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Short Machete on a budget

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by dorpmuller, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. dorpmuller


    Oct 25, 2010
    I'll be using this for yard and garden work, and I can't find anything "just right" online.

    Use: Slashing grass, bushes, small green branches up to 1/4-1/2 in. in diameter, light chopping.

    What I'd like: Carbon steel, good ergonomics, blade length 10-12", thick enough to chop and swing, (no cheap, flexing steel) price to not exceed $50-$60... so if I slip and smash a rock with it I won't feel too bad! The ultimate would be a double edge so I can cut both ways. Just enough front weight to get a good swing without "losing it" with painful wrists.

    Maybe forty-two blades will chime in-I'm looking over his site and would rather support a forum member anyway. ;)

    Looked at: Kabar pestilence chopper, zombie chop stick and Machax. Condor Speed Bowie, 12" bolo, Thai Enep Knife and Boomslang.

    I already have an Ontario kukri so I'm good there.

    Anyone that can help? I'd really appreciate it!

    Maybe someone has a used Machax... (hint, hint!) :D

  2. combatjiujitsu

    combatjiujitsu Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    Tramontina! You can buy 2 or 3 for cheap, then modify them anyway you want make them your own. Great bang for the buck!
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    You rang? :D

    Personally I think the pieces you've mentioned by name are either too short, too thick, or both. If it'll mostly be small and light stuff I'd actually go with the Condor Swamp Master, which is stainless but of very good quality. It holds an edge about as well as their carbon steel does, and while it's thin it's nice and stiff. A very versatile chopper that'll handle grasses well in spite of its short length. Another option if you're looking for a shorter model would be a 14" Condor EcoSurvivor and I could put a partial back edge on it for you--in fact I could do that for ya' on any piece that you got from me. I think you'll want something less than 1/8" in thickness and at least 14". Tip velocity is the name of the game with light targets, and a thick blade is going to hit hard on wood, but will be comparatively poor on grasses, especially if short.
  4. SeaxyBeast


    Feb 2, 2011
    Just a quick add on to the above. I have a Condor Mountain Bowie in the same 420 HC as the Swamp Master and it's convinced me of the quality of Condor stainless. It's as tough as most carbon steel machetes and requires a lot less maintenance. Good stuff.
  5. RWT


    Mar 15, 2011
    Get a 42Blades 12" Ontario - I love mine and it does everything I want. He adds a sheath, mods the handles and adds a convex edge that cuts better than most new factory edges
  6. dorpmuller


    Oct 25, 2010
    The Swampmaster looks good... will it handle ~1/4-1/2 inch branches? Basically I'm gonna use it for trimming shrubbery instead of hedge clippers. Swinging is a helluva lot easier for me than clipping.

    I would definitely have you put a top edge on it.

  7. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    The Swamp Master actually already has a top edge on it! :D But it'll easily hand 1/4" to 1/2" branches and more. You wouldn't have trouble taking out small trees with it once you get used to the technique of it.
  8. stormbird


    May 6, 2006
    I have the Condor Combat Machete w/13" blade and partially sharpened top edge. Very comfortable grip. Also have the 14" Kabar Grass Machete, comfortable grip on this one too. Love them both.
  9. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I've had the Condor Combat Machete for years. Great compact machete. Not ideal for those tasks, though. It's a bit more of a wood chopper and less of a grass slasher.
  10. wouldestous


    Jul 8, 2012
    cant speak to your specific needs (edit: because im no expert on steel composition and other technical matters) but ive found the tramontina bush style machetes to be an excellent value.
    i have an imacasa sable machete thats light and seems to work well cutting grasses and smaller diameter woody stems. the one i have is 24 inches though and is much longer than what you are looking for.
  11. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Swinging a blade on a hedge may sound fun, but I would suggest you just get a cheap B&D hedge trimmer. I think my favorites are too stiff for this task. They include the 14" Golok, Pack Golok, and Parang. The Viking machete may work for you but it is a long blade.
  12. JBK2596


    Oct 7, 2010
    Ontario Heavy 12'' machete is the best on any budget!;)
    If you were serious cold steel made a double edged machete a while back, never had that model from them but i like my CS kukukri,
  13. Halfneck


    Jun 30, 2005
    I'll second the 14 inch Eco-Survivor El-Salvadoran Machete by Condor. Keep an eye on the Woods Monkey website as there should be a review on it soon.
  14. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Condor has the Thunderhead model which is nearly identical to the old CS double edged model.
  15. stormbird


    May 6, 2006
    You are right. Combat Machete is fairly stout. I should have recommended the large Inca (based on what I own and use). The Inca is light and fast, about a 12" blade. Both of mine will top off tall weeds with a lazy swing. They are pretty dang sharp.
  16. SilverFoxKnows


    Sep 25, 2002
    Both of my Trams came with better fit and finish than machetes costing 5 times as much. I've traded away two Martindales, kept one Bellotto and one Imacasa but the Tramontina is king as far as I'm concerned. All the others required major, major edge work to be usable. The Trams are the only ones that didn't need a belt sander or hours with a file.

  17. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Given that the Inca Knife is a "stubby" version of a pattern designed for grasses, that makes sense. :D I actually have a 24" Imacasa of the same pattern with a nickel coated blade. I'm having word retrieval issues right now, though, and can't recall the name of the pattern. It's on the tip of my tongue.
  18. woody d

    woody d Banned BANNED

    Jan 29, 2010
    based on my experience im not overly fond of the Cold Steel machetes, it took some work to make em sharp enough for my liking....and while i currently own only one Condor machete, im very impressed with the quality. very sharp right outta the box and has stayed that way. the bonus was it came with a real nice leather sheath.

    *add...42s 7 point system is a darn good reason to buy Condor stuff from him.
  19. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    The Cold Steel machetes CAN be very good tools--they just need a lot of work out of the box. The "edge" is formed by drawing the blank through a couple of grinding wheels, which makes a thin and often warped uneven hollow grind and overheats the steel at the very edge.Once you grind past that soft steel they do a very nice job, though they still run softer than Imacasa/Condor models. :)
  20. b0wz3r


    Jun 3, 2012
    I got a Condor Golok (with the sheath) a few weeks ago, and I love it. It's my first machete, so I can't make any real comparisons, and while I did find some small F&F issues with it, I'm very pleased with it overall. Good quality and design, great sheath, and overall an excellent value. I've used it for some yard work, and some light wood processing, and it worked great for all of it. Great ergos on the handle too... very easy to keep a grip on it during use.

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