Quite often I get asked questions like this. It’s a very wise one to ask!
There is no straight forward answer to it other than they can be a very effective and useful tool, if you’re mindful and take a proactive role in safety. That’s a nice common sense answer that will be appropriate for most of us who have some practical hand skills and ability working with sharp tools. On the other hand, if you do not educate yourself on the safe use of any tool, things can get dangerous…fast! I recommend everyone regardless of their skill level to continually research and update safe work practices including machete use!
An extremely sharp machete can be devastatingly dangerous! This is not meant to put you off learning or trying something new. It’s a reminder that safety is a proactive skill not a “she’ll be right” attitude.
If you are new to working with properly hand tuned tools, you would be unaware of how sharp they can be.
I have been working with agricultural machetes and knives for many years now and people are quick to tell me about their accidents working with sharp tools.They all involve a combination of: lack of adequate training or research, in a rush, fatigue, poor maintenance, no planning or safety precautions, poor communication with fellow workers etc…
Would you operate or maintain any tool without training or safety precautions? Of course not! Machetes are in the same category.
I still refresh and review my safety practices around my workshop, farm, driving, chainsaws, tractor etc. To me, safety is an ongoing learning experience that I can constantly improve.
Learning how to safely and effectively use a machete is 100% your responsibility.
Be proactive to your approach and build on your skills and knowledge with smaller tasks first. Always start with gentle test cuts to assess how the machete is performing in that environment.
Being a natural product, what you’re cutting is never consistent. You need to be able to adjust what your doing on the go. This is the reason we recommend a gentle and methodical approach to working with machetes.
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