Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

machete

I would guess I have had a favorite machete for over 30 years. Since our move that began in August I do not think I have seen it – Not lost, but not found yet either. However, I needed my machete sooner rather than whenever.

Searching the Internet uncovers many choices, a large number of which do not understand the tool … more charitably, their customers have something else in mind.

A machete is a brush hacking instrument. It may serve other roles, but first, foremost, primarily, by design, and by function it must be a good brush hacking instrument. Weight, balance, blade length, handle, edge and all factors must hold up to whacking branches, canes, saplings and such for as long as the operator can keep going… and even at 68 years old, I appear to have a number of years left in me.

Reading manufacturers’ information, specifications and reviews led me to the old tried-and-true mil-spec machete from Ontario Knife Company. Others filed under that category are actually knives, excelling in areas not relevant to what I require a machete to do while failing in their primary role.

The blade has to have thickness and depth to hit branches unflinchingly, severing them with a reasonably sharp, sturdy edge carried through the stroke by the mass behind it. This one’s modern anodized coating reminiscent of a spray-on pickup bed liner is a nice addition to the age-old design.

The one legitimate complaint of some reviewers was the lack of grip on this handle. Some wrapped theirs in paracord or sport tape to ameliorate that limitation. However, even with my larger-than-average hands, this grip was a bit fat for that to be a good choice.

Transporting an idea from my Baikal IZH 46M air pistol, I modified the oversized grip to fit my hand. Why pay extra for 100 different grip inserts when a single one can be strategically reduced in key areas to fit the operator?

Dr. Dremel and I went to work.

Once I figured I had ‘er done, we went outside to the brush pile and whacked it down a bit. Very nice tool. Went through branches and twigs like a machete should. Happily, the edge seemed unphased by the work. A couple spots on my fingers insisted on grip adjustments, however.

A few more minutes with the doctor removed the plastic from those annoying areas.

Done

The Ontario Knife Company machete is much better than my 30-year-old that I have yet to find. Too bad, old timer, you have been replaced as my primary whacking/hacking tool.