Archive for the ‘Swords’ Category

The Mighty Machete!

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you may know that I have a good amount of experience with machetes. I have done many things with them, clearing fields of 10ft tall elephant grass, felling small trees, even carving field hockey balls. (Yeah. Betcha didn’t know you could carve a hockey ball using a machete did you!)

Indeed, there was a time when I used them routinely, I dare say even more often than I did my laundry!  The result, is that I tend to reach for a machete where most folks would reach for an axe. As a matter of fact, I consider machetes a blade that is highly underrated in North America. This may or may not actually be true, however when people start looking for a medium to heavy-duty chopper, the first thing people seem to reach for is a camp hatchet or axe.

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Paul Bunyan Hatchet.

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Paul Bunyan Hatchet.

Now to be fair, there are many things an axe is just better for. For instance, you don’t hear much about machete murderers in the good old U.S. of A. Axe murderers, on the other hand… Common knowledge. And look at how under represented machetes are in the media. You see hunting and survival knives portrayed prominently in movies all the time, like the Rambo movies, The Hunted, etc. Even in games, machetes get a bad rap. You see throwing knives, in all kinds of First person shooters, ballistic knives in Call of Duty, etc, etc, etc, the list goes on forever!

Even on Youtube, machetes get little love. There was recently a game of “Name your two favorite knives” tag on Youtube, and not a single person (whose videos I have seen so far) has even mentioned a machete. It is a sad state of affairs people. Especially when you look at what you can do with a good machete. Chopping, carving, wood processing, digging, brush clearing, dismemberment… etc. (And just so we are all clear, I mean dismembering large game animals, not people. Not that it hasn’t been done before, but it’s just not my style. I’m just saying.)

Anyway, a machete can do it all! And what is most amazing about it is that you can get a good machete for a mere fraction of the cost of many of the fancy schmancy designer knives that people all seem to love. But you can thrash a machete and not have to worry about, ride it hard, put it away wet (thought if you do that, you deserve to be flogged, hung from you hair from the tree of woe, for wild emu to slowly pick at you… No seriously.)

The fact of the matter is, machetes get no love. At least not in North America. In Africa, South America, and many developing nations, it is the hero of large utility blades, and today, I’d like to speak out on behalf of all the poor neglected machetes of ‘Merica! I’d like to show you that machetes are not only good, but that they can be cool too!
First, allow me to introduce you to the working mans machete, two of my favorites from the Ontario Knife Co:

Ontario 12in Camper Machete

Ontario 12in Camper Machete


 The Ontario 12″ camper machete. This one has a saw blade spine and a “D” handle to offer added protection to the user, though I must say that as a seasoned machete user, I can’t recommend either, as the saw back is incredibly inefficient at sawing anything. It is best used for notching, but that is about it. And the D handle simply makes it harder to use that saw back anyway, so this is what I would consider a bad combination. Moving on to one of my more favored workhorse machetes:

Ontario 18in Military Machete

Ontario 18in Military Machete

The Ontario 18in Military Machete is my go to machete for camping trips and such, it is versatile, tough, and best of all, Cheap! I have both the 12in and the 18in version of this machete, and I really don’t know why every outdoorsman doesn’t have the 12in version in their pack. They are awesome! Next up, a light duty machete: The Gerber Gator Machete.

Gerber Gator Machete

Gerber Gator Machete

Now this is a nice, easy to use machete, ideal for someone who wants to pack light. It is not as heavy-duty as the Ontario or Cold Steel Offerings, but is light weight, low fatigue, and has one of the best grip ergonomics I have run into on a machete for a long time. It also has a saw spine, however its performance is surprisingly disappointing, especially given that they know how to make a good utility saw. Phail on you Gerber! PHAIL!! >:{

And now, on to the machetes that I classify simply as “Cool beyond Words”. Ok, so they aren’t really cool beyond words. But they are pretty darn cool. I refer, in this case, to Cold steels line of machetes, starting with their quite impressive Kukri Machetes:

Cold Steel Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete

Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete

Both the Regular and Magnum Kukri machetes from Cold steel are simply quite good. Strong, tough, can be made shaving sharp, and quite versatile, I have both versions, and can say that they are great, especially for the price, being excellent low cost choppers and all around bush whacking blades.

Last but not least, allow me to introduce you to my favorite machete design of all time, the Cold Steel Kopis Machete.

Cold Steel Kopis Machete

Cold Steel Kopis Machete

Now this machete is just beautiful. Based on the ancient Greek Kopis sword, the Cold Steel Kopis Machete is a beautiful piece of work, a combination of style, function, strength and beauty that is really hard to come by these days. And, of course, as if simply to spite me, it is no longer being made. Curses. CURSES!!! Curse the machete gods for depriving me of this thing of beauty! Oh well. C’est la Vie. It is my own fault for not getting one while I could.

