Tuesday, February 6, 2018

One Year, Three Blades: The Machete

I want to break down the three blades I'll be using for all my backwoods and "innasticks" work this year. I've explained some of the rationale behind my selections; now I want to show exactly what I'm carrying and how I expect they'll fill all the tool needs I have when I leave civilization. We'll start big and work down, meaning that this week we will focus on the SOGfari Kukri machete.

The blade on my machete is obviously a kukri pattern, but they offer many other styles including bolo and traditional Latin varieties. Whichever style you pick, they all accomplish the same tasks.

The handle is nicely rubberized and fits well in my hand, and has good, functional stops at each end to keep me from getting cut or losing the tool.

The overall balance is quite weight-forward, which is something we want in a chopping tool. Think of a machete as a hatchet with a long blade and a short handle; where an axe or a hatchet uses weight to build chopping momentum, the machete uses that forward balance to drive energy into your work piece.

The blade comes from the factory with a decent edge on it, as well as a sawback. The saw has sharp teeth in a very functional pattern, which makes me hope it will function well, despite being in a somewhat awkward position on the curved blade spine.

The sheath is where I encounter my biggest criticisms on this tool. It is slow and involved to draw from, due to securing the blade with a zipper and a Velcro flap. The kindest thing I can say about it is that it does a good job protecting the blade.

In addition, belt carry is less than ideal. If you have dreams of carrying this machete and wielding it like a short sword, I recommend eating fewer spicy foods before bedtime. I carry it on my pack in the same place I carry my hatchet. In that position, it carries well and the limiting parts of the sheath don't bother me as much, but they are something to be aware of.

All in all, it is a solid chopper and a good start to the three-blade toolkit.


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