Author Topic: Just one edge...a Machete??  (Read 23534 times)

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Offline Adahy

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Just one edge...a Machete??
« on: February 08, 2014, 01:30:05 PM »
With all the available tools at our disposal, why does it seem (to me) a Machete is indispensable? I mean an axe is cool, a bushcraft style blade is bad and heck who can do without a SAK?

If there was one cutting edge "blade" you could own...either at your home or in the woods, would it be a SAK, some type of B&B blade, Axe or a Machete?



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« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 02:10:38 PM by NickChillADAHY »
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 02:00:10 PM »
It may seem like  :deadhorse: , but I'll flail away once more.

Machete. Hands down.
I've never been to the jungles, southern US or otherwise, so my choice is based upon the Pacific NW boreal forests.
IMO, if I only have one blade, it would be an 18" machete. 9 times out of 10 that's the only tool I've carried when portability vs performance was a consideration.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 02:03:35 PM »
If I could only have one cutting edge ( forbid that thought) and it was in the environment of current Bushcrafting then it would  be a knife with a heavy 5" to 6" or so blade.  Second choice would be an axe.  I am thinking of this in the context of a survival tool.  A knife will dress small game, split wood, and prepare food along with a host of other things like digging so it is my first choice.

A machete, if it follows the size of a true machete (13 to 17 inch blade) is a very workable alternative to a knife.  If it is like the current crop of blades reaching to over 20" then they are really swords and make effective weapons if the other combatants are not armed with bows, spears, or some type of firearm.  So if we are going to have a fight with cutting edges I then want a machete.  The machete in your photo, 2nd from the top, is what I would go to if I could not have my choice of knife.

It seems that historical (North American) uses of cutting edges like a machete are rare.  A long knife seems to be nearly universal in North America.  Together with an axe they are and were to tools of choice.  Machetes seem to show up in agricultural uses in Central and South America and rain forest and jungle environments around the world.   
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Offline rtaylor129

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 02:11:57 PM »
I do not know much on this subject but everything I have read leans me to a knife


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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 02:52:02 PM »
I could live with a 16" machete, but I'm used to an 18".
Some of the uses I have for a machete up north here:

1. Cutting firewood (deadwood) up to 3"-4" in diameter, usually 2"-3".
2. Splitting 3"-4" round sticks into kindling
3. Bushwhacking (vine maple, blackberries, devil's club, willows, etc.)
4. Fire tool (moving logs & sticks around the fire to tend it; scraping/arranging coals)
5. Spatula (especially if cooking on a griddle, or flat rock)
6. Making tinder (from scraping 'fuz' off  stick, to making feather sticks)
7. Carving tent/tarp pegs
8. Cutting ropes/cordage (a lot easier to whack a 1/2" rope with a machete, than a pocket knife)
9. Digging tool (scrape out spot for fire without dulling main part of blade. I've dug a couple of rain diversion ditches with mine, too)
10. Squared properly, the back makes a good ferro striker, being carbon steel

Some other advantages:
Weighs less than 2 pounds
Better reach and control than an axe when harvesting dry wood higher up trees
You can do surprisingly fine work with one if you hold it by the back of the blade, rather than the handle.

One Tool To Rule Them All!   Just my opinion, of course.

P.S. I think a lot of us fall into the trap of thinking that certain tools are regional. IMO, it's not where you do it, it's what you do with it.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 03:03:35 PM »
I think a lot of us fall into the trap of thinking that certain tools are regional. IMO, it's not where you do it, it's what you do with it.


OP this isn't meant to be argumentitive just a question.  If a machete is that good for all those tasks then why are probably 1000 knives sold for every machete?  Where are all the custom machete makers?  How come the fur trappers used butcher knives?  I am now intrigued by this.  It seems as though the matchete, using your list, would be the alpha and omega of cutting edges, but it isn't.  Why not?
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 03:12:33 PM »
I think I usually answer this one the same way. It depends on the area.  8)

If I could only have one edged tool back in Louisiana I would choose a machete, definitely.

Where I am out here it would be a toss up between an axe or a knife. That would be a really tough call, unless I could have two tools, and then it would be a saw and a knife. Ask me this same question 6 months from now and I might have a different take on it. You learn something new every time you use your tools, and perceptions change with experience. :shrug:

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 03:19:13 PM »
...  It seems as though the matchete, using your list, would be the alpha and omega of cutting edges, but it isn't.  Why not?
But IMHO is IS. Why, you ask?  Conditioning and indoctrination.
Over half of us take our knife preferences from our European heritages. Another sizable percentage think Jim Bowie had the right idea. Actually, the Bowie knife was made for him as a fighting knife, and intimidated the crap out of his contemporaries.
If you go to other parts of the world, and not just the tropics, you find the machete, parang and kukri used on a daily basis much more than any 5" belt knife.

I think I usually answer this one the same way. It depends on the area.  8)

If I could only have one edged tool back in Louisiana I would choose a machete, definitely.