Anyway, there are a gazillion other machete designs i could talk about today, but these are some of my favorites. And hopefully I have demonstrated that Machetes are not just ugly choppers, and that you can have it all; strength, style, beauty and utility… with the Mighty MACHETE!! 😀

P.S.

By the way… Anyone got a Cold Steel Kopis machete they want to… umm… donate to… “charity”? I can take care of that for you… Yes, yes, it will be for a good cause. You know, like the Happy Balrog Knife Charity… No, no, it’s a real charity… It goes to Balrogs in desperate need of hard to find knives… No, really… 😀

Smith & Wesson Bullseye Paul Bunyan Hatchet – [True Swords]
Ontario 12″ Camper Machete – [True Swords]
Ontario 18″ Military Machete – [True Swords]
Gerber Gator Machete – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Kukri Machete – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Kopis Machete – (no longer made)

What can you do with no artistic talent, and a steel blank?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

That is the question of the day. An artist might say ” Make art.”  A carpenter might say, “Make tools.”  A metalworker might say “Lets build something!” A sword smith would say… well, you ca probably guess what a sword smith would say.  But today I ran across an interesting blade, that seemed to be what a person would make if they knew they liked sharp edges, had a large steel blank, but just didn’t know what to make:

Hand Forged Crude Jungle Machete

Hand Forged Crude Jungle Machete

Yep. That’s pretty much it.  Here’s how it was probably made. They took a steel blank, and hammered it into a rough, long strip. Then… they sat back and had a beer. That’s it. Yeah. OK, ok, so they probably heat treated/tempered it and as well. But beyond that, wrapping some cordage around the “grip” end of this piece of steel, and grinding a basic edge on it, that was probably pretty much the whole enchilada for this thing.

Hand Forged Crude Jungle Machete - edge

Hand Forged Crude Jungle Machete - edge

And look at that curved concave tip. What’s up with that? That is about the only aesthetic bit on this blade. I like simplicity and all, but I do have a limit. It’s a pretty high limit, but this thing just kinda tippy-toed over that line… If only just a little. Really, I don’t even know why they bothered with a sheath. It’s not like this blade needs protection from anything.

Maybe it’s to protect the other swords from having to be seen with this one. Not that any sword, (or human for that matter) should judge a book by it’s cover or anything, but you know how some of these high end blades get.

Steel can be so cruel… 0_o

Hand Forged Crude Jungle Machete – [Amazon.com]

IT’S 2010? ALREADY!?! WELL HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Wow… It’s 2010 folks… 2010!

2009  just flew away… And didn’t even look back.I, for one, would like to thank the thousands of you that read this blog on a daily basis, believe me, I never thought I was writing anything that interesting. Well at least not to anyone but me… 😀 But I can’t say it hasn’t been rewarding. And to my regulars, I say Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu. Thank you very much! I will do my level best to continue to keep you all entertained in 2010!

And 2010 looks like it will be an auspicious year. It’s a nice round number, for one thing. And It has a movie named after it… though somehow I doubt the events in the movie will actually occur in real life… 😀 But either way, I think this is going to be an amazing year… I can just feel it in my smoldering bones. I’ve got some interesting projects planned, and I think you will all like them.

This will be the year of really, really, cool stuff. And I leave you with one such piece of cool to contemplate:

The Sword Gun

The Sword Gun

Awesome to 2010 and BEYOND!!!

Best wishes for the new year, from me, your perpetually fiery host, from the Realm of the Dark Blade! 😀

~Phyreblade~

A Sleek (Non)Arthurian Sword…

Monday, December 14th, 2009

So, once again, I find myself confronted by a sword which, while absolutely beautiful, also appears to have aesthetics that run counter to it’s supposed origins. I present to you, the magical sword of King Arthur of the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur:

King Arthur of the Round Table Excalibur Sword

King Arthur of the Round Table Excalibur Sword

Ooookaaayyy… So does anyone else notice something fishy here? And I’m not referring to the smell the sword must have picked up from being stored in a lake, by the Lady of the Lake, for so many centuries. No, I am referring to the fact that this sword does not appear to match the aesthetics we would expect to see from a sword made in the era of the Crusades.

The swords of the Crusaders were generally more… Cross shaped. They tended to have straight cross guards, which made their swords look like crosses, a physical symbol, a reminder, if you will, for the knightly Crusaders, that they were the Swords of God. Yeah. Uh huh.

Anyway, These swords also carried a round medallion pommel, and tended to sport much a more wedge shaped blade, with the blade narrowing significantly from hilt to tip. The grips were also much more likely to be mildly tapered, with  a leather wrap.

