Who makes a good Machete? I want to stock up on a few but want them to last. Previously I would go down to my surplus store but I find that all they carry are just stamped metal and that's to flimsy.
This suggestion was already made in another thread about 4 months ago. A great reminder on improvising.If you want a machete that is really going to stand up to time and punishment, I would suggest getting ahold of a spare leaf spring from a auto salvage yard. Then, just shape and sharpen however you like, drill 2 holes and fasten on a wood or plastic handle.
The benefit is that the leaf spring is already a very resilient piece of metal. It has already been heat treated and the steel alloy is designed to withstand massive amounts of stress and shock. Plus it has a natural springiness so you will not have to worry about your blade bending out of shape very easily.
Plus, it will probably cost you a fraction of what a commercially available machete goes for.
The rust would not cause you any real grief, unless it is really pitted. A simple wire-wheel on a hand-grinder would remove any rust left on the spring and leave it looking fairly polished.I'm really interested in trying this. I have plenty of old leaf springs around. Is it expensive to have the thing heat treated? And say the spring is rusty-do you just sand it smooth, or how would you de-rust it? I do have a small blast cabinet. Not sure I'd want a blast-profiled machete, though.
Most people do not have the equipment to properly heat-treat metals. It is a bit of an exacting science. For one of my blades that I forged (damascus-steel), I used a kiln (like used for firing ceramics), placed a "bucket" inside filled with salt. Heat the kiln to 1500°F and watch the salt turn to a liquid. At that point, the blade was slipped into the liquid-salt and allowed to stay in there for 24hrs. The blade was then brought out of the liquid-salt and allowed to cool on the lid of the kiln at the rate that the kiln itself cooled at.You can do the heat treating yourself if you have access to a forge or at the very least an oxy-acetylene setup.
All you need to do once you have finished the blade is heat the metal until it is red hot. Then quench it in a bucket of water.
Now, after you have quenched the blade, you are going to slowly heat it again. As you do, you will see the color of the metal change. You are going to only want to heat it enough to turn blue. But if you overheat it a bit, that is fine too.
Once you have the blued the blade, quench it in the bucket again. Viola. One heat treated machete.
Just remember Daniel-san: Wax On.............Wax Off!!!!I learned how to make damascus steel (aka, Japanese sword folded 200 times) from a local master. I have made several knives now, some good, some not so good. I don't have my own forge (yet) so I make do with what I have handy. Because I work in the metal industry, I have access to some varied materials. I have tried to make knives from QT-100, AR-200, AR-500, 304 stainless, 409 stainless, 316 stainless .... and I haven't been too happy with any of them.
I haven't made a sword yet - it is on my list of projects to complete .. I know the theory, have the books (blade smithing, advanced blade smiithing, sword making, forging, farm-tool-making via forge, etc), read most of them - just need to continue the practice.