I've wanted to make a heavy duty machete or large camp chopper for a long time. I really like the Ontario 18" blade but have found the heat treating to be hit or miss with some blades taking extensive damage on hardwoods in the form of huge dents and tears. Anyway, I'd like to grind out my own high performance chopper using a steel that is better suited to impact than 1095 or other 10xx steels. The blade thickness will hopefully be 1/8" with a blade length and profile similar to the Ontario that Bark River modified. I am considering a differential heat treat with the edge at around 57RC and the rest about 50. The goal is to have the toughest blade possible while having a fairly hard edge, though I realize it shouldn't be as hard as most knives due to it's chopping purpose. I am also open to the idea of a thorough hardened blade if it can be made tough enough to not snap.
My ideas so far are L6, 5160, or maybe a high alloy one like S7. However, I can't seem to find any good source for these in 1/8" stock. Not sure if I want to heat treat it myself or not yet. What would be the toughest and easiest steel to make this thing out of that will perform better than commercial blades? Has anyone made a high performance machete or similar blade?