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Oklahoma
06-15-2009, 07:53 AM
Hello from Oklahoma.

What experience does anyone have with shorter (12") style machete's? I carried a 12" traditional style one for 3-4 years while in the Army (That was 2 decades ago). It was attached to my ruck and helped me greaty in building hides and shelters.

Does anyone have a specific model machete they carry attached to their pack?

I am looking at getting a new one and may end up having a custom kydex sheath made for it to attach to my pack.

Thanks for any recomendations.

I am currently leaning toward the Ontario Knife Company models.

CP

docw
06-15-2009, 09:02 AM
I carry an RTAK by ontario. It's not a 12" and it's more of a heavy work camp knife. It's balanced well and has a very stout blade that maintains an edge well and a very comfortable micarta handle. The sheath has a PALS attachment on it. I love it.

one-eyed Bob
06-15-2009, 05:55 PM
Look at the Gerber model at Smokey Mountain Knife Works.

JasonB
06-15-2009, 06:49 PM
Light as a feather and sharpen easy:

http://www.eknifeworks.com/webapp/eCommerce/product.jsp?Mode=Brand&Brand=112&SKU=TR260412

Ralph
06-16-2009, 05:13 AM
I have several smaller machete-type tools.

The lightest and cheapest is a 12" with plastic handle usually sold as a "Survival" machete. I used a file to reshape the tip to a slight drop-point. I made the scabbard of doubled cordura with a MOLLE/belt hanger I designed a couple of years ago on the back and a flat pocket for a file on the front.

Next is a somwhat heavier 10" "Paratrooper" knife made by an English maker whose name escapes me. This has a beechwood handle and a 3/16" thick blade that came with an axe-type convex edge and a sharpened false edge at the tip. This was around $25. I rre-worked the edges with a file. The false edge was dulled and slightly reshaped to a slight drop point. I retained the convex edge at the heel for cutting wood and splitting then from about a third of the way up faired the edge into a thinner machete edge for cutting softer materials. Rather than go to the expense and delay of a Kydex sheath I cut the tip from a GI plastic sheath. This is banded with two 2" web loops sewn to a very tight fit and worked down over the sheath with a few drops of Barge cement. The back has 2" webbing fitted with the MOLLE/belt connecter mentioned above topped with a clip for a hip-drop. I sewed a loop at the bottom of the webbing to take a 1" webbing leg strap when carried with the hip-drop. The front is fitted with a flat pocket with a 6" file and an overlaid flat pocket holding an Aitor JK-1 skinner.

The last is a Woodman's Pal Jr., referred to in the non-PC instruction manual as "The White Man's Machete," and originally designed as a forester's tool with wood-cutting, brush hook and shovel edges. The machete works well on the softer plant life common to jungles but here in the NE the underbrush is mostly woody bushes that the Woodman's Pal handles nicely. This model was, and may still be, in the USAF survival kit.

I made a Cordura sheath based on the WWII design of a zip-open pouch with two interior flat pockets. One pocket holds the puck-type sharpener and the other a large All-Way saw handle with wood and metal cutting blades. A zipper pouch on the front (not part of the original design) holds a plastic bottle of mineral oil, a fire-making kit (mag-flint, striker and 6 TinderQuik) and reprints of the original 4 instruction manuals. The back has the same MOLLE/belt connecter mentioned above. This set is the heaviest and most expensive and is mostly carried in the truck.

I can snap some pictures of these if anyone is interested.

Oklahoma
06-17-2009, 06:50 PM
Photos of your set up would be great.

Thanks for all the info everyone.

CP

evanhill
06-17-2009, 07:24 PM
Ralph, are you talking about a martindale golock, or something else? Several years ago I remember seeing simple but very functional "british army knives" for sale from a famous british maker. Broad relatively thin blades, but shorter than 10". Might have been martindale, but I'm thinking it was something else. I'd be curious to see your setup as well.

I've tried a pretty wide gamut of sharpened machete type knives, starting with a blackjack kukri, and ending with a kershaw outcast (http://www.kershawknives.com/searchresults.php?brand=kershaw&search_by=productname&search_value=167_Outcast&x=84&y=6) which was the best of the bunch that I tried. Net / net, other than hacking through underbrush in a jungle or something (or that "some of these guys are a lot taller than me" scenario), I don't think any of them offer enough utility to overcome the weight penalty. I'd be interested in hearing more from folks using and liking these kinds of tools. What do you use them for? Why not a handaxe of the same weight? Why not a smaller lighter knife?

JasonB
06-17-2009, 07:33 PM
This?

http://www.heinnie.com/product.asp?P_ID=1482

evanhill
06-17-2009, 07:36 PM
I'll bet that is the knife Ralph has Jason. Looks like a good design.

The ones I was seeing were similar in construction but had 6" blades if I recall.

JasonB
06-17-2009, 08:00 PM
I'll bet that is the knife Ralph has Jason. Looks like a good design.

The ones I was seeing were similar in construction but had 6" blades if I recall.

This it?

http://www.sheffieldknives.co.uk/acatalog/info_108.html

http://cgi.ebay.com/BRITISH-FORCES-M-O-D-SURVIVAL-MACHETE-DPM-SHEATH_W0QQitemZ160341131227QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_ DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2555137fdb&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A1205%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

weekend warrior
06-17-2009, 08:04 PM
I've got one of the Martindale Goloks mentioned earlier. I like the blade and the balance but it came with a horrible handle that was installed very poorly. I made a new one from the "deer foot" end of an old axe handle and it turned out pretty well. It came with a miserable sheath too so for my money I basically got a soft piece of steel and that's about it.

