Author Topic: Just one edge...a Machete??  (Read 21833 times)

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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2014, 06:54:14 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.

So the question remains... which would you choose?

« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 07:33:59 AM by NickChillADAHY »
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2014, 07:04:39 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.
Haven't used a machete lots, that's true. But that cuts two ways (ha! Get it?!? :D ) in that there's a reason. The reason you are alone in your unrelenting desire to be wrong ;D  is because they don't work in deep woods. Cheap machetes have been around and available for a long time, and yet I've never in my years met anyone who uses one except for clearing brush. However, I do know lots of old timers and native trappers etc who say that the most important tool they own - bar none - is their axe.

I'm not trying to sound disrespectful, by the way. Just talking. :)

I think that you're able toake the machete work for you, and that's great. But I also suspect that over a hundred years of bush time (including voyageurs and courier des bois, etc) can't be that far wrong. :)  Now, in a place where clearing brush and snake and the other things discussed here are an issue, I certainly say the machete might be the answer. I don't know.

My fire idea in the winter consists of burning the biggest chunk of wood I can find.
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2014, 07:09:04 AM »
 :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: ... this is good stuff  :duel:
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2014, 07:53:04 AM »
By the way, everyone knows I'm trying to use humour, right? OP has many more years of experience than me. I just like a little funnin' once in a while!

I suspect the answer to this excellent post is "whatever floats your boat." I know one guy that used to limit himself to, like, four clubs while golfing. And then just hold them in his hand. He made those four clubs do enough to cover all my clubs, and more! :D

Mind you, he was 'wrong' too - even though he was WAAAAY better than me! ;D :P
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Offline acara

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2014, 09:08:22 AM »

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?

Shorter/thicker is better for chopping hardwoods.

If I had to come up with a "user guide", it would be

Classic Latin machete ... greenwood/softwood, up to 2" diameter, doing lots of cutting all day. Doesn't baton well because of the thin blade. it cuts, but can't muscle through knots and the thin spine eats up the baton/cudgel faster than it splits the wood. Honestly, since I moved out of South Florida, my latin machetes ride on on my back, or the nose of my canoe mostly;




Kukri/Parang, will handle hardwood or softwood up to 4", but you don't want to be swinging it all day. The biggest drawback to these is if you baton ....the curved blade/spine make only a small part of the blade useful for batoning wood, but the thicker blade doesn't eat up your pounding log as fast.



... you can absolutely baton with the kukri, but it's a little different technique & you have to split with the belly of the blade;





I like the tapangas best if I'm going to have to process wood with it (because of the straight spine)..



All that aside .... any major splitting is easier with a large axe  O:-)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 09:16:23 AM by acara »
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Offline SwampHanger

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2014, 09:22:34 AM »
Unless your building a cabin my golok has worked great. I'll burn big stuff in half rather than waste any energy in processing. Not much into batoning or splitting logs while camping. Now if it's a rain event then that's different and I just deal with it. I haven't been on a camp yet that we don't have a heck of a fire and a slow bank during the day. We provide a service since the forestry service is only 10years behind on scheduled burns.

Offline acara

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2014, 09:30:17 AM »
Quote
So the question remains... which would you choose?

If your looking for a recommendation ... and your not a jungle-juggernaut and/or don't spend a lit of time in the sawgrass, the Martindale goloks (golok 2, 13", in particular) is one of the best mixed use blades out today (IMHO), especially if you can get your hands on the older UK version that comes with the bastard file on the sheath.

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Offline acara

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2014, 09:33:57 AM »
Unless your building a cabin my golok has worked great. I'll burn big stuff in half rather than waste any energy in processing. Not much into batoning or splitting logs while camping. Now if it's a rain event then that's different and I just deal with it. I haven't been on a camp yet that we don't have a heck of a fire and a slow bank during the day. We provide a service since the forestry service is only 10years behind on scheduled burns.

Yeah ... something we (FL peeps) aren't mentioning .....

