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Harold
(@harold)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 472
October 16, 2018 8:34 am  

Because of the wearing out of my shoulder and elbow joints and tissue, I am retiring my Blackie Collins 22-inch heavy D-handle machete with custom leather Amish-made sheath.  I like the convenience of having one of my hands free when surveying, and the less I have to carry, the better I like it.    I bought a Gerber Gator Brush Thinner that came with a gimpy little nylon sheath that will probably last less than a week under normal working conditions.  The sheath belt loop mounts the brush blade too high, and the two-handed handle sticks up above the belt.  Mounting it upside down could work, but both ways make the handle prone to snagging on just about everything.  Getting to the little zipper and hook & loop fastener is difficult anyway.  

I will either switch back to a bank blade (aka kaiser blade or joe blade) or try hand-held pruning shears if this new blade does not work out.  I already carry a folding pruning saw that is very handy to use that fits into my tool belt pouch very well along with my 6-foot folding rule.

My main question is this: Does anyone use this blade, and how do you carry it?  I am looking for a leather sheath to fit the 9-inch blade into and a loop of some sort that will secure the long handle.  I would want it to hang below my tool belt and be easy to remove with one hand and put back in and secured with one hand.  I searched the internet, but nothing comes up.  I could contact the Amish leather craftsman I used last time and see what we could come up with, but I wanted to reach out this community to see what you guys are using for cutting blades.

Gerber Gator

"orange glo" is my favorite color.....


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Norman Oklahoma
(@norman-oklahoma)
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Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 4092
October 16, 2018 9:26 am  

I still have a long machete (Ontario Knife) in the truck but I'm not using it as much as I used to.  I also have loppers and hand clippers (Fiskars, from Home Depot) , which get more and more use these days.  

For big jobs maybe find somebody with a brush cutter equipped Bobcat. They can clear more in an hour than you can in a hard day of machette-ing.   Probably end up saving you money. 

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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Cee Gee
(@cee-gee)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 455
October 16, 2018 10:21 am  

For about 40 years I've been using a Sandvik bush axe, which is mostly suited to the woody growth we have here in Maine. With enough persistence and elbow grease it will cut down stuff up to 3 or 4 inches wide; with a good blade it slices through the smaller stuff like butter. You can wear a hammer holster to lug it with your hands free. The boss with whom I apprenticed used to send two guys out with chain saws to set every job up before we ever brought in any actual surveying equipment. Not me. Here's the Sandvik:

https://www.hayesinstrument.com/st_prod.html?p_prodid=2817

If you buy one order some spare blades. The blade can come off if you whack something the wrong way.


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Brad Ott
(@brad-ott)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 4434
October 16, 2018 10:25 am  

Fiskars Ratchet Drive Anvil Lopper https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003BC79KS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_o5HXBbT35T51J

 

Have not touched my machete for three years.

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Daniel Ralph
(@daniel-ralph)
500+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 567
October 16, 2018 10:25 am  

I had a Collins machette shortened about eight inches and a new contoured handle put on it. This customization lightened the blade enough that it is easier to carry, swing and cut. I don't get into much that it can't handle.  

Dan Moehrke, PLS


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Paul in PA
(@paul-in-pa)
5,000+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 5636
October 16, 2018 10:26 am  

I gave up on swinging blade tools the day I cut my thigh. Currently have Fiskars extendable arm compound lopers. If I can get it in the jaw I can cut it.

Paul in PA

This post was modified 3 months ago by Paul in PA

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Cee Gee
(@cee-gee)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 455
October 16, 2018 11:04 am  

I forgot to mention that one of my Maine colleagues cut off the end of his left thumb a few years ago cutting woody Maine growth with a machete.


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Ken Salzmann
(@ken-salzmann)
250+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 492
October 16, 2018 1:12 pm  

I have been using Felco pruners, No 9 (I am a southpaw) for about 25 years.  Parts are easy to obtain if needed.

I have never been a machete fan; too many horror stories about worn out shoulders and bad cuts.  I like the Sandvik when in the upland woods.  The extra blade is a must, as is the leather belt sheath.  It is small and easy to carry, but enough heft that it does most of the work.  Just not good for roses and blackberries.  When dealing with briars and phragmites I use a brush hook, the curved blade on an ax handle.  A bit to carry, but again, it does most of the work.