Where I am out here it would be a toss up between an axe or a knife. ...
Question, PW. What makes the difference between Louisiana and Arizona, that would make a small knife preferable to a machete?  Just curious.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 03:31:39 PM »
What I meant by the alpha and omega remark was not what you think of them but why they are not enthusiastically embraced by the whole of the Bushcraft, camping, and hunting communities?  I am curious why they didn't gain a foothold in North America but are universally used in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia.  Where the foliage is dense you see them in use which means to me they are superb bush whackers.  Not used in camping or woodcraft to any noticeable degree.  I am going to go out and buy one just to see if it strikes me as something useful.  Who knows, maybe I can get rid of my knife collection and use one tool for everything.

I will be interested in PW's answer to your question.
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2014, 03:42:45 PM »
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2014, 03:49:04 PM »
What I meant by the alpha and omega remark was not what you think of them but why they are not enthusiastically embraced by the whole of the Bushcraft, camping, and hunting communities?  I am curious why they didn't gain a foothold in North America but are universally used in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. ...
I wasn't being flip with my answer. Again, I think it's "tradition" and "heritage" that drives the North American preference for knives and axes. Plus, individuals are influenced by what they read and are shown in the media.  Ask the 'man on the street' about machetes and you'll probably get "jungle adventurer" for an answer about what they're (machetes) made for. It's an image that's been drilled into us for ages.
There are a LOT of folks in the bushcraft community who favor a parang or kukri over a hatchet, or even a knife.  They have the experience to make a choice. Most hunters and campers only know what they've been inundated with (ergo 'indoctrinated') which is small knives.
You asked why the machete/parang/kukri haven't been welcomed with open arms in N. America. I'm trying to answer that, which of course is my take on the situation, and just my opinion.
You asked about the numerous knife makers compared to the machete (et al) makers. Those makers are out there, but the demand is limited. I feel that demand is limited due to the majority of folks think they are only jungle tools, and have not used one in a variety of settings, for multiple uses.
The OP asked about ONE blade. Those other parts of the country you mention are poor and probably ARE limited to one blade to do everything. Look at what they have chosen.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2014, 03:51:22 PM »
Very interesting.  800,000 people in 12 weeks is just horrible.

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Offline wolfy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2014, 03:59:36 PM »
I noticed my corn knife was mentioned, also! :banana:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2014, 04:45:35 PM »
I noticed my corn knife was mentioned, also! :banana:

Didn't see anything on my beet knife.  :(

If I buy a machete where would I start?  I don't want to pay a ton of money for something I might not like.  There are over 8,000 for sale on that big auction site but I don't have a clue.  So, how long a blade, traditional style or modern, and please don't say Zombie killer.   :-\
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2014, 04:55:24 PM »
I've got an old 18" Tramontina that seems OK, but I have nothing to compare it to except my old Union Fork & Hoe Company corn knife.

This seems cheap enough to give it a try.....

http://www.survival-pax.com/Tramontina-18-Wood-Handled-Machete.html

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2014, 05:01:00 PM »
I noticed my corn knife was mentioned, also! :banana:

Didn't see anything on my beet knife.  :(

If I buy a machete where would I start?  I don't want to pay a ton of money for something I might not like.  There are over 8,000 for sale on that big auction site but I don't have a clue.  So, how long a blade, traditional style or modern, and please don't say Zombie killer.   :-\
Boy...I'm going to try to answer your question, based upon camping, and not playing Indiana Jones.
I don't think you want something too heavy, or thick-bladed. Something like the Gerber Gator is great for knocking down 4" greenwood, but otherwise it's a club, IMO.
My machete, which I dearly love, is a standard Gi issue with an 18" blade. Not too flexible, not too stiff. The machete is a knife on steroids, so think cutting, not chopping, even though they do a fine job chopping reasonably sized stuff.
If you favor a big knife anyway, you should like the 18" models. If you're not used to a big blade, you'll probably be happy with a 16" just because of the advantage you'll see.
I haven't looked at many of the new machetes, other than the Gator, so I have no idea about brands, other than the Tramontina.  If I was going to pick one of their styles, it would be the second one down in this photo, although you might like the second one from the bottom.



This gives you an idea what you might pay for that first suggestion:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Tramontina+machete&client=firefox-a&hs=aly&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=shop&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=hcT2Utr6L6eL2AWoioGYDQ&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=488&dpr=1.25#spd=12399703291306073216

I've got an old 18" Tramontina that seems OK, but I have nothing to compare it to except my old Union Fork & Hoe Company corn knife.