We also gravitate to the machetes because it's a biatch to swing an axe one-handed, at low hanging vegetation from the seat of a canoe/kayak  >:D O:-) >:D
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2014, 09:36:07 AM »
I have a Condor machete which is exactly like the top one pictured in the very first post in this thread.  I find it very useful when out in the yard to whack small "sucker" limbs off trees, but that's about all I really use it for.  I'm not saying it can't do more.  It can, but why would I choose it when I have any number of axes or saws that will do a far better job?

I think this entire thread illustrates why "one size" doesn't fit all and there is no one knife or tool that will do it all well.  We are blessed with a myriad of choices to be able to choose what works for each of us and is designed for the situation.  Therefore, I choose not to limit myself even for the purposes of "If you could only have one (whatever)" discussions as those discussions seem to be not based in any sort of reality.  Well, not my reality, anyway.   
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #59 on: February 09, 2014, 09:46:26 AM »
Quote
So the question remains... which would you choose?

If your looking for a recommendation ... and your not a jungle-juggernaut and/or don't spend a lit of time in the sawgrass, the Martindale goloks (golok 2, 13", in particular) is one of the best mixed use blades out today (IMHO), especially if you can get your hands on the older UK version that comes with the bastard file on the sheath.

Not looking for a recommendation :thumbsup: but thanks. I know exactly what I would choose (see below). I want to know if you had to choose, what would you decide on?

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Offline SwampHanger

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2014, 09:48:32 AM »
Well everybody's idea of camp life is different as well. Some folks like neat little stacks of fire wood and pictures of it. Me I drag up a pile and would rather fish or hike or some thing. Depends on how deep you go in the woods. If you stay where people always go there is never wood.  You get back in aways and it's not as much work finding stuff. I really try to do the least and enjoy the most. No matter what piece of gear you pick there will be a bunch of opinions. Go with what you know and try others along the way.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2014, 09:50:11 AM »
How much? :shrug:
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2014, 09:56:59 AM »
I agree with everything Moe said but was too tired to type it last night.

Still gonna buy one though.
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2014, 10:07:21 AM »
How much? :shrug:

I know they used to be made in Germany. I have seen them on eBay around $20. but not sure where they are made now. There are other German ones around as well.
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Offline acara

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #64 on: February 09, 2014, 10:09:38 AM »
Quote

Not looking for a recommendation :thumbsup: but thanks. I know exactly what I would choose (see below). I want to know if you had to choose, what would you decide on?



I'm pretty sure I'd stick with my kukri. It's not the sexiest blade I've ever owned, but it just seems to work for me.

That is a pretty blade in your pic though  O:-)
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #65 on: February 09, 2014, 10:14:06 AM »
I also have; as seen in my first pic.



But I have not had a chance to use it...  :-[
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #66 on: February 09, 2014, 10:20:37 AM »
Therefore, I choose not to limit myself even for the purposes of "If you could only have one (whatever)" discussions as those discussions seem to be not based in any sort of reality.  Well, not my reality, anyway.

OK, I can respect all opinions.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 10:51:05 AM by NickChillADAHY »
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Offline Yeoman

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Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #67 on: February 09, 2014, 10:28:28 AM »
Is a machete a viable one blade option?
Sure.
The question for me is, are your requirements for a blade fulfilled by only a machete (or any other one blade) and do you possess the range of skills to make a machete a one tool option?

What do you need the machete to do? General work, carving, skinning, food prep, firewood prep, shelter making, bush clearing, wood splitting, etc.

From the equator to the mid temperate zone, I suppose the machete can do all of these things if your skills are up to it. However, from say, the forty-ninth up to the tree line the machete is okay at some things but won't be effective/efficient enough to process vast amounts of wood required for deep winter. Above the tree line, the machete becomes a one tool option again, as the shrubs/ willow etc can be with one and it makes a good snow knife.

I have a couple of machetes in my closet, but the aren't mine. I'm keeping them for a friend of mine. (I sound like a Junior High-school kid saying that). So although I have access to them I don't use machetes often. I therefore haven't developed any skills with one. I can therefore say it's not a one blade option for me, but it doesn't mean it couldn't be for some or for me in the future.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #68 on: February 09, 2014, 10:29:41 AM »
Thanks for all that info, Acara! It's really helpful to this thread to hear from folks (you, Swamphanger, etc.) who have used a variety of machete-like tools a lot.

