people own were not much better. I think Imacasa is almost universally known for average to below average output. That's not to say they don't occasionally make something good; even the blind squirrel gets a nut every once in awhile. :p

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