Mark Jacob Bush Utility

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  • This is a review of the Mark Jacob Bush Utility knife won in a competition @fluffy ran a month or so back.
    Fluffy reviewed this knife earlier See here and compared it against two other knives. I however have been using this knife for various tasks in and around the home for the past month or so, and this is a write up of how it has performed.

    The first tasks I put this knife to was kitchen duties. The Bush Utility supports a sabre grind with a secondary beval and it made light work of all tasks in the kitchen. The sabre grind means that vegetables such as carrots don't fly around the kitchen as they would if using a traditional scandi ground bush knife. It was in fact a pleasure to prepare dinner with this knife. It is very slicey and made short work of chicken and a multitude of vegetables.

    Whilst in the house it opened parcels, cut string, helped out with lots of kitchen tasks and in the evening opened snacks

    I'm in the process of clearing an area in our back garden to put a workshop. Next door have a rather large ash tree which overhangs our garden, and I needed to take some branches down as they would overhung the workshop. Branches removed from the tree with a saw.

    These were then chopped into suitable lengths to go in the garden waste bin. The knife excelled at these tasks. The blade felt good and secure in the hand and chopped through the branches with ease. Finger thickness branches were easily chopped in one motion, branches up to just over an inch thick were worked through in a few chops. I cleared through at least 4 times the amount of branches you see in the above picture, and although the blade wasn't razor sharp after it only took a few moments stropping to bring the edge back to life.

    Sticks were easily feathered afterwards, however I wouldn't go to this knife as a carving knife when I much prefer the flat edge of a scandi grind.

    Next I decided to make a bow drill set with the knife. It made short work of the hazel drill easily pointing one end and rounding off the other. However disaster struck when I was making the hearth board. For this I was using a rock hard piece of juniper, and whilst making the indentation for where the drill will sit the tip snapped off. It didn't wedge into the wood, it simply just failed, and I was gutted! Up until this point the knife had performed well in all tasks. I instantly message Mark to let him know what had happened and the knife was returned to Mark.

    @Mark Jacob had experienced issues with heat treatment in this batch of knives, and this one has come back at a higher Rockwell than he has requested. (it had also bent during heat treatment, although this to my mind had not had any adverse effect on its usage). Mark has since stopped using this heat treatment service.

    I would like to give credit to Mark on his handling of this issue. He inspected the knife upon its return and came to the conclusion that although the heat treatment was too hard for his liking, there wasn't anything actually wrong with it. The tip he felt may have been too fine, and he re-profiled to make it stronger it and sent it back again. He also has said that if any further issues are experienced that he will replace it all together. Thanks Mark :)

  • Anyway, back it came with the damage to the tip resolved. If you didn't know what had happened to it you would never guess, and I actually like the re-profiled tip.

    This time it performed as expected. Again I would personally choose a scandi grind for this type of work, but it still performed well.

    After I had burned in the indentation I cut the notch. Again I would personally prefer a scandi grind for this work, but again the Jacobs performed. It took a little while as this really is hard wood, but the edge was not effected at all.

    This knife was easy to maintain, mainly just by stropping after use. On the odd occasion when I had used it to a point where a strop wouldn't bring the edge back it sharpened easily on both water stones and diamond stones.
    The handle shape was comfortable, and the overall finish of the knife was of a very high standard.

    All in I have really enjoyed using this knife, and it will be kept in my kit bag for a good while to come.

  • That's a better review than I do! :)
    Good to hear Mark sorted it though I think any of our makers would respond the same way.
    I'm glad the tip snapped on you TBH because if the warping wasn't enough for him to change the people he sourced his heat treat from this most certainly should have been. People's businesses can be ruined by the lousy work of others.

  • Great review, and a great looking knife. It seems to have handled everything you flung at it!

    And it's worth calling out the way Mark dealt with that tip issue. It's just good customer service and common sense, but unfortunately that's becoming a rarity.