Review : Tramontina machete

Great job! This test reminded me of your Ontario results. Sometime in the next few weeks I'm going to try to duplicate your results with the Ontario, especially with regards to the handle coming apart. I just keep thinking you got a bad one, but we'll see.

Joe :

[Ontario machete]

I just keep thinking you got a bad one

Quite possibly, the same behavior was exhibited in both the 18" and 12" versions though, and I have never thought much of 1095 in regards to durability when left really hard, does make a fine small knife steel though. As for large knives, the TOPS knives are 1095 and are thought of to be fairly durable, but they have an extreme cross section as compared to the Ontario machetes.

Which brings me to a knife I am really interested in - Newt's RCM. I like the idea of a few extra inches on my BM with a slightly thinner blade stock. However the RCM is also 1095 and of a similar RC to the Ontarios. It should also be weaker than the Ontario's becuase the edge profile is thinner (all else being equal which they probably are not).

The RCM is also zone hardened as I recall, which should help with durability. Are you planning on testing a Barteaux (speling ?) in the future ?
The specs on the RCM state a differential temper with a RC of 59-60. I assume the RC refers to the edge. While a softer spine will help with some things (bending, impacts on the spine), it is not going to make the 59-60 RC edge any more durable.

As for the Barteaux, yes. I am hoping that they will be a bit harder than the Tramontina and still be just as tough.

Nice review Cliff! You are willing, or can just plain better afford, to do more destructive testing than I am willing to do, but the results are certainly useful!

I think you are underestimating the RCM. I wish someone would give you one so you (and vicariously we) can settle the matter once and for all!
I think I could have done a lot worse for $5!

I forgot to mention that I modified the handle. The wood was basically unfinished as it came from the factory. There was a gap about 1/16" wide and 1/8" deep between the handle scales for the entire length of the handle. I threw it on the belt sander and cut the handle scales flush with the tang. I also hand sanded the rough spots and finished with a coat of Lin-Speed. It was a real blister machine before I got to it.

Thanks for the review Cliff. I was beginning to wonder if my little "garden tool" had made it through customs.

Matt Sutton
Matthew :

I think you are underestimating the RCM.

Very possible. I have posted regarding this on Newt's forum. If Newt says that it is intended to be used for this kind of thing I'll probably pick one up.

Matt, I thought I emailed you when I started doing the review, sorry about that. Thanks for the details on the handle modifications. I have added that to the review.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 28 October 1999).]