Noble Knives Trades On Unique Blades, High Fit and Finish

Marshall Noble of Noble Knives is intent on growing his business of high-end custom knives. Working out of the high desert in Victorville, CA (home of the famous Victorville Film Archives), the maker tells us that he wants to keep the art of making knives by hand alive.

Noble began making his own knives after meeting maker Jim Rodebaugh. Noble was working at a cutlery store in a mall at the time and tried his hand at traditional bladesmithing. “I didn’t have a lot of instruction. I was figuring out a lot of things on my own,” Noble tells us. But he was bitten by the bug and kept on going from there. His love of making knives stemmed from his interest in blades in general. “I’ve been in the knife world for 25 years: collecting, selling, using, and now making.”

The Vindicator, one of Noble’s designs, stands out for its adaptation of the spey blade, normally seen on traditional stockman knives, to a modern, tactical framelock flipper folder. Noble took inspiration from a stockman he carried growing up, which knife’s spey blade soaked up years of use and abuse. Noble believes the shape is ideal for the modern user. “It cuts really well because the edge geometry allows for a thin but stout edge.” The Vindicator will soon be available in a production form from Kizer.

According to Noble, unique blade shapes and unusual lanyard holes are two themes that run throughout all his designs. “I try to repeat these elements through as many designs as I can so people recognize my knives without having to see the maker’s mark.” The other key feature of Noble’s work is the fit and finish. An eventual apprenticeship under art knife maker Herman Schneider gave Noble an acute awareness of the importance of fit and finish. “If you do the job correctly, people should be attracted to the work that went into a knife whether or not they like the design,” he states, which was a maxim of Schneider’s.

All of Noble’s models are made by hand over a specific stretch of time. Once he finishes with a design there’s no guarantee it’ll come back again exactly as it once was. Currently the books are open for his Isonade knife, and he has plans to add new models soon, including a new Vindicator with a different handle shape. Additionally, further models from Kizer are a likelihood, and Noble says they’ll be quite different from the en route Vindicator model. Noble eschews some modern knife making technology and says that his goal is to keep users aware of the beauty in knife making. “In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, knifemaking was more an art than anything else. I want to be a part of the movement that brings that back.”

Knife featured in image: Noble Knives Vindicator