Readers familiar with Martin Knives probably know them best for quality tactical and survival knives. The folks at Martin aren’t likely to be shoe-horned into one market, though, and when the muse strikes, they’ve got no problem rolling with it and branching out into a totally new area. New in this case is relative. While new for Martin, their Frontier Line traces its roots back to the early days of our country. Back in those days knives were everyday, hard-use tools that did everything from the kitchen to combat.
On The Frontier
When Martin jumps into something, they don’t do it by half measures. As of this writing the line includes a full dozen different models to choose from. Everything from your basic 4-inch hunter to 8-inch Bowies and rifleman’s knives are represented with a good selection in between. All of the knives are made from 1095 steel in either 1/8- or 3/16-inch thickness. Other steels and thicknesses are available upon request. Edges are hand-ground convex and come shaving sharp. Bone and stag handles are available but most handles are from woods found in North America such as black walnut, cherry, Osage, and Texas Mesquite. One particularly interesting wood that Martin has is from 200-year-old white oak from lumber recovered from Lake Superior. This particular tree had “King George” carved into it! Aside from being a good looking and durable wood, it has some great history behind it and seems especially fitting for the frontier-style knives. Pins are either steel or brass, depending on the buyer’s preference. The Martin sheaths are made by S.T. Shepard of Tuscola, TX, and are heavy leather with a double welt on most models. Sturdy stitch work is standard.
Varmint Hunter: I had the chance to examine a good cross section of the line. Starting with the smallest of the bunch is the 4-inch Varmint Hunter. This particular knife is a drop-point model with a comfortable handle of black walnut. Its 1/8-inch-thick blade makes for a keen slicer. It would be right at home on the belt of a hunter, as well as a camper or hiker who wants a basic, traditional style but still desires a lightweight blade.