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#104938 - 10/16/08 10:28 AM machete
BigMatt68 Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Hawthorne, Ca (near LA)
I was thinking of carrying a lightweight hatchet or possibly a machete... is this a waste of space/weight?

what do you carry with you? simple pocket knife?

thanks
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Inches make champions. —Vince Lombardi

Nothing gold can stay. —Robert Frost

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#104939 - 10/16/08 11:27 AM Re: machete [Re: BigMatt68]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
A machete is good for...
- clearing a path in dense jungle
- cutting odd shaped pieces of sod when laying down a lawn.
- cutting shallow sprinkler lines when cutting the sod.
- cutting up people in movies (I guess you can do it in real life).
- cutting vegetation to make a shelter.
- waving in the air during a revolt or government overthrow

A machete is NOT good for....
- cutting fire sticks
- cutting food into smaller pieces
- splitting fire wood
- cutting string (it can do this, but not as good as a small SAK, or even scissors)
- cutting open the package of food
- whittling

If I was going BPing in southern Mexico or Ecuador or the Congo, I would bring a machete, otherwise, a large open blade knife is much better. If you are practicing LNT, then only a small knife is needed.

A hatchet is OK to split wood, or cut up branches. A light hatchet isn't. Leather gloves are much better at breaking up branches, plus they also let you pick up your hot pot of water, and keep your hands warm. A small saw is MUCH better than a hatchet, and lighter. I never buy a SAK without a wood saw on it.
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#104940 - 10/16/08 11:56 AM Re: machete [Re: BigMatt68]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Machete's are good for bouncing back and cutting yourself or someone else. I don't allow them to be used for trail work here in my park because the cut is more of a 'mangle' than a clean cut. For cutting twigs and such, a set of loppers works much better, even a small hand clippers. For hiking/camping, a lightweight pocket saw works fine. I carry only a tiny pocket knife. Never needed to cut limbs or bushwhack.
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#104941 - 10/16/08 12:21 PM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Quote:
Machete's are good for bouncing back and cutting yourself or someone else.


Dooh, I forgot that one on my list. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#104942 - 10/16/08 02:10 PM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
That's consistent with my experience with machetes. That was the tool of choice for pruning Christmas trees (high school summer job). Standard equipment was a guard for the knee and below and a good pair of heavy gloves. Some of the guys thought they were good enough to not wear the leg guard, and then they would split their knee open. The guys who had been doing it awhile all wore the guards.

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#104943 - 10/16/08 06:37 PM Re: machete [Re: finallyME]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
I liked your list, especially these two:

Quote:

- cutting up people in movies (I guess you can do it in real life).
- waving in the air during a revolt or government overthrow



<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I about spilled my coffee on my keyboard when I read that..... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />


Seriously, I have a machete that's filed to a very keen edge, I thought would make a good and quick trail maintainer. They just don't have enough mass to cut through the really woody vines and brush and instead, glance off and try to kill me.
I've found them pretty useless. Long handled loppers do a much more accurate job up to 1" branches. Past that, a Sierra Saw, or folding Fiskers bow saw makes short work of baseball bat size limbs. Heck, those little saws in Swiss Army knives and Leatherman tools will cut through just about anything including a 2x4 if you take your time. I've got rough cut Sawzall blades that mount in a homemade file handle that work well too....very light weight and also cheap to buy.
I never cut anything when camping. If I do make a fire, there is plenty of deadfall around that crunches right up.
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#104944 - 10/16/08 07:49 PM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
What a bunch of woosies... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I use my machete to chase javelina out of camp. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Slap em on the backside with the flat of the blade. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I call it Javelina Slappin - try it... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

Seriously though I do carry a machete in desert country, because I think its about the best in close defence against snakes and tarantulas and scorpions.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#104945 - 10/16/08 08:36 PM Re: machete [Re: BigMatt68]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Machete.. shudder.

I'll ditto the others sentiments about them.

I take one or two things. Most of the time I take a small simple pocket
knife, either a little opinel knife, or a small swiss army knife. Big knives are for people who feel the need to compensate for something, or use them for defence. (I've field dressed a moose with a small opinel knife and a wyoming knife).

In some special situations I take a belt axe and/or a swede saw. but that's hunting or other
sorts of winter goofing around - not just regular old backpacking. (normally I only take such things If I expect to have to have a *lot* of firewood). For normal purposes I have two
hands and a pair of gloves.

Take what you'll actually use. not what looks cool. You'll carry less weight.
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#104946 - 10/17/08 04:51 AM Re: machete [Re: BigMatt68]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I only carry a small frame knife. I found that it is all I need for most situations.
But if I were to need something much bigger I would carry a Samuri sword. If you are trained properly by a master Samuri you can cut melons in one motion.
Don't try this at home kiddies...
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#104947 - 10/17/08 06:56 AM Re: machete [Re: chaz]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
If you are trained properly by a master Samuri you can cut melons in one motion.