This seems cheap enough to give it a try.....

http://www.survival-pax.com/Tramontina-18-Wood-Handled-Machete.html

                                                                           :shrug:
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2014, 05:10:15 PM »
For the money - IMO Tramontina is a fantastic value........after all - 198 million Brazilians can't all be wrong.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2014, 05:23:51 PM »
For the money - IMO Tramontina is a fantastic value........after all - 198 million Brazilians can't all be wrong.
I've see some pretty neat mods to the Tramontina on bushcraft/knife forums over the past few years. The beauty is, you can mess one up and be out less that $10! 
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2014, 05:39:48 PM »
I've got an old 18" Tramontina that seems OK, but I have nothing to compare it to except my old Union Fork & Hoe Company corn knife.

This seems cheap enough to give it a try.....

http://www.survival-pax.com/Tramontina-18-Wood-Handled-Machete.html

                                                                           :shrug:

That will do it.  Thanks.  For $7.50 how can you go wrong?  I will look around.


I haven't looked at many of the new machetes, other than the Gator, so I have no idea about brands, other than the Tramontina.  If I was going to pick one of their styles, it would be the second one down in this photo, although you might like the second one from the bottom.



For the money - IMO Tramontina is a fantastic value........after all - 198 million Brazilians can't all be wrong.

This gives you an idea what you might pay for that first suggestion:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Tramontina+machete&client=firefox-a&hs=aly&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=shop&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=hcT2Utr6L6eL2AWoioGYDQ&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=488&dpr=1.25#spd=12399703291306073216

I've got an old 18" Tramontina that seems OK, but I have nothing to compare it to except my old Union Fork & Hoe Company corn knife.

This seems cheap enough to give it a try.....

http://www.survival-pax.com/Tramontina-18-Wood-Handled-Machete.html

                                                                           :shrug:
'
Yeah!!! There ya go!


Thanks guys.  Amazing when everybody agrees on the same place to start.   :cheers: 
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Online Mannlicher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2014, 05:41:39 PM »
I am down to owning just two machetes.  I suppose that is indicative of how useful I find them.  They both ride in the truck, and get used, but only for whacking overhanging branches that would otherwise hit my faithful 4Runner as I navigate the tight trails.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2014, 06:02:35 PM »

   I'll have to agree with OP in part,  I think he's right about conditioning having a lot to do with the types of hand tools that we use in those times in our lives when we need to get specific types of chores done, but I also think that life's experience also has a lot to do with it,  in my case I've had a couple of machetes,  but I couldn't tell you when or what happened to them,  that's how much I've missed having one.
   I grew up spending most of my free time in the woods hunting small game and fishing,  back then I used what I had,  a WW-2 Ka-Bar, a Camp King folding knife, and a small Boy Scout type hatchet, and I got by very well with that.
   Later when I was old enough to run with the big dogs and able to buy my on gear my choice was influenced by the "real" woodsmen that became my mentors teaching me how to hunt deer and bear in the big woods and the skills of the woodsman,  those guys never carried a fixed blade knife with a blade over six inches,  and damned few of those,  most did all of their game processing, trail and camp chores with knives with 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 inch blades, if you showed up in camp carrying a Rambo type knife you got funny looks,  having a machete would have gotten you laughed at.
   Before someone jumps ugly on me,  I have nothing against machetes or their ilk,  in some parts of the world it's the only practical cutting tool to have and use,  and I'm sure that they may be the best in the swamps of Cajun country or in the everglades of Fla.,  but up here in the North East,  not so much unless you're clearing brush in the back yard.
   I still use knives on a daily basis,  I still fish,  do a little hunting,  and I get out and make quick camps on day hikes,  but mostly I use knives in the kitchen,  I've always loved to cook and as most of you know, if you are serious about cooking you know your way around knives,  and I'm here to tell you, I've never seen a chicken, beef roast, fish,  and combo of veggies that I needed a machete to process,  seriously,  I'm used to and comfortable with smaller knives,  if I need anything bigger I can handle it pretty well with an axe or saw.

  So I guess I have to agree with Stan,  if I had to choose and make due with only one cutting tool for my area or the world and for my life style the machete wouldn't even be on my radar screen.
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2014, 06:19:32 PM »
If the question is, knife, machete, or axe, I'm taking an axe.

If I can only have one blade, I sure wouldn't decide based on weight. I'd decide based on how broadly I could use each tool and the durability etc.

I would take an axe, because it is IMHO the most useful tool mentioned IMHO. Winter - no machete is going to do what I need it to do and survive. I can gut a fish with a sharp stick, but I'm not going to bash something's head in with a knife, or knock something I need out of the ice or break a drinking hole in a lake. I can skin with an axe. I can do lots of rough carving with an axe. I can build a shelter... And so on.

I'd pick my fiskars axe. In fact, if fiskars built a hatchet the size of a GB SFA, I'd pick that. Easy to sharpen and should never break under normal use.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 06:26:14 PM by kanukkarhu »
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2014, 06:42:02 PM »


Question, PW. What makes the difference between Louisiana and Arizona, that would make a small knife preferable to a machete?  Just curious.

I don't know about AZ, but here in my part of Utah, the vegetation is pretty sparse. You don't need a machete to clear your way to move around.

