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Thread: machete vs. tomahawk

  1. #41
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Just watched a show on the History Channel (still watching) called axes. In it they say that the ax was the favorite multi purpose tool of the early settlers. Also showed the evolution of the tomahawk. Pretty interesting.
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  3. #43

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    I understood the machete to be a tool of southern climates. I think in the hard woods around here it would be of little use. A sharp hachet on the other hand. I have had one all my life. I have been considering buying a "woodsmans pal" Google it. Looks handy.

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    Here is a pic of colonial, they carried camp axes or poll axes or tomahawks, as that is what was used.
    Notice the axe.
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  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by remy View Post
    Machetes are widely used all over the world, not just southern climates (i am guessing you refer to jungles). From China to south and central America, from India to Africa and Asia, it takes on different shapes and names, but remains one of the most useful tool throughout the world.

    Hard wood is also present in those regions (cocobolo, padouk, asian ebony, sepele, peruvian walnut, bubinga, koa, ipe...).
    I think both the machete and the axe have their purpose...but it seems that the preference is inherited through culture more than the tool itself.

    Nords liked their axes.
    And the tomahawk of the northern tribes proved to become somewhat of a mystical object...pushed of course by movies and the literature of the time. The tomahawk is also much more pleasing to the eye compare to the simplistic and blend nature of the machete. Tomahawks exude a certain refined power, while the machete exudes crudeness.

    Those objects, like any other, reflect symbolisms.
    The machete reflects the farmers' struggle, rebellions, crude work and primitive lives.
    The tomahawk reflects posture, the idea of warriors, even courage.
    (none exhaustive list)

    The western cultures embraced the hawk and the axe.
    Deep rooted symbols of our quest for elegant power draped in mysticism and "beauty".
    Long reaching handles and small working edges, almost to the image of our ideals...but the machete was born out of a different ideal.
    A short handle and a long blade, is the sign of an environment not willing to be easily tamed. It is the populace tool. The working tool...no mysticism here...cut, cut well, and cut more.
    Me using the term hardwood forest was not infer there were not tropical hardwoods but to describe the terrain. Maybe you would prefer non tropical, devoid of vines and thick vegetation. Is that better? See Beowulf’s pic? Notice then lack of thick vegetation? See how travel in easier then a tropical environment? See how a axe could be advantageous over a machete? Nords liked their axes for a reason, and it was not mystical.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Ole WV Coot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by remy View Post
    Oh i forgot...a lot of people through out the world use the machete in "non tropical" regions. From the deserts of central America, to the deserts of Africa.
    That tells me that the terrain, even though it can be part of the "choice" (i don't believe in choices), is not paramount to the deployment of one tool over another.
    I still maintain it is "cultural" more than anything. (not the initial fabrication, but the popularity)
    And what is culture if not mysticism ?

    I do believe the young man is correct. There is a "mysticism" with the tomahawk in America, especially the Eastern United States. The machete is normally associated with work not weapon.
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  7. #47
    Junior Member Tikirocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    The tomahawk is native to North America
    G'day ...

    My first post in these forums and my first point of order - through my own studies and research the above statement isn't really correct. What the Native Americans were to call the Tomahawk had been in European hands for over a thousand years in the form of Boarding Axes by sailors from pre Viking times right through to sailors of the 17th Century.

    The common boarding hatchet or axe was a very popular and well favoured weapon of Pirates and the sailors of the British Royal Navy and their kin in Europe. It was from sailors that the common boarding axe was introduced to the Native Americans through trade and it was then that the Natives saw this tool useful in many different ways. If you watch Master and Commander there is a scene where a mast breaks and is dragging beyond the ship ... the ropes were cut using these very same devices; they were multi tools in their time.

    This is a French Naval boarding axe ... or is it a Tomahawk?

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    The Natives called their adopted version of it ... a Tomahawk sure, but the boarding axe had been around and in common use long before it got into Native hands. Saxon warriors and Celts during Roman times wielded axes and hatchets whether on land or sea. Within the context of this discussion I would suggest that early settlers did indeed use the "Hatchet" because it came FROM the settlers themselves ... whether it was used on land as a general weapon of war ( by settlers during the Indian wars ) could be debated ( I think it more than likely ) but its wide usage at sea as a European weapon of war is well documented and proven beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    Sorry for the long post but I'm a history buff ...

    Best, TR.

    P.S ... As to the question I'd actually choose neither and instead opt for the Kukri ... it's got the benefits of both machete and hatchet in one.

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    Last edited by Tikirocker; 11-21-2008 at 10:52 PM.

  8. #48
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    You can't make a machete from natural materials, but yet, with a tomahawk you can. So I say tomahawk. I have seen people make katana like swords from obsidian, but never a merchete. Give me a large flint nodule, a good hardwood sapling, rawhide and sinew, and some pinepitch and hide glue and a good tomahawk will be the outcome
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  9. #49
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Hey there Tikirocker - when you get a chance, drop by the introduction secton and give us a little history on yourself. Thanks.
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    Senior Member Runs With Beer's Avatar
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    Where can I see the pics?

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    Senior Member Runs With Beer's Avatar
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    BEO, I like your style. When you have a chance check out my Powder horn in making stuff, I would like to know what you think.

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    All this talk about "this vs that" reminds me of a line I heard once.

    "when a man with a pistol face's a man with a winchester. the man with the winchester wins every time."
    1. If it's in your kit and you don't know how to use it....It's useless.
    2. If you can't reach your kit when you need it....Its useless.

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  13. #53
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    Perhaps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(axe)

    I doubt many sailors boarded with stone tomahawks but I could be wrong.

    The truth is, similar weapons/tools have found a place in most cultures for eons. The Japanese have used the Masakari-Ono for thousands of years. Similar and still quite different.

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    What would you pay for a finely crafted Masakari Ono? Wait! Don't answer. If you call right now.......
    Last edited by Rick; 11-22-2008 at 06:25 PM.

  14. #54
    Cold Heartless Breed tsitenha's Avatar
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    I am very attached to my long handle hatchet, 1/14lb head 20" handle, almost 'hawk styled"

    but I seldom ever venture out with only one cutting instrument with me.

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    Cold Heartless Breed tsitenha's Avatar
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    Now that's funny

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    Then, of course, there are the bears no one talks about because no one sees them. Yet, they are there. Oh, so near. Watching. Waiting. Like a thought on the wind. A passing breeze. What was that? Only a shadow? Perhaps.

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    Senior Member chiye tanka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klkak View Post
    All this talk about "this vs that" reminds me of a line I heard once.

    "when a man with a pistol face's a man with a winchester. the man with the winchester wins every time."
    Unless the guy with the pistol is Clint Eastwood.
    Sorry, I had to.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    even with the Winchester in the hands of Chuck Connors?
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