Good suggestion......but I have yet to be attacked by even one melon....it's usually the other way around. I'll carry melon pepper spray, just in case. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


A thought occurred to me (yes, sometimes thoughts emerge from all the voices in my head.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />).

Take a Sawzall...reciprocating saw...blade, like this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/...13&s=hi

And grind a knife edge on the back side.

I made a file handle to hold one of these blades, which weighs practically nothing when done. As a knife, these blades aren't "hard" and wouldn't pry well, but otherwise you'd get one killer saw with a knife on the other side. Dual purpose. Just an idea I might try since I have lots of recip. blades laying around.
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#104948 - 10/17/08 08:53 AM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I would cut the saw blade in half. I don't think you would need that much. Otherwise, a great idea, I might try it out.

Chaz, you have been watching "Mail Call" on the History Channel way too much.
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#104949 - 10/17/08 09:03 AM Re: machete [Re: finallyME]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
I would cut the saw blade in half. I don't think you would need that much. Otherwise, a great idea, I might try it out.

Chaz, you have been watching "Mail Call" on the History Channel way too much.


Bah. IMNSHO when I need a saw I need something reasonably sizable. Hence why I totally
avoid those little SAK Saws, "survival saws" and other and such cruft - any time I've used them in the field for anything more than hobby sawing, they're too small or break. . The sawzall blade looks a lot like what I do take when I take a saw - a lightweight folding japanese pruning saw. The sawzall blade is probably a lot cheaper <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> So if anything I'd say leave it as it is - or don't bother <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> (If you were determined to have a tiny one - there are
smaller sawzall blades)

Just to put that in perspective though, I ususally take a saw when I expect to have to do fieldcraft like building a tripod, single tree, and/or sawing down the backbone of a magnificent ex-forest creature to quarter it. I don't find a saw that useful for getting firewood in a backpacking type environment - since it's typically small deadfall a small
axe is a zillion times better - you don't need to saw nice even logs, and you're typically not
burning big logs.
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#104950 - 10/17/08 09:59 AM Re: machete [Re: phat]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Just now, in under ten minutes I raked a short Sawzall blade spine through an electric knife sharpener, then down some crock sticks, and ended up with a sawzall blade that will shave, as well as cut off limbs. Looks kind of like a Mora knife with a nice saw down one side, except is says "Milwaukee" on it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> This was a 6 inch, 10 tpi, blade. This blade cuts on the pull stroke. Seems stiff enough and fits in a ballistic nylon sheath I already had laying around. Tang bolts into a wood file handle. Total build time was about 15 min. and cost was about $3. This has some promise!
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#104951 - 10/17/08 10:27 AM Re: machete [Re: phat]
BigMatt68 Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Hawthorne, Ca (near LA)
Quote:
- since it's typically small deadfall a small
axe is a zillion times better - you don't need to saw nice even logs, and you're typically not
burning big logs.


by small axe, what do you mean? an example maybe?

thanks
_________________________
Inches make champions. —Vince Lombardi

Nothing gold can stay. —Robert Frost

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#104952 - 10/17/08 02:56 PM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I think the 6" blade is perfect. Wish I had a cool sharpener like you. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />
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#104953 - 10/17/08 03:08 PM Re: machete [Re: BigMatt68]
Spock Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 679
Loc: Central Texas
Dyer, I gotta make one of them ones. That's fine.

Bigmatt, What everyone is gently trying to get through to you is, you don't need an ax or machete. Both are potentially more dangerous to the user than the target. It would be a bummer to slice an artery or split your knee-cap a long way from home.

Ax size? Heavier and longer cut more. Lighter and smaller cut less. Less than a 16 ounce head on a 9-10 inch handle gives an artifact that will cut things no larger than you could cut easily with a pocket knife or the saw thereon.


Edited by Spock (10/17/08 03:10 PM)

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#104954 - 10/17/08 03:14 PM Re: machete [Re: finallyME]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Thanks....while I was making the blade I was thinking.......
"Ya know, I could take an off the shelf, $8 sheet rock saw from Home Depot and do exactly the same thing. Handle already installed!"