A machete (and tools like it) is good for a high velocity cut that can cut through low inertia vegetation like thin saplings, vines, tall grasses and canes, etc. All of the things that grow in a sub-tropical climate like Louisiana. And they grow so thick there that if you are (literally) bushwhacking cross country, you will need to carve a path for yourself to travel. I cut a lot of "line" when I worked on a survey crew in Louisiana and we used machetes, cane knives and brush hooks. Try chopping through a 1/4" thick vine with an axe. In order to get the heavy axe head up to a high enough velocity to make use of the thin, lightweight vine's inertia, you will be unable to arrest it's movement after cutting the vine. That would be extremely dangerous. A typical bushcraft (4" blade) knife is too short to have the mechanical advantage necessary to get a high enough velocity to chop through a thin vine as well. A machete is a lot lighter than an axe so you can swing it fast to cut thin stuff and still control it enough to arrest it's movement after it makes the cut.

The disadvantage it has over an axe is when chopping very thick wood, like felling a tree, it is lighter than an axe so it won't have as much kinetic energy and won't chop nearly as deep as a heavy axe. The axe can be swung with a lot of power and speed when chopping a stout log because the log arrests it's travel, not the logger. ;)

Out here the vegetation rarely gets so dense you can't just step a few feet to the side and walk around any obstruction. so if I'm going to carry only one cutting tool, it will be a lightweight one that can carve better than a machete since my local vegetation renders the extra length unnecessary, and it becomes a burden. The dead juniper and pinyon is hard enough that it doesn't cut through no matter how sharp your machete is. it either snaps off, or it springs back and throws the blade back at you. If you really needed to bash your way through a dead tree in your path you'd be better off using a hickory tomahawk handle to just crush your way through since that's all the machete does with this wood. And when it inevitably encounters a branch that won't snap and it flings it back at you, you won't get cut. Or, you could just step 20' to the left and walk around the obstruction. :D

There are places out here where it could be useful but nowhere where it would be really necessary to get around like in large parts of Louisiana.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 07:06:38 PM by PetrifiedWood »

Offline wolfy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2014, 06:48:50 PM »
That's me too! :thumbsup: Axe & knife for camping. Machete or CORN KNIFE for weeds and vines in fence lines. >:(
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Offline Nature Boy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2014, 07:04:04 PM »
I have knives (Hultafors, Moras, Opinels), a Collins hatchet, and a Garrison machete. I love my knives, but I've found the Garrison can do quite a bit as a main type of blade. It slices, dices, chops, and can make julian fries, well not the fries.....The Garrison is a little over 16.25 inches long and the blade is 11.5 inches. I call it my 'Walker Wacker', lol.

 





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Offline woodsrunner

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2014, 07:25:18 PM »
years back i carried and used an Ontario 12" machete (almost exclusively) on a nine week canoe trip...i also carried an eight inch belt knife which ( in all that time) saw very little service.

the heavy 1/8" thick 1095 steel Ontario machete was great at lopping the heads off rattlers and for clearing out the devilishly nasty russian olive shrubs, making room for my tarp and hammock.

After convexing the edge, it was great at processing small wood for the fire and digging fire pits....i even processed a couple dozen fish with it...the knife is now in the Hands of our own JTD....i missed it so much i just had to purchase another, its an awesome tool and i would have no problem carrying one again...hmmm maybe i'll do just that!...woods       
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2014, 07:56:15 PM »
years back i carried and used an Ontario 12" machete (almost exclusively) on a nine week canoe trip...i also carried an eight inch belt knife which ( in all that time) saw very little service.

the heavy 1/8" thick 1095 steel Ontario machete was great at lopping the heads off rattlers and for clearing out the devilishly nasty russian olive shrubs, making room for my tarp and hammock.

After convexing the edge, it was great at processing small wood for the fire and digging fire pits....i even processed a couple dozen fish with it...the knife is now in the Hands of our own JTD....i missed it so much i just had to purchase another, its an awesome tool and i would have no problem carrying one again...hmmm maybe i'll do just that!...woods     
Thanks, Woods. I know you spend a fair amount of time out and about in these NW woods, and I appreciate your input.

PW, nearly every one of your objections to the machete had to do with not having to carve trails through thick underbrush. IMO, that's only ONE of the areas where the machete shines.
Mannlicher talked about clearing branches for this 4x4 along roads. He's talking tree branches, not jungle vines or swamp grass. Nature Boy did an excellent job of picturing the chopping ability of even a small machete.  In my original list of 10 items, cutting berry vines and wispy willows was only one use.  I'm really surprised about your experience with a machete "bouncing off" a hard branch of scrub.  I've got mine stuck in some gawdawful hard deadwood that took some effort to get loose from, but I've never had a sharp machete bounce off anything. ('cept a rock on occasion  ??? )

Just speaking in generalities here, but I have always suspected that folks who claim machetes can't do something (short of felling a Redwood) have either never used one, or never used one enough.
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Offline zammer

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2014, 08:08:18 PM »
Sounds like we got us a good o'le fashioned chop off....Machete vs Axe.....winner take all  >:D


But in all seriousness, what Pdubs mentioned makes perfect sense, a Machete excels in areas where slashing is best, an Axe where chopping is best, both blades can do a little of both and maybe even a lot of both in the right hands...but they are at there best when used
in there proper environments.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 08:14:16 PM by zammer »
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2014, 08:10:20 PM »
If the question is, knife, machete, or axe, I'm taking an axe.
.... I'm not going to bash something's head in with a knife, or knock something I need out of the ice or break a drinking hole in a lake. I can skin with an axe. I can do lots of rough carving with an axe. ...