I really like the looks of that tapangas in your photo. All the advantages I see in a machete, plus more "authority" when it comes to my fir/pine forests.

I'm the first to acknowledge the limitations of a machete compared to an axe. I'm certainly not out front splitting wood for my wood stove with my machete.  :P   The question in the OP was "if you were going to choose one blade to take into the woods, how about a machete?"

I tried to answer that, albeit from my perspective. I've got along very well with an old GI machete for years, and the only time I take my axe is when car camping.  But that's just me.....
I'm never faced with tasks like was shown of those oak knots in a public campground, because I don't camp in those types of places.
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2014, 10:44:42 AM »
PS. Make no mistake...I carry (in the woods) a full tang knife, my SAK and most recently to Ocala NF and Oklawaha the orange handled Condor seen in the first post.


This was a question to see if anyone would commit to a choice  :soap: for fun (and the sake of argument).
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 01:50:00 PM by NickChillADAHY »
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #70 on: February 09, 2014, 10:48:41 AM »


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.

I'm just talking about the dry, springy but brittle branches we have out here. The spine of a machete does as well as the edge on this stuff. It will snap before you can cut it, but if it is strong enough to resist snapping, it will spring back with quite a bit of force. I have had this exact situation happen to me while trying to clear a dead tree out of the path of my ATV. I could easily have walked around the obstruction, but there was no going around it on the ATV, so it had to be removed. I kept my machete in my lock box on the back of the ATV and got it out to try to chop up the tree into manageable pieces and it was coming right back at me! After five minutes and and a close call with the machete I decided to tie the tree to the ATV and pull it out of the way.  8)

It's not so much that it bounced off the branch, it's that the branches are unsupported. In other words, it would have no trouble at all chopping through the branches in one swipe IF they were laying on top of a stump or something. And green wood that is nice and soft cuts like butter with a machete. This stuff either snaps in two, or acts like a spring when it's connected to the rest of the tree. :shrug:

I'm not knocking machetes. I've chopped down a LOT of stuff with them. I even thought to keep one on my ATV, until I had that first run-in with the dry dead wood out here.

Here's an experiment for you. (Be careful if you try it.) Take a 1.5- 2" thick piece of seasoned juniper or pinyon pine, about 2 feet long with a flat end, and lay it flat on a stump and hit it with a machete. It will snap right in two and you'll be lucky if the cut you make goes more than half way through the wood before the rest of it just snaps. Take another piece and balance it on one end on the stump. Hold it up with sand bags or something. Then try to chop it in two with your machete. More often than not it will just go flying across the yard, rather than get chopped in two. Now try the same experiment with a nice hard hickory stick instead of your machete. You will probably break just as many with your hickory stick as you will with your machete.

Think of these sticks like glass, hard and brittle. Whatever fails to break them will bounce off.


Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #71 on: February 09, 2014, 10:54:15 AM »
Therefore, I choose not to limit myself even for the purposes of "If you could only have one (whatever)" discussions as those discussions seem to be not based in any sort of reality.  Well, not my reality, anyway.

Wow...heavy LOL!!.. OK I can respect that.

So  can I.
But as Adam Savage would say, "I reject your reality, and substitute my own."   :lol:
This has been a really good exchange, KK, and I appreciate how we can disagree without getting disagreeable.  :thumbsup:

...
From the equator to the mid temperate zone, I suppose the machete can do all of these things if your skills are up to it. However, from say, the forty-ninth up to the tree line the machete is okay at some things but won't be effective/efficient enough to process vast amounts of wood required for deep winter. Above the tree line, the machete becomes a one tool option again, as the shrubs/ willow etc can be with one and it makes a good snow knife....

Good assessment, Yeoman. I live at 48o 52' North, so I'm going to suggest a grey area as we move farther north. Conditions don't change abruptly at the Border.

Putting things in an even better perspective, and as Yeoman said in the rest of his post, what are your needs?
I get out and about to recreate. Small construction jobs (shelter), camp chores, and fire (small) building. A light, versatile tool for light, varied jobs.
Even in my own backyard here, if I were carrying on a subsistence type existence, trying to duplicate the 8 cords of firewood I have for the winter, running a trap line, ice fishing without the benefit of an ice auger, my machete would probably live in the closet, too!  In fact, I'm sure it would.

