Posts Tagged ‘Swords’

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)

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]

Wood: the other dark steel…

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Ok, So I will readily admit that the title of todays post was highly influenced by thoughts of thanksgiving turkey…Light meat or dark meat… It’s all good… But I digress.

You may recall a few posts I’ve done in the past on weapons made of wood. Some of them have been about reproduction, prop or cosplay weapons, weapons you could give to your little rascals, or for cosplay (costume play), designed primarily to be a safe alternative to the real thing.

Macahuitl

Macahuitl

However, I’ve also posted about weapon designs that, while made primarily of wood, were still quite lethal as edged weapons. The Macahuitl was one such weapon, using flint or obsidian blades, embedded in a wood frame shaped like a club, or a large broadsword. And then there was the Leiomano, which accomplished the same thing, using shark teeth, but packaged in a small axe form factor.

Leiomano

Leiomano

But I recently ran across an even more beautiful design, yet another based on the small axe form factor, but without any kind of hard blade material whatsoever… Just wood. Really hard wood… Have a gander at this:

Samoan War Axe

Samoan War Axe

Now chances are, the edge would be nowhere as keen as that of a macahuitl, so this would be more likely used freehand as a club, or to break or dislocate bones than an actual cleaving device,  (unless you had a hard surface to chop against and were willing to keep whacking away until the job was done :/ )  However,  it is just a beautiful piece of work.

I just love this thing. Between the smooth and highly polished finish on the weapon, the Samoan patterns on the blade, and the absolutely evil lines on this axe, I just love it to death. Ok, maybe not to death, since I kind of like being alive, but you get the point.

The points on this thing are amazing. The deep bevel of the edge is accentuated by the light colored patterning of the blade area, making it look almost like a thick slab of dark steel. The patterning runs all the way down the shaft, stopping just short of the light colored jute or twine wrapped grip. The combination is just sweet.

Truth be told, I think this wooden axe looks more both more beautiful  and sinister than most of the other evil steel axes I’ve posted on this site so far…

And that’s no small feat for a weapon made entirely of wood.

Samoan War Axe – [My Armory]

Straight swords, plain swords, and sword canes…

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Most of my regular readers will know at this point that I am somewhat partial to sword canes, Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes” as they are called. The reason is twofold. First because they are simple canes, and I’ve always enjoyed using “sticks” as some like to call them, or staff weapons. So throwing a blade into the mix for me, pretty much makes them completely and uncompromisingly awesome. It’s like bringing a sword to a stick fight. Dirty, but full of WIN. 😛

Blind Fury

Blind Fury

For similar reasons, I am also a great fan of Chokutō. Chokutō (or “Straight Sword”) are, as the name might suggest, just simple straight swords. But while Chokutō and Shikomizue are similar in appearance, the designs are not the same. And while they may both share structural similarities with Shirasya, (I have actually confused these designs on numerous occasions in the past) the three are actually very different in terms of design focus, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about them (I.E. go grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and get comfortable, before you continue reading. 🙂 )

Shirasaya, (or “White Sheath”) swords, regardless of form factor, were designed initially as a storage format for sword blades, and are generally distinguishable from other designs by a very simple, generally unadorned saya and tsuki. Compared to the complex tsuka furniture, mountings and lacquered saya finishes of traditional Japanese swords, shirasaya were stored, lightly pinned, in plain, un-lacquered saya, so that both the saya and tsuki could “breathe” and prevent the build up of moisture that could cause corrosion and or deformation of the blade and tang.

White Double Shirasya

White Double Shirasya

Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes”, are just that. Walking sticks or canes, designed to conceal a sword blade. The design focus here was the covert carry of a sword, without arousing suspicion. Featuring a featureless straight saya and tsuki, generally cut from the same piece of wood, or cut and finished to look like it was, this was a popular choice for ninjas and other warriors who did not wish to arouse suspicion, but still wanted to be able to carry a sword about them for offensive or defensive purposes.

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Chokutō, or “straight sword” design, on the other hand, was focused on neither conceal-ability nor storage. It was a design born in an age prior to that of differential tempering, and, in fact originated outside of Japan, in places like China and Korea. Differential tempering is a process that produces a hard edge, but flexible spine on a most traditional Japanese swords. It also imparts the characteristic curve to the sword, which was found to be a much more efficient sword design, when used correctly.

However before the discovery of the benefits of curved swords and differential tempering, swords were generally straight, and is here that the Chokutō design came from. A simple straight sword, intended for practical use, with no differential tempering, and no need to conceal the blade. The form of the sword simply followed it’s function and the limitations of the technology of the time. Or so the legends say…

So I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to bring all of this up. Well, here’s the thing. I am a fan of anime, one of them being Naruto. Or at least I used to be a fan of Naruto. Been a while since I watched any anime. But at least the first and second seasons were acceptably entertaining. If you are willing to disregard the many annoying filler arcs. :/

Anyway, In the anime, one of our eventual anti-heros, Sasuke Uchiha, wields what can only be called a monstrous black Chokutō called the Kusanagi Grass Cutter. As I mentioned in an earlier post on the topic, there is some disparity between the Anime version of the sword, and the Manga (comic book) version of this sword. In the comic, the sword is white, with a black stripe. In the anime, however, the sword is dark gray with a black stripe.

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Personally, I prefer the animated version of the sword. But, nonetheless, the most common versions I am seeing are the manga versions, a replica of which was the inspiration for todays post:

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

As you can see this is the Manga version of the sword, but despite it’s white saya, it actually looks pretty nice. And it has a sweet black blade. And it appears to of a much higher quality construction than the last one I posted about. So just thought, after my long winded post, that I’d share. 🙂

Now if only someone would make it in black… Actually never mind. I’ll probably just get this one, sand it down and give it the traditional Japanese black lacquer treatment…

Yeah… Go me! 😀

Sasuke Uchiha Chokutō – [King of Swords]

Log In

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 159,092 bad guys.

Your Weapon Sir?
The Raiders Almanac
March 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
Surf the Sands of Time:
Phyreblades Site of the Month!