I had some significant brush clearing around the yard and took the opportunity to test three machetes that I own. All had been professionally sharpened to a razor’s edge. They represented three dramatically different blade designs. All machetes were tested for their ability to work in confined spaces and on chopping heavier trees and brush. Overall scores were given a Beast rating from 1 to 5 stars, 1 being leave it at home and 5 being a must have.
The final machete tested was Hibben’s creation for the last Rambo movie. It isn’t a surprise that Hibben designed it since he designed the signature pieces for both of the last two movies. It is a very classic machete design. It is lighter than the Predator Machete, barely, but still heavy at 2 pounds 6 ounces and is over 18 inches long. It is far better balanced, with a center of gravity near the midpoint at 9 inches from the tip. The cutting edge is 11 inches. What makes this machete special is the sanmei blade design. Sanmei blades are based on a 3-plate construction of Chinese origin. It has a strong, brittle core sandwiched by softer steel. This softer steel spine protects the brittle core from being damaged with heavy use. All tests were conducted wearing leather work gloves.
Confined space test:
The balance on this blade is so well-positioned it is a pleasure to swing. It maneuvers well in tight spaces and the heavier blade doesn’t need much force behind it to complete tasks. I used it to clear about 50 feet of brush and vines before I needed a tougher challenge.
This machete performed better than any other at chopping. After clearing brush I went after some hefty trees and branches in my yard that I had been planning to remove. The sanmei blade went through them like butter. I dropped a couple four inch trees and branches within four swings. My hand never became tired and my arm felt great. I had no issues with the blade getting stuck.
I would give it a Beast Rating of 4.5 Stars. It isn’t pretty but is incredibly functional. I had no vibration issues with this cleaver. The guard is decent and the wrapped handle removes most vibration. If I needed to pack one blade for the backcountry this would be on the short list. As a side note, it was also the least expensive of the three machetes and a quick search found it for less than fifty bucks. Beware of cheap copies.