View Full Version : Machete

Tactical Tom
01-12-2008, 11:44 PM
Can anyone tell me about Tramontina machetes? These are only about $6.00 at SMKW:eek: Are these just cheap junk or what ? I am currently packing a ColdSteel Kukri machete & I really like it but was thinking about getting the Tramontina 14" bolo machete ($5.99 SMKW) for a little more reach.

01-12-2008, 11:50 PM
sorry i can't be of actual help but i will say that the $10 junk machete i have atm works just fine. you do seem to get what you pay for [and i traded a $10 butterfly knife for it].

01-13-2008, 09:11 AM
TT - I have a cheap Kurkri and a cheap machete. I don't have any problems with either one. If I am going to be in one place a while I like to have one or the other (I prefer the Kurkri) just to hack with. Either is a pain to carry if you on the move.

01-13-2008, 12:32 PM
I have a couple of tramontina machetes and have used them for years.
Mine were purchased in the Caribbean, and I feel they are better than most junk you can buy from places like surplus stores, etc.

01-14-2008, 05:34 PM
Here is my machette.


Vintage WWII

01-22-2008, 08:42 PM
Tramontina uses a carbon steel, although they do not specify which. The handles are either wood or polypropylene. As far as cheap machetes go, they're alright. If you want one with longer reach, I'd just get a Cold Steel Magnum Khukri to accompany your other, as it is not much more expensive, and it has a 16 inch blade, so you get even more reach than the Tramontina. I have a magnum khukri, and I definitely trust it with my life.

01-22-2008, 10:36 PM
I got a Gerber GATOR saw back machete, nice grip. The thing is easy to use either sawing
or hacking. Weird scabbard, no belt attachment point.

01-23-2008, 07:56 AM
Do not buy a Cold Steel two handed Machete..
It is way to much fun and your garden will suffer for it.
I've offered to clear the bushes and vines from the neighbours just as an excuse to use it.

01-23-2008, 10:53 AM
Sorry I don't use a machete, just a hawk and knife.

01-24-2008, 02:18 AM
Hawk and a knife is good. If it gets the job done, it gets the job done.

I'll tell you all what I've been looking for. I've noticed that the machetes made today are very cheaply made, which they're supposed to be a cheaper tool, but quality is still a good attribute to have. Does anyone know of any decently priced (between $30 and $100) machetes that are over 14" in length that are wider than just a few mm or 1/8 inch? I'm talking at least 1/5 of an inch thickness. I've found some traditional Filipino blades made in the Philippines, and some genuine, non ceremonial Thai darbs that are of the thickness and quality that I'm looking for, but they're all over $150. That goes for the Valiant Co blades I've found also. Or am I just going to have to pay the price on this one?

01-25-2008, 06:27 PM
I find some of the cheap ones are too thin and the blade tends to twist and bend with use, increasing the risk of it ricocheting off its intended target.

01-25-2008, 06:45 PM
I use one of these...link (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp?id=0006582513557a&type=product&cmCat=SEARCH&returnPage=search-results1.jsp&QueryText=MACHETE&N=4887&Ntk=Products&Ntx=mode+matchall&Nty=1&Ntt=MACHETE&noImage=0)

its a beast, and at 1/4" thick youll never bend or warp it, full tang and a nice solid rubber grip. and a real nice sheath.

Ole WV Coot
01-26-2008, 11:00 AM
Nice, but for the price I will stick with my 40yr old USA Ontario hasn't failed me yet and the rolled edge cuts nicely.

06-10-2008, 02:35 AM
I use several Cold Steel machetes and they are great. You can often get them at a Gun show for a good price as the shipping will cost as much as the blade. The sheaths cost as much as the blades but still not that bad. I just saw on their website that they have new sheaths with pockets on them. look cool but have not scene one yet.

06-10-2008, 06:53 AM
OK, I guess this one is for me. I live in Brazil and can attest that the Tramontina is THE standard machete here.

You have to understand a little about machetes and tropical nations to really "get" the Tramontina. The end user of the Tramontina machete is a guy who works incredibly hard for his pay in a country with a year round growing season. Machetes are a comsumable commodity like tires. They are designed to do their job, get beat up, and then replaced when they wear out.

They are not works of blademaker art. The cost is kept low on purpose but they must retain a high degree of functionality or nobody would buy them. Here in Brazil, arguably one of the nations with the highest use of the machete, the Tramontina line is top. I would say that easily 90% of the machetes sold here are made by Tramontina.

I use them very much from the 10 inch to 20 inch. My absolute favorite is the 14 inch Bolo. It is an awesome deal of $6, in fact it is a no brainer purchase, if you don't have one you are missing out on a great deal. I say that with no hesitation. The ONLY criticism I have of it is that it is hard to find a sheath for.

My other favorite is the 16 inch Latin pattern machete. The 16 is a good balance between length, and weight. The 20 inch is good for tall grasses and clearing land but is difficult to tolerate on a belt. The 14 and 16 inch machetes are compromise blades that are easy to carry and yet get the job done.

