Talking to Karl, an old friend of mine the other day. We are both tool fanatics in that we both believe in using quality tools. During this discussion I was bemoaning the dearth of good machetes to be found on the market. Now for Karl this is no problem, he is a jeweler/blacksmith/knife maker and so can put together pretty much whatever he needs. I however must make do or in this case alter what I have to make it serviceable.
Case in point was a pretty horrible example of a Chinese made machete. Oddly enough the steel was not entirely terrible and would hold an edge. The grip though was a true nightmare. Too deep in the hand, split through its length and fissured just under the knuckles enough to make it impossible to use without a glove. It was made from some unrecognizable timber and for some reason sat in the hand in such a way as to make it impossible to strike a clean blow- the blade would always twist in the hand as it landed.
In a fit of desperation to get a job done one day I tore the old handle off and ground the rusted old rivets out. I then quickly made up a new splint grip out of native sycamore and fastened it with stainless steel bolts. Five minutes sanding on the linisher and I had a comfortable and solid grip good enough to last until I could buy a real machete.
I then discovered I had entirely changed this tool. It now cut cleanly and struck precisely and with force. I could use it for hours with no trouble. That was around five years ago....