The Quest for an American Machete


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Sam Cade
May 28, 2013, 09:34 PM
I'm trying to assemble samples of current domestically produced, non-boutique,production level, non-re handled, non OKC, machetes for T&E and general flogging.

I've got a Bully Tools inbound....but other than that I'm having difficulty locating any other manufacturers.

Does the hivemind have any suggestions?

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jbkebert
May 28, 2013, 09:37 PM
woodsman's pal

Sam Cade
May 28, 2013, 09:56 PM
woodsman's pal

D'oh! :D

I've got one of the accursed things someplace.



(I've always wanted to chop the hook off of one of the D guarded ones and make it more bolo-like)

Doug S
May 28, 2013, 10:38 PM
Ontario Milsurp.

RaceM
May 28, 2013, 10:40 PM
+1 on the Ontario

Sam Cade
May 28, 2013, 10:44 PM
I'm trying to avoid the OKC products. Everyone has one. Everyone knows what they do.

rcmodel
May 28, 2013, 11:09 PM
woodsman's pal
D'oh!
I've got one of the accursed things someplace.Send it to me.
I love them way more then machetes!!

Not the new ones though.
They aren't the real deal.

The WWII GI issue ones beat a machete going & coming.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=685014&highlight=WWII+Vietnam

The new ones have the edge bevel of a lawn shark, and bite just as hard.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YpjHjfbNyuw/TYfK9tOJX5I/AAAAAAAAAGU/fTxTI_x0q8w/s1600/Bernadina+Shark+Patrol.jpg

rc

kBob
May 29, 2013, 11:32 AM
I have the remains of a machete that was given to me as a kid that was supposed to be GI US Navy issue in WWII. It was in a rubberized Jay Dee manufacture US sheath which it fit nicely....but has the word Belguim on the blade. The sheath was stolen from a storage unit years ago and the plastic on the handles has deteriated and parts are lost. Been meaning to make new grips for it for a month of Sundays.

Thanks to the word Belgium, I question its authenticity ......even though the WWII Dive bomber crewman that gave it to me also gave me a sea trunk and a set of radio head phones as his wife had him cleaning out junk in about 1964 or so.

Also have a Collins in a canvas sheath.

Hate to admit it but I generally use a Red Chinese Wal-Mart purchase with a saw back these days.

I am going to try hard to get Dad to return my Cane knife next trip up to see the old folks. It at least looked old when I got it in the 1960s. Not suer where it was made at all but certainly used in Florida Cane Fields and in cutting down shade tobacco stalks after harvest in the 1960s.

-kBob

22-rimfire
May 29, 2013, 11:59 AM
Bark River makes a machete that many like.

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 12:30 PM
Bark River makes a machete that many like.

It is a rehandled OKC.

http://www.knivesshipfree.com/ksfinfo/reviews/BRKT_KSF_Machete_estela.html

JShirley
May 29, 2013, 12:59 PM
Yep. And it one of several that can be described as boutique by the time the remaker is finished with them- IOW, not what Sam want this time.

7.62 Solution
May 29, 2013, 01:02 PM
As said above Ontario Knive Company is located in a small town south of Buffalo NY and manufactures right here.

http://ontarioknife.com/outdoor-camping-survival/machetes.html

KaBar is a little farther down the road in Olean NY and they manufacturer here as well

http://www.kabar.com/knives/hunting-outdoor

JShirley
May 29, 2013, 01:15 PM
I think Sam's point is that OKC makes the large US blades people are most likely to have. They are a known quantity: he wants to test lesser-known quantities.

John

22-rimfire
May 29, 2013, 01:33 PM
I was thinking more of their golok. Still a machete. http://www.knivesshipfree.com/index.php?cPath=465_588

Have never heard of Ontario using A2 steel.

My favorite machete these days is the Condor Golok. It is certainly not American made however.

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 01:50 PM
KaBar is a little farther down the road in Olean NY and they manufacturer here as well

Their machete is made in Taiwan.

http://www.kabar.com/knives/detail/9

JShirley
May 29, 2013, 02:18 PM
I was thinking more of their golok. Still a machete. http://www.knivesshipfree.com/index.php?cPath=465_588


Okay, a golok is cool, but Sam said "NON boutique" in his OP. Here's (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boutique)the definition of boutique. A $200+ "machete", however cool, is definitely a boutique item.

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 02:25 PM
My favorite machete these days is the Condor Golok. It is certainly not American made however.

Really?

