View Full Version : The ultimate machete???

04-25-2006, 06:53 AM
I've beem looking for the best machete (Alabama in the summer... let's just say you need one). I've been told that the Parang/Kukri style is the best the only one I've been able to find is the coldsteel. I like cold steel, got a couple of their folders, but the price is throwing me off. Also, although the finish on them is tactical I think I'd rather have a finish that is going to be easier to clean/sharpen. Any links/pics/opinions would be appreciated, trying to keep the price around 2 to 3 hundred. Thanks fellas!!!

04-25-2006, 07:21 AM
Take a look at the Martindale machetes. These are made in England based on old designs from many areas of the British Empire. Brigade QM stocks most of the models. <a href="http://www.actiongear.com" target="_blank">http://www.actiongear.com (http://www.actiongear.com)</a>

04-25-2006, 07:24 AM
How about one of these?
Its the new British Army Survival machete. Nice simple, cheap design for tough Jungle use. Long comfortable handle, wide blade to use as a hammer, blade swell adds weight forward, tough DPM Cordura sheath with whetstone pocket, shouler strap and belt attachment.
A few issues with army style low level of finish but nothing an hour wouldn't sort out.
Design apparently from British army feedback on what a machete/golok should be.
Overall-not bad.
Made by Martindale.

04-25-2006, 07:27 AM
Ever looked at the machetes they use in South America? Cheap POS things. Usually just an old flat piece of steel that they sharpened and attached a handle to. And those guys USE them.

Just get the cheapest one you can find. IF it fails (and I doubt it will) just replace it.

04-25-2006, 07:45 AM
For the best Khukri, go here:
HI (http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=739)

They'll answer any questions you have...

04-25-2006, 10:46 AM

04-25-2006, 11:12 AM
My vote is for a Valiant Survival Golok, I've got one and while I don't have a ton of Spanish Moss and other scary southern vegetation to deal with, it is a terrific tool and the value is unbeatable. They look like odd little tourist knick-nacks but they cut as deep as a divorce lawyer.

Couple of reviews below:



Available from here:


04-25-2006, 03:46 PM
I'e used lots Machettes in my line of work and Iv'e found that the Tromontilia(?sp) 24" model the best. Shorter machettes make you work too hard and lack reach. Mine costs around $10 at the local hardware store.

Also, I despise a "knuckle" gaurd of any sort. I'll try to find a link for one.

04-25-2006, 04:13 PM


and only $5.99...

04-25-2006, 05:13 PM
Another vote for the Tromontina. I have two generic machettes of a different brand, I sharpen them with a bench grinder, and they can't be beat. Check out what US Cavalry sells. I've chopped down a few 12" diameter trees with them, along with brush.


The Sawback is a nice addition, until it bounces back into your wrist.

04-26-2006, 07:26 AM
I'm with those guys saying just get a cheap one. If you use a machete for its intended purpose, you're going to just plain abuse it so there's no point in getting something overly expensive. The cheap ones might not hold the edge of the expensive ones but the softer metal sure sharpens a lot easier. Plus if you wreck that machete, just buy another one and you've spent a grand total of 20 bucks on two.

04-26-2006, 08:33 AM

Good find. I've got an old mil. surplus one already, but as soon as I destroy it, I'll have to pick one of those up for $6.

04-26-2006, 08:55 AM
My thoughs are that what type of machete you need depends on what you are planning to do with it and how often.

If you think you might be cutting light timber, eg saplings and stuff up to say 2"-3" then I think you really want something with a fair bit of weight at the pointy end, as I find blades with weight at the end of the blade are better for "real" chopping.

If you are not going to be chopping light timber then this is less important.

The same for steel quality. I think you you are going to be chopping light timber, then I reckon you want a better steel.

It doesn't have to be Carbon V or INFI, etc , but then again a lump of railway track beaten into the shape of a machete in a 3rd world forge or stamped out of mild steel is probably not going to help you.

If you are only going to be cutting grass and brush, then the weight placement if probably less essential as is the steel quality.

I'd also suggest that you do not get a kukri - these are not that good for a machete type role in my opinion. I carried one in this role on a couple of exercises and tried cutting cam poles (that light timber again) with it and just ended up using my 7.5ish" Aitor Oso Blanco bowie instead.

I will admit my kukri was/is a local village type kukri bought in Nepal that is commonly used for every thing in village life over there, so it was cheap and not necesarily the best steel.

