Josh Smith’s new knife company tackles the wild with bushcrafter Marshall Knife.
I was surprised at the thickness of the Marshall—.17 inch. Great design makes the blade wider, which adds weight for chopping, yet still keeps the knife lightweight enough to wear all day long without discomfort. The addition of a finger cutout just before the choil is perfect for control during smaller tasks. It is a nice knife on first glance. However, it has to cut and be comfortable to pass muster.
To test the edge I sliced 20-pound bond copy paper. Supported by a full flat grind, the edge cut the paper effortlessly. The wide blade made indexing the slices very safe and smooth on each pass. It should be a cutter for sure, I figured.
On to double-walled cardboard. I thought the blade would drag some with the deeper cuts but the Marshall zipped through quickly. The slices were straight with no distortion of the cut pieces. I enjoyed slicing the cardboard with the bigger blade.
I grabbed a piece of plastic board to dispatch while choking up via the finger cutout. This really helped in controlling the finer slices. The Marshall passed through the material quickly. I really like the finger cutout. It balances the knife in use.
Marshall Medium-Duty Chores
On to my favorite medium, half-inch sisal rope. As I used a push cut, the Marshall started crunching. After 200 clean crunching cuts, I wanted more out of the larger blade, so I switched to 1-inch manila rope. It took 35 crunching cuts to slow the Marshall down. The handle was comfortable throughout. Excellent work from Montana Knife Co.
I almost forgot to skive some 8-ounce leather. Crunch, crunch; the Marshall was nice and aggressive cutting the material. The knife provided great control, again using the finger cutout.
It was time to whittle a firestick. The knife rendered large curly-cues. I tended to push the knife too far and cut the curly-cue off the stick. Don’t you hate it when that happens? The Marshall was controllable during whittling but the blade wanted to take bigger bites. Still, it did a nice job.
After rearranging the storage area, I found a piece of 2×8 that would work great for chopping. The blade bit deep every swing and soon I had wood chips scattered over the driveway. The slightly blade-forward balance really shines with chopping. The handle was comfortable and didn’t transfer any shock up my arm. It was easy to free the blade from the wood for each subsequent chop.
I split some seasoned hackberry using my trusty dead blow hammer as a baton. I split a 3.5-inch piece four ways for kindling. The Marshall penetrated deep with each blow of the hammer, averaging 3.5 whacks per split. The results were outstanding!
It was time for the whitetail antler chop to check for edge toughness. Thirty hard wrist snaps into the antler didn’t damage the edge at all, a sure sign of spot-on heat treatment. Wow!
The last is first—back to the 20-pound bond paper. The Marshall still sliced cleanly. It incurred a snag in the paper but I don’t know if it was because of a mistake on my part or the knife.
The Marshall is an excellent bushcraft knife with a large blade that’s not too heavy. I might make the handle a tad thicker for my personal use.
Knife style: Bushcraft
Blade length: 7”
Blade material: 52100 carbon steel
Blade grind: Full flat
Blade thickness: .17”
Blade finish: Parkerized
Weight: 9.8 ozs.
Overall length: 125/8”
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