machete fun

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by tobiism, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Fun and cheap Freedom Day project. Inspired by @Pict youtube videos on machete mods. Turning a Tramontina 18-inch machete into a 14-inch golak. Softened the contours of the handle a bit, changed the grind to a nice convex and chopped the blade down to size. I will probably end up contouring the handle more and doing an epoxy sinew wrap.
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    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  2. Creaky Bones

    Creaky Bones Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Nicely done. I like how you brought the grind down closer to the handle. I’m pretty sure machete and fun are synonyms anyways :)
     
  3. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  4. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    I think it's Overkill but I sharpened it up on 6 Japanese water stones LOL and did a lot more rework on the handle. Not sure if I will do the cord wrap now or not the handle feels great. It is currently soaking up b l o like a sponge.
    20180704_141925.jpg

    Yesterday I ordered a 14" bolo that I want to customize with a bigger handle so I removed the handle from this one so I could get the hole dimensions. This was a good thing cuz I wanted to reinforce the mounting of the handle to this blade anyway.
    The idea of the new handle is to have two hand positions one for choking up and one to grab the pommel for better chopping. The extra length of handle will go up to the Tramontina stamping on the blade.
    The handle is being made from Maple butcher block that has been sitting outside forever. It is hard as a rock.
    20180708_081042.jpg 20180708_083305.jpg
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    20180708_081034.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
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  5. cbrianroll

    cbrianroll Professional Tinkerer

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    Nice mod man!
     
  6. Mojoe

    Mojoe Guide Bushclass I

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    That's a great looking mod!! I love my 12" Tramontina! I have a couple longer Tramontinas hanging around that may get modded. An 18" and 22" I think... plus a 14" bolo. I bought a 5 pack from Machete Specialties in Missouri a few years ago.
     
  7. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    I bought a Tramontina 18" locally, and then sourced a 14" and 14" bolo. I found that I preferred the 14" to the 18" as there was less deflection when striking white pines and barberry bushes. My 18" may get shortened.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  8. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    And at 14in it still hits really hard!
     
  9. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I like it young fellar. joe
     
  10. Walking Crow

    Walking Crow Supporter Supporter

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    Very nice...simple and effective. Awaiting @Pict approval and seeing the ulu (or whatever) you find hiding in the piece you removed. ;)
     
  11. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

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    I did a Condor just like that some years ago, got it here somewhere.
     
  12. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Very cool.
    Gets me to wondering if I shouldn't give my machete a second chance. ...
     
  13. Pict

    Pict Qualified to attempt things at home Supporter

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    That looks great. Once I reshaped a Tramontina to that profile I haven't looked back. That is one of my favorite handles from Tramontina. It is certainly an upgrade from their standard Latin pattern machete which doesn't give you much wood to work with. IMO it doesn't need the cord wrap, and if you do, inlet the wood to keep the thickness down to about where it is now.

    I do an epoxy/cloth wrap to replace the wire in their bird's head style grip. I have no idea what they were thinking with that handle. The shape is fine but the sharp edges of their inlet rip your hands to shreds in short order. I file the inlet down until it is about a quarter inch deep (rivet tops on the sides) and fill the area with a tight wrap of 24 hr epoxy soaked cloth until the wrap is slightly higher than the wood all around. DO NOT USE QUICK SETTING EPOXY FOR THIS OR YOU WON'T GET IT DONE RIGHT. (ask me how I know) Once the glue is well set, file the micarta flush with the wood and leave a slight palm swell on the sides. I sand to 600 grit, clean it well, and finish with a coat of Superglue to bring out the color. The seamless micarta wrap greatly increases the handle strength.

    Other Mods I find useful -

    File the spine flat to create a square profile near the base of the blade for use as a card planer or for striking a ferro rod. Sand the forward part of the spine to a round profile.

    File about 3 -4 inches of edge near the handle into a very low angle convex or an actual scandi if you're good with a file or belt grinder. That part fo the blade never gets impact damage in normal use and if you do this mod you will need to be mindful of that edge's fragility, but it really comes in handy when shaping wood and doing detail carving. It also slices through vines and creepers that are holding you up in thick brush.

