Esee Expat cleaver as a compact machet/chopper?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by bikerector, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    So I'm looking for a very specialized tool for carrying on the bicycle with me for trail maintenance or just clearing up stuff I ride up to after a wind storm. I often carry a swamp rat ratweiler in the pack if I suspect something fell or I always carry a native 5 salt to clip some vines or just to have the tool. I've tried the spyderco waterway and it wasn't much better than the native 5 for clearing because I still had to grab vines or branches with one hand and cut with the other.

    The thought occurred to me after seeing a knifemaker's face razor that something square, like the expat cleaver, would fit into a rear jersey pocket pretty well and might be adequate for something inbetween the ratweiler and native 5. I would probably leave the native 5 for road riding where I don't have the dangling vines to deal with occasionally.

    So, I know the Expat cleaver can chop, okay, from the reviews I've watched and read, but does it swing well enough to slice vines or flexible branches without the need to grab them? Or, am I just barking up the wrong tree for a solution? I've seen a few blades with the boxy blade shape, the Bk3 and ontario SP-8 come to mind, but I've never used or heard of people using them for what I want to do.

    It looks like the Expat Cleaver is about 6" x 3" slab or 0.20" steel, so the size is about right after measuring my pockets and allowing room for a kydex taco.
    The_Knife_Man likes this.
  2. The_Knife_Man


    May 30, 2014
    Pic for reference.
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  3. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
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  4. GAGL


    Jan 1, 2016
    bike nerd here.
    i take my cold steel bushman with me,altough not in my jersey. i put it my my frame pack.
    its very light and capable.

    i got the straight spine version

    edit: i thinned out the edge and it cuts very well
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  5. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Years ago I was part of a survey crew and bought what I called a pineapple knife that looked much like the one you're looking at except for the handle was a simpler design. It cut. But it was too short as the briars and so forth did a number on my hands. So, my sense of the subject knife is it would work for occasional chopping much like you describe. I think you might be better off or certainly as well off with a short machete (10-12") and just strap it onto the bike frame. From what I own that is semi knife-like, I would choose the Condor Kumunga for a task like this.
    not2sharp, maximus83 and bikerector like this.
  6. Hal


    Feb 26, 1999
    Knives are always fun & I too search for any possible reason to justify buying a new on.
    For small clean up though, it's hard to beat one of those folding pruning saws.

    Thankfully, the trails I ride are maintained by the county park system. They usually clear blowdowns within 24 hours.

    (Trek Verve 2 rider here)
  7. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    You could always modify a 12” Ontario machete. Cut to your preferred length. This one was an 18” that I cut down to 13”, but you can always go shorter. Much lighter than something like an SP8.
  8. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    A small folding saw would probably work better for this.
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  9. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    Folding saws are very slow on the vines and not a good solution all the time. A blade and saw are far better and I already have a saw I carry. I also think saws are pretty slow for anything 1" and under since you have to be slow and methodical instead of just raining destruction on the vegetation to open things up and get to the main branch or trunk.

    This is a typical scenario I come across where some cleanup is helpful before I can quickly saw the tree. I hiked in the machete for this one.


    This is kind of the idea, really, except shorter and stainless. The SP8 is too thick, I think, and I mentioned it mostly for the shape as all of the machetes I've used to this point have some belly to them, which I would be eliminating with the cleaver shape and also adding width to get a weight forward.

    I might just get a kitchen cleaver or cheap machete, cut off a bunch, mold some kydex and see how it works. I'm sure it will rust up quick given the intended carry method but I wouldn't me in that much more than a $20-$30 dollars and a couple hours of time.

    @Creaky Bones I like how you modded that OKC machete. Reminds me of the BCUSA Serechete. The biggest reason I was thinking a cleaver style blade is that the lack of a tip would allow it to carry well in a jersey pocket without too much worry of creating a wear spot. That round tip would achieve the same thing. How does that one work for you? Given, it's about twice the length I'm looking for but may be something I can work with there at least.

    Let's be clear, I'm not looking for something that is going to win any awards for working well. I'm more interested in seeing if it would even work half-way decently with a premium on ease of carry/convenience. There's an obvious lack of physics as the blade length doesn't allow much leverage or tip speed.

