Friday, October 14, 2011

Finally, a Machete that Works in the North

Having done some bushwacking in Africa and South and Central America, I appreciate good machetes. They are to jungles what axes are to northern forests. They don't translate well to our hemisphere, though. They're meant for yielding, green vegetation, and they're made light so that they can be swung for hours at a time.

This is an Indonesian style called a "golok", and made by Condor Knife and Tool in El Salvador. It's got a relatively short (14"), heavy blade. Comes with a well-made leather sheath, and weighs about two pounds total. It'll fit in a pack, and isn't too awkwardly long on a belt. It'll zip through green hardwood saplings with a drawing stroke, and can be batoned through fairly impressive diameters. No idea what kind of steel it is, but it's hard enough to hold an edge without being difficult to sharpen. For clearing brush, building shelters and processing enough firewood for a tent stove, it's a pretty good tool. Works well as a drawknife, too. It's the first machete I've come across that I would consider carrying instead of an ax on my canoe camping trips.

The handle is walnut, and comes a little thick, so I've been reshaping it. After using it a while, the high spots become apparent and I file them down. Once it's comfortable, I'll refinish it. It's a very practical design that allows for a loose, non-tiring grip with no worries about it sailing out of your hand. It's got a full tang, so no worries about it breaking, either. Three brass pins and a brass-lined lanyard hole give it a classier look than any plastic handle could.


Lee said...

I have these, the Golok and the Duku Chandong Parang/Machete handmade for me out of 6150 steel, which is probably one of the best steels for hacking and chopping. My blades are a little thicker and of course come with a high quality leather case. Here are a few pictures.

Oblio13 said...

Very nice, I think I have golok envy.

nonwo said...

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