10 September 2012

Fiddle Back Forge Machete

Item- 14 inch Machete 

Type- Edged Tool 

 Manufacturer- Fiddleback Forge Source

Source- Maker

 Price- $100.00 

 A machete is definitely one of those basic tools that you take for granted until you need it.  Most people's experience with machetes are with the USGI Model or a copy there of.  This is also true for me.  Growing up in a rural area, and now living back in one, I can appreciate the
need for a reasonably priced custom machete.   The #1 reason is that the USGI model is unnecessarily heavy for the task.  If you have used one for any extended period of time, you will no doubt agree.

The USGI machetes are available in 18 or 22 inch models.  For me, a machete was an edged tool that would often be left behind because of it's size and weight vs likelihood of use.  When I am in the woods, the majority of my work is done with my Blind Horse Knives Bushcrafter.  What I was looking for was a knife about the size of a big bowie, but light and thin, making it better suited for hacking chores.  Fiddleback Forge's 14 inch machete was the obvious choice.  To some, $100 may seem like a lot of money for a machete that does not come with a sheath.  Here is my answer to that-

Lots of folks spend upwards of $100 on a "tactical folder".  Many of these knives are designed and marketed as "fighting knives".  We all know that in the real world the only thing they are likely to fight is a sandwich or packing tape on a box.  We carry them around and they look nice, but knives designed for cutting people instead of cutting things usually do not fair well as tools.  This is also going to be the case if you need to use it as a primary or secondary edged tool in the woods.  The machete was designed for a purpose, and when it is needed, nothing can replace it.

I would be lying if I did not admit that the first thing I thought about when the machete arrived was of the Bowie Knife & Tomahawk course I took several years ago by my friend Dwight McLemore.  The fantasy of fast roping off the Space Shuttle whacking tangos with my RMJ Shrike Tomahawk in one hand and my Fiddleback Machete in the other, did flash through my mind.

The second thing that struck me was the ergonomics of the handle.  It's canvas micarta handle actually flows with your hand, unlike the USGI model with its straight, hard plastic grip.  The USGI model is also prone to breaking.  Doing the same with the Fiddlback would be no easy chore, and even if you did, all knives made by Fiddleback include a satisfaction guarantee, with the following "stupidity" exclusion from owner/maker Andy Roy.

"Stupidity - I don't cover stupidity. Ask yourself why your knife failed. If you're batonning a skinner, then you have fallen into the stupidity catagory. They're designed to cut flesh. I can likely fix your knife, and will do it as cost effective as possible, but you are not getting a free knife. Skinners, kitchen knives, Nessmuks etc are designed, and intended to be used for their specific intended function. Get an outdoor knife with a thicker edge if you are gung ho on batonning through knotty wood. I believe this is common sense, but it had to be said."
I began using the machete around my property for hacking all kinds of wood and brush.  Before long, I realized it was time to acquire a sheath for my new toy.   For that I turned to a local buddy and knife maker Phil Harding from Dragon Tech Designs.  In the picture, you can see what we came up with.  Bungee cord was used to weave through all of the eyelets, allowing for it to be added to just about any strap configuration for carry.  Being so light, not much more was needed to avoid it from flopping around.  Andy also has an extensive network of folks making both kydex and leather for his machetes.

Even though I have yet to do so, I imagine the machete would also be a great tool for quartering and butchering game.

If my mind serves me correctly, I have been using the machete for over a year now.  Most of the time it is in the back of my Jeep so it goes where I go.  But when I venture into the woods, it goes in or on my pack.  If you are in the market for a big fixed blade that could be used to fight, to be pressed into use as a tool, take a look at the 14 inch machete from Fiddleback Forge.  It is a tool, that would make a very formidable fighting knife.


  1. If you find yourself in the midst of a tangled jungle, or surrounded by acres of dense undergrowth, your best friend is surely the magnificent machete. There isn't another tool out there that can compare. So, what do you look for when it's time to get one?
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