    Surface harden the curved portion of the spine where you cut it down. Heat the round part with a torch and water quench it, but just on the surface. This will allow that part to throw sparks much better when struck against quartz. I've used mine to light charcloth.

     
  14. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

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    I remember your post on the tramon SC Meetup 2012 Chatooga River 014.JPG Condor Golok 022.jpg tina, it's where i got the idea for my Condor mod. This one is a heavy hitter.
     
  15. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Thank you very much for all the tips and tricks! When I brought the edge all the way to the handle I did so with a scandi grind that I then convexed. The spine on mine already has a really nice burr and throws great sparks. I was surprised that it's already so sharp. I do plan on rounding over the end for using as a draw knife. And also I saw on one of your videos that you said it was good to score bark by putting your hand on the rounded portion to drive down the tree. Yes I removed a good deal of material from the handle to get it shaped where it is now. If I cord wrap it the way it is I think it will be too fat in the cross section. But I can't reduce the handle thickness anymore because of the rivets. So I think I will leave it as is. Thank you for all the inspiration. I wanted to do one of these because I saw your videos.

     
  16. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    That looks excellent! What is the blade thickness on that guy?
     
  17. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

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    It's a full 1/8 inch. Blade came out to 15 & 1/4 after the mod.
     
  18. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's awesome. Just... awesome.
     
  19. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Dagnabit, I'm 5 minutes into my first Kukri mod project and now I'm planning a machete build.
    This place is like crack.
     
  20. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

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    HA! Yes it are!!!
     
  21. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    Unmodified handle (top)as on 14" bolo and 18", modified (middle), and unmodified 14" bottom. They ALL need the top filed flush with the tangs. My hands are on the large side, so is why I modified my 18" as I did. The bolo will get a similar treatment, and the 14" on the bottom actually feels pretty good. The edges were profiled with a file and then sanded with emory cloth on a block of wood. I left a short ricasso so as to be able to choke up for fine work if needed and cut a small choil to make sharpening easier.
    IMG_1591.JPG

    The 14" bolo hits as hard or harder than the 18" and with better control.
     
  22. Bigghoss

    Bigghoss Scout

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    Cool. Those Tramontinas are good quality but pretty affordable so you don't have to be apprehensive about modding one.
     
  23. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Good info, and yes the bolo is on my list to try
     
  24. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Hey I was just curious if you have a source here in this country for those wire wrapped Latin pattern Tramontina?
     
  25. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    Another desert dweller that loves machetes! Cool mods on the Tram. A long while back I went off to Panama and took the issued Ontario machete. One of the instructors there told us to ditch them and buy a 14" Tram bolo or a Martindale Golak that they sold in the PX. I bought the Martindale, looked much like your mods and I also smoothed the scales and put a ton of oil on them. Much more effective tool than the clunky military machete. Used it in Puerto Rico as well. I came to the conclusion that the long machetes are better for farm work and shorter ones are better for bashing about and for making things in camp.

    Seeing your mods makes me want to buy an 18 inch Tram and copy your design. It looks excellent and inexpensive too!
     
  26. Pict

    Pict Qualified to attempt things at home Supporter

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    Sorry. I always bought mine in Brazil in dusty farm supply warehouses.
     
  27. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Dang, I love the look of that handle and I think it would suit me more then the one on the US models
     
  28. Pinelogcreek

    Pinelogcreek Supporter Supporter

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    A machete was standard issue in my childhood, I don’t even remember seeing an axe other than it splitting firewood. I never new or saw anyone using an axe except on tv. A machete I learned was the ultimate woods tool and for me in the Deep South it still is far superior to an axe for 90% of what I do. I love those projects and may have to try one. Regarding length the longer machetes were given to kids so they hit the ground before your shin bone. Once you could use one right you got a shorter one. Learning to use an axe and what it’s for is a challenge.
     
