U.S. GI Machettes


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rcmodel
November 4, 2013, 09:08 PM
Here's one to ponder?

I have a WWII (1945) green-horn handle Legitimus Collins 18" Machete.

And I have a Vietnam era 18" GI Ontario of the same length.

The Collins blade is .130" at the hilt, tapering to .075" near the point.
The Ontario is .120" tapering to .089" near the point.

The Ontario weighs about 2 oz less overall, due to the thinner blade stock.
Edge grind is very similar.

However, I find the newer Ontario less user friendly then the old Collins, and it wears me out swinging it sooner, even though it weighs less.

The old Collins just does snap-cuts so much easier it is very noticeable after a while.
I just can't put my finger on exactly why??

Perhaps because it is less point heavy due to the thinner taper?

I'm considering shortening the Ontario to 14", just to get a lighter swing on snap-cuts for yard cleanup.

Or maybe buy a new 12" Ontario to try that next??



In actuality, I ended up using a WWII LC-14-B Woodsman Pal again this year as it is so much easier to swing then either 18" machete.

And the brush hook is invaluable for yard clean-up when you are too stiff to bend over all day.

rc

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Shanghai McCoy
November 4, 2013, 09:35 PM
I have an Ontario too and it does get heavy after a while. For serious brushwork the two handed Ames brush hook is my favorite. The hook part is handy for moving the briars and poison ivy away.

Sam Cade
November 4, 2013, 10:08 PM
Perhaps because it is less point heavy due to the thinner taper?


You nailed it I think.
The greater distal taper on the old collins makes them much more snappy.
By comparison the OKCs are dead in the hand.






I'm considering shortening the Ontario to 14", just to get a lighter swing on snap-cuts for yard cleanup.


Y'know, back in the late '60s when the Army did research for a proposed replacement for the 18" M1942 pattern derived machete, one of the common complaints was that it was unwieldy and a reportedly common field modification was to shorten it down to 14-12".


I'd rather keep the reach of an 18" blade (because bending over sucks) and pick up a cheap distally tapered machete of thinner stock.

rcmodel
November 4, 2013, 10:18 PM
a reportedly common field modification was to shorten it down to 14-12".
Thanks Sam!

I did not know that.


BTW: I also have a WWII green-horn handle 24" Legitimus Collins.
And I still haven't figured out what they used those for?

Unless it was to reach out and touch a Tiapan snake before it touched you!!

rc

hso
November 4, 2013, 10:23 PM
Where is the balance point on each, RC?

RetiredUSNChief
November 4, 2013, 10:25 PM
If you're getting worn out with the one over the other, then it's because that particular machette is making you work harder in order to do the same amount of cutting.

A few factors could contribute to this, most notably the cutting edge and the weight/weight distribution of the machette.

Assuming the cutting edge is similar between the two, then this leaves weight and weight distribution.


Unless, of course, you wish to blame this problem on age...

:p

rcmodel
November 4, 2013, 10:28 PM
Where is the balance point on each, RC? I checked that the other day while I was measuring and weighing them.

And that is probably the answer.

The Collins is 4" ahead of the handle.
The Ontario is 5" ahead of the handle.

You wouldn't think 1" would make such a noticeable difference.

But it very surely does!!

Unless, of course, you wish to blame this problem on age...Yes, I am quite confident I would never have noticed any difference 30 or 40 years ago for sure!!!
18" machetes felt like fencing blades then!!

But I could do 100 one-arm push-ups with either arm in 1965 with a full pack and an M14 on my back too!!!


rc

Sam Cade
November 4, 2013, 10:28 PM
I did not know that.


Behold the sad saga of the Trail Cutting Machete. It bore no fruit unfortunately and was trashed after everything bearing the taint of Vietnam was tossed aside post war:

TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 68-10
TRAIL CUTTING MACHETE
FINAL REPORT
by
Frederick M. Drake
Environment and Survival Branch
june 1968

The standard issue machete is 23 l/2 inches long and has a "blade length of 18 inches. Balance is only fair and poor handle design results in chaffing of the hand after prolonged use. Troops have been reported cutting or breaking k to 5 inches from the blade of the issue machete to improve the balance and to allow a free swing in a relatively small space.


http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=188231&d=1377649812







BTW: I also have a WWII green-horn handle 24" Legitimus Collins.
And I still haven't figured out what they used those for?

Being in the dang way mostly.

The 24" didn't hang around for very long. Arm breaker ain't it?