The great western forests, from Minnesota west and into western Canada, didn't fall to a machete, the axe ruled, and still does.

From the OP, I didn't understand it to ask, "Is a machete better than an axe?"  I thought the question was, "If I chose one blade for my bush trekking, how would a machete work out?"  I think I, and several other here have answered with a resounding "Just fine".
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Offline zammer

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #72 on: February 09, 2014, 10:58:48 AM »
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?



 :deadhorse:

Its obvious you prefer the Machete Nick, I'm not sure if you mentioned what type of woods you roam?
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #73 on: February 09, 2014, 11:05:17 AM »


Its obvious you prefer the Machete Nick, I'm not sure if you mentioned what type of woods you roam?

And THAT is the key to the whole thing! :D

My choice to pick something other than a machete has nothing to do with machetes and everything to do with WHERE I am and the kind of tool I need.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #74 on: February 09, 2014, 11:11:56 AM »
...
Here's an experiment for you. (Be careful if you try it.) Take a 1.5- 2" thick piece of seasoned juniper or pinyon pine, about 2 feet long with a flat end, and lay it flat on a stump and hit it with a machete. It will snap right in two and you'll be lucky if the cut you make goes more than half way through the wood before the rest of it just snaps. Take another piece and balance it on one end on the stump. Hold it up with sand bags or something. Then try to chop it in two with your machete. More often than not it will just go flying across the yard, rather than get chopped in two. Now try the same experiment with a nice hard hickory stick instead of your machete. You will probably break just as many with your hickory stick as you will with your machete.

Think of these sticks like glass, hard and brittle. Whatever fails to break them will bounce off.
Been there, done that. I understand the issue now. I've run into LOTS of vine maple and willow that behaves the same way.
The secret I've learned with a machete is never attack something limber bobbing in the breeze with  a direct, 90o chop. (As an observation aside, if you strike something brittle and it breaks rather than gets cut, mission accomplished anyway, right?)
What I do with these pesky branches is strike with at least a 45o angle. Make the cut from the floppy end toward the root/trunk. That gives the branch a solid base against which the force of your blow with have some effect. "Cross cutting" with a machete is a last resort.
In your experiment with the stick held up on the chopping block with sandbags, I would not whack it like I was swinging a baseball bat. I'd strike downward forcing the butt of the stick against the block. Worst case scenario, I would not cut through it on the first swing, but I'd be standing there with the blade stuck deeply in the stick and the stick still resting on the block. Rotate it, and do it again. Try it. Amaze your friends who have been batting that stick across the yard in frustration.

Next question, in all sincerity...what cutting instrument (other than a saw which is arguably not a "blade") would have done the job you wanted to do on that branch? An axe? A small knife?
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Offline jontok

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #75 on: February 09, 2014, 11:16:19 AM »
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.
They do. It's called the X10. Only 2" shorter than the SFA.

Nature Boy: Great looking machete!

As for the original question, I'd probably choose an axe. I do have a machete, but it's too big for anything other than garden work, and I can't get them as easily here as you guys can.
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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #76 on: February 09, 2014, 11:21:47 AM »


Been there, done that. I understand the issue now. I've run into LOTS of vine maple and willow that behaves the same way.
The secret I've learned with a machete is never attack something limber bobbing in the breeze with  a direct, 90o chop. (As an observation aside, if you strike something brittle and it breaks rather than gets cut, mission accomplished anyway, right?)
What I do with these pesky branches is strike with at least a 45o angle. Make the cut from the floppy end toward the root/trunk. That gives the branch a solid base against which the force of your blow with have some effect. "Cross cutting" with a machete is a last resort.
In your experiment with the stick held up on the chopping block with sandbags, I would not whack it like I was swinging a baseball bat. I'd strike downward forcing the butt of the stick against the block. Worst case scenario, I would not cut through it on the first swing, but I'd be standing there with the blade stuck deeply in the stick and the stick still resting on the block. Rotate it, and do it again. Try it. Amaze your friends who have been batting that stick across the yard in frustration.