Ken

 

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"


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Allen Wrench
(@allen-wrench)
100+ posts Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 186
October 17, 2018 5:27 am  

I love the brush axe (aka Swede Axe) and use it frequently.  My elbows are destroyed from years of topo surveys with a GPS rover, and I found the machete takes much more effort than the brush axe.  There's something about the balance and weight of the brush axe that makes it way more efficient.  Not to mention there's a lot less cutting edge flying through the air.  Plus, the Swede Ax can be used one or two-handed if you need more precision.


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Just A. Surveyor
(@just-a-surveyor)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1098
October 17, 2018 5:43 am  

I will never swing another bush axe or ditch bank blade if I can avoid it and since I do not own one it is certainly avoidable.

I never like the regular machetes because of the handles and last year I went and bought this Fiskars 2 handed machete. It is more of a scimitar and a straight blade drop sheath will not work so I had to take it to a leather shop in town.

Saddle leather and stitching.

20181017 083812

This post was modified 3 months ago by Just A. Surveyor

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Peter Ehlert
(@peter-ehlert)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 2793
October 17, 2018 6:08 am  

I used a machete for many years. When I went to Oregon I was introduced to the "reverse brush hook"
let the weight and momentum of the tool do the work, save your shoulders and elbows.
It also doubles as a pounding tool.
I keep the inner blade sharp, the outer blade gets a different hatchet like treatment.
my machetes have gone unused (by me) for several decades.

brush hook

PS: the hooked part gets used to pull the cruft aside, saves getting my arms into the mess
PPS: the handles are the same as a common axe handle, easy to find in any hardware store. I keep spare handles for all tools.

This post was modified 3 months ago 2 times by Peter Ehlert

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FL/GA PLS.
(@flga-pls)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 3400
October 17, 2018 6:09 am  

Like Brad said in a post above about machete use.

We neither use nor possess  anything for cutting line (I think one crew chief has a pocket knife), onsite bulldozers do it for us.  ? 

Once, a long time ago we had a crew member damn near amputate his kneecap with a friggin machete.

This post was modified 3 months ago by FL/GA PLS.

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thebionicman
(@thebionicman)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 2926
October 17, 2018 6:22 am  

Geography is a major driver in tool choice. I use a gerber sawback for small stuff and a chainsaw to clear trees from the road. Neither gets a lot of use. I've only been hospitalized a few times with machete issues, none in the last 25 years.

The gerber is awesome. The handle is a tacky soft rubber. The blade is light enough to not notice carrying but very tough.  The sheath was crap. I picked up the sokkia leather sheath and cut the top to cover the blade and half the handle. 

CFedS, PLS ID-OR-WA-UT-NV


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Peter Ehlert
(@peter-ehlert)
2,500+ posts Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 2793
October 17, 2018 6:36 am  

green flagging, in the garden section... tie back the offending stuff. Urban/Suburban method. Or traverse around.

I had a lot surveyed several years ago. In my eye it is a natural botanical garden.
Cutting a 1 meter wide pathway up the lines was uncalled for. I am still pissed even though it is nearly grown back.

PS: I still use the same surveyor, but he has different crew now.
be respectful
...Checked my plat, it was 12 years ago, the cut line is still obvious. My line points serve the need.

This post was modified 3 months ago by Peter Ehlert

The Manual Of Instructions ... a History Book


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John Putnam
(@john-putnam)
1,000+ posts Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1122
October 17, 2018 7:40 am  
Posted by: thebionicman

Geography is a major driver in tool choice. I use a gerber sawback for small stuff and a chainsaw to clear trees from the road. Neither gets a lot of use. I've only been hospitalized a few times with machete issues, none in the last 25 years.

The gerber is awesome. The handle is a tacky soft rubber. The blade is light enough to not notice carrying but very tough.  The sheath was crap. I picked up the sokkia leather sheath and cut the top to cover the blade and half the handle. 

I have a couple of the Gerbers.  I do like the handle but I have found that the hole in the tip and the saw back get hung up on the black berry vines.  And anyone who has surveyed in western Oregon or Washington know that clients around here don't hire us to survey their land, the hire us to clear the black berries.

I tend to use a machete for vines and light brush and a woodsman's pal for heavier stuff.  If I have to wade through a see of berries I break out the Stihl pole saw with the hedge trimer attachment.

John Putnam, PLS
OR, CA, WA & ID


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