Pros: Overall Quality, Weight, Blade Material, None
Cons: Handle Material, Sheath/Scabbard, Finish
Perfect starting piece for modification
I bought this to modify into a weapon. It has everything that I wanted. The blade is thick and rigid enough for thrusting and the steel is just soft enough to not be brittle, which is important on long blades. Putting my weight onto it, it can flex quite a ways and still return true. Yes, the handle sucks and it arrives dull. However, as a tool, a machete is supposed to be dull, so that the edge will hold up to wood, brush, and the occasional rock that you will hit sooner or later. The handle I removed and replaced. I made a handle that goes all the way up the unsharpened part of the blade, making it a true two handed weapon. I had to drill a couple new pin holes in order to do this. I then used a cutoff wheel to put a clip point on the blade, then finished it with a file and sandpaper. Now it can stab as well as hack. Another advantage of the dull blade is that I was less likely to cut myself while working on it. After the new handle and reprofiling of the blade, I sharpened it with a belt sander and stone. Overall, it turned out to be a great (and cheap) alternative to a sword. NOTE. Don't modify the tip if the primary purpose is a tool. It does remove metal and slightly weakens it. I also recommend that you practice cutting on one of those $6 Walmart machetes first. My next step will be to make a hard scabbard. Still haven't decided on materials. CONS. Handle sucks, the finish is mediocre, the sheath is optional (and crappy), and the spine isn't prefectly straight (but the edge is). Even with those shortcomings, I feel that I am nitpicking. After all, where else can you get find a machete this heavy and long with real 1095 steel for under $30? Stainless steel is fine on a knife, but unacceptable on a machete/sword, where there will be constant flexing.