Next question, in all sincerity...what cutting instrument (other than a saw which is arguably not a "blade") would have done the job you wanted to do on that branch? An axe? A small knife?

I use that technique on green wood as well as dry wood. It works great! :thumbsup:

My complaint isn't when it breaks or snaps, it's when it doesn't, and then I have a sharp blade flung back at me. If I'm just going to bash through the stuff I might at well use another stick and avoid having a sharp edge in the mix.

To answer your question, I would choose a saw. My machete in the box on my ATV has actually been replaced by my home made buck saw. But you eliminated that as an option. So in that situation, I'd find a nice stout green stick and cut it to size with my knife, then bash my way through. Or as I mentioned back on the first page, I'd just walk around it. ;)

Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #77 on: February 09, 2014, 11:38:26 AM »


Its obvious you prefer the Machete Nick, I'm not sure if you mentioned what type of woods you roam?

And THAT is the key to the whole thing! :D

My choice to pick something other than a machete has nothing to do with machetes and everything to do with WHERE I am and the kind of tool I need.

I guess the question was not as simple as it seemed... it's not as much a question of where you are "at home or in the woods" but what has the "most application" in all situations... how about this...if your bug out bag had enough room for just one blade item and with all your knowledge of what YOU need and have knowledge of its intended use, and you had seconds to decide (as you were headed out the door) what would you choose?

Remember this is a hypothetical question, just your own choice.

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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #78 on: February 09, 2014, 11:39:35 AM »
.... Or as I mentioned back on the first page, I'd just walk around it. ;)
:thumbsup: The first rules of woodsmanship taught to me by my Gpa: "Never climb over anything you can climb under; never step on anything you can step over; never go through anything you can go around."
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Offline acara

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #79 on: February 09, 2014, 11:42:06 AM »
"Where you are" definately has a lot to do with it.

I'm just learning how to use an axe, and they definately are a lot more efficient on the larger hardwoods. I did a north Georgia camp last month (same place that the pictures of me using the kukri) and this year, I left the kukri behind and took an axe (to make myself use it).

Same camp, same woods, same conditions ...... I spent a lot less time processing firewood & a lot more time camping.... so I definately see why an axe is the right tool in places & why a lot of people prefer them.

To PW's point ..... Machete vs a hardwood knot will rattle your teeth & I've tackled some stuff with a machete that I shouldn't have. A glancing blow, or a blade flex that whips the machete out of your hand will put the fear of god in ya  >:D
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #80 on: February 09, 2014, 11:43:48 AM »
.... how about this...if your bug out bag had enough room for just one blade item and with all your knowledge of what YOU need and have knowledge of its us, and you had seconds to decide (as you were headed out the door) what would you choose?

Remember this is a hypothetical question, just your own choice.
Now we're into a different realm. We don't get too many "hypothetical" question threads here. Elsewhere they do not end well, and for the most part the gang here is too practical to entertain "what if" topics.

 :popcorn:
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #81 on: February 09, 2014, 11:45:55 AM »
I withdraw the question. :hail:

 :)
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #82 on: February 09, 2014, 11:55:43 AM »
I withdraw the question. :hail:

 :)
Now don't do that! It's a great question, and I for one am enjoying it and learning quite a bit about how folks do things. And besides, without this thread I'd have never learned to "never attack something limber bobbing in the breeze." ;D Now THAT'S a sig line waiting to happen!

I also think op's grandpa was a wise man, and a lot of stuff I try to cut could just be ignored and worked around!

Also, I didn't know there was an x10, but I do now!

