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This is Why Machetes Have Holes

A machete is a tool that has gained some popularity as a survival and outdoor tool, and there is no denying that its uses are many and varied. There is some debate as to why machetes have a hole near the end of the blade, and it has been a topic of some discussion on various blade forums and survival sites. So why do machetes have holes?

Not all machetes have a hole near the tip of the blade. Older, traditional machetes do not have this hole. The hole seems to have come about once these tools became mass-produced. It is a consequence of the manufacturing process for specific brands of this blade.

For the uninformed, a machete is a long-bladed knife, the blade is usually anything between 12 inches and 18 inches (30cm – 45cm). The blade is relatively thin for a blade of this length, and seldom exceeds 0.12 of an inch (3mm).

The machete has roots in many different cultures across the world and, therefore, is known by many other names in various countries. As a result of the multiple purposes the machete was developed for in various locations, it also developed multiple styles and shapes that are unique to those locations.

What Was The Machete Made For?

In its various forms, the machete was developed mostly in rural communities across the world, from the Philippines to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

The machete was initially used as an agricultural tool for many purposes, including bush clearing, firewood processing, food processing, animal slaughtering, and opening problematic foods like coconuts. It has also been used for harvesting certain crops such as sugar cane.

In many countries, it was also used as a brutal weapon of war and by factions and militia to decimate civilian populations, particularly in Africa.

The machete became a favored tool for jungle explorers for carving trails through densely overgrown jungles and other thickly wooded areas

However, the civilized world saw its value for use in agriculture and survival and has adopted it in this role where it performs many tasks better than other traditional homesteading or survival tools.

What Is The Hole For?

Some machetes have a hole in the blade near the tip, but this is not a characteristic of all machetes. It seems that the hole is only evident in certain brands of the machete, but it appears often enough to have raised questions as to its origin and uses. There has been much debate in various forums regarding this.

The holes’ definite origin is vague, and the most common consensus is that it is a modern feature that has come about as a result of the mass production of certain of these blades.

The manufacturing process for some of these blades required that the blades are secured during the cutting out of parts of the steel and also during the sharpening process. The hole is used to secure the machete during these processes.

Because the hole appears in these blades, other manufacturers have thought it a design feature of such blades and have copied it and placed a hole on their own machete blades even though it is not part of their manufacturing process.

This has perpetuated the perception that a hole at the end of a machete blade is intentionally placed there for some sort of practical use.

Some people have postulated that the hole is for weight reduction in the blade. My feeling is that this goes against the intention of how the blade is to be used.

A machete is intended to be used with an overhead swing towards the intended target. For this kind of chopping motion, additional weight in the blade would be an advantage, not a disadvantage.

Due to the fact of the hole being thereafter the process, even though it has no intended purpose, people have figured out ways of using it for their purposes.

  • The hole can be used to hang the blade up on a wall.
  • Stripping the bark from small sticks and branches is another use. Simply push the stick through the hole, and the metal edges of the hole will strip the bark from the stick.
  • Some people have even stuck a stick through the hole and then used the handle and the stick to use the machete as a makeshift draw knife to shape wood.

Is The Machete Good For Survival Purposes?

A machete is a great blade to have with you in a survival situation. It can prepare firewood similar to an axe and can do many of the survival tasks that a knife can do. Probably the only thing a knife can do better is the processing of small game.

Machetes are not made from stainless steel, as this type of steel will not stand up to impacts that the tool is intended to handle. They are usually made from one of the spring steels, which enables them to absorb impact without the blade being damaged.

There are several characteristics of the machete that make it a good tool to have in a survival situation.

  • The machete is a slim blade that holds a very sharp edge. It is sharper than an axe edge, and the blade performs similar to a knife.
  • The machetes blade is usually made from carbon steel, which will produce sparks on a Ferro rod.
  • The blade can cut cordage easily.
  • A machete can process wood for fires and shelter better than a knife.
  • The thin, light blade makes it more agile and accurate to use than an axe.
  • The blade has enough weight to be able to process carcasses of large game animals.
  • The length of the blade and how lightweight it is makes it a formidable self-defense tool.

I find that the machete is incredibly useful and fast when preparing a survival shelter. The blade is brilliant for cutting the right size branches for a shelter and trimming excess branches and leaves off the branch.

Next time you build a wilderness shelter, try using your machete for the job, and you will find that you get the shelter done in record time!

The only downside or characteristic that could be a problem with a machete is its length. While the size is one of the features that make it useful as a survival tool, it is also what counts against it as such.

It is a rather long blade, and it is not suitable to be carried on a belt, so it would need to be strapped to a backpack. So unless you have your backpack with you in the survival situation, you are unlikely to have the machete with you.

The edge of the machete blade can be extremely sharp, so it is recommended that you have a sheath made for your machete. When you buy your machete, it may not come standard with a leather sheath. It can be dangerous and not a good idea to walk around with the blade exposed or having it strapped to your backpack without the sharp edge secured.

Creating a leather sheath is the best way to protect the blade while you are carrying the blade and a good way to prevent any accidents with the machete.

Conclusion

Many people are starting to include the machete as part of the camping gear or survival gear since its versatility makes it a superb tool to have for many tasks around camp, from campsite clearing to food preparation to fire making, it is a great tool to have available for these activities.

Some modern machetes that are designed for survival use have a few added features that traditional machetes don’t have. One such feature is a serrated section on the spine of the blade that works well as a wood saw.

Frank Pearmain

As a homesteader, survivalist, and previously a safari guide in Africa, I have extensive bush and wilderness experience. I am passionate about living a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle and continuously learn and strive toward that goal!

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