Are Bark River Machetes worth the money? - THR

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Old September 1, 2015, 10:52 PM   #1
Join Date: April 5, 2012
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 611
Are Bark River Machetes worth the money?

Simple question. I'm looking at their parang made with A2 steel for a little over $200.

Also like the Svord Golok, but like the idea of American Made.

Thoughts? As always, I appreciate it.
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Old September 1, 2015, 11:30 PM   #2
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Just myself?

No machete is worth $200, unless you are just trying to impress your friends.

A traditional third world machete is a workmans tool used to gether crops, clear land, or defend the homestead.

The better ones cost very little.

They are carbon steel, hard, but not too hard, because they have to be able to sharpen them on a flat rock or with a worn out rusty file while away from any better sharpening tools they might have.

You can buy a Ligitimus Collins from WWII on eBay for less then $50 and it will be better then anything made today!


This is what some decent modern working machetes cost.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Or all your primers in a glass jar!

Last edited by rcmodel; September 1, 2015 at 11:57 PM.
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Old September 1, 2015, 11:33 PM   #3
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Woodsmans pal.
team 45/70
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Old September 1, 2015, 11:46 PM   #4
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A WWII LC-14-B Woodsman Pal is a wonderful tool for sure.

The new ones they are making now blow chunks!!

Steep edge angle on the cutting edge, and brush hook don't cut worth a hoot.

Don't waste your money on a new one.

The real deals on vintage old good ones are all over eBay too.
But not cheap anymore!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Or all your primers in a glass jar!

Last edited by rcmodel; September 1, 2015 at 11:53 PM.
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Old September 2, 2015, 12:44 AM   #5
Join Date: March 22, 2008
Location: N. Georgia
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Hard to go wrong with Condor products. http://www.knifecenter.com/brand/33/condor-tool-knife
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Old September 2, 2015, 06:46 AM   #6
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Get the heavy Ontario if you want an American machete.

Get a Finnish vesuri if you want a remarkably handy tool.
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Last edited by hso; September 2, 2015 at 01:15 PM.
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Old September 2, 2015, 07:20 AM   #7
Join Date: January 8, 2008
Location: Southern Virginia
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Bark River makes great stuff and the management is active in the knife community, but you can get better for less.
Hit the report button if you find a problem.

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Old September 2, 2015, 06:37 PM   #8
Join Date: July 20, 2015
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Are they worth it? YES, IMO.

The quality of Bark River Knives are at a point where the price is justifiable. The materials are excellent. The edge geometry is among the finest. The heat treatments will push quality knife steels to their true outer limits. And most of their knives come with very high quality sheaths (potentially saving money on having to invest in a pricey aftermarket option.)

I think A2 is one of the best steels for a larger chopper, not just because of its impact resistance, but because sharpening it is easy to do even after seeing heavy chopping or batoning. I am guessing you want A2 for the same reasons. Bark River's A2 heat treatment pushes A2 pretty far. They take it to a reasonably high hardness for good edge retention, but without sacrificing toughness. Between the steel and the quality of the edge geometry, reviving the edge is easy.

You can get good quality machetes for less, so whether it is worth the price is subjective. To me, I think the higher price for the Bark River is completely justifiable for someone willing to spend a little more money. From a quality and performance perspective, I think you will be very satisfied with what you get.
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Old September 2, 2015, 06:58 PM   #9
Join Date: July 20, 2015
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In regards to the quality of BRK's A2 steel, they have a really solid reputation. I prefer their heat treatment over Chris Reeve, and I think it is one of the best steels you can put on a fixed blade.

Compared to most other machetes, I think you will see a pretty big difference in terms of edge holding, thanks to both the steel and geometry, as well as an improvement in toughness. At the same time, it may very well be much easier to sharpen and better suited for the times you want to use it to slice rather than chop.

Compared to a good 1095 chopper (which in and of itself is a very good steel when treated properly), you are going to get a noticeable gain in edge holding and a dramatic gain in toughness. For a chopper, that justifies any premium for A2 over 1095 in my mind.

So short of something like CPM-3V, INFI, or CPM-154/RWL-34...
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Old September 2, 2015, 09:26 PM   #10
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I have absolutely no direct experience with Bark River.

What I do have experience with for a light, hacking machete are Tramonita. I have a couple here and actually just finished sharpening one, as I'm planning on doing some brush cleaning around the house tomorrow. They are more than serviceable and for $20 or less from Amazon, it's really tough to argue with them. I've only had them for a little over a year, but I've used them pretty hard and never ever had an issue. I know people who've had them much much longer and only have positive things to say.
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