So, great thread, IMHO! :thumbsup:
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Offline SwampHanger

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #83 on: February 09, 2014, 12:02:37 PM »
Lol this isn't the first to spiral.  But there are some good replys.  I'm with OP's Gpa walk around.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #84 on: February 09, 2014, 12:03:36 PM »
Okay, okay, I'll play.
Out the door in a big rush, huh?  Well, I always have my Leatherman on my belt, and two folders in my pockets (one tanto style and my Kershaw Blackout, so those are a gimme.
If I had to grab something handy and useful, I guess it would now be the 14 1/2" Bowie knife on my desk here. My two axes (26" camp axe and 36" DB chopper are right next to the front door, so if I wasn't on foot, I'd grab them. BUT you said just ONE, so I'll go with the Bowie.
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #85 on: February 09, 2014, 12:03:47 PM »
I withdraw the question. :hail:

 :)
Now don't do that! It's a great question, and I for one am enjoying it and learning quite a bit about how folks do things. And besides, without this thread I'd have never learned to "never attack something limber bobbing in the breeze." ;D Now THAT'S a sig line waiting to happen!

I also think op's grandpa was a wise man, and a lot of stuff I try to cut could just be ignored and worked around!



Also, I didn't know there was an x10, but I do now!

So, great thread, IMHO! :thumbsup:

Yeah, it was a good one!!  LOL!! Cool to see the passion this lifestyle and B&B forum can generate. It's all about B&B!!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 12:19:25 PM by NickChillADAHY »
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #86 on: February 09, 2014, 12:43:25 PM »
   I stayed out & just read the posts on this one, as I have seen these topics spiral out of usefulness before. I just wanted to say that I am happy to see this one go so well.
 :thumbsup:


But I am gonna throw in my "take" now.
 :)


   Environment would be the key for me to decide on just one blade to choose. But I do not limit myself to what I carry anyway. I don't carry an axe year round, but I could. I tend to use it mostly in winter. Same with a bow/buck saw. The only times I carry those things other than winter is when I know I will need them for sure.


   I have always carried a knife year round, without exception since I was old enough to demonstrate safe use as a lad. I would consider it a necessity to have one on me at all times when out in the wilds. A good sized folder in a pinch , but I prefer a fixed blade.  I carry both, but if I had to make a choice, the fixed blade wins me over. Tools with joints tend to break more/wear out more often than those without, IME.


     I have owned a machete since I was a young adult. It saw more use on a trout stream for clearing a path, or when busting shooting lanes for deer hunting(mostly archery, some shotgun). I have also used a corn knife in a like manner, but the machete took a bigger swath as it was longer. But, later on, I guess I was like wsdstan is now, in not fully taking the time to really check one out, & I  was intrigued by the Gerber Gator. I liked th idea of a saw back machete. When I went to Mills Fleet Farm to check them out, I left the store with the Gator Jr. rather than the full size.(about $20 at the time. Gator was about $30 or so) I made that choice since I already had a couple full size machetes & wanted to take a shot at a smaller version.


     Well, contrary to most folks opinion of these gator machetes, I like the lil guy, & it has been a carry with me on almost every outing since then.( I am thinkin 2-1/2 years) Compact but still does a good job for what I ask it to do. I can do small tasks to a point, & large tasks to a point. The big bro Gator would likely be a better choice on even larger stuff that I ask the Jr. one to do. The saw back even works for simple sawing tasks. This is the tool I would take on a Pot & machete trip with the folks in Fla., if I got the chance to go. Not an axe. Different environment completely.


  So, my decision to answer the OP question would be hard to make, unless I take environmental &/or climate in consideration. When in winter in Minn. I would choose the axe for sure & I could still use it for most other tasks except path making/brush clearing year round. (I can do it, but wouldn't want to) The machete is useful year round, but if I was to spend a lot of time out in the winter , I think it would not compare to the usefulness of the axe. If I lived in other environments, I am sure I would need to reconsider my choice of a single tool. But, as I sit here & knowing what I do about the environment here, what my skill level is & what needs I would have here. The axe wins.( winter time here in cold country, is the key to that choice), but the machete(or a Big knife) ranks right up next to it. Surviving up here with a knife is possible also, but when you have to maintain a fire for heat for long periods & have decent long term shelter up here in winter, you are most likely gonna want an axe, if ya make it a "one" tool choice. Or, a person will find themselves needing to change environments to a warmer one. OSIT
 ;)
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline wolfy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #87 on: February 09, 2014, 01:27:21 PM »
Fie on thee, accursed machete, instrument of brutish, demoralizing, ponderous and perpetual labor! :soap:




...........but that's just me. :shrug:
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Offline SwampHanger

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #88 on: February 09, 2014, 01:31:47 PM »
I'm with Wolfy they are as useless as bib coveralls.  ;)

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #89 on: February 09, 2014, 01:51:23 PM »


I guess the question was not as simple as it seemed... it's not as much a question of where you are "at home or in the woods" but what has the "most application" in all situations... how about this...if your bug out bag had enough room for just one blade item and with all your knowledge of what YOU need and have knowledge of its intended use, and you had seconds to decide (as you were headed out the door) what would you choose?