Also a kukri, like any blade with a concave edge is more difficult to sharpen, depending on how concave the blade is - trust me I have a couple including that Oso Blanco.

Personally I'd be happy with golok (ie old Brit/Aussie army style), pharang (Malay style) or something like that Brit army "survival machete" above.

I prefer these designs, because all though they have weight at the pointy end, the edge is relatively straight and therefore easy to sharpen.

I also prefer weight in the right place over length and extra leverage because if you are weilding it in a tight place, i.e scrub, woods, then the less length the less chance you have of accidently hitting something you don't mean to on the backswing, with all the attendant risk.
I.e. I'd take an 18" over 24" if the 18" had weight in the right place.

But when I use a blade that size I usually want to chop more substantial stuff like light tiimber or through bone.

If you are doing that sort of thing a small file is good for sharpening.

04-26-2006, 10:58 AM
Fireball, thanks alot for your post, very informative... The el cheapo is tempting, but I prefer the weight to length aspect of the golock. I should have been more specific this needs to not only be a straight up machete, but all round field knife, and suit all other military applications.

04-26-2006, 02:20 PM
I know I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The classic knife-type machete is designed to cut the softer vegetation common to jungles. A good part of North America has underbrush that is more woody bush. The golock is okay for this, but the Woodman's Pal is better, though heavier and not as general purpose. For cutting trees the axe/saw is better yet.

If you want a general purpose blade for infrequent use, look at the Martindale Paratrooper knife (about $25). This is a short, knife-type machete with a heavier blade and an edge more axe-like. (I'm working on an article for The Backwoodsman Magazine on this tool.)

I think the best approach is to look at what you will be doing with the tool, and rank in order of task, then select the tool best designed to do what you will be doing but still capable of doing the secondary tasks.

04-26-2006, 03:19 PM
I hear that with the light timber. Definetly need a heavier blade. For that type of stuff I have a camp knife (aka bolo, trench knife) from K-Bar. Works great and it's got good weight in the blade but balance at the same time. I've just never needed to actually hack through timber type on the move. It's definetly shorter than a machete but great quality. Anyway, that's another option if you don't quite want the length of the machete.

04-26-2006, 03:26 PM
Ralph- I've chopped down live 12" Oak trees with the Tromontina before. Even though the machete's are designed for lighter duty, when hitting an object about a 1/3 of the way down the blade, one gets some incredible penetration with a 24" blade, hence my preference for them. This parallels Fireballs thoughts on tip weight. When using a little leverage in your favor things get interesting. I've had them sink so far in White Pines that I could hardly get the blade back out.

04-26-2006, 04:52 PM
I'd second Fireball on this, the OZ army issue golock is as good as anything I have used. Although I do like the Cold SteelKukri (model #35 GLS) which unfortunately was discontinued. It has the same size and heft of an issue kukri, but with better steel and a kraton grip. It lacks some heft over a golock, but is far more convenient to carry on belt order (basic webbing) than a golock (could be why you see so many golocks cut down a little?), and cuts just about as well. Mine was used mostly for stretcher poles, and clearing brush for hides, etc.
The golock, however, is still available and a damn sight cheaper, while still having good quality steel. The Martindale bush knife looks to be even better, but how much will it cost, if that is important to you?

Cheers, Dave.

04-26-2006, 05:58 PM
Brigade Quartermasters had a really good deal on the Martindale Golok. Not sure if it's still going on. I haven't tried one, but I hear good things about the Bark River Golok. Different price range.

04-26-2006, 06:37 PM
Doc, is the kukri you were talking about the LTC, cause I've been eyeballin' that one for a while... http://www.coldsteel.com/35ltc.html ... Let me know what you think.

04-26-2006, 11:53 PM
Camillus Becker BK6


04-27-2006, 03:52 AM
It's hard to beat a Ontario 12"

04-27-2006, 04:27 AM
Tinkerbell, no it's the mini-kukri model #35 GLS. Imagine Cold Steels' lightweight kukri, but about 75% the size. Or roughly the same size as my old Nepalese kukri. The LTC is a much bigger blade, and heavier too.
The 35 GLS is smaller, lighter, and can be used in all the standard Bando kata, for knife fighting (if that sort of thing floats your boat). It lacks a bit in the chopping department, because of the lack of blade mass, but what is there is well balanced and proportioned.
It makes for a good bush knife, but if you plan on chopping down trees, it may take a while!

Cheers, Dave.