Not to derail my own thread, but I haven't had good luck with that tool.


I had a 1st generation that lost the handle knob after 10 min of light work.

Sent it back and it was replaced by a full tanged 2nd generation that had a fold/flaw.
I've still got the one that replaced it.


Out of the box, the edge is too thick* to cut anything but the most succulent of grass.
So I had to regrind it.

The handle assembly is so round that it wants to rotate in the hand on hard cuts. Not good if you have to choke up on it and hack instead of using the handshake/ball grip snap chop.


There was also a horrible buzzing vibration on heavy cuts that caused the pins to start to walk out.

So I pulled the scales off, flattened them and re-assembled. That helped. Some.

The POB was too far out, so I nipped the tip. This also helped with the excessive vibration.

The paint on the blade was still a bit tacky so I stripped it.

...after all that it is still inferior in pretty much every way to its line-sister the much thinner, cheaper, uglier spoonbill bolo.



*redonkulous thick.

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 02:26 PM
They are a known quantity: he wants to test lesser-known quantities.


Exactly.

22-rimfire
May 29, 2013, 03:28 PM
I actually overlooked the "boutique" term in the opening statement and was strictly thnking "American made" as the limiting factor. Yes, the Bark River is pricey and would be considered a boutique blade. I have a couple Kabar items that I consider machete-like. I basically like stiff machetes.

Not to divert the thread topic, but a quick note on the Condor Golok. Sorry you had a bad experience with that blade. We apparently have different tastes in machetes. The Pack Golok is my second favorite and it gets used as much as the regular Golok. Both are used for work related chopping and brush clearing tasks.

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 05:14 PM
Well folks, the Bully Tools machete arrived.

It is a POS.

Badly applied flaking paint.

Courtesy grinds off center and painted over.

...and bent like a freaking pretzel, because the the thing is dead soft.

Full Stop.

*sigh*

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 05:22 PM
. I basically like stiff machetes. <snip>
We apparently have different tastes in machetes.

Not really.

I just like them to actually cut. :D


The machete to beat in terms of performance is the Imacasa spoonbill bolo.

Distal taper.

Good heat treat.

Nice and rigid.


Flush the scales and knock off the rear grubbing edge and it is pretty much perfect for 90% of machete specific tasks. It is a bit short for grass work.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 29, 2013, 07:23 PM
Becker Patrol Machete? I don't know if Kabar is reissuing that one yet; but I wouldn't be surprised if they do in the near future. That would make it a production, U.S. made machete - though at $70-80, probably on thepricey end of machetez.

DDeegs
May 29, 2013, 07:55 PM
Sam,
Barteaux had a good write up in Tactical Knives years ago , don't have one so can't comment on how good they are.

Dan

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 07:59 PM
Becker Patrol Machete? I don't know if Kabar is reissuing that one yet; but I wouldn't be surprised if they do in the near future.

No BPM yet that I am aware of, but they have rereleased the too short (under 10") too hard (nominal 56-58) Machax.

http://www.kabar.com/knives/detail/168

Sam Cade
May 29, 2013, 08:03 PM
Sam,
Barteaux had a good write up in Tactical Knives years ago , don't have one so can't comment on how good they are.


Hmmm.
Barteaux and Sons appears to be (recently) defunct. :banghead:


This isn't looking good.


Does OKC really have a domestic monopoly on decent machetes at realistic prices?

Bartholomew Roberts
May 29, 2013, 08:55 PM
Yes, I've got the Machax myself. I was tempted to sharpen the top of it; but it does make a handy draw knife. It isn't great for hacking through vines necessarily but it is hell on waxleaf and crepe myrtles :)

Deltaboy
May 30, 2013, 07:48 AM
Sam I Don't know of any made in the US made one's that are not custom except OKC. Mine is from Brazil.

MartinS
May 30, 2013, 09:05 AM
http://catalog.mooremaker.com/viewProduct.cfm?item_id=701544
Blade's a little thicker than the Ontario GI machete. Heavier, more than just a brush slasher. Good steel.

JShirley
May 30, 2013, 10:12 AM
Huh. If it's quality, that's a fair price.

Sam Cade
May 30, 2013, 10:49 AM
http://catalog.mooremaker.com/viewProduct.cfm?item_id=701544
Blade's a little thicker than the Ontario GI machete. Heavier, more than just a brush slasher. Good steel.

