Machete design Q: why no serrations?

When hacking through many materials, wouldn't a decent serrated edge improve a machete's "bite"?

Oct 3, 1998
First thing to note is that machetes are often sharpened with files, and so end up with a very coarse, microserrated edge.

More importantly when thinking about machetes and serrations, generally speaking, serrations can assist with slicing, but hinder push-cuts. Now, think about machetes are often used for -- bushwhacking, clearing trails or campsites, small de-limbing jobs, sometimes coarse food prep, etc. Very little of that is heavy on slicing. In fact, often we don't want to feel "bite" at all. With a machete, the main point is often to get the blade through the material in a swift single cut, not to bite and slice. If I'm delimbing small limbs, I want the machete to go all the way through the limb with a single stroke -- serrations don't help with that. If I'm trying to cut through tough small branches and grasses, serrations grab and pull, which is precisely what I don't want -- I want the blade to go completely through the twigs instead of just bending it them one way, and having them snap back.

Another consideration would be the generally softer blades, serrations would probably be fairly likely to fold over.

But, given a soft serration pattern, you might find that serrations add, but what about sharpening, they would probably be quickly distorted by sharpening, soft blade again.

Thank you,
Marion David Poff aka Eye

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Hey Guys...


Any type of serrated blade in the field,,especially for tasks that a machette would do would be a pain in the A$$....

Serrations with the proper tools are hard enough to sharpen,,let alone in the field,,with usually nothing...

I've heard guys talk about taking their fully serrated knives in the field as daily use knives for cutting wood and things of this nature..Not sure how they plan to sharpen them out there though...

I can sharpen my SAK on a smooth stone if need be...



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Even when you add to the push-cut of a machete with a quick draw towards you on each stroke (adding a little slice to augment the push), you want the blade to cut clean and go through the material. Serrations are designed to tear the material they are drawn against which is the last thing you want a machete to do as the tearing process makes the push cut less effective! Serrations are best on materials where the cut is primarily a slice or sawing stroke, not a push, and where tearing actually helps to sever quickly as with rope, hose, belt material, etc.

Notice that no chopping knives or other kinds of choppers for that matter are ever serrated. Even aside from the "sharpening in the field" issues, there are good reasons why that is so.
There are serration patterns that are just as easy to field sharpen as a plain edge and are very strong as well. Reeves puts them on several of his One Piece line. They are chisel tipped and you just sharpen the flats as you would a plain edge. I did a lot of chopping with the Project I had and never saw any impacting or distorting of the teeth.

However in regards to performance, as Matthew and Joe have noted, since they hinder push cuts once you go past the depth of the teeth, they are not the optimal shape for most work. The exception being for some vegetation that is very coarse and "stringy" in which you have to use a slice instead of a chop.