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Machete recommendations?

 
pollinator
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Ontario machetes. I own four of them, two long and two short. Nice cutting profile, not too thick or thin, and nicely tempered high-carbon steel that takes a scary sharp and durable edge. Great for woody materials.

The only Cold Steel machete I bought was awful. I swear it was made from the door panel of an army truck. That does not apply to the Cold Steel Spetznaz-design shovel, which is an amazing mini tool for digging or chopping, and I own three.

I sharpened a Camillus Les Stroud machete for a friend a few weeks ago. Good steel, good heft and took a great edge, though the geometry is a bit more hatchet than knife.
 
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Ontario machetes. I own four of them, two long and two short. Nice cutting profile, not too thick or thin, and nicely tempered high-carbon steel that takes a scary sharp and durable edge. Great for woody materials.

The only Cold Steel machete I bought was awful. I swear it was made from the door panel of an army truck. That does not apply to the Cold Steel Spetznaz-design shovel, which is an amazing mini tool for digging or chopping, and I own three.

I sharpened a Camillus Les Stroud machete for a friend a few weeks ago. Good steel, good heft and took a great edge, though the geometry is a bit more hatchet than knife.



I'm not personally much of a fan of the Ontario machetes. Ones from the 80's and earlier have more comfortable scales and a much better blade geometry with better, deeper primary grinds that lighten the blade up considerably. In economical machetes Imacasa is my top brand of choice, and Tramontina is a staple maker as well. Incolma/Gavilan is also a solid choice.  

Also this is an 8 year old thread.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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Ah well, Yes hunts was looking to drive traffic to a linked site, so I thought it was a (thin) excuse to jump in.

I haven't seen newer Ontarios -- hope their quality control didn't slip. Mine are all oldies and have served very well in bushcraft type use. I would take them on a self-propelled trip in the North woods any time.

But to each his own. I'd love to take the well-respected brands you mention for a spin.
 
Benjamin Bouchard
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Ah well, Yes hunts was looking to drive traffic to a linked site, so I thought it was a (thin) excuse to jump in.

I haven't seen newer Ontarios -- hope their quality control didn't slip. Mine are all oldies and have served very well in bushcraft type use. I would take them on a self-propelled trip in the North woods any time.

But to each his own. I'd love to take the well-respected brands you mention for a spin.



Yeah the old ones aren't my favorite vintage machetes (those'd be Collins) but they're quite solid. Not the least bit bad. The newer ones swapped phenolic scales for polypropylene and they did a poor job of copying the shape of the old handles. The old ones LOOK boxy but feel nice in the hand while the new ones FEEL boxy and have to be totally reworked in order to be comfortable. The full flat grind on the old ones is nice and deep and actually gives a notable improvement in cutting performance, while the new ones are so shallowly ground as to make the full flat grind essentially vestigial and meaningless, which leaves too much forward mass in the blade and makes it awkward and dead-feeling in the hand. The older ones are nice and lively.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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You know, now that you mention it, I did notice that one of my short Ontario machetes had a handle that seemed "off" compared to my full-size oldies. Boxy! - that describes it well. It's a different material, and a different shape. It's still a good tool for my purposes. But I hate it when manufacturers fix something that ain't broke. Too often it means the final decisions have moved from engineering/shop floor to the accounting department. As to the grind and bevels, I rapidly tweak those until it "feels" right in use. Cheers!
 
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Great thread!

A few years ago I went through machete phase as I was cleaning up debris in my woods. I had a pretty plain 18” machete one can buy at pretty much any store where you can buy a machete.  I think it was called a Gator saw back blade.  It was cheap and nothing special but I slashed through a lot or brambles and sawed through a lot of fallen branches.

I also found a reasonably decent bill hook that was great at gathering and clearing away lots of flexible brambles.

But the machete I would really like to get would be a kukri style machete.  I do have a cheap, short one, but it is great for chopping.  I just trimmed a tree using it and it is nice and light but chops almost as well as an axe.

Food for thought,

Eric
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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FWIW, maintaining a heavily wooded property, I don't use my machetes nearly as much as I used to. I guess I don't backpack into uncharted crown land as much any more.

Now, a curved pruning saw, battery sawzall, and heavy-duty loppers are faster and more efficient. But not nearly as impressive to city visitors, hahah.
 
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