Those are rebadged OKCs.

shinyroks
May 30, 2013, 11:23 AM
Maybe look up some kukuri knives, they usually have the strength and usability you are after. I may have spelled that wrong, so feel free to correct me :P

Sam Cade
May 30, 2013, 12:13 PM
Maybe look up some kukuri knives, they usually have the strength and usability you are after.

I've got a err...quite a few :uhoh: machetes and big choppers, including a few HI and KH kukris.




I'm looking for currently line produced, American built machetes.

Currently the list is short:

1.OKC (who are everywhere and a known quantity.)
2.Woodmans pal
3.Bully Tools ($25 and my initial sample was worse than the cheapest Chinese flea market special.):fire:



I should have another Bully machete (and some other things) for T&E by this evening so I am going to reserve final judgement till then.

JShirley
May 30, 2013, 02:05 PM
Good kukuris/khukuris are more expensive than machetes. This makes sense, because kukuris are much thicker than machetes, and get their chopping ability from their weight-forward construction instead of just from their length like machetes.

They are different tools for different tasks, kukuris typically being optimized for heavier chopping than machetes.

John

Water-Man
May 30, 2013, 05:29 PM
Not sure where Martindale is made but a friend likes his.

Sam Cade
May 30, 2013, 05:37 PM
Not sure where Martindale is made but a friend likes his.

They are English.

swalton1943
May 30, 2013, 05:49 PM
Disston US 1943 cost me $1.00 in a yard sale. Happy am I.

Sam Cade
May 30, 2013, 06:24 PM
...and this is the replacement Bully Tools machete.

It is even worse than the first one.

I weep for my nation. :(


I also purchased a grass hook. It sucks even worse than the machetes.

roadcoder
May 30, 2013, 06:43 PM
I believe Esee makes US machetes.

ex: http://www.eseeknives.com/junglas.htm

Sam Cade
May 30, 2013, 06:53 PM
I believe Esee makes US machetes.


Calling a $140, 10" knife like the Hooonglas a machete is a bit of a stretch.

I'd hate to have to clear a lot or break trail with one.



That said, ESEE does have true machetes in their lineup.


...with blades made in El Salvador.
:banghead:

JShirley
May 30, 2013, 07:15 PM
I have an RTAC-2. It does have about the mass of a machete, in a slightly shorter package. And, again, a Junglas is a boutique product. However, it does clear lighter brush pretty well.

Sam Cade
May 30, 2013, 07:27 PM
I have an RTAC-2. It does have about the mass of a machete, in a slightly shorter package.

Mine lost the first half inch or so when it fell out of the kydex sheath I was fitting.

*shake shake*

*clatter clatter PING*

:cuss:


Its little brother the RAT-7 seems to be a pretty good knife, but I haven't used it a great deal.

Sam Cade
May 31, 2013, 11:06 PM
Meanwhile, back in the workshop of horrors:

I had a couple sleeved 18" OKCs lying about.

Broke one out and I find:


No major flaws.

Blade is stiff and straight with no lateral "sag". Yay!

Bevels are a bit uneven and don't meet for the last 4 inches of blade (toward the tip) , butterknife dull where they do meet.

Rough as a cob, dry parkerizing.

Terrible, terrible feeling scales. Badly fitted to the tang and hand achingly square on the knuckle side.

Amazingly, this one has perfectly set, perfectly straight, tight compression rivets. First time I've ever seen one done so well.

Sam Cade
May 31, 2013, 11:08 PM
Luckily, most of the annoyances can be remedied by the liberal application of power tools.

Deltaboy
May 31, 2013, 11:25 PM
Good job ! Sad to hear it so hard to find a made in the USA one anymore.

MartinS
June 2, 2013, 04:20 PM
"Those are rebadged OKCs."
I've got one of each. They ain't.

Sam Cade
June 2, 2013, 06:40 PM
"Those are rebadged OKCs."
I've got one of each. They ain't.

As do I.

They are OKCs

http://catalog.mooremaker.com/images/mooremaker/MACHETEFINISHED.jpg

TTBOMK, Moore Maker is just a trade name and they have no native manufacturing capability.

roadcoder
June 3, 2013, 06:03 PM
It might not be a "Moore Maker" but that don't mean it's OKC. I'm not convinced.

Sam Cade
June 3, 2013, 06:51 PM
It might not be a "Moore Maker" but that don't mean it's OKC. I'm not convinced.

They are identical in every way...just a contract run of the standard 18".



In the pictures of the Moore Maker branded machete, notice the two small mold artifacts on the butt end of the handle scales.