Sorry, KK...I'm in one of those moods tonight. I read that, and thought to myself, "Humm...I can do all those things with a rock." 
I saw a video of some paleo guys skinning and butchering a bison with shards of flint. I'm pretty sure my machete would do a better job of butchering than they did, maybe ever better than an axe. :shrug:
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2014, 08:23:36 PM »
years back i carried and used an Ontario 12" machete (almost exclusively) on a nine week canoe trip...i also carried an eight inch belt knife which ( in all that time) saw very little service.

the heavy 1/8" thick 1095 steel Ontario machete was great at lopping the heads off rattlers and for clearing out the devilishly nasty russian olive shrubs, making room for my tarp and hammock.

After convexing the edge, it was great at processing small wood for the fire and digging fire pits....i even processed a couple dozen fish with it...the knife is now in the Hands of our own JTD....i missed it so much i just had to purchase another, its an awesome tool and i would have no problem carrying one again...hmmm maybe i'll do just that!...woods     



One of my fav's made by US Ontario Knife "Blackie Collins". I am of the opinion that true machetes have some flex to them. This one, although called a machete is actually more like a Bowie knife.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 06:05:23 AM by NickChillADAHY »
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2014, 08:28:51 PM »
Sounds like we got us a good o'le fashioned chop off....Machete vs Axe.....winner take all  >:D
ROFL.  Yeah, I can see how this is gonna go.
I'm not sure how we got to here from having to choose one versatile blade, per the OP.
I know from practice and observation that technique has a lot to do with using a machete to chop wood. I started from the git go talking about 3-4 inch "logs", not bucking out cord wood.
I looked again at NB's photos, mainly the one chopping the sapling. So just for the sake of conversation, here's how my technique on that sapling would differ from his.

He, first of all, is using a smaller machete than I do, so there's a difference right there. The other thing is he appeared to attack the chore the way you would with a hatchet, or small axe. Angle cut from one direction, then angle cut from the other, dislodging a chip from between the two cuts. That's how we've all learned to use axes/hatchets and so it's normal to do that with a machete.
But...the machete cuts better than either a hatchet, or an axe. It's a hellatious big knife, after all. So what I would do wit6h NB's stick there would be to hold it against the edge of a stump, or downed log at an angle with one hand, and whack it with as much force as I could with the machete right where the stick is touching the edge of the stump, or the round back log. The cut is going to be at a small angle, just because of the physical position I'm in. then I rotate the stick 1/3 its circumference and whack it again. Then rotate again, and whack the only part of the stick I haven't cut yet. Three cuts, all intersecting. If the stick doesn't come apart on it's own by then, a little bend and what little is remaining of the heard wood will break.  So...three whacks...1, 2, 3, done. Using this technique for years is one reason I favor a relatively thin, or medium thickness to the machete blade. It cuts deeper, IMO.
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Offline Nature Boy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2014, 08:35:29 PM »
OP, I agree with your technique to use via the limb I was whacking. But I guess I was in a hurry that day after a micro burst that felled a lot of trees in the area. The limb was heavy and huge, and I didn't take the time to give it a good 'delimbing' (hope that's a real word, lol), and I couldn't rotate it. So it was off to the races with the chopping I used.


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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2014, 08:41:43 PM »
OP, I agree with your technique to use via the limb I was whacking. But I guess I was in a hurry that day after a micro burst that felled a lot of trees in the area. The limb was heavy and huge, and I didn't take the time to give it a good 'delimbing' (hope that's a real word, lol), and I couldn't rotate it. So it was off to the races with the chopping I used.
:thumbsup: And a fine job it did, too. I figured there was more to the story.
Let's consider for a moment that the limb you were working on was off the tree, and you were processing it for fire wood. Let's say it's about 4 feet long. You need to cut it into 1 foot lengths.
I'm not going to try to describe anything, other than refer to my technique previously. But let's all stop and just visualize how we are going to go about cutting that limb up with first a hatchet, then axe, then a machete/parang. How are we going to secure it to use both hands on our axe?  What about the hatchet?  Hummm......
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Offline diogenes

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2014, 09:08:27 PM »
 :popcorn:
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2014, 09:56:11 PM »
:popcorn:   ( :popcorn: Move over, I'm trying to keep my post count down. )
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Offline acara

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2014, 10:11:11 PM »
For the money - IMO Tramontina is a fantastic value........after all - 198 million Brazilians can't all be wrong.
I've see some pretty neat mods to the Tramontina on bushcraft/knife forums over the past few years. The beauty is, you can mess one up and be out less that $10!

