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Ontario Knife Co 1-18" Military Machete
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The Ontario Knife Company has been manufacturing the 1-18 Machete under U.S. Government specifications for over 60 years. The same high quality machete that our troops expect is found in all the machetes OKC makes. Overall length is 24". Made of 1095 Carbon Steel. Blade is hardened to 50-55 HRC. Molded plastic and riveted handle. Sheath sold separately.
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Top customer reviews
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It is strong and cuts through bushes, shrubs and small branches like a champ. I even cut a small tree down with this.
It is suprisenly durable and holds up to harsh environments and treatment. So as long as you maintain it, it will last for years. That's probably because Ontario makes this machete for the military.
The handle can be somewhat slippery, so I would advise covering it with a sports grip tape or cord. Or you can where gloves while using it. Also the black finish to the blade does take to scratches easily, but that doesn't make the performance go down. It doesn't come with a sheath but you can order one or make one. I made one.
Many of the earlier reviewers complained of the machete arriving dull. Mine didn't. Mine arrived razor sharp, seriously. As in, I sliced a sheet of paper in half with a single, gentle stroke...right out of the box. The seller for the one I received was Ontario Knife Co. and it came from the Amazon Fulfillment Center. I don't know if other sellers in other parts of the country are shipping "unfinished" tools or not--but as I said, mine arrived razor sharp.
There have been lots of complaints about the handle being uncomfortable or slipping--or feeling like it will slip--out of the hand during use. I think I understand the problem with the handle: It's not because the handle scales are plastic; it's because they are too small for many of us.
I wear Medium surgical gloves and Size 7 military dress gloves. That basically means I have medium/average sized hands for the average American male. The handle on this machete is too small for me. Yes, it's a bit squarish and boxy as some reviewers have pointed out; however, that doesn't mean the grip is large. It just means it's not an ergonomic shape. What I found is the grip doesn't fill my hand at the heel of my palm and my hand wraps around the handle (at the hilt) to the point that my thumb is all the way over the first knuckle of my index finger. It makes sense if you think about what the military needs to consider. These machetes need to be usable for soldiers with smaller hands who won't have a means of making the handle smaller in the field. Soldiers with medium to large hands can always wrap some 550 cord (parachute cord) around the handle while in the field to make it thicker if need be.
Some reviewers have also mentioned that the scale rivets come loose after awhile and the handle falls apart. At the point when that happens to mine, I will make some comfortable, ergonomic wooden scales that fit my hand well and attach them with screws.
As you can see in the photo, this is a "Latin style" machete. The tip is slightly wider than the edge closer to the bolster (like a Parang style) which puts the weight of this machete near the tip. This aids in giving you more power in your strike. Yet, this machete doesn't feel heavy and I can (and you probably can too) easily use this for hours without much fatigue. Overall, this is an amazing design and this particular machete is an amazingly efficient and TOUGH workhorse! Once you figure out how to make the handle more comfortable for you, you won't be disappointed by this machete. Made in the USA from 1095 high carbon steel. If you didn't already know, 1095 is an incredibly strong blend of steel and nearly indestructible even with hard use.
Don't waste your money on a more expensive machete which will likely be of lower quality than this anyway...get this one. You won't regret it. This has been issued to the US military since the 1940's and has been used on the battlefields of numerous engagements. This machete is a professional soldier's machete; the real deal.
UPDATE EDIT: With all the reviews written about this tool, I know my little review won't push anyone over the edge one way or the other as far as buying this or not, but I wanted to add some additional detail about the handle on this thing in case I can help someone else. Since the handle is a bit squarish, I found that I was getting a sore spot that wanted to become a blister on my thumb. Fortunately, the last few inches at the bolster is not sharpened on this blade. I was able to choke up on the blade a little by allowing my index finger and thumb to hold the blade while the rest of my hand was on the grip. That seemed to help. I also wrapped the handle in sports tape. I rolled up 3 small lumps that I then taped to the handle. One lump was put on the back of the handle where the heel of my hand rests. The other 2 lumps were laid across the handle on the front so that one sits between my pinky and ring finger and the other sits between my index and middle finger (if I were holding the handle and not grabbing the blade as mentioned earlier. I wrapped the handle in sports tape with these 3 bumps under the tape. That seems to have helped a lot with holding the tool; however, like I said the handle is kind of square shaped under your thumb and tends to irritate it so I had to choke up on the blade. The cutting power of this machete is insane! While that "Lowes Special" (the Corona machete) was bouncing off twigs and vines, this machete was slicing right through 1" thick dense wood Azalea branches in 1 stroke (2 strokes if the branches gave way when hit). I'm so glad I bought this! Goofy handle or not, the blade on this thing is all business and no B.S.
I am pretty hard on this blade and it has never let me down. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, whether it was a homeowner trimming hedges or someone whom relied on it for survival.
The blade has a good weight to it and the handle is comfortable and strong with a full tang. The only modification that I did was a paracord lanyard and used the sheath from the broken Gerber.
