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July 7, 2012 Comments (0) Blades & Tools

Cold Steel Two Handed Machete Review

This piece was my first encounter with a two-handed machete. At first glance, it resembled the old farm-tool brush hook from my grandfather’s garage – with less of a hook, of course.

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Cold Steel’s offering is 32” long and about 1 lb. 15 oz. The handle is a fairly tough, light black polycarbonate, slightly ridged on the front of the hand-grip area, and swelling slightly – like a pommel – at the base. The tip of the handle is drilled for a lanyard, and the handle is riveted to the blade with what appear to be 3 thick aluminum rivets and also appears to be epoxy-glued into place. The blade itself is 11 ¼” long, 4 7/8” wide at its widest point, and 2mm (about 0.08”) thick. The head is painted black, and, while beveled to an edge, is not knife-sharp: this is apparently not uncommon for a machete.

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The first thing that struck me when I picked up the machete was the weight: I was thinking about granddad’s brush hook, so I was shocked at how light this tool was. For clearing light weeds or brush, this is easily light enough for one hand use. I also thought that the riveted design might leave the blade room to wiggle: I haven’t put this through days of use, yet, but it seems quite sturdy, even after some hard blows onto hard targets. The extra length, compared to a more traditional one-handed machete, lets the user cut almost to ground level further out. I am 5’10”, and could reach about 2 ½ feet to cut weeds off near the ground. Sorry, you NBA-types that do your own gardening: you will probably still need to bend over to get that kind of cut. The two-hander is about a pound heavier than the short-handled, long-bladed style of machete that one usually sees in the big-box home improvement stores or camping supply outlets, and about 12 to 14 inches longer.

Branch Beforea Branch aftera

Once I was able to get it into the field, its advantages were clear. For clearing tall grass and weeds, it will performed admirably, but was probably more tool than was needed for the job: I am fairly sure that after an hour or so, that extra pound of weight that this has on the long-knife styles would feel like an extra cinder block on the end of the stick. Where the two-hander really impressed me was with some heavier brush and branches. The pictures show it pretty well: I took off a side branch of a small tree with a pretty casual two handed swing – the machete went through it with no problem. The two inch thick trunk took me a mere two swings. This was all with the machete right out of the box, as it were, with no sharpening on the factory edge. It has the tip-heaviness that one needs in a cutting tool like this, but even winding up for a swing at the trunk, I had no difficulty controlling the swing.

Trunk Beforea Trunk Aftera

Really, my only – relatively minor – quibbles with the piece are with the sheath. The machete is sold with a black nylon sheath, with a belt loop and two snap closures. The blade must be seated in the sheath just so for the second snap to close easily. I’ve never been unable to get it to close, but it sometimes takes a couple of minutes of wiggling and tugging on the strap. My second hesitation is the belt loop: I tried this at my side, at the small of my back, towards the front of my hip – I could not find any position in which either two feet of handle or nearly a foot of blade sticking up above my belt was not awkward. A more traditional carry would place the handle down, but this is still a large tool with a lot of handle to be carrying on the belt. If I was walking long distance without a pack to which to strap it, I guess that I would wear it on my back, but sitting down would be pretty awkward at that point. It’s probably best to consider the sheath a blade cover and that’s probably fine considering most people will likely carry a tool like this in a vehicle, on their pack, or keep it in the shed until needed anyway.

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Overall, I am pleased with the piece. I wouldn’t carry for hiking or backpacking, but for having around a cabin or campsite, in the back of the pick-up or SUV, or for heavier yard work, Cold Steel’s Two-handed machete is a nice addition to the tool shed.

A parting thought: In these troubling times, we sometimes seek to put our tools to uses that, while gravely necessary, are not the intended purpose. Despite our government agencies doing their best to reassure us, preparedness is never a bad idea. No camping, survival, or knife enthusiast could really be satisfied without looking at this product in this light.

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I am referring, of course, to its utility in the face of a zombie apocalypse.

Cold Steel’s Two Handed machete would, I believe, be a very effective post-biotic-attacker deterrent. A simple, nice overhead swing will not only open up the plague-stricken brain pan and let some poor funeral-crashing soul find some proper rest, it can do it at greater than arm’s length: for the beginning survivor , this may grant that all-important second swing in the event of a miss. Remember: forewarned is forearmed.

The Cold Steel Two Handed machete carries an MSRP of only $29.99 and some online shopping can yield you one for even less than that. That makes for a pretty outstanding bargain for a tool that you can leave in the truck, or up at camp. Heck, for that price you may as well buy two, or even a third to leave in the garage for home use too!

www.coldsteel.com

 

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