From a lifelong machete user ...you guys nailed it...it's cost effective. The other issue down here is the weight .... you've gotta be able to swing a machete one-handed, and almost the entire time your moving in some parts.

It's the right tool for the job down here in FL, and at $7-9.00/ea, or $11.00 if you splurge.... a machete is your best option.

When I was camping the Everglades almost exclusively, I would have called you crazy for using anyting less than 22" (the sawgrass will eat your forearms alive without the extra length). Now that I'm in central FL, I've gone to 18" & some of the "exotics" like ... kukri, tapanga, etc., since they are a little beefier and handle some of the hardwoods more efficiently.

I've tried getting into the axe thing recently & they are pretty cool, but I still find myself going back to the machete on most occasions.
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2014, 10:27:25 PM »
If the question is, knife, machete, or axe, I'm taking an axe.
.... I'm not going to bash something's head in with a knife, or knock something I need out of the ice or break a drinking hole in a lake. I can skin with an axe. I can do lots of rough carving with an axe. ...

Sorry, KK...I'm in one of those moods tonight. I read that, and thought to myself, "Humm...I can do all those things with a rock." 
I saw a video of some paleo guys skinning and butchering a bison with shards of flint. I'm pretty sure my machete would do a better job of butchering than they did, maybe ever better than an axe. :shrug:
Which mood is that, OP? One of those 'I'm wrong' moods? ;)  Kidding OP. Just funnin'.

But seriously, ladies and germs...

The discussion isn't "What can you do with a rock?" it's the 'one blade' question. I'm sure we could make a very similar point about the other two blades, but the reality is that I'm not gonna carry a rock, or a shard of flint when I could have a knife, machete or, especially, an axe! :) And chipping through a few feet of ice or processing wood at -30 ain't gonna happen with a rock. Or at least, you'll not convince me.

And really, it's hard to find that rock (we don't have a lot of flint type stones here - mostly granite) just sitting around under 3' of snow. :)

What works for YOU is great, but it doesn't make it great for me in my setting - as I'm SURE we already know...

I think your thin bladed machete would chip out on the first serious knot it contacts in this cold, and your knife isn't going to get some of the things I mentioned above done. And for my money, there's a reason why machetes haven't caught on (at least around here): they don't work for us.
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2014, 10:59:58 PM »
...

What works for YOU is great, but it doesn't make it great for me in my setting - as I'm SURE we already know...

I think your thin bladed machete would chip out on the first serious knot it contacts in this cold, and your knife isn't going to get some of the things I mentioned above done. And for my money, there's a reason why machetes haven't caught on (at least around here): they don't work for us.
LOL! Sorry I got you side tracked with that whole rock thingy.
Okay, I got it. North Woodsmen love their axes. It's all they've known, and all they want to know. Hell, I grew up in timber country, and my family was in the lumber business. But I'm not suggesting to go logging with a machete.  I don't agree that -30F temps will affect a machete any more than a sharp axe, though.
Some tools are a necessity for certain jobs. If you are beating your way through ice to get at a beaver set, you're probably not going to use a DB axe any more than you would a big knife. There are some tasks that require an axe. No argument.
What I've been trying to say, in response to the OP, is that if my only goal is to go out into the bush (ANY bush), build a fire and a shelter, and spend a few days just communing with Nature, then I believe a good machete/parang is more versatile than an axe.  And I listed a few reasons I think so.
But I did leave out another function of a machete from my earlier list. It can also be used as a draw knife.  :P
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2014, 11:10:32 PM »
...

What works for YOU is great, but it doesn't make it great for me in my setting - as I'm SURE we already know...

I think your thin bladed machete would chip out on the first serious knot it contacts in this cold, and your knife isn't going to get some of the things I mentioned above done. And for my money, there's a reason why machetes haven't caught on (at least around here): they don't work for us.
LOL! Sorry I got you side tracked with that whole rock thingy.
Okay, I got it. North Woodsmen love their axes. It's all they've known, and all they want to know. Hell, I grew up in timber country, and my family was in the lumber business. But I'm not suggesting to go logging with a machete.  I don't agree that -30F temps will affect a machete any more than a sharp axe, though.
Some tools are a necessity for certain jobs. If you are beating your way through ice to get at a beaver set, you're probably not going to use a DB axe any more than you would a big knife. There are some tasks that require an axe. No argument.
What I've been trying to say, in response to the OP, is that if my only goal is to go out into the bush (ANY bush), build a fire and a shelter, and spend a few days just communing with Nature, then I believe a good machete/parang is more versatile than an axe.  And I listed a few reasons I think so.
But I did leave out another function of a machete from my earlier list. It can also be used as a draw knife.  :P
Ha! The rock thing did throw me off... :P  No fair! ;)

I agree that a machete is a better all around worker than a small to medium sized knife, IMHO. And if I could be guaranteed that our 'scenario' didn't include winter, I might allow that a sturdy machete/large knife could be a suitable option - and certainly a versatile one.  It's just the versatility of the axe as a 'whacker' and the whole winter/big wood/subzero issue.  I can't get my mind wrapped around a machete (those thin metal blades that go "pinggg") doing me in winter. :P  Wouldn't really cold temps make wood hard enough to chip out a thin blade like on a machete? I know you sometimes gotta warm an axe up from overnight before using it, so I can't see a machete being tougher than an axe...