Remember this is a hypothetical question, just your own choice.

Now THAT is a tough choice. I want a knife of some sort but I also want the ability to process bigger wood for tools, shelter, fire, etc. In that situation I think I would want a tip-heavy blade of more flexible steel. As inelegant as they are, a Cold Steel "Kukri Machete" might be a good compromise between agility and power. Making a decision that fast would be tough though. I would really rather have 3 knives a saw and a small axe in my area.

I can say this about machetes, I have NO experience trying to use them for anything other than chopping saplings and vegetation. I've never tried to process food with them, or carve anything with them. But I do know that I like the feel of a 3-4" knife for carving and a 8-10" knife for chopping vegetables and other kitchen chores.

I think the big lesson in all this (for me anyway) is that a sheath that holds multiple tools is a very valuable thing! That way when you do grab your axe, saw or machete, you will be grabbing a knife or two as well. ;)

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #90 on: February 09, 2014, 02:19:50 PM »
...

I think the big lesson in all this (for me anyway) is that a sheath that holds multiple tools is a very valuable thing! That way when you do grab your axe, saw or machete, you will be grabbing a knife or two as well. ;)
The guy I spent 6 months in a tent with in the mountains of Washington State was ex-Air Force Special Operations. He had a rig he'd custom designed that was like part of him. He had a heavy leather sheath for a standard military issue machete, and a sheath piggybacked on it for his issue Ka-Bar style knife. I thought that was a slick rig, and both tools were right at his fingertips on his hip. In over a year, I never saw the guy use an axe once.
He was quite an edged weapons history buff.  Once when we were talking about 'evil things that lurk in the forest' he made an observation. "Push come to shove, would you rather have a Roman gladius, or a Nordic battle axe?  How did that work out for those boys?"  :P
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #91 on: February 09, 2014, 02:32:04 PM »
...

I think the big lesson in all this (for me anyway) is that a sheath that holds multiple tools is a very valuable thing! That way when you do grab your axe, saw or machete, you will be grabbing a knife or two as well. ;)
The guy I spent 6 months in a tent with in the mountains of Washington State was ex-Air Force Special Operations. He had a rig he'd custom designed that was like part of him. He had a heavy leather sheath for a standard military issue machete, and a sheath piggybacked on it for his issue Ka-Bar style knife. I thought that was a slick rig, and both tools were right at his fingertips on his hip. In over a year, I never saw the guy use an axe once.
He was quite an edged weapons history buff.  Once when we were talking about 'evil things that lurk in the forest' he made an observation. "Push come to shove, would you rather have a Roman gladius, or a Nordic battle axe?  How did that work out for those boys?"  :P
Now that's a good idea, OP, IMO.

I have a BK9 that I really, really like and a BK14 rides on it, and a leatherman wave fits nicely in the pouch. Lots of utility (and weight) in that package! I did the same with a RAT7 and ESEE3. Now either one of those outfits would answer a lot of cutting needs very well.

Next to an axe, I'd figure that BK (especially coupled with that 14) would be a VERY close second choice.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #92 on: February 09, 2014, 02:52:00 PM »
....

Next to an axe, I'd figure that BK (especially coupled with that 14) would be a VERY close second choice.
Sew a pair of testicles on that BK9 and you have a machete. Just sayin'..... ;D
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Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #93 on: February 09, 2014, 02:56:02 PM »
....

Next to an axe, I'd figure that BK (especially coupled with that 14) would be a VERY close second choice.
Sew a pair of testicles on that BK9 and you have a machete. Just sayin'..... ;D

???

