Need a good Machete!

Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Messages
116
Hey guys, first off I'm new to the forum, generally new to this depth of knife appreciation but I'm getting the hang of it. Just ordered a Skandi Bushmaster from JK knives. Besides that nothing too special, I use a Gerber paraframe to do whittling and a larger Gerber was my outdoor type knife till it broke 1/2 from the tip while batoning some wood. I also have a 2 kershaw a fillet knife and a tanto folder which dont get much use.

But, that's enough about me (mostly) I do lots of ultralight hiking, somewhat Nessmuk style. And I need a kick ass, no frills machete. Nothing to long, was thinking 14 1/2" blade length curved handle. So, any recommendations? I've trolled this forum for a while now, I don't think I'll be disappointed.
 
There are so many designs and manufacturers and different lines of thought when it comes to machetes-the beauty of it is they are typically pretty darned cheap. I own a Hibben, an Ontario, a few Condors and a pile of Tramontinas.

Condor makes the best factory manufactured machete in the industry, in my opinion-their finish is extremely durable, handles are very comfortable and they come with a hair slicing convex edge. You won't find that kind of manufacturing quality from any other company. Their blades are also pretty robust. Their El Salvador is a no frills latin style machete and comes in sizes ranging from 22 inches down to 14. I'd start there. They also have a 15.5 inch Bolo, which is a bit more beefy at the point for more efficient chopping. It's a little heavier but if you're going to be processing alot of wood it's the way to go.

The Ontario 12" Camp Machete is pretty light, thin and made of quality 1095 high carbon. Expect to reprofile the edge from the factory. With a good V grind it's a great performer. Some people have issues with the handles (not I) but it definitely gets the job done.

Tramontinas are very thin high carbon blades with generally poorly fit wooden scales, though they are durable. With some sandpaper you can clean them up alot. Also, expect to reprofile your own edge, the factory grind is a joke. They are lightweight, and floppy, but hold up to abuse.

I hope this helps, I'd buy any of these three again. If you're looking for more of a hefty chopper, check out Condor's Golok or Khukri.
 
I love my 12 inch Ontario economy model. Even I can get it really sharp. My son has a Marble's Bolo that is O.K. and would probably be razor sharp in the hands of someone who knows sharpening better than me.

Neither has a curved handle but both are good for the price paid. I just think the Ontario is a great bargain.
 
I also have a 12" Ontario military. Much beefier than the camp. Great machete after putting on a new edge. I'm waiting for my local military surplus to get in the 14" version. Can't beat it for the price and quality.
 
:thumbup:-12" Ontario and mod it per Pict of the WS&S sub-forum--KV
 
http://www.machete.com/
deluxe%20orange.jpg

These are great machetes and are made in the USA!
 
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The ColdSteel Khukuri Machete is very nice ! I have beat mine & cut/chopped everything & it's still going strong ! When it came the edge easn't very sharp...I took my Ark. stone & touched the edge up, in about 10min. it would shave hair ! it holds the edge really well. Condor also makes an AWSOME machete !
 
ESEE (formerly RAT cutlery) has a "light machete" that is rather new and well received. Check out the ESEE subforum here for some comments. They are made in El Salvador by Imacasa / Condor.

I have 2 Collins Legitimus so my machete needs are well covered.
 
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There are so many designs and manufacturers and different lines of thought when it comes to machetes-the beauty of it is they are typically pretty darned cheap. I own a Hibben, an Ontario, a few Condors and a pile of Tramontinas.

Condor makes the best factory manufactured machete in the industry, in my opinion-their finish is extremely durable, handles are very comfortable and they come with a hair slicing convex edge. You won't find that kind of manufacturing quality from any other company. Their blades are also pretty robust. Their El Salvador is a no frills latin style machete and comes in sizes ranging from 22 inches down to 14. I'd start there. They also have a 15.5 inch Bolo, which is a bit more beefy at the point for more efficient chopping. It's a little heavier but if you're going to be processing alot of wood it's the way to go.

The Ontario 12" Camp Machete is pretty light, thin and made of quality 1095 high carbon. Expect to reprofile the edge from the factory. With a good V grind it's a great performer. Some people have issues with the handles (not I) but it definitely gets the job done.

