Survival & Emergency Preparedness

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This week I picked up a Tramontina bolo machete from the Baryonyx Knife Company. For an extra $6.00, I paid for the "Special Grade" treatment, which involves:

  • Flush the scales with the tang
  • Finish the edge to a thin convex which is brought all the way to the point
  • Grind the spine square for tinder shaving and fire steel striking
  • Shape the tip to a fine point (as much as is possible for a bolo!)

Since machetes generally come dull from the factory, I felt that six bucks was a more than reasonable price to have it pre-sharpened, not to mention the handle and spine work.

Baryonyx performs a 7-point checkup on the knives they sell, and the owner also included a P-38 can opener as a gift.

As you can see, it came with the edge taped over, then packed in a USPS box. It did not come with a sheath, as is typical for most machetes.

When it arrived the bolo was able to shave the hair on my arm, the handle was flush with the tang and based on the smell, it appears that Baryonyx applied a light coat of boiled linseed oil to the wood.

Specs for the bolo are:
  • Overall Length: 19 & 1/2"
  • Blade Length: 14 & 1/2"
  • Steel: 1070 High Carbon
  • Thickness: 1.25mm
  • Weight: 11 oz.
After my initial inspection I took it outside to trim back some branches coming over my back fence. It cut through several thin branches with little effort and this thicker one that was overhead took only a few whacks.

Putting a pointed end on a stick, e.g. for use as a spear or in a trap, or for making a tent stake was easy.

The edge handled more delicate work peeling bark, but I found the bolo awkward for this sort of task.

After chopping back several branches, putting points on a few sticks, and peeling some bark the bolo could still shave.

Since it required two hands I couldn't get a picture, but I did try using the spine to scrape sparks from a ferro rod, for which it worked well.

Finally, I used it with a baton with the bolo to split some pieces of kindling off a hunk of some well-seasoned and very hard oak. 

I will probably modify the handle further so that it better fits my hand. I'll also drill a hole and add a lanyard.

The Tramontina bolo will make a good chopper for yard work and bushcraft. Based on how it chopped through hardwood, it would make a fearsome weapon as well. The "Special Grade" treatment from Baryonyx Knife Company was absolutely worth $6.00 to get a razor sharp blade out of the box, along with the reworked spine and handle.
Author: Dave Markowitz
Posted: October 10, 2015, 7:55 pm

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