04-27-2006, 04:37 AM
Tinkerbell, I just went back and read your other post (I know, I should have read it before I answered your question to me, but hey, it's been a long day in Physio!). If you do want a 35 GLS, don't buy one of the cheap, **** chinese copies via ebay. ring or email Cold Steel, I did when I found out they were being discontinued, and got one from someones (I think it was Lynn's) private stash. (The guys at Cold Steel are great when looking after servicemen, even us Aussies), when I explained that it was to replace one that had been stolen.

It may not work, but it is sure worth a try!

Best of luck, hope it works out for you.

Cheers, Dave.

04-27-2006, 04:56 AM
Tinkerbell, I just had an associate mention another knife you might want to look at, a Wilkinson Sword JS1 survival knife. Very solid construction, easy to sharpen, and holds an edge well. Similar in construction to the golock, but with a more conventional knife shape.

I used one for many years, after instructing in survival techniques in the OZ army. The standard issue suvival blade (the USAF survival knife) breaks with depressing regularity when subjected to the stresses of actual hard use in the field.

We were told to find the "soldier proof knife". As anyone knows, nothing is grunt proof, you put a grunt in the middle of the desert with an anvil and 20 mins later the anvil would be broken.

But the JS1 comes awfully close, we hammered one into the heaving beam (chin-up bar) at the school, and used it as an anchor point to winch the front end of a Land Rover off the ground, with no damage to the knife. If that's the sort of toughness you are looking for, it might be worth a look.

Cheers, Dave.

04-27-2006, 06:31 AM
I have used a bunch of big blades from kukris to machetes and bowies. The best big blade chopping knife I have found is the kershaw outcast. However, be honest with what you are going to use it for. If it is for chopping firewood and such, I carry a small folding saw because it does the work of cutting wood quicker and easier with less effort. Although I love a good axe the saw is just better.

04-27-2006, 07:36 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Doc:
Tinkerbell, I just had an associate mention another knife you might want to look at, a Wilkinson Sword JS1 survival knife. Very solid construction, easy to sharpen, and holds an edge well. Similar in construction to the golock, but with a more conventional knife shape.
I heard from a friend of mine who is a bit of a knife buff that Wilkinson Sword are either no longer around, or don't make "real" cutlery anymore, only razors - I follwed this up and it looks like he is right.

http://www.wilkinson-swords.co.uk/swordinfo.php for details


If the JS1 is one of the bright knives in the foreground above, then I'd love to know if you know where to get one - they were the exact knife I was discussing with my mate when he told me about the demise of wilkinsonsword into wilkinson razors.

The second from foreground one is now apparently available from Joseph Rodgers, which is interesting, because I have head of them referred as Joseph Rodgers knives ( http://www.eggintongroup.co.uk/rogers1.htm )before, but have also seen articles claiming they are the foreunners to the bright knife in the foreground.

As for the "one true field knife", my opinion, which I think pretty closely resembles the conventional wisdom, is there is no such thing.

I think ideally the best solution is something big ass, eg machete or large bowie and something small, eg swiss army knife, multitool or perhaps conventional folder.

If this is going to be your only or main general purpose field knife I'd personally consider something of higher quality and presumably cost, not just in terms of steel, but in general terms of fit and finish. It would suck to be in the middle of nowhere and have your knife fail, just because the fit of say the handle well fitted and wobbled or came off all together and perhaps left you with a tang too small to be useful.

But again your likely scenario will dictate your choice. eg whether you will often be solo or a LONG way from help/civilisation, whether it needs to be a true, potentially bet your life on it in a knife fight type knife or wether it will be a no doubt convenient but not essential tool.

04-27-2006, 09:14 AM
Atrick-pay, awesome link!!! The brute looks great. Doc, thanks for the info, can't find the JS1 though, and I would love to check it out. Fireball, I'm lookin' for something that's good at alot of things, but not great at any one thing, and is indestructible, or as close as it gets. Something that's not to long, so it doesn't attract "rambo" jokes, but long enough to get through the brush. Somtehing that if it came down to it, it would be all I need. Thanks fellas, hold it down, and keep it real... yo...