So, Sawzall blades give you lots of choices but you'll have to come up with a handle. Sheetrock blades come ready to sharpen. Once made, these things look like something confiscated from a prison.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#104955 - 10/17/08 06:06 PM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Dryer

I made my own favorite fish fillet knife from an old saw blade when I was 12. The high carbon spring steels and saw steels were excellent, almost Solingen quality. Since the blade had a hole and a slot in the butt end, it was easy to make a hardwood handle and put two bolts through it all and grind it smooth. I was just holding it - the blade is more flexible and thinner than most knifes and holds and edge really well. In fact this knife has seriously cut me while camping, which is why I will drag the edge over a rock before taking it camping so that I don't get cut as deeply. There's a reason why I like to fillet with this thin sharp knife - it cuts flesh and bone easily. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

Oh yes - someone refered to melon cutting with a samauri sword. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />You must hold the blade exactlyflat to the trajectory of the blade. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> If it wavers the top falls off the melon. I am still moving the top half over a bit, but at least it stays almost intact. I have a friend who could slice it six ways with no visible movement, after twirling the sword under his arm half a dozen times. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
P.S. I found that trimming the hedge out front with a sword while the neighboorhood kids are playing ball is a good way to earn a little respect. As in, no one will want to mess with you, especially if you're courteous to the worst of them, then they really fear you. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
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#104956 - 10/17/08 07:34 PM small axes [Re: BigMatt68]
Tango61 Offline
member

Registered: 12/27/05
Posts: 931
Loc: East Texas Piney Woods

For backpacking purposes, some carry something like this:

http://www.gransfors.com/htm_eng/produkter/new_prod/p_lillayxa.html

This is a very small hatchet and is best used for splitting small kindling. However, you can do the same thing with a fixed blade knife and a wooden baton (i.e. a big stick)

Here is one made by Fiskars:
http://www.fiskars.com/webapp/wcs/stores...p;page=products

Gerber:
http://www.gerberstore.com/index.php?xpage=itempage&xid=427

Remember, a ax or hatchet is a tool, and like any tool, you need to use the right tool for the job. As Dryer has pointed out, shears and saws are more efficient. But personally, I like working with a small hatchet. I usually take them all if I am doing trail work or car camping. If just backpacking, it is a just a small knife. I do have one of those Opinel knives that Phat uses or I may carry a Mora. I always have my small SAK pen knife.

Here is a sample of a good saw:
http://www.fiskars.com/webapp/wcs/stores...p;page=products

You realize, we've opened up a huge can of worms. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#104957 - 10/18/08 05:25 AM Re: machete [Re: Dryer]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I was taught a trick to cut nails a long time ago by my dad. If you can get a regular handsaw between to boards that has a nail you need to cut, turn the saw over and cut with the smooth side. It acctually works.
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#104958 - 10/18/08 05:27 AM Re: machete [Re: finallyME]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
I don't watch the history channel or have cable. Much time is spent with the Zen master.
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#104959 - 10/18/08 05:33 AM Re: machete [Re: Jimshaw]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
If it wavers the top falls off the melon. I am still moving the top half over a bit, but at least it stays almost intact.
P.S. I found that trimming the hedge out front with a sword while the neighboorhood kids are playing ball is a good way to earn a little respect. As in, no one will want to mess with you, especially if you're courteous to the worst of them, then they really fear you.


Why does "Oh, that's just Jim trimming his hedges with a sword....don't worry about him...",
not seem out of character? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I found an Echo gas powered hedge trimmer works really well on hedges. Can't seem to keep a melon together with it yet. Practice, practice. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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#104960 - 10/18/08 09:47 AM Re: machete [Re: BigMatt68]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:


by small axe, what do you mean? an example maybe?

thanks


mine's got a 1.5 pound head and an 18 inch handle. - as opposed to your typical hatchet which is about a pound or less and a 10 inch handle. YMMV but I find for me this strikes a much better balance between weight and untility for an axe than taking something much smaller and lighter.
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#104961 - 10/18/08 10:18 AM Re: small axes [Re: Tango61]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I find I really don't like to bother with a lot of the super little guys like that. If I was going to take one of those little social hatchets that only serve to piss off the wood rather than actually cut it, I don't bother and just take the opinel knife, or perhaps a belt knife and my hands. By the time I bother with enough weight for an axe, those critters are only marginally less heavy than something bigger, with about a foot and a half handle and enough mechanical advantage to make a difference. As I've mentioned, what I take has about a pound and a half head, and an 18 inch handle - I have no idea what make, it's about 25 years old <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Were I looking for something like that today, with modern materiels, I'd probably do something like
this little 17 inch fiskars axe - I've seen the fiskars jobbies and they're inexpensive, and with modern materiels light and indestructible. Realisticly, that extra 6 to 10 inches of handle length makes all the difference in the world over a tiny hatchet.

Remember *most of the time* I don't bother with either saw or axe. In the dead of winter if I'm going to be burning a lot of wood, I bring one, and then I want it to be saving me enough time and effort over breaking by hand, so it has to be effective.
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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#104962 - 10/18/08 11:13 AM Re: small axes [Re: phat]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
"..if I were going to take one of those little 'social hatchets' that only serve to piss off the wood..." Phat that was the best medicine I've had since I contracted this dang Lyme diesase <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Please, do go on <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

I can tell that if we went camping togehter, came back and wrote separate 'trip reports' here, they would both probably just read...."Ha, Ha, Ha...nver laughed so much I lost track of the miles we hiked.." <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

"he's not Phat, he's my brother.." <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
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