Note that in post #42 of the OKC, they are also present.


If that doesn't do it for you:

leonard@mooremaker.com

Ask.

hso
June 3, 2013, 07:12 PM
Various companies have bought Blade blanks from Ontario to make their "own" machete and others have just had OKC run them for them and then carry out better assembly with better materials.

The steels and profiles all start the same from the Ontario sourced machetes and the variations then start from there. Moore Maker, Bark River, and possibly TOPS machetes start life in Ontario's shop. The details become fuzzy after that.

Deltaboy
June 11, 2013, 11:00 PM
Cool to know I will hit the Surplus store this Summer for one.

Coyote3855
June 21, 2013, 06:09 PM
I have a Mooremaker. Don't have a OKC. But the "achingly square" handle on the Mooremaker matches the pics of the OKC. Unsuable until modified.

Sam Cade
June 21, 2013, 07:29 PM
Unsuable until modified.


It is so bad there must be a reason for it.


I'd love to know what that reason is.

Sam Cade
June 21, 2013, 07:45 PM
On a related note, if no one makes what you want, you just have to build it yourself.


I'm out in my shop, taking a break from roughing in the primary grinds on this ugly thing. :D



The slightly wonky tang shape is an artifact of the composite grip that it is going to get. No stick tangs here. :D


I'll finish it up tonight or tomorrow and send it off to HT on Monday if I can.

lemaymiami
June 23, 2013, 02:18 PM
Okay, I'll bite... whatever happened to the many mil surplus "bolo machetes" that I used to see years ago - and does anyone still make a reasonably servicable version ? As a guy who works in the Everglades I always thought that it would be a handy tool if you had to go on foot... Me, I much prefer staying in my skiff, but you never know...

Sam Cade
June 23, 2013, 02:59 PM
Okay, I'll bite... whatever happened to the many mil surplus "bolo machetes" that I used to see years ago - and does anyone still make a reasonably servicable version ?

The bolos went away a long long time ago.

A decent 1917 bolo can easily bring $200 or more.
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/1917-bolo

If you want a short-ish forward weighted but still fast handling true machete, I like the Imacasa 335.

I knock off the rear edge and give them a bit of a point.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=185583&stc=1&d=1372013949

Deltaboy
June 23, 2013, 07:05 PM
I went shopping and those Gerber ones are worthless in my book. I am going to try one of the Tractor Supply ones with the wood handles but they are made in China :>( . My one from Brazil has been great.

Sam Cade
June 23, 2013, 07:43 PM
I went shopping and those Gerber ones are worthless in my book.


I'd take it a step farther and call that handle/tang design actively dangerous.



I am going to try one of the Tractor Supply ones with the wood handles but they are made in China

These guys (http://c.shld.net/rpx/i/s/i/spin/image/spin_prod_236803001)?

TSC rebrands them as "Groundworks" and punches a hole in the blade.


Very good blades.

Terrible,terrible terrible riveted palletwood handles, short tapered tang and offset rivet holes will cause it to break.

I fixed mine and it is a pretty decent short 'chete now.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=185597&stc=1&d=1372031014

Deltaboy
June 26, 2013, 06:15 PM
I'd take it a step farther and call that handle/tang design actively dangerous.




These guys (http://c.shld.net/rpx/i/s/i/spin/image/spin_prod_236803001)?

TSC rebrands them as "Groundworks" and punches a hole in the blade.


Very good blades.

Terrible,terrible terrible riveted palletwood handles, short tapered tang and offset rivet holes will cause it to break.

I fixed mine and it is a pretty decent short 'chete
Yep those ground works one's. It will be a good project.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 26, 2013, 11:33 PM
Who makes the SOG machete? American made? Never mind - answered my own question. Chinese made.

Sam Cade
June 26, 2013, 11:37 PM
Crazy ain't it?

Deltaboy
June 27, 2013, 03:12 PM
Wild to see only US military ones are made in the USA Any more.

Shanghai McCoy
August 4, 2013, 01:04 PM
Hmmm.
Barteaux and Sons appears to be (recently) defunct. :banghead:


This isn't looking good.


Does OKC really have a domestic monopoly on decent machetes at realistic prices?
I have an older Barteaux and Sons up in the barn. Good steel and the longer blade makes it handy for cutting corn stalks. I did remove that goofy safety "D" guard after I bought it tho...

Deltaboy
August 4, 2013, 08:09 PM
Yep I wished I brought some of those mil-surplus ones back in the early 80's.

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