Now the sword above. This wretched pretender, does not match any of those traits.

This sword has, instead of a medallion, a stubby cross pommel. Yes, it does have a cross emblazoned on the center on said cross, but still. And then the grip… Wire wrapped. No leather. Which brings us to the guard. Which starts off straight, but then curves up towards the point with an almost dragon scale like motif. Definitely not the kind of thing a Knight of the Cross should carry!! And that blade… Long, straight and narrow… No wedge.

So. I can guess what your thinking at this juncture. And it probably sounds a little like “Pardon my French, but… YOU, GOOD STEEL MADAME, are an IMPOSTER!! You HEATHENOUS WRETCH!!! How DARE you claim to be EXCALIBUR!!!  >: (  ”

OK, ok, easy now. Let’s not be hasty. She’s a fine lass, and, truth be told, I like her. The slim lithe blade, the mild curve and pattern on the guard, it’s down to earth overall simplicity…  Let me play devils advocate for a bit.  >: }

First of all, Excalibur was not forged of man… but of ancient magic. So it does not have to look exactly like every other sword. In fact, it was a magic sword, so it should most likely *not* look like any other sword, so we really should not judge it just because it looks different.

And then of course there is the somewhat minor detail that stories of King Arthur seem to appear a few hundred years before the Crusades start, so the whole cross sword motif may not have started back then. Of course that would also invalidate the whole King Arthur legend as we currently know it, so I’m going to pretend that inconsistency does not exist. 🙂

Truth is, regardless of her heritage, she’s a beautiful sword. Who cares if she doesn’t look like all the other girls. She’s sharp, she’s got a great personality, she sweet, she’s smart, honest, and upfront, likes to get to the point and says what’s on her mind, ie, I don’t have to guess what she really means when she’s got her edge to my throat, has a great sense of humor, and, most importantly, she’s magical! None of the others can say that. So I don’t care. If you don’t like it, you can just sod off…  She’s mine. :p

Wait… What? Did I…? What just happened?

Doggone magical swords…

King Arthurs Excalibur Sword – [Saber and Sword]

Yet another completely unrelated “ninja” sword…

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

So I’m sure many of you have noticed the recent trend knife makers have been following, where the word “ninja” is added to the name of a knife to somehow add to it’s coolness… While I think ninjas are indeed cool, labeling a sword that has little, if anything, in common with a traditional ninja weapon is just… Lame.

But here we are, looking at just such a blade. Once again, I am faced with a painfully unavoidable truth… Sometimes marketing/sales people can be utter and complete morons. No offense intended for the non IQ challenged sales folk among you, of course. Please allow me to present: Exhibit… Q.

Full Tang Ninja Sword

Full Tang Ninja Sword

Now this, ladies and germs, is supposed to be a “Full tang ninja sword with a curved edge and a tanto point”. Alrighty then. So lets see. Curved edge. Check. Full Tang. Check. Tanto point… Errrrm… partial Check. Ninja sword… Wait… Come again? This is supposed to be a “ninja” sword? Orly? By what brain work, pray tell, is this a ninja sword? Intoxicated brain work? High brain work? Interpretation by fried braincells? What?

Now that I think about it, this would actually make for an excellent anti-drug commercial. I can just see it now…

This sword has absolutely nothing to do with Ninjas. But on meth, It does. Kids, don’t do drugs, Mmmmkay?

Yeah… Anyway, what was I saying? Ah. Yes. Sales morons. I mean honestly.

Now don’t get me wrong. I actually love this sword. It is absolutely sweet. An evil short sword, with a rather nasty looking point, a unique concave edge, and a set of contoured plastic scales, bolt-slapped upside the multi-choil equipped, full tang grip. Yes, you heard correctly. Plastic scales. Yes, yes, I admit it, it’s not a perfect blade. But cheap scales are easily fixed. No, really, It’s not that bad…

OK, maybe it is. But I actually still like this sword. Quite a lot. It’s simple, it’s clean, and most importantly, it looks like it takes itself quite seriously. Drow seriously, in fact. I could totally see a dark elf, a Drow, wielding something like this. Having, of course, replaced the cheap scales with some nice ebony slabs. But again, I’m rambling.

The point is, this yet another great sword whose fine name has been sullied by the unnecessary association with a completely unrelated cultural reference. Regardless how cool that reference may be, (and believe me, Ninjas are as cool as they get) it was still unnecessary.

I’m thinking I may need to adopt one of these, just to teach it that it is ok to be who it is. It’s a fighter. It really doesn’t need to be associated with ninjas to be cool. It should be proud of it’s heritage… Such as it may be.

Hey, hey, hey…!  I heard that. You really ought not judge… :/

Full Tang Ninja Sword – [True Swords]

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