Very few artisans were making knives in the 1930s, but Texan Glen Marshall was among them. He was an apprentice to the carbon forge of Henry Trikten, from 1928 until 1935. He made his first knife at the age of 12 and today he's 85. He enjoyed his 70th anniversary as a knife maker in the year 2000 - What more could be said?
The series of camping knife tests that this author conducted were designed for intense usage. Built on a D2 forge, the knife is mounted on a flat handle [#1]. The strip of the blade measures 24cm (.94 inches) by 4.5 (1.77 inches?), and the thickness is 4.7cm (1.85 inches) wide. The shape follows a Bowie knife; a short cross-cut. The construction is extremely solid. The thermal treatment (twice done) gives the blade a hardness that measures 60 on the Rockwell scale. Despite its weight this knife has a supremely excellent balance and so the connection to the hand can't be criticized. The back of the blade and the main part of the handle are decorated in an elegant engraving [#2]. And the point is made in comfortable black carbon [#3] giving the knife an indestructable feel. The blade [#4] is held in place by two large rivets and ten small rivets.
The knife laughs off the hairs on my forearm [#5] not to mention cutting through a thick cord. It slices as comfortably through wood as it cuts through a dozen magnolia stems, and works the same magic on a block of oak [#6]. In all, as we discovered, it cut 30 length of balsa [#7], and the best time we clocked was done in only nine seconds!
At no time did we become tired from using it and, truth be told, it was a real pleasure. After three hours of intensive cutting the blade still easily cut the cord [#8], remained sharp, and easily sliced through tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fruits, vegetables, poultry, and rolls of paper [#9]. This is one knife that you could carry with all confidence into the wilderness, on any hard expedition, and even to the end of the world. Thanks to the very young "old" master for having participated in this article, with a seriousness that some "stars" [#10] would do well to follow. [#11] Truly, a tip of the hat to Mr. Marshall! Glen Marshall, you also sent to us a small knife, of the same spirit, which passed this series of tests with the same success.
Glen Marschall [sic] - PObox, MASON, TX 76856 - USA - Tel (915) 347-6207
#1 - "plate semelle" is a technical term reserved only for knife construction.
#2 - this can also mean "inlay" or "custom signature."
#3 - "carbon" may be a mistranslation - also a term reserved for knife construction.
#4 - literally, "the point" but it is used like this to emphasize the quality of the knife.
#5 - which is to say "the knife easily shaves the hair from my forearm"
#6 - this is a loose translation of the sentence.
#7 - "bastaing" is both a colloquialism and a technical term of some sort. none of the 3 french speakers i talked with know this word. they
tell me that its an english word (which it doesn't appear to be) but my guess is that it is either a measurement or a type of wood. i translated
it "balsa" as it seems to be used as a kind of wood - specifically for the tests that author conducted.
#8 - this term for "cord" now seems to be used in an official way, as if it is, like "bastaing" an official kind of material used for the tests.
#9 - "bandes de papier a la volee" means the kinds of paper that are used to dress chicken in france. its commonly cut with the meat.
#10 - "stars" as in "knife craftsmen"
#11 - this could also be translated: Thanks to the very young "old" master for having participated in this article, with a seriousness that some "stars" (of knife craftsmanship) should look to for inspiration.