Fred Fuller
November 4, 2013, 11:21 PM
An old USAF survival instructor (his name escapes me right now) who used to live near me in Montgomery, AL swore that 14" was the perfect machete blade length for his purposes...

There are several blade shapes in that approximate length available - http://www.machetespecialists.com/14machetes.html

Sam Cade
November 4, 2013, 11:56 PM
Quick comparison:

Left to right:

IMACASA 12" 152
Gavilan 18' as imported by Atlanco and sold as Tru-Spec
OKC 1-18 18" "GI" Machete. Note that the more recent ones have no distal taper.
OKC 12" Camper with the D guard hacked off.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190814&stc=1&d=1383627263

Despite being only approx. half the thickness of the OKCs the Latin American machetes are both distally tapered.

For 90% of the things I do with a machete, I'd rather have the much cheaper Gavilan than an OKC.

Farnorthdan
November 5, 2013, 12:00 AM
You might want to check out an Esee Junglas, a few inches shorter than what you are considering but one solid blade for sure. I have the 6 and must say Esee's build quality is fantastic.

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

Sam Cade
November 5, 2013, 12:28 AM
Well, a Junglas is a nice camp knife but it makes a poor excuse for a machete.

It's just too short and too heavy. Whanging a $150 knife into the dirt while bent double at the waist just isn't fun to me. :D


I apologize for my 11 PM photography and poor lighting.

Quick Comparison:


The Infamous Knee-Chopper RTAK II (illegitimate half brother of the Hoonglas) and an 18" 'chete.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190816&stc=1&d=1383628992
Look how tiny the RTAK is. :scrutiny:
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=190817&stc=1&d=1383628992

rcmodel
November 5, 2013, 12:41 AM
The more I think about it??

I'm just a LC-14-B guy at heart for what I do with them around here!!

rc

Nighteyes
November 5, 2013, 11:15 AM
There's another difference between a WWII-issued 18-inch machete and a current Ontario 18-inch machete. The blade steel in the WWII machetes - at least all of those I've actually used - is noticeably more "lively". By that, I guess, I mean the WWII blades are "springier" than the modern blades. And it definitely makes a difference.

It also makes it absolutely mandatory to keep those blades extremely sharp, lest they should fail to bite properly, then "spring" back to bite the user. BT, DT, got the scar to prove it. (From back in the days when I still thought I was 10 feet tall and bullet-proof...)

hso
November 5, 2013, 11:54 AM
RC,

That 4 vs 5 inch difference is a significant increase in force required to lift and handle the respective machetes. It is an r-squared difference and the 20% increase in length requires a lot more force to lift while any increase in weight is directly proportional in effort.

Deltaboy
November 7, 2013, 09:50 PM
Thanks for the Lesson on these wonderful yard tools.

Nighteyes
November 8, 2013, 01:14 PM
Thanks for the Lesson on these wonderful yard tools.

They're not just "yard tools," Deltaboy. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced user, they're capable of so much more. I'm not holding myself out to be some sort of wonder-whiz here; just someone who was carefully taught the techniques and tricks of machete use.

Following a direct hit by Hurricane Frederic in 1979, my father-in-law and I were clearing our property of downed trees. [They weren't giants by any means -- the tallest was probably no more than 30 feet max. The biggest limbs were probably not more than 2.5 inches in diameter.] As you know, trees are generally [de-] limbed before being cut ("bucked") into manageable pieces.

My father-in-law was using a small chainsaw and I was using my well-sharpened-and-honed WWII machete. He'd be limbing one tree and I'd be limbing another. I consistently finished faster than he did. At first he thought I was "cheating" somehow, so he started paying close attention. Nope, my machete and I were just faster!

"Don't try this at home, boys & girls! It requires extensive training and supervision to master."

Deltaboy
November 9, 2013, 12:49 PM
If you have followed my post you would realize I grew up on a farm and construction jobs using a machete for all sorts of jobs. But these days in the burbs I use one mostly around the house to do yard work or I use one Camping.

Nighteyes
November 19, 2013, 02:18 PM
No offense intended, DeltaBoy. I obviously do not know you and have not kept track of your post history. I just responded to your use of the term "yard tool" which you, thru your own words and stated history, acknowledged as being something of a misnomer.

Regards as always,

-- Nighteyes

Deltaboy
November 25, 2013, 06:08 PM
No problem they are great tools and a vicious weapon in a street fight or woods.

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