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What Makes a Good Machete'?

Discussion in 'Knives & Other Discussion' started by WillMunny, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. WillMunny

    WillMunny NE Portland Active Member

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    Have never really considered one before, but the "Show your SHTF Knife" thread got me thinking about picking one up. I've seen the cheap ones with the wood slab grips, which I guess would be better than none. What would YOU look for? How much should I expect to spend?
     
  2. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The grip is really important. Unless you have hands that are tough as nails, you will get a ton of blisters using one with an ill designed handle.
    The best machete that I ever used was made for survey work. It had a cushioned grip, an angled flat bar shaft and a long replaceable 12" razor blade that cut branches like butter.
     
  3. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    Tongue in cheek? If you want a tactical machete, then, 16" long blade, polymer grips, serrated on one side, non-reflective black cerakoted, engraved with a Punisher logo. No, I haven't seen any machete looking like that. That's just my imagination running wild.

    It could be said I have wielded a machete since I was little. For me, it depends for what kind of cutting. For yard work, I like them short; for "jungle clearing", long. It doesn't mater much what they look like. Can be cheap, as long as they cut. Don't blow your budget on just one. Get several for the price of your tactical machete. Yeah, it could be argued hood handles may rot if exposed to humidity. But just remember wood handles is what have been used in machetes for centuries before polymer cam around.

    My current gardening machete was left for "dead" to the elements on a tropical island several years ago. And it has a wood handle. It did not rot. The blade was totally rusted, but wasn't totally gone. I spent several hours sanding and polishing. Why? Why not!

    If I were to buy a new machete today, i'd try to get one mfg in a country where machetes are still an integral part of the work force and culture, not a cheap import from APAC.

    If you need a machete for SHTF, don't worry too much about blisters; they come with the territory.
     
  4. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    The older Collins machetes are quite nice. The steel is a better grade than found on the new ones. I have a 24" and 30" from the Korean war era. Both have molded/rivited handles and both hold an edge well.

    An experience from my past:

    In 1997, the wife and I flew to the island of St. Lucia in the Carribeans for a vacation. While there, we stayed on a banana plantation. I was so impressed by the locals skilled use of the machete that I went to a hardware store and purchased 5 brand new ones to take home as give aways. Excellent British Trading Company quality and cost was approximately $10 each. I packed em into my carry on luggage and they went through security all the way home. I gave 4 away and kept 1 as a reminder of our trip. Try carrying a machete onto a flight now days let alone 5. :p
     
  5. Northwest

    Northwest Seattle New Member

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    Sturdy blade simple design. Not one of those floppy tin can blades with swiss army knife attachments you can get from walmart. A few years ago bens loan had some African style machetes ... I bought one for seven bucks and it is to this day the best machete I've ever owned or handled. Good grip, strong blade, Perfectly curved for slashing my way through brush and saplings, and it is a simple design. Wish I got a few more. Short sleeve or long sleeve?
     
  6. WillMunny

    WillMunny NE Portland Active Member

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  7. pakrat57

    pakrat57 Reedsport Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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  8. coyote223

    coyote223 NW Oregon Stamp Collector,,,

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    Fiddleback Forge has some sweet machete's, they are not cheap though. :paranoid:
     
  9. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle Oregon Active Member

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    The best machete is one with a comfortable handle and a blade shape and length suited to the tasks at hand. I would assume you have noticed machetes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. There are general purpose machetes out there like the Ontario military machete and then there are a lot more specialized machetes. Do your research and choose one that suits your needs...............or buy a bunch(they are usually inexpensive) and try em all :) Also be prepared to sharpen whichever machete you choose. Most will not come as sharp as they need to be.
     
  10. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    I bought a lot of machetes before I learned what I like although they were never purchased for SHTF purposes they were/are currently used for bushwackin. I like the thin cheap flexible ones with wood grips. The plastic handles are worthless if it's wet out or you get to sweating same thing happens with rubber if you get mud/dirt on the handle it becomes like a wet bar of soap in the shower. The thicker the blade the harder you have to swing to get through blackberry vines or small trees. The harder you have to swing the faster you get tired. When I pick out a machete I bend the blade to the side a reasonable amount if it bounces back straight it's a keeper if it stays slightly bent it's junk. I own a gerber gator but I prefer one I bought at a sporting goods store for $3-4 the gerber is heavy,thick bladed,rubber gripped and the saw blade on the back is kind of pointless unless you need a straight cut as you can cut a tree quicker hacking at it with the blade.
     
  11. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    The cutlass guard Ontarios are the best for the money. The non cutlass guard models were good enough for US soldiers. I have one that has been thru hell including being run over at speed by an 18 wheeler. It's still my go to machete
     
  12. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    With the plastic handle models you wear gloves and/or use 550 paracord to wrap the grip. If you use the cutlass guard models your hand can't slip, anyway
     
  13. jordanvraptor

    jordanvraptor Oregon City, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I second the Gerber Gator. I have one and use it every spring fend off evil chlorophyll based hordes and infestations... Its cheap and the rubber handle is very comfortable. The sawback can be useful in a pinch if you can reach a branch but can't really get a good slash at it.

    241771.jpg
     
  14. bruzer

    bruzer Grants Pass, OR Well-Known Member

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    WOW, I finally get to show off a yard sale find of a lifetime.
    Didn't need it, don't use it and I'll probably never get rid of it.
    When you say you want to buy local, it don't get any more local than this one!
    Good luck and stay safe,
    Mike
     
  15. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Another option to consider: these guys take standard machetes, put a decent edge on them, clean-up the handles, etc. A little more money than a standard machete, but they work well right from the start. They have several models to choose from - I have one of the 18" bush machetes and have been happy with the performance.
     
  16. WillMunny

    WillMunny NE Portland Active Member

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    Does that have a full tang blade?
     
  17. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    danny.jpg

    Danny Trejo makes a pretty good Machete
     
  18. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    Yes - the Tromantina Bush Machete does.
     
  19. acp

    acp Tangent Active Member

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    I had the gator by gerber it sucked!!!! it has less then 3 inches of tang in the handle and the screws dont hold it well and it broke cutting blackberries dont waste 20 bgucks get something with a full tang
     
  20. Bill Siegle

    Bill Siegle Oregon Active Member

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    The Barteaux machetes are locally made and very nice blades. They make them in several sizes and thicknesses. I have a small 12inch blade model that is a real workhorse. Another great brand is the Martindale machetes. They usually ship with horrible edges inteded to be set up by the end user. They are tough and hold a great edge though. I really like their Golok model. Ther is an online company call machete specialists that has a good rep and carries most of the world's available machetes.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.