Home Featured Articles Machete: A Beginner’s Guide

Machete: A Beginner’s Guide


Man with Machete

Man with Machete

All through historical past, many nice instruments have been born out of mankind’s have to survive.  Few have had the influence and the adaptability of the machete.  From the South American Amazon to the African Serengeti, the usage of machetes is world.  The lengthy mounted blades make them superb for chopping trails and clearing brush.  They’re additionally a best choice of sugarcane farmers.  The simplicity of the design and the effectiveness result in the device changing into an icon.  

Historical past

The billhook made chopping by way of vegetation and small timber simpler.  As time progressed, comparable instruments developed reached symbolic standing and have become ritualized.  Stemming from want and ease of use, machete-like instruments started popping up all around the world.

Machetes have additionally discovered their approach onto the battlefield.  Guerrilla forces and navy troopers have carried them as each device and weapon. Particularly, the Macheteros, have centuries-old ties again to sugarcane farmers. Rebels in Cuba have additionally used machetes in lots of conflicts with opposing forces. In some nations, machetes have even changed handguns as the usual sidearm. 

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The African nation of Angola even included the picture of a Machete on its flag.  Impressed by the Soviet hammer and sickle, the crimson and black flag encompasses a cog and machete. A cog to signify industrial employees and the machete for agriculture. 

Sorts and Kinds 

Internationally, because the makes use of of machetes grew, so did the variety of sorts and kinds. Now there are over a dozen. From Latin to Bowie, parang to kukri, every identify represents a special type, origin, and use.  Within the western world, the most typical type is Latin.  Together with the Latin, under is a listing of some widespread kinds. 




Originating from Latin America, that is probably the most acknowledged model of the machete.  Blade lengths vary from 18 to 24 inches and are finest utilized in gentle vegetation. Used for chopping and chopping.  Also called a bush machete. 




The Philippines-based Bolo has a blade size between 20 and 24 inches and is a multi-use device.  Just like the heavy machete, it has a thicker weighted blade. 

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This African multi-use machete has a blade size of 20 inches.  Distinct curved design makes it nice for chopping wooden.   This design is used within the Caribbean and has a relative named the Tapanga that additionally originated in Africa. 


From disputed origins, the billhook is likely one of the oldest acknowledged kinds.  It’s an agricultural device with a blade size round 20 inches.  There are fashions with inside and out of doors edges sharpened.




Knife-like in its look.  Originating from America with a typical blade size round 12 inches.  This machete is a combination between a bowie knife and a machete.  Thought to be one of the best survival machete it will get its namesake from Jim Bowie. 



Used for shaping wooden, the golok has a curved blade and originated in South-East Asia.  This machete is an emblem of masculinity to the individuals of Indonesia.



An Asian machete with a single edge design and a heavy leaf-shaped blade.  The slicing capability and heaviness make them superb for looking and slaughtering livestock.



Born in South America and used to chop sugar cane.  The ahead weighted cane machete can also be used to chop bamboo and heavy foliage.  Cane machetes function a hook on the bottom of the tip like most different designs. 



This curved blade chopper hails from Nepal. It has a curved blade starting from 16 to 18 inches. Very best for jobs suited to giant mounted blade knives.  Militaries world wide subject the Kukris as a survival device. 

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Used for chopping and batoning, this Asian machete has a curved blade.  The parang has an extended and extra curved blade than the golok.

Blade Development 

The supplies used to assemble machetes differ.  There are three widespread metallic sorts used to make machetes:  Stainless, Carbon and Excessive-Carbon Stainless.  There are execs, cons and makes use of for every. Base the sort and magnificence you select in your supposed use.  Every design and materials has a selected use in thoughts and the right selection is essential to the success of your job. 


An costly choice immune to stains and requires much less upkeep.  Dulls a lot quicker than carbon but it surely’s simple to resharpen. 


More durable and cheaper than stainless.  This kind requires oil typically to keep away from rust. Carbon will preserve a pointy edge longer than stainless. 

Excessive-Carbon Stainless 

The latest materials used.  Combines one of the best of each worlds.  The rust resistance of stainless and the energy of carbon.