Face it OP, I'm right and you're, well, you're not right! ;D

(That's for the rock thing...) ;)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2014, 11:13:48 PM »

From a lifelong machete user ...you guys nailed it...it's cost effective. The other issue down here is the weight .... ...

 I've gone to 18" & some of the "exotics" like ... kukri, tapanga, etc., since they are a little beefier and handle some of the hardwoods more efficiently.

I've tried getting into the axe thing recently & they are pretty cool, but I still find myself going back to the machete on most occasions.
Ah...so you are probably the guy to ask.
I've been thinking seriously of trying a heavier, shorter blade like the parang. How would you compare the 18" classic machete to say a 15" parang for processing small wood? 
I have another option besides buying something I might not like. A friend gave me a "dime-store" machete because he knew I used one. This thing is heavier and stiffer than my favorite GI model, and I just don't care for it much. But I'm thinking about modding it by shortening it, and reprofiling it into a parang. Actually, the blade is grossly wide, and it could probably turn into a kukri with a little more work.
What's your opinion of the three blade designs?
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2014, 11:18:15 PM »
I know what will change your mind, KK.....

http://www.grohmannknives.com/pages/unusual.html

                                                                            >:D
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2014, 11:35:24 PM »

Ha! The rock thing did throw me off... :P  No fair! ;)

I agree that a machete is a better all around worker than a small to medium sized knife, IMHO. And if I could be guaranteed that our 'scenario' didn't include winter, I might allow that a sturdy machete/large knife could be a suitable option - and certainly a versatile one.  It's just the versatility of the axe as a 'whacker' and the whole winter/big wood/subzero issue.  I can't get my mind wrapped around a machete (those thin metal blades that go "pinggg") doing me in winter. :P  Wouldn't really cold temps make wood hard enough to chip out a thin blade like on a machete? I know you sometimes gotta warm an axe up from overnight before using it, so I can't see a machete being tougher than an axe...

Face it OP, I'm right and you're, well, you're not right! ;D

(That's for the rock thing...) ;)
I think we're getting down to the nitty gritty of this discussion, KK.  May I correctly assume that you've never tried using a sturdy machete in your fir forests? You say you can't imagine how one would do for you, so that sounds like you've never found out. Or am I way off track here?

As for the winter thing. I'm pretty sure our winters here in the NW corner of Montana are just about as brutal as yours, and probably last just as long. I've never had a temperature issue with my machete. Back when I used to snow camp on purpose, it did just fine whacking off "squaw wood" and other fire materials, cutting ridge poles and cooking rigs. (As a side note, when I'd cut a stick for a pot hanger, I never had to switch tools to carve notches in it.  ;) ) As a matter of fact, if you're ever building packed snow wind breaks, or other construction with snow blocks, the machete is your best friend. Ever see pictures of Eskimos shaving the blocks for an igloo with an axe? Nope, they're using big arse knives that look suspiciously like machetes.
I guess when we're talking about "big wood", we're talking about honkin' logs for a winter fire. That's where the road divides. You and I have different approaches to fire making, it sounds. I go for the smaller wood, more surface area, more flame, more heat, rather than the big logs that may burn longer but take their sweet time about doing it.
So yeah, if your firewood is going to be 4"-8" logs then you need an axe.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2014, 11:38:10 PM »
I know what will change your mind, KK.....

http://www.grohmannknives.com/pages/unusual.html

                                                                            >:D
This always cracks me up, Wolfy. I'm posting about Eskimos making igloos while you're linking to a company selling "snow knives".
Hahahahahaha!  :lol: :doh: :hail:
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2014, 12:14:21 AM »
It's one of those "unexplained mystical experiences" that some of the 'pure science' folks here just can't abide! :stir: :cheers: :rofl:
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2014, 01:02:04 AM »
It's one of those "unexplained mystical experiences" that some of the 'pure science' folks here just can't abide! :stir: :cheers: :rofl:
Happens too often to be coincidence. Let's call it synchronicity, and let it go at that.
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Offline SwampHanger

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2014, 04:12:26 AM »
I use a condor pack golok. Sorry photobucket problems or I'd show a pic. It has been the best chopper and tool I could carry.  The foreward weight of the blade is great and it will do small task. I had to reprofe the handle and blade some for a personal fit and I will not get rid of it. Use it on 2 pot and Machette challenges and I still have to watch Mad Max when he is near. Lol he can vouch for it. Something to look at if you want something that's bullet proof.

Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2014, 06:10:46 AM »
I use a condor pack golok. Sorry photobucket problems or I'd show a pic. It has been the best chopper and tool I could carry.  The foreward weight of the blade is great and it will do small task.




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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2014, 06:14:15 AM »
Thanks that's the one. It's a beast.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2014, 06:40:11 AM »

Ha! The rock thing did throw me off... :P  No fair! ;)

I agree that a machete is a better all around worker than a small to medium sized knife, IMHO. And if I could be guaranteed that our 'scenario' didn't include winter, I might allow that a sturdy machete/large knife could be a suitable option - and certainly a versatile one.  It's just the versatility of the axe as a 'whacker' and the whole winter/big wood/subzero issue.  I can't get my mind wrapped around a machete (those thin metal blades that go "pinggg") doing me in winter. :P  Wouldn't really cold temps make wood hard enough to chip out a thin blade like on a machete? I know you sometimes gotta warm an axe up from overnight before using it, so I can't see a machete being tougher than an axe...

Face it OP, I'm right and you're, well, you're not right! ;D

(That's for the rock thing...) ;)
I think we're getting down to the nitty gritty of this discussion, KK.  May I correctly assume that you've never tried using a sturdy machete in your fir forests? You say you can't imagine how one would do for you, so that sounds like you've never found out. Or am I way off track here?

As for the winter thing. I'm pretty sure our winters here in the NW corner of Montana are just about as brutal as yours, and probably last just as long. I've never had a temperature issue with my machete. Back when I used to snow camp on purpose, it did just fine whacking off "squaw wood" and other fire materials, cutting ridge poles and cooking rigs. (As a side note, when I'd cut a stick for a pot hanger, I never had to switch tools to carve notches in it.  ;) ) As a matter of fact, if you're ever building packed snow wind breaks, or other construction with snow blocks, the machete is your best friend. Ever see pictures of Eskimos shaving the blocks for an igloo with an axe? Nope, they're using big arse knives that look suspiciously like machetes.
I guess when we're talking about "big wood", we're talking about honkin' logs for a winter fire. That's where the road divides. You and I have different approaches to fire making, it sounds. I go for the smaller wood, more surface area, more flame, more heat, rather than the big logs that may burn longer but take their sweet time about doing it.
So yeah, if your firewood is going to be 4"-8" logs then you need an axe.

   I think you are going to have a problem selling the machete as a general use cutting tool to the masses OP,  you said we are getting to the nitty gritty,  I think you're right,  this is one of those discussions that isn't going to be settled,  it's going to remain a difference of opinion for as long as it runs.
   I think it's time you look at the practical and impractical uses for the machete while leaving your personal bias aside,  sure, I'll agree with you that the machete shines at some chores that leave smaller knives and axes in the dust.
   You mentioned bushwhacking through heavy brush and thick vegetation,  and when working with making snow blocks,  and I'll agree that there's been a time or two that i've run into an Eastern Timber Rattler when I would have paid ten bucks just to use your machete for a minute,  but you have to admit that those are special occasions where they come in handy.
   The same holds true for places like the La. and Fla. swamps and glades,  you not only can't beat a machete,  but may even be hard pressed to survive without one,  as for the pacific north west,  those are not my stomping grounds,  I could be wrong but except for the north west peninsulas rain forrest I can't see a machete as a primary cutting tool.
  If we look at the average camp chores that one has to deal with in a bushcraft type camp,  or on a fishing or hunting outing,  very little is going to be required of a machete,  you said yourself that if you are dealing with up to 6"~ 8" logs the axe wins hands down,  for shelter poles and firewood most of us are dealing with wrist size pieces of standing live (poles) or dead (firewood) wood,  for that kind of wood there's probably no better tool than a folding saw or small buck saw,  they a lighter, require less effort,  and burn fewer calories than swinging an axe or machete.
  Process those wrist sized pieces of wood into kindling is a lot more comfortable and easier controlled with a medium sized fix blade knife and a baton or a hatchet than with a 16" or longer machete,  now I've read the comments about skinning and processing deer and cleaning fish with a machete,  and I will stipulate that there are many cultures that do,  but for the typical person wou resides in North America a 10"`12" trout is far easier to clean with a small fillet knife than a medium sized machete.
  In a hunting situation I just can't see myself cleaning, skinning, and butchering squirrel or rabbit with a machete,  likewise for deer,  and about impossible on upland birds,  in a camp setting I have a hard time seeing myself cutting up potatoes and onions for home fries or trying to butter my bannock with a machete.
  My point is you're right,  all of these things can be done with a machete,  but not as comfortably and safely as can be done with a 4" ~ 5" bladed knife, saw, or camp axe in most normal situations.   
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.