When I run my course each guy gets a 14 or 16 inch Tramontina and a Mora SWAK. With these two you can get all your cutting jobs done very well. I have never had a complaint.

I would have no qualms about heading off into the jungle with a Tramontina machete, millions of people are doing just that this morning. Mac

06-10-2008, 07:05 AM
A note on blade thickness and weigth.

A heavy machete like the Ontario is very good on hardwoods. It is more like a hatchet with a long edge. The downside to such a machete is that when you have to hack for hours, especially in tall grass and light entangling vegitation it will wear out your arm.

Do an experiment here. Make a fist with your hand held up and down. Now place your left hand over your forearm at the crook of your elbow. Bend your fist up and down. You should feel a round muscle in your forearm moving back and forth. That is the muscle a heavy machete will DETONATE in short order when you have to use it repeatedly and once it is done you are done chopping. A light, long blade is much easier to swing for hours and gives enough reach to clear high and low.

Machetes are like golf clubs, you have to pick the right one for the job. Mac

06-10-2008, 07:21 AM
I hadn't heard of the Tramontina. Thanks. Here's another review of them that echoes your description. http://www.outdoors-magazine.com/spip.php?page=article&id_article=49

06-10-2008, 10:35 AM
Pict do you use the straight edge or the bolo edge?
Which one do you prefer?

Ole WV Coot
06-10-2008, 10:38 AM
I carry my old Ontario on my ATV front rack so weight isn't a problem. I would try a Tramontina but the shipping would be more than the price. I keep a good cutting edge but around here they get very little use. I can't think of anyone besides me that carries one.

06-10-2008, 11:26 AM
Two old machetes i got from my grandpap a long time ago.
http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/1038/machetteek9.th.jpg (http://img503.imageshack.us/my.php?image=machetteek9.jpg)

06-10-2008, 03:17 PM
Pict do you use the straight edge or the bolo edge?
Which one do you prefer?


This is the typical set-up I loan my students for the course. A 14 or 16 inch Tramontina in a really nice leather sheath with a Mora. The knives have a BSA Hotspark on the lanyard and the machete has a Doan Tool on the sheath.

This is my personal machete, a 16 inch Tramontina with my large Zebu folder.


I do like the Bolo very much. I carried on in my trunk down here for many years. They are very good on hardwood and bamboo.


Me having a very good day. Mac

06-10-2008, 03:21 PM
when I was in the School of the Americas in Panama way back when we carried a straight edge machete like the one in the first pic, how hard would it be for you to pick me one up (like yours, I simply love the sheath with it), gimme the price and I'll send you the money.

06-10-2008, 03:51 PM
I have used several like that, I think they are one of the best machetes you can get. I do use a cut down Martindale too, but it's a lot heavier and thicker. But the tramontina should serve you well for many years. I like to convex the edge on mine so it lasts longer and doesn't stick as much in wood. But I will admit it a bit of work for a machete. I got the time so I went ahead and did it.

06-11-2008, 01:56 AM
I've heard that Tramontina made good stuff just never got to it. i carry an 18 inch ontario.
i had a 12 inch but my mom beat me out of it:D

one thing i feel pict should've mentioned is that machetes are meant to sharpened by the buyer.
@kemp....crocodile brand, ontario, barteaux......look on ebay usuaslly some nice older machetes hanging out in the military section

for parangs go here... a parang is the knife on the right in beowulfs picture

06-11-2008, 07:26 AM
"machetes are meant to sharpened by the buyer"

Yes, this is true. One more way to make them affordable. Mac

06-11-2008, 07:34 AM
Mac - I would imagine you have some problems with rust on your machete's because of the environment you are in. I don't know if you can import it but Oxpho-Blue made by Brownell's is a cold blueing that will prevent it. It might help make the students' machetes last longer. Just a thought.


06-11-2008, 07:39 AM
All this time and I never knew what kind of machete's those were, they just hang in my garage now next to my grandpaps old fly rod.

06-11-2008, 12:15 PM

They rust during rainy season if I let them stay in wet leather. Really it isn't much of a problem. They rust, yes, but then you just take the sandpaper to them and they turn shiny again. I find that many plant juices will stain carbon steel pretty bad. Car wax gives them a good protective coating too.

I have treated several of my machetes with vinegar to give them a really nice finish that resists rust. It helps and makes the blades look really tacticool.


You can pick up just about any Tramontina from SMKW for about what I would pay for them here. The sheaths I use here are not the standard "field worker" grade commonly encountered. These are mostly handmade one-of-a-kind sheaths I've found in my travels visiting small shops and farm co-ops. I wish I could get them in bulk but it just doesn't work that way. Mac

06-11-2008, 12:25 PM
Cool, I'll check out Smokey, thanks.

06-11-2008, 12:25 PM

One of the perks of living in machete country, I run across sheaths like these in my travels and snap them up. Here are a few of the ones I use on a regular basis. Mac

06-11-2008, 12:31 PM
I checked out your channel and its really great the "Building and setting an arapuca live bird trap" was a great video keep up the great work I learned a lot.

