Machete - a Bushcraft Swiss Army Knife

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Hanzo, Oct 23, 2015.


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  1. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    It's no secret. I like machetes, parangs, bolos, goloks, kukris, and such. They are super handy and the things they can do are diverse.

    So I'd like to propose a game of sorts. A numbered list of the things a machete can do/be. Let's see how big a list we can make. I know making things like shelter and other tools, but let's stick to what the machete itself can do. It's ok if it is something done by the machete in conjunction with something else, like a baton, for example. I'll start it off with some:

    1. Slice
    2. Chop
    3. Carve
    4. Scrape
    5. Pound
    6. Dig
    7. Strike a spark
    8. Grind
    9. Smash
    10. Defend yourself
    11. Stab
    12. Plane
    13. Frying pan
    I'll stop here since Friday the 13th is coming up next month. Maybe an easy way would be to cut and paste the most current list and add your stuff on. And I had to have at least one food related item on there.
     
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  2. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Great post, but how do you pick one. There are all kinds of blades and sizes. I find most of them are too large in the grip for me. The blade shape and sizes are confusing
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++


    A most excellent question, @Ganado. Best to start by asking yourself what you intend to do and how capable and comfortable you are with one. Because with the added blade length, it could just as easily bite you. Then go handle a bunch and see what feels good. Not familiar with the funky shapes, get something basic.

    You can never go wrong with a Tramontina. They are the Mora's of machetes. Cheap and bombproof. They would be considered a light weight machete. Very suitable for long use clearing light vegetation. Yet fully capable of building most bushcraft shelters and implements.

    You want heavier so you can more easily process hard wood, maybe step up in weight to something like an Ontario. They are a little thinker and heavier. But still not so much that you wouldn't be able to use it for a long time. I once chopped up a 14" diameter log with an Ontario.

    Then heavier still would be the parangs and their cousins. They could serve almost as an axe replacement.

    Note on weight. Or any tool, especially a bladed one. Stop when you start to get tired. Safety first.

    Since we talked about weight briefly, next consider length. Length will lead to more weight too.

    I think a 9-12 inch or so blade is a good general purpose one that you can easily carry around no problem. You can do just about everything, but it will not have reach. So while it can, it is not very efficient at clearing trail. You can go the other extreme and go long. It will have much reach and is great for trail clearing, especially if it is a light one. But it can be unwieldy for finer tasks. You may have to really choke up on the blade.

    Anyway, machete pre-101. Gotta get ready for soccer, so more later.
     
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  4. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    I like the Ontario Knife Company ones, myself. WE have mixed vines and underbrush, and some serious hardwoods to deal with in my AO. Ontario are the only ones I have found to handle both. Actually did a review on them. Still looking at getting a 22" one when the finances straighten out, wish I could get a bigger one. The originals averaged 23"-32" in the 1700's.

    Actually, I like the Ontarios so much I have trouble deciding between them and an ax for my bushcraft and BOB.

    I have played around with the parang (?) style just enough to be impressed, but they aree not my cup of tea.
     
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  5. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    14. hunt
    15. Build
    16. shave
    17. split
     
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  6. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Keep em coming...
     
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  7. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    And then you have the custom made ones like the beauts from @Bear. He may not be making them anymore, so enjoy your membership in the exclusive club. I got a short and a long. Yeah, I'm bragging now. Bear blades are brag worthy!
     
  8. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++


    @Ganado, the Filipino bolo knives tend to have smaller gripping handles, I find. Great knives. Will pack one for my hike tomorrow, since I mentioned it.
     
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  9. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    I have a kukris I picked up on a trek in Nepal (OMG!) 35 years ago. I bought it from a local about 10 days out of Kathmandu, so it's the real deal and not one of the tourist ones. He showed me the tree he chopped down with it the week before. They used them for everything from said tree felling to butchering to self defense to you name it.

    The following year my Dad, brothers, and I dropped some large pine 30 trees for a brother in law. I used that knife to limb and easily kept up with those using chain saws.

    I have a great deal of respect for this tool and the people who use it as their version of a Swiss Army knife.
     
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  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    I'll have to dig mine out - it got stored over at my Dad's house when I was a wandering contractor. Mine is nowhere near as fancy as that. The steel is folded, no fancy brass part at the tang, no engraving, and the blade has a full taper that is slightly rounded. The size and shape, though look like a match.
     
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  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    This is just a Google pic to show what you were talking about.
     
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  13. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++


    [​IMG]

    Many blade style martial artists like the sirupate, as do I. A little longer, but narrower. A fast and devastating blade. And if you know how to use it, devastating to someone other than yourself. :sneaky:

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    @Ganado - real Khukris also have a fairly small grip. Your typical Nepali is slight of stature compared to a typical Westerner. They are strong and tough as iron, though. It is typical to see tiny old women carrying enormous loads using nothing but a tump line:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  15. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    That's because tump lines are awesome.

    I'm not an Asian Marital Artist, but I have to second that that blade is sexy as #$$$ as a fighting/survival blade. Love the sideknives and sharpener. Been looking into adding some more sheathing options that can carry them.

    Oh, and
    18. Throw them.
    19. Mount them to a pole!
     
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  16. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++


    True that khukuris generally have small grips, but the blades are thick. So consider what you will be using it for. Much stouter and heavier than a machete, for sure.
     
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  17. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Thank you all so much! I'm still shopping so I will try these as well.
     
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  18. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    True that - I've never figured out if it's a knife that thinks it's an axe, or an axe that thinks it's a knife.
     
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  19. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    In my AO, the French are famous in the 1700's for carrying 7 different blades on their person. 7! The need for fighting blades and different sized working blades due to the environment around ere lead to that that. Made me feel a lot better about it when I found that out.
     
  20. I'm on the verge of picking up my first bushcrafting machete/chopper as well. After some testing and use of different models, I think I'll be ordering the Condor Pack Golok.

    [​IMG]

    Easily everything I need in a bush blade. It can do almost everything a knife and a hatchet could do. Although, I always carry a smaller, secondary blade with me.
     
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