04-27-2006, 05:42 PM
Fireball, the JS1 is the knife in the centre of your pic. The shiny one is the Wilkinson Sword survival knife, which was their answer to the 'hollow handle' knives.
Tinkerbell, the combo I used for many years was the JS1 and either a Leatherman super tool, or a Gerber Multi Tool. The JS1 got used for all the big jobs, and the Multi tools got used for making the stuff that needed other tools to make, ie: turning fencing wire into fishing spear prongs, running repairs on other tools, stuff like that. Those multi-tools are so darn useful, I dont know how we all managed without one, at one stage they were even issued in the OZ Army.
If you cannot find a JS1, then Becker Knife &amp; Tool make somthing similar called a Brute, at a reasonable price. They seem to be almost as indestructible as the JS1 and Beckers warranty is very good.
If you decide you want a JS1 and cannot find one, give me a yell. I still have my original one from the trials, which has worked well over the years, so well, I bought another one, in case they stopped making them.
It's still new, in its box, sitting in my spare gear footlocker. Since I don't do all that much bush work now I'm in a wheelchair for a while, if you need it, and you're heading off somewhere chasing the bad guys, then I'm sure we can come to an agreement. The surgeons don't seem to think that I will deploy again, there being a shortage of jobs for wheelchair bound medics in the Army. So if someone still doing the job needs it, I think I can stand to let the spare one go.

Cheers, Dave.

04-27-2006, 08:02 PM
Doc, wow, thanks for the offer, I would feel like a total jackhole for taking you up on that, I really appreciate though, and all the great advice... I'll keep hunting for the JS1, but the brute is real nice too!

04-27-2006, 08:43 PM
Tell me what you think of this:
<a href="http://www.plan-a.org/mmhw/sb.htm" target="_blank">http://www.plan-a.org/mmhw/sb.htm (http://www.plan-a.org/mmhw/sb.htm)</a>

04-28-2006, 12:27 AM
Looks nice, a bit big though. Good blade design, a full width tang (something I insist on my knives having since I had a USMC combat knife (not neccesarily a Ka-Bar but the same design) snap on me, when I really needed it to work.
However, If you feel comfortable with a knife this size, then why not?
Personally, given the size and cost constraints, I'd go with a Becker either the 9" or preferably the 7" blades.
Cutlery Shoppe are doing them for about 10% off list at the moment, and in a choice of cammo colours. That should leave you plenty of $$$ to blow on a Multi-tool.

Cheers, Dave.

04-28-2006, 12:57 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Doc:
Fireball, the JS1 is the knife in the centre of your pic. The shiny one is the Wilkinson Sword survival knife, which was their answer to the 'hollow handle' knives.


If you cannot find a JS1, then Becker Knife &amp; Tool make somthing similar called a Brute, at a reasonable price. They seem to be almost as indestructible as the JS1 and Beckers warranty is very good.
If you decide you want a JS1 and cannot find one, give me a yell. I still have my original one from the trials, which has worked well over the years, so well, I bought another one, in case they stopped making them.
I </div></div>Re the Wilkinson Sword survival knife, that is what I had always heard them called, but when I heard you mentions the WS JS1 I sort of wondered if that was the correct model name for them.

I have never head the JS1 called that before. I'd always heard it called the MOD Survival Knife, MOD Jungle Knife or the Joseph Rodgers.

There are definately still being made, Silverman's for one retails them <a href="http://www.military.co.uk," target="_blank">http://www.military.co.uk (http://www.military.co.uk,),</a> and as stated above I think eggingtons (see link above) manufactures them under the Joseph Rodgers name/brand.

I have a crows foot marked mil issue one, though I am not sure if it is UK or Aust issue. It was bought in Aust at a gun show, iirc.

It is certainly a robust piece of cutlery, though I find it difficult to sharpen, cos of the ang;le of the grind, which I guess is a function of the width of the blade, which must be at least 0.25".

04-28-2006, 02:05 AM
Yep, a pretty hefty piece of kit. You don't even have to cut the bad guys, just smack them on the head with the flat of the blade, and they drop as though poleaxed.
The best way to sharpen, in my admittedly limited experience, is to simply sharpen the whole bevel, that seems to avoid the problem of increasing the shoulder.
We were told that while Wilkinson sword developed the knife for the MOD, Joeseph Rodgers got the winning bid to make them. We were told JS1 stood for 'Jungle &amp; Survival, Model 1'. Dunno if it's true, but it sounds plausible. I have also heard it called the "Para Survival Knife".

Cheers, Dave.

05-12-2006, 05:49 PM
Tinkerbell, does the Brute you are looking at have the Kydex sheath? If not, see if they have any left that do. The only drawbach to the JS1 is the very ordinary leather sheath that comes with it. I had a Cordura one made, by a mob called Arktis in the UK, with a pouch for a sharpening stone, far superior to the original.

Good luck with your choice!

Cheers, Dave.