Handles Sorts and Development 

Different Machete types

Different Machete types

Just like the kinds of the blade, there are various kinds of deal with. Every deal with design has a selected level and objective. 


Designed to maintain your hand from slipping throughout the blade.  It’s a heavy design and should not match all arms. 

Knuckle Guard 

Just like the crossguard, the knuckle guard won’t match all arms and does are usually heavier. The design protects the hand and knuckles and retains your hand from sliding off the deal with. 


The quillon design will preserve your hand from sliding throughout the blade.  It won’t shield your hand and knuckles just like the crossguard and knuckle guard. 

There are completely different supplies utilized in deal with development as nicely. Handles made for his or her longevity and handles made for his or her resistance of micro organism.  Deal with constructed from costly supplies and ones constructed from cheaper supplies. 

Micarta Handles

By far the costliest.  Constructed from layers of plastic, linen or fiberglass. These grips are probably the most comfy and most lasting. 

Textured Handles 

Cheap handles present an excellent grip.  Due to their rubber development, they’ll turn out to be worn and torn. 

Stainless Handles 

One other costly choice.  Immune to micro organism however can turn out to be slippery throughout use. 

Picket Handles

Not as costly as stainless or micarta, however greater than plastic.  Recognized for harboring micro organism.  It requires probably the most upkeep. 

Plastic Handles 

By far the most affordable choice. They’re simple to keep up however will crack simpler than others. It could actually turn out to be slippery throughout prolonged use.

Machete or Axe?

Axe or Machete

Axe or Machete

Two instruments with comparable makes use of however completely different purposes.  One design is finest suited to chopping whereas the opposite is finest for hacking.  Machetes are longer and thinner and axes are brief with thicker blades.  Machetes are lighter and customers will tire slower than these utilizing heavier axes.  The burden of every is usually a professional or a con relying on the applying.  In case you are chopping firewood a machete is ineffective in the identical approach a hatchet is when clearing gentle foliage.  For those who can’t resolve which one is finest for you, chances are you’ll not need to.

Lately, a number of corporations have developed a Machete-Axe.  These distinctive hybrids mix the blade size of a machete with the heavy head of an axe.  This unusual however efficient combo means that you can chop, cut up and clear brush with one device.  Innovation has been a driving issue within the historical past of machetes.  This newest incarnation is not any completely different.


Storing And Caring For Your Machete 

Machetes are versatile instruments, however they’ve one enemy and vulnerability, rust. Due to this, it’s essential that you just retailer your machete in a dry location and when in storage preserve it out of the sheath. Whichever type machete suits your objective finest, it’s crucial you keep it and take care of it. Since carbon metal blades are susceptible to rust apply a light-weight coat of oil after use. Chrome steel will maintain up higher in opposition to the weather however it’s best to oil them every so often. Deal with upkeep is straightforward, particularly if in case you have a plastic deal with. Picket handles want periodic oiling and is achieved through the use of a light-weight rubdown of furnish polish.  

Sharpening Your Machete

Machete Sharpener

Machete Sharpener

Generally, utilizing a area sharpener is sufficient to preserve a pointy edge on a machete while you’re working.  After an prolonged interval of use, or in case your machete comes with out an edge, you have to a heavier sharpener.  Like each different facet of machetes, the angle of edge you select might be utterly based mostly in your wants.  A 20 to 25 diploma works finest for non-woody purposes.  For branches and blended woody vegetation, 25 to 35 levels is good.  Mill information, grinding wheels, and belt sanders are nice sharpening instruments for machetes.  Every has execs and cons and particular strategies of use.  When utilizing all three it’s crucial you keep watch over the blade temperature so it doesn’t lose its mood.  I like to recommend that you just analysis the three instruments and discover the one you’re most comfy with. 


Latin or Bolo?  Panga or Bowie?  Picket Deal with or Plastic?  Carbon blade or Stainless blade?  It’s as much as you and there’s no incorrect reply.  That has made machetes a staple of outside adventures and tasks for hundreds of years.  No matter the place you’re, what you want or what you’re doing, chances are high there’s a machete excellent for you. 

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