    So far, it seems like it's not a good idea and creating a carry system to put right on the bike is a better option or just stick with what I'm already using and keep the pack.
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  10. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Felco No.2 pruner should handle most of what you encounter and work better than a blade that is too short. Easy carry, too.

    I like the CS Bushman idea too. It should also be light enough to carry on a bicycle. If you need more blade speed, you can fashion a handle in the field, or even make that spear.

    Put the blade in your pack and keep the pruner ready to hand.
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  11. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    I know a couple guys that carry those mini electric chainsaws. Not really a lot of vines out here.

    Everyone else just has some form of Silky folder.
  12. Crag the Brewer

    Crag the Brewer Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 18, 2018
    I have no experience, but I've been interested in the Silky Nata for some time now, for needs what you are referring to...pruning/etc. I know they have other blade shapes too, but the 240mm is what I'd like.
    bikerector likes this.
  13. Kennuf


    Dec 10, 2019
    I have the libertariat(?) From condor. Blade is 10" and I would think a pretty nice fit for what you need. I use mine to prune the vines off my trees and have enjoyed it.
  14. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    That might be handy around the yard here. We have some bamboo and grasses that are too thick and prolific for loppers or a weed eater.
    Crag the Brewer likes this.
  15. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    That's a neat idea I hadn't thought of, fashioning a handle in the field.

    Nicer pruners would be a decent option, paired with a saw I imagine. Or can those handle some thicker stuff? I have some fiskars pruner and they are okay for small (1/2" dia maybe), green stuff but I have to use loppers for anything larger or dry. Vines would cut pretty easily though, at least the stuff I'm looking at handling with the easy-to-carry kit. I can always bring out the big guns for the days where cleanup is part of the intention of the ride, like I do now.
  16. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    That's the general idea, and really how I came to the Expat cleaver as I'm familiar with the Expat libertariat and knew they made something smaller. I didn't know until shortly before starting this thread that the cleaver was US made and pretty expensive whereas the libertariat is more in line to what I'm seeing for a machete-level tool as it's made in El Savador (pretty sure Condor or their other machete company makes it).

    The libertariat is a little long for a jersey pocket but it would probably carry well in a frame bag or something. Really, trying to get some other ideas and really see if the short cleaver thing is an idea worth pursuing or not, and so far, it looks like a different solution is probably better.

    I'm not sure how much this would play into things, in a real work sense, but not having a tip to stab with makes it easier to justify to LEO's that it's a tool and not a weapon should that come up at some point. Most I've met on the trail are just happy someone is helping to keep things cleared up.
  17. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
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  18. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Dang! I thought the bittersweet was bad around here. I hate that stuff. I have 4.5 acres of hardwood and it's a constant battle with that sh!t.
    Felco will eat it up and save your hands.
    I used a 12" Ontario machete for years but went to a Silky Pocketboy and Felco's. The Felco will handle up to 2 inches if you work you way around it.
    Easier on the joints also.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  19. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    It’s my cheap version of the Serechete. The Ontario machetes are 1/8” 1095. Heavy duty enough for some hard work without being overly beefy. The rounded tip is really handy for digging a quick hole, shoveling coals around in a campfire, etc and it makes it really friendly looking for non-knife people. I cut it off with a dremmel cut off wheel, prettied it up a bit on my belt sander and put some homemade burlap micarta scales on it. Surprisingly useful, easy to carry in a pack, and best of all it won’t do much damage to your wallet. I’ve made a few as gifts.
    Henry Beige and bikerector like this.
  20. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    Yeah, it's pretty bad. It takes out a lot of trees. One of the worse things, IMO, is even if something falls from a tree or the tree half blows over, the vines hold it up so it's a widowmaker and can come down at any time. Last weekend it was a pine tree. That was new as usually the pine trees seem to get a pass from the vines and it stunk trying to cut the vines and needles away to get to the trunk to clear the trail. I imagine it would be like trying to cut up a Christmas tree that still has all the lights wrapped around it.

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