  29. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    I never saw a machete when I was growing up. Weeds were cut with a sickle, grass whip, or scythe. Axes, bow saws, and chainsaws were for cutting trees, sledge and wedge for splitting. These days I'll use a 35cc Honda brushcutter for weeds (trimmer head) and brush (10" saw blade) unless I'm going light and then will carry a machete or parang. For trimming around my hunting stands I'll use a pole saw or machete to keep noise to a minimum.
     
  30. Pinelogcreek

    Pinelogcreek Supporter Supporter

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    We did have this evil sling blade contraption for clearing ditches man what a workout. I believe my entire childhood of manual labor was a ploy to get me into college where I learned I prefer manual labor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  31. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I couldn't agree more.
     
  32. jaydog

    jaydog Tracker

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    I found a Czechoslovakian made machete from ww2. I thought it was cool because it was issued in a surplus machinegun barrel bag. It was restamped after the war to sell.
     

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  33. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    Looks really good. What did you use to shape it with. Prov 27:17
     
  34. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks, angle grinder and belt grinder
     
  35. Pinelogcreek

    Pinelogcreek Supporter Supporter

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    Did you do anything to cool it as you went or just take your time?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  36. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Just paid attention to make sure the metal did not discolor. I used a wet rag to keep it cool while reprofiling the edge on the Belt grinder
     
  37. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Added more machete fun up above. Making a new longer mortised maple handle for the 14" bolo that I have coming in
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  38. mosinjoe

    mosinjoe Scout

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    I have a Tramontina just like yours. A Latin style that will stay that way as it suits me in stock form. Nice job on the mod, though.
     
  39. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    So machete guys, being that the Ontario mil-spec 18" model is 1095, and pretty inexpensive at around $25, is there any negative about it that would make you steer clear?
     
  40. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Nothing at all but shop around you can usually find it cheaper than that. (edited to add- nevermind, no you cant lol) Their heat treat on that 1095 is incredible. I have been able to grind it very thin and not suffer edge damage.
    Also are you looking for 1/8" thickness or thinner?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  41. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    20180708_140121.jpg
    20180708_140134.jpg 20180708_140130.jpg 20180708_142246.jpg

    I'm taking the handle and some 220 grit sandpaper with me on vacation to finish sanding it down and then when I get back the bolo should be here and I will modify the bolo so I can mount this with G Flex epoxy and either a epoxy tarred twine or epoxy jute wrap. The maple will get lightly scorched and a dark red stain put on before the wrap. The blade will get sanded down and acid etched more than likely.
     
  42. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Probably 1/8", but it's not a definite answer.
     
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  43. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    If you leave it at 18in it does get tiring to swing with the 1/8" thickness
     
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  44. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Gotcha. I'll likely bob it down shorter during the mod process.
     
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  45. jaydog

    jaydog Tracker

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    I was actually just out with mine today. I've had cheap machetes either chip or dent on me. I'm not afraid of breaking this.
     

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  46. cbrianroll

    cbrianroll Professional Tinkerer

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    Dang this place!! Just ordered a 14in bolo....:4:
     
  47. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Scout

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    I just love machetes..and seeing what you mod monsters can do with them. :D.

    It's just an observation , but imho the Latin style Condor (Bushcraft or El Salvador) feels more natural...swings better than the Ontario mil spec 18". They can't be that far apart in weight ect (I haven't actually weighed them) but the Ontario feels "awkward " and tires me out....maybe I'm fighting it more...
     
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  48. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Looks like the Ontario is going to have to wait.. just realized that the local hdwr store carries the Tramontina, so I'll be stopping there on my way home!

    Edit: new Tramontina owner here! It's going to take a little elbow grease, but I think this mass produced lopper can be made into something nice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  49. stillscout

    stillscout Supporter Supporter

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    Looking forward to seeing it!
     
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  50. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Ugh. I...was. But I rushed the project, and it didn't go as well as I'd hoped.
    Got the blade profiled the way I wanted it, did some work on the edge, removed the wooden handle, so far so good.
    I knew I'd already been too long in the shop, but instead of doing the intelligent thing and stopping the process for the night I plunged ahead to the new handle.
    Gimme a sec and I'll post an embarrassing pic of where it stands.
     

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