The Marlinspike Knife is a special kind of knife with a sharp blade and a marlinspike. Mostly the mariners and the outdoorsmen like campers and hikers use these knives because of the marlinspike. The Marlinspike is a long and thick needle-shaped tool to untie knots, unlay ropes, and cut wires, ropes and harnesses and to make a marlinspike hitch.

These knives are designed for harsh environments, adverse weather and tough situations in oceans. They are incomparable with other knives for their extraordinary practicality, versatility and functionality.

This knife is one of the unique knives for its versatility and performance. So, you can add it to your camping or hiking equipment as it works as a lifesaver in emergencies.

In this article, we’re here with a detailed description of The Marlinspike Knife and the buying guide.



Before we discuss the Marlinspike Knife we need to know what a Marlinspike is.

The word “Marlinspike” is derived from the practice of “Marling”. Marling is winding small diameter twine called marline around larger ropes to form protective whippings. (reference)

The Marlinspike refers to a tool in the shape of a thin and polished metal cone that is narrowed to a flattened or rounded point. Generally, the Marlinspikes are 6 to 12 inches long. They are mainly made from steel or iron.

This marlinspike is used for marine ropework. Marine ropework includes splicing, sewing ropes, knot tying, and loosening and opening shackles etc. Besides, you can use the marlinspike hitch to pull the marlin tightly. Moreover, it is used in working with rope, wire, heavy cables, synthetic and natural lines.

The term “Marlinspike Seamanship” refers to the sailors who are experts in knot tying, sewing and splicing using this marlinspike. They earn the tag “Marlinspike Seamen” or “Marlinspikes”.

This is a handy tool for the sailors on their boats. In critical situations where hands or other knives can’t get access, this tool works well.

So, the Marlinspike Knife is among the unique folding knives. It is generally a combination of the rope knife and the marlinspike. The final knife comes with a blade used for cutting wires and ropes and a marlinspike used for untying knots and splicing ropes or wires.

As a result, the knife has become an essential tool for the sailors, divers and climbers who have to deal with various types of knots and ropework.

The knives come in different models with innovative designs and modern features.


Usually, there are two types of Marlinspike knives. Such as:

  1. Fixed Knife: The Marlinspike knives with the fixed blade are called Rigging Knives. These knives are provided with a Marlinspike for untying knots, cutting and splicing ropes or wires. They feature a spear point or drop-point blade. Plus, the handles are traditionally made of wood. The modern editions are made of slip-proof materials. So, the handles are convenient to use and come in various colours.

But the fixed blade knives are not much popular.

  1. Folding Knife: The Marlinspike Folding pocket knives feature a blade on one end and a Marlinspike on the other end. They are also provided with a shackle opener for opening and tightening screw-pin shackles that are used on marine rigging.

The folding knives are very portable and user-friendly. You can use them whenever and wherever you want. So, they are very popular among sailors and campers.





There are a plethora of things that you’ll have to consider while choosing the Best Marlinspike Knife. Here, we’re going to tell you how you can pick the Best Marlinspike Knife:

  1. Size: The size is an unavoidable thing to consider while choosing the Best Marlinspike Knife. The Marlinspike Folding knives come in compact size and shape. So, they are easy to carry and use. If you’re going to carry your knife with you, then choose the compact pocket knives. They’re very portable and come in ergonomic shape and size. If you’re going to pick the fixed blade, then they’ll be larger and longer than the pocket knives. Choose according to your working purpose.
  2. Weight: When it is about the weight of the knife, then the lightweight ones are the first choice. Yes, it is also applicable for the Marlinspike knives. Choose the lightweight models so that you can carry them easily wherever you need them.
  3. Blade Length: The Marlinspike knives come with blades of different lengths. The folding knives are shorter than the fixed knives. The blade of the folding pocket knives ranges from 2 to 4 inches in length. On the other hand, the blade of the fixed knives ranges from 3 to 9 inches in length. Besides, the Marlinspike also differs in length ranging from 2 to 6 inches.
  4. Blade Material: The blades are usually made from different Steel like 440C Stainless Steel, VG10 Japanese Steel, German Stainless Steel, etc. the Stainless Steel blades are very durable, rust and corrosion-resistant. So, a Stainless Steel blade can be your first choice.
  5. Safety and Comfort: Safety and comfort is another essential thing to consider while choosing a knife. Firstly, the handle of the Marlinspike knife should be comfortable and user-friendly to use. Besides, it should provide a good grip. Lastly, the knife material should have safety features like resistance to slip, wear and rust.
  6. Tang: The Fixed Marlinspike knives usually come with full tang. The full tang fixed knives are perfect for heavy-duty tasks.
  7. Handle: The handle is also a necessary thing to consider while choosing the knife. The handle of the Marlinspike knives is made from various materials like G10, Aluminum, wood, etc.
  8. Clip or Sheath: Marlinspike knives are equipped with sheath, clip or lanyard holes. Which one will be better for you depends on your working purpose. If you want to carry it along with your life jacket in boats, then attach it to a clip. On the other hand, if you want to use the knife for a myriad of purposes, then you should use the sheath.



  1. What is the use of the Marlinspike?

The Marlinspike is a cone-shaped tool made of metal. It is sharp and polished with a rounded or flattened point. It is a traditional tool that is used in marine ropework by sailors. It is used for untying knots, unlaying ropes or wires etc. This is why; the Marlinspike knives are very popular in sailing, hunting, hiking and camping, etc.

  1. Serrated vs. Straight blade; which one will be better?

It depends on the user’s requirements and personal preferences. The straight blades are very versatile and the serrated blades are good for cutting ropes. You can use the straight blades for multiple purposes. On the other hand, the traditional serrated blades are perfect for cutting ropes or wires.

  1. Can I sharpen the Marlinspike knives?

Like other knives, the Marlinspike knives can be resharpened. The sharpening process depends on the type of blade. Such as, you can sharpen the straight blades very easily. On the other hand, you’ll have to work more to sharpen the serrated blades. You can use sharpening stones or hones, or professional sharpeners.

  1. Pointed blade or blunt blade, which one will be better?

It depends on your working purpose and working place. If you want to work indoor, then you can pick the pointed blade. The pointed blades are well-known but they’re not much safe to carry. The drop point is more ideal for fine work. On the other hand, if you want to carry your knife for easy availability, then you should pick the blunt one. Thus, you can avoid unexpected injuries.

  1. Is it a multi-purpose tool?

Yes, the Marlinspike knives are so versatile that you can use them for multiple purposes. The contemporary version of Marlinspike knives can be used for unlaying ropes and wires, untying knots, splicing and sewing ropes, etc.



The Marlinspike knives can be used for different purposes like:

Generally, the Marlinspike knives are used for cutting purposes.

The Marlinspike knives are used for untying knots that have tightened under tension. They are also used for unlaying rope for splicing. Besides, the marlinspike is used for drawing marline tight using the Marlinspike hitch.

The sharp-edged blade is suitable for cutting ropes and the Marlinspike is used for slicing purposes.

Most Marlinspike knives come with a shackle key for unlocking the shackles in sailing.

Thus, the Marlinspike knives have become a must-have tool for boaters and sailors.



In conclusion, the Marlinspike knife is a handy tool for the mariners and outdoorsmen like campers, divers, hunters, etc. This traditional tool has come with many latest versions added with innovative features. It is also a very useful and versatile tool in the sailing industry.



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