Tramontinas are very thin high carbon blades with generally poorly fit wooden scales, though they are durable. With some sandpaper you can clean them up alot. Also, expect to reprofile your own edge, the factory grind is a joke. They are lightweight, and floppy, but hold up to abuse.

I hope this helps, I'd buy any of these three again. If you're looking for more of a hefty chopper, check out Condor's Golok or Khukri.

PayetteRucker offers some sound advice here (as always). Given that you're looking for a 14.5" blade and a curved handle I can think of no better piece than the Condor Golok.

CTK410-14HC_H.jpg
 
My brother just got a Ka-Bar Kukri and it works very well. But they make a machete also. It's got an 11 inch blade and it's 16.5 inches overall. Its pretty cheap too; around $55.
 
You would like the Condor Golok, or even perhaps the smaller Cold Steel Barong. Be sure to check out machete specialist and see what they have in your range. There is a 15" Condor Bolo that would also feed your fancy, not to mention a tramontina on the light weight side. Marbles makes a fine bolo for a more inexpensive machete as well, though you may have to do some light sanding to your own tastes. Be sure to check out the Ken Onion Outcast as well as David Farmer's Golok.
 
I got an Imacasa the other day and like it real well. It's much handier than some of the others I handled.

BTW, I hope Trejo don't fall in the creek with that coat on as I bet he'd drown!
 
Thank you Payette, and others for your much appreciated opinions and insight. Like most, if not all of you said and agreed with Payette on, I've chosen to go with the Condor Golok. Any one have some in action or dressed up pictures of this fine machete? Im a fan of working knives and cant think of a harder worked then a well used machete!
 
I had a Cold Steel Khukuri and sent it back...it was too heavy and the edge was not razor sharp (it is not suppose to be) but the handle was more of an issue for me. It chewed my hand up bad. Now Condor has a Khukuri that is 18" with a razor edge and a walnut handle...this might be the ticket...oh and it is 19 bucks!! But there are other choices. I got a marble bolo and it was razor sharp, it hacks thru everything, not to mention batons and chops like a monster!! I also have a Condor El Salv. and that is an amazing machete. However it is too long in my opinion for your camping hiking needs. The Khukuri would be a great fit for you but in my case I didn't like it for the reasons above..more so I didnt like the CS handle and blade grind. A great place to check out machetes is machetespecialists.com he has everything there!

Check out the martidale 10" croc machete. Also the smith and wesson 12" Khukuri (might be the right fit), it is razor sharp and has a rubber handle so it is comfortable! And the $6 Tramontina 12...it is soooooo cheap!! Light and great for clearing brush and so on...but it wont baton or chop like the Khukuri. For your needs I would put a size limit to under 12" maybe 14"might be better to hike and camp with then an 18" or 22" machete. The S&W might be the one for you.
 
Here in Michigan (Livingston County) I've been getting a lot of use out of my Cold Steel Heavy Machete. From hacking trails down along the edge of the swamp to trimming brush around the yard it's been very handy. Also with the flat, wide profile it works for light digging, shoveling, scooping, etc. I used to use it in AZ to trim my oleander bushes and it blew through them. It's a sweet chopper!

I recently drilled a couple of small holes in the grip to add a 550-cord D-guard. It's really comfortable now.





Even though I really like this CS Heavy chopper I ordered an Ontario Backwoods Chopper with the 18" sawback. I have read the sawback sucks for any real cutting, but I think it'll be good for notching wood and might come in handy for carving/light wood-working. In any case, I just wanted something with more reach. But this CS Heavy is really awesome in the thick and tough brush. I sharpen it with a sturdy chopping edge up front and a finer carving edge closer to the handle. Works great! I've been thinking about cutting a hook in the back (kind of like a Woodsman's Pal) and painting it, but I don't want to screw up the weight of the blade for chopping.

Good Luck and welcome to Bladeforums!
 
Hi Markisharp, my suggestion may be pricey but the BRKT Golok is amazing. I use it as my trail maker and I'm alway blown away by the speed I make my way throught the forest, and believe me it is thick around here. It always stay razor sharp even after a day of haking throught the woods. Cheers!!!!!
 
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