There are a lot of machetes to choose from, many are thin 1/16" "mystery metal", wobbly, made in China junk, while others are WAY overpriced ALSO made in China, (oh the audacity!) like fancy Gerber's or whatever. Seriously, screw that nonsense, because THIS is the I-18 Ontario "meat & potatoes" boss of the brush. Put another way, what would Jason from Friday the 13th reach for? THIS ONE, provided of course, he remains a bad-ass and doesn't suddenly follow the current PC trends to adopt a more reflective "humanist" approach, with soft fragile feelings he desperately needs to share... and "discuss" lol.
I won't say just because it's US military issue, it's the best (even though it is, to me) True, there are specialized high quality "Woodsman's Pals" with a unique shape and a polished fit and finish that the US forestry service uses, but you wanna drop like, a hundred plus $ on a machete? Personally, I don't need it that bad when I can get this for the price of two lunches at McDonalds.
It has the time tested, capably well balanced, no-frills Cutlass shape that will step up to do all "machete tasks", and then some. And unlike much of the anemic, wobbly, worthless and weak competition, it's 0.125" (1/8th inch) thickness will deliver heft and power to obliterate heavier brush and even send chunks of wood flying. This is a relative heavy-weight, for machetes. For me, I think that's a good thing because it will clear everything from the very green soft "juicy" foliage, to the hard core woody thickets with a lot of branches. What type of environment are you clearing? If it's a mix of both, go with this. If it's just tons of soft juicy green stuff, get a thin fast and light "wobbly" one, because this will tire you out unnecessarily because of its heft.
I sing this thing praises, but it's because of the bargain price in mind. This is not perfect, nor is it refined. The handle is kind of crude and can get uncomfortable with some "hot spots. Also, it comes with a rather crude edge. I think Ontario must have different classes of sharpeners at their US factory in up-state New York.. and I imagine the "lawnmower blade sharpener level" people are tasked with putting an edge on these. So, you won't be slipping this out of its cardboard sleeve upon arrival to watch it "float" through a sheet of paper. However, it's also not a butter knife and will easily slice you open badly right out of the box if you're not careful. Perhaps that is why they ship them like this, son that they don't hazardously cut their way out if the box, and can take the stresses of being tossed carelessly in military warehouses without a fragile razor edge being subject to damage.. well, just a thought, because the edge stinks. Again, I forgive these things as it's a US made big hunk of tough steel for under twenty bucks and you'll have to put a little work into promoting this soldier to "be all he can be". Most importantly, the edge angle is established so you just need to hone it some, however you can just take it out of the box and start clearing brush, but I'd strongly recommend taking a few minutes to make the job five times easier with a diamond or ceramic rod, or even a cheap 8" x 2" rectangular sharpening stone you can find in the hardware sections of "dollar stores".
It has a powdery, black, matte, non-reflective zinc-oxide coating (I believe it's zinc oxide) to protect the steel as it is NOT stainless. However, it is 1095 carbon, which takes a wicked edge easily, holds it for a pretty long time and is really robust for this application since it's not prone to chipping. It is hardened to the mid to lower fifties on the Rockwell scale, so it's forgiving under shock, as machetes ought to be since they boss their way through hazards unknown, sometimes encountering a concealed cable, rock or a really hard hunk of wood.
Although this particular I-18 is the US military issued model, you'd be hard pressed to find any current members since 2001 mentioning how dependable it was in the "sand box" but some Vietnam guys sure will, and it's the same one they were issued. Ontario knows "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so this is the same one those guys swung through the dense brush of southeast Asia over forty years ago. 👍
IN USE: I already have a 12" Ontario model with the saw-back spine, and except for the saw teeth and the blade blank being cut 6" shorter, it's the same. With that one, I've beaten the snot out of it and it's still 100%. You know how they say, "this is a certain tool, so don't use it as a screwdriver, axe, prybar, etc, etc, etc.. Pfft! lol. Just to see what it could take, I batoned this through super hard wood that was ridiculous, like it was a stone, and it didn't snap the blade on it. No, I wouldn't try to hang off it, use it as a step-up or pry a door off the hinges (it's tough, but it's not supernaturally tough) My point being, this is the machete you will buy ONCE, use it for extreme brush clearing and even survival duties, chop down a tree, clear logs blocking a path, etc. and you'll never need to buy another one.
So, to sum up. It can rust, so take some sensible care of it, the exposed edge in particular, especially if you're in a corrosive environment near the salt water, for example. You'll have to roll up your sleeves and refine the edge to reveal its ability to slice time-space as the factory edge is crude. The handle will antagonize the paws of girly-men, so use gloves if pushing pencils and paper cuts is your most hazardous routine (just kidding, I have some callouses and it can still get irritating when swinging it a lot) But most of all, it's awesome for under twenty bucks. Just make sure you get at least a cheap sheath for it, but even the whole combo won't set you back thirty bucks. Now, if the caveats sound reasonable to you, buy it with confidence. It get's a 5/5* from me👍