I have one of the 22" Ontario models. The blade is kind of thick but the extra weight is good for heavier chopping. Again, I got one with the older brittle slab handles. The rivets loosened up and the slabs developed cracks. A call to ontario had me new slabs and rivets in my mailbox within a few days. A little time on the belt sander turned it into a nice tool.

Last but not least is a really junky corona machete I picked up from one of my buddies. He got a pair from the local home store to tackle some palmetto on some new property. The palmetto beat him down and the machete left him with some sore arms and blisters. These again have a miserable plastic blow molded handle that doesn't even come close to fitting flush. The thin blade is too light for cutting much other than very light brush and grasses.

If you can't tell from my comments you can get a useful blade for cheap but a lousy handle makes it miserable to use. If you decide to go with the ontario get one of the one piece molded handles vs the slabs. I think these may only come with the big "D" hand guard. They do protect your hands but I find them to get in the way terribly so I'd hack it off if I bought one.

JasonB
06-17-2009, 08:14 PM
I think these may only come with the big "D" hand guard. They do protect your hands but I find them to get in the way terribly so I'd hack it off if I bought one.

If the D guard ever cracks, ditch the whole machete or at least cut it off if using it barehand. Thought I repaired one with plastic welder, but the next time I smacked the guard off something I got one of the more painful experiences of my life. :D

Ralph
06-17-2009, 08:58 PM
Yes, that's the one, Martindale Paratrooper. The 6" knife Evan mentions is used by the British army as a field knife. It's a bit heavy for my taste. I got the Paratrooper because it was inexpensive, very durable and seemed like a useful shape/size for a general use large knife. Designing the sheath was an interesting project. I'll snap some pix soon (and figure out how to use the new posting method).

Evan is correct about the use of the machete in most of North America. The "big knife" varieties are very effective with soft, abundant vegetation but are less so with the woody bushes we get in the northern areas. A well-sharpened, longer blade has a high tip speed that cuts the stuff before it bounces away but is less effective the tougher the stem.

Many of these blades are fodder for the "if I had to choose only one" discussions. These are always interesting but essentially unrealistic since there is, in my experience, rarely a reason to go with only one of anything - depending, of course, on what you plan on doing.

The smaller (10-12") machetes are often suggested for compact survival kits to provide both chopping and slicing capability, particularly if you are not sure where you might be - aircraft survival kits, for instance. Doug Ritter mentions that the area in which he flies covers arid desert, sub-alpine forest, watered grassland and mountains with arctic conditions within a single hour of flight time. In small planes, as in backpacking, weight and bulk are serious considerations. On the other hand, while a 12" machete can be used as a slicer, fileting panfish with one would be a bit awkward.

I think Nessmuk pointed the way - a combination of tools optimized for the tasks expected. He carried a small hand axe for chopping and splitting, a medium belt knife for general use and a multi-blade folding knife for special uses. For most of North America I think the Woodman's Pal is a superior augmentation to the basic three-piece set.

evanhill
06-17-2009, 09:53 PM
Yep Jason, that's the one. Never handled one, but was always intrigued by the pictures.

Ralph, I think your post pretty much nails the options and their relative merits.

I have one of those little tiny Vaughan axes that is the same size as the tiny gransfors bruk. I picked it up at a garage sale for $5. It is light, but the handle was so short as to make the whole piece worthless (in my opinion of course). I'm in the process of re-hafting it with a custom juniper handle that is a couple of inches longer than the one that came on it. I'll do a post on the whole process when I'm done, but I will say that my initial tests with a sufficiently long handle on that little head yielded impressive chopping results for minimal weight.

JBR
06-17-2009, 11:19 PM
http://www.uscav.com/milmall/Productinfo.aspx?productID=6685&TabID=1287

Been looking at one of these...

evanhill
06-18-2009, 10:07 AM
JBR, that would kill two birds with one stone. Buy one of those, and then mount it conspicuously on your duty gear. You'll quickly be excused from the torchlight parade, and you'll be able to go to the Rondy without any problems.

JasonB
06-18-2009, 03:23 PM
Yep Jason, that's the one. Never handled one, but was always intrigued by the pictures.



I handled one at Smokey Mountain Knife works and as Ralph mentioned they are a bit on the heavy side. In that way (and some other attributes) they are similar to Beckers which I ended up with going with due to the Becker's sturdier looking sheath when compared to the Brit leather. Didn't see the nylon sheath on that E-bay auction at the time or I might have went with it instead.

BuckarooMedic
06-21-2009, 10:13 PM
I've been carrying a Kukri, you know, one of the Ghurka machetes. It's cheap and made from spring steel. But, it works great and is very versatile. Plus, it completely hides in the side pocket of my Zulu. No more weird looks. I think mine was made by Ontario Knives.

Take care,

JBR
06-23-2009, 08:49 AM
JBR, that would kill two birds with one stone. Buy one of those, and then mount it conspicuously on your duty gear. You'll quickly be excused from the torchlight parade, and you'll be able to go to the Rondy without any problems.

That's why I like you....always coming up with GREAT IDEAS!! Maybe mounted in a cross-chest scabboard accented with animal fur and bird feathers. I'm on it.