Sorry, I don't get it... :shrug:

:)
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #94 on: February 09, 2014, 03:18:53 PM »
....

Next to an axe, I'd figure that BK (especially coupled with that 14) would be a VERY close second choice.
Sew a pair of testicles on that BK9 and you have a machete. Just sayin'..... ;D

 ???

Sorry, I don't get it... :shrug:

 :)
If you like the BK9, step it up about 4" into machete/parang class. Then you'll have a BK9 "with a pair".  ;)
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Offline Adahy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #95 on: February 09, 2014, 03:37:00 PM »
Fie on thee, accursed machete, instrument of brutish, demoralizing, ponderous and perpetual labor! :soap:




...........but that's just me. :shrug:

 :rofl: :rofl:
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Offline windy

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2018, 10:08:10 AM »
Like Wolfie, I've spent a lot of time with machetes; Interstate 5 along Boeing Field was once as wide as my state-issued Collins 22" Navy machete had made it--and a lot of that was tunneled; the blackberries were 16-20' high in places, and I was the brushcutter on the baseline survey crew, northbound and southbound.  Puget Sound country grows blackberry, devil's club and vine maple just to make surveyors work for their living.  Subsequently I owned my own survey company and never found the equal of the 22" Collins for our type of brush.  Now that I'm retired and my wrist isn't what it useta be, I pack an 18" or even smaller for the 50 feet or so of blackberry that grows up between me and my 4runner every time I step off the road to pursue the wily blacktail or, more often these days, grouse, but for getting a line of sight--and in the old days, a 300' Chrome-clad surveyor's chain (steel tape to the un-initiate)--through the bush, the Collins was the tool and everything else was a toy.  Those old blades were forged, not stamped, and had a distal taper that directed the force where it was needed.  My Green River lambsplitter goes with me, though, in the backpack with the wheels and axle for my buck-barrow when I hafta truck meat down off the mountain.  Glad I found this site--looks like somebody's stepping up to fill the Collins gap.
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Offline lgm

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #97 on: January 08, 2018, 11:06:07 AM »
Old post but the info is still good.
My only experience with machetes is limited & more fun the work.
What a great day to be outside.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #98 on: January 11, 2018, 11:27:58 PM »
Like Wolfie, I've spent a lot of time with machetes; Interstate 5 along Boeing Field was once as wide as my state-issued Collins 22" Navy machete had made it--and a lot of that was tunneled; the blackberries were 16-20' high in places, and I was the brushcutter on the baseline survey crew, northbound and southbound.  Puget Sound country grows blackberry, devil's club and vine maple just to make surveyors work for their living.  Subsequently I owned my own survey company and never found the equal of the 22" Collins for our type of brush.  Now that I'm retired and my wrist isn't what it useta be, I pack an 18" or even smaller for the 50 feet or so of blackberry that grows up between me and my 4runner every time I step off the road to pursue the wily blacktail or, more often these days, grouse, but for getting a line of sight--and in the old days, a 300' Chrome-clad surveyor's chain (steel tape to the un-initiate)--through the bush, the Collins was the tool and everything else was a toy.  Those old blades were forged, not stamped, and had a distal taper that directed the force where it was needed.  My Green River lambsplitter goes with me, though, in the backpack with the wheels and axle for my buck-barrow when I hafta truck meat down off the mountain.  Glad I found this site--looks like somebody's stepping up to fill the Collins gap.
windy
Hey, Windy!
I grew up in the Puyallup Valley.  A lot of folks wonder why I favor a machete over a hatchet, or even an ax.  Western Washington is thick with blackberries, Devil's Club, and Vine Maple, just as you describe. I cleared blackberry vines off 3 residential lots on Whidbey Island in the '50s with my Dad and two machetes.  And I was using the same machete in the '90s when I cleared the backyard of my new home.
I consider the machete the most versatile utility blade there is for every thing short of felling full sized trees. (I've even used mine as a spatula when flippin' pancakes)
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Just one edge...a Machete??
« Reply #99 on: January 14, 2018, 05:44:02 AM »
somehow,  I just can't buy into the "just one blade" silliness.   I have never, EVER gone afield with a single sharp.