06-11-2008, 12:59 PM
Thanks, I have alot of fun doing those videos. I have never seen that trap trigger in any books so I figured I'd put it out there. Its not original to me that is a very common trap here, its just that nobody is writing much about wilderness survival and bushcraft in Brazil so there's lots that hasn't been recorded. The arapuca is a good trap to keep in your head. Mac

06-11-2008, 01:09 PM
Yeah I may try it here.

06-11-2008, 01:33 PM
I own a lot of knives some cheap and even though I like them for the money I feel that all my cheap knives leave something to be desired in handle comfort, so for a heavy use tool like a machete I would make sure you feel the handle first if you can, I think SMKW has a good return policy so it should be OK.

06-11-2008, 01:49 PM
Mac - Those are some nice sheaths. It's nice when art and functionality come together. On the car wax bit. I use it on my handguns rifles and shotguns. I don't have any problems with finger prints causing rust or corrosion either.

Chicago Dan
06-11-2008, 04:14 PM
I also have a $6 machete and am happy with it other than, like other people, I found the sheath was garbage. I guess that’s why there is so much discussion on sheaths whenever machete is mentioned.

06-11-2008, 05:34 PM
Nice collection Pict.

06-12-2008, 08:53 AM
Hey Pict, how do you get those machetes past airport security? Do you check them in your luggage?

06-12-2008, 09:12 AM
Pict you need to do a series on traps for us explaining some of those cool jungle traps we don't see here, maybe post a few pics for us.

06-12-2008, 10:30 AM
He did before you came back on. He has several vids he's posted. Click on his avatar then on Find All Posts. You'll see them. He has a great little trap made out of sticks on there.

06-12-2008, 12:22 PM
You can take any blade though checked luggage. I sometimes wonder what they must think when my bags go through! It isn't a problem as long as its in checked luggage.

I don't do alot of trapping here as it is illegal. The "arapuca" is a very common trap here, most rural kids know how to make them. Brazilians are really big on caged birds.

There is another that I have seen here that I have never seen in books called the "Quebra Cabeca" (Head breaker) that will kill about 4 - 6 pigeons at a time using a spring pole sapling that comes slapping down against the ground. I plan to build one and video it in operation.

It is hard to get people to talk about trapping because it is against the law. They have to know they can trust you before they go blabbing about illegal activities.

Just to be clear, I don't live in the jungle. Central Brazil looks alot like southern California. It is a mix of lowland tropical forest, scrubland called Cerrado, Savannah (grassland), and mountains that range up to about 6000 feet. The north of my state is a desert called the "Sertao", the eastern reigon is coverd by "Mata Atlantica" or Atlantic forest. The true jungle is about a 40 hour car ride north of me. I'll try to post some photos of the area I play in. Mac

ETA - If you want to see any of my stumbling attempts at video you can go to my Youtube channel by clicking the link below.

Tactical Tom
06-21-2008, 01:21 PM
Thanks for the info guys, I'm going to the Smokies for vacation (week of the 4th of july) I'm going to SmokieMountian Knife Works while I'm there & I'm going to pick up a few Tramontian machete's :D & maybe a couple of Moras ! & who knows what else !!!!!! :eek:

06-25-2008, 01:59 AM
ive been looking for a machete for a while but there are so many different styles, which style would be best for chopping branches and splitting logs?

06-25-2008, 07:04 AM
Tonestar - I don't know that you will find a machete that is good for splitting logs. While they can be a workhorse for you, you may need to carry something heavier for splitting logs - camp axe or heavy chopper. This isn't to say that you can't do some splitting with a machete, but there are other tools that make the task easier.

06-25-2008, 08:46 AM
Seasoned hardwood is difficult with a machete. In North America the only machete I use often is a 12 inch Ontario. They are short and heavy and do a good job with light splitting, easy to pack etc.

The Tramontina 14 inch Bolo costs $6 and should be a part of every persons car trunk kit. Skip McDonalds one time and its yours. The only drawback on the 14 inch Bolo is finding a sheath to fit it. IMO they have the best handle design of all the Tramontinas and the balance of the blade is about perfect. The forward weight helps doing heavy chopping. Mac

the grizz
06-25-2008, 10:41 AM
What about condor machetes?

06-25-2008, 12:18 PM
I think you can get a Martindale to split with. Much thicker than most others, more Big Knife like. I cut mine down to 12 in blade and convexed it. Been beating the crap out of it for quiet some time now.

06-25-2008, 02:07 PM
thanks guys. yah ive been looking at hatchets and camp axes also, but i think im gonna pick up a machete first.

06-25-2008, 02:42 PM
check out www.m4040.com
he does a review on several big knives as well as a few machete. the kukri or the gerber make nice all around machete's that will do some choping and can be had for around $20.00

i also like the wetterlings axe's - inexpensive and have good quality if your looking for axes