I was told machetes are soft steel tools, is this true?

Well, soft is a relative term. They are softer than some thick bushcraft knives but harder than a filleting knife.

A better question would be are they hard enough for to the task? That’s easily a Yes!

The hardness of the steel is determined in the knife factory during the heat treatment process. A common tool steel such as 1095 can be heat treated to be bendable, spring like or glass hard including every state in between.

Hardness is a trade off and has little to do with the quality of the tool steel. Expensive steel can be badly heat treated!
The harder the knife the thicker it needs to be to resist breaking under heavy use. To make a hard steel knife (which is what we commonly can buy now from camping stores) they need to be thick. The more steel, obviously the heavier it’s going to get. When you are swinging a heavy knife for any length time, you soon realise it’s the wrong tool for the job. Heavy knives have their place and suit some.

Machetes are much longer, thinner and are very adaptable to many tasks. The bolo design takes this one step further with a larger head. This is the force multiplier and the reason we use these so extensively. Personally I’m never going back to Bowies. It’s a Tram Bolo all the way!

Category: General Questions
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