Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review - Tramontina Machetes

Tramontina machetes are gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason. For those who have read this blog for a while now, you will know that I love value. That is why Mora knives are some of my favorites. What Mora is to fixed blade knives, Tramontina is to machetes.

A little background:
Here are just some of the machetes made by Tramontina.
Tramontina began as a small company in Brazil established in 1911. Their first major product was pen knives. Throughout the years, Tramontina expanded its production to various other products, among them being cookware, furniture, gardening tools, sinks and metalware, and various tools. It's safe to say that Tramontina is a company with a broad spectrum of products. Today, however, we'll be focusing on their machetes, which I think should be a staple tool for every outdoorsman.

Tramontina's machetes are manufactured in Brazil. While I don't know the specific background of their machete design, Brazil is a country known for its jungles and rainforests, and I think that this climate had a lot to do with the functionality of their machetes. Speaking frankly, Tramontina machetes are the best machetes that I have found for the price.

Their machetes all measure about 0.08", which is a very good compromise between strength and weight. Sure, you can have a thicker machete, but it will also be heavier. In my testing of Tramontina machetes over several years, I have not found them to be weak at all. In fact, I have been very surprised by their performance on numerous occasions.

A side view of the 18" Tramontina Machete.
Tramontina's machetes are made out of Carbon Steel, but coated with varnish to limit rusting. The machetes are all a full-tang design, meaning that the blade steel extends to the end of the handle.

The handles on Tramontina machetes are either made out of wood or polymer, depending on the model of machete. My personal favorite is the wooden handle. All of the handles consist of two slabs of material, wood or polymer, that are riveted on securely.

The machetes come sharp, but can use some sharpening. This is incredibly simple with a file. Simple file the edge down on both sides until it's sharp. This will get you a good working edge that will consistently be easy to sharpen should you ever need it again.

The machete that I have the most experience with is the 18" Wood Handled Machete. I have been using it since the summer of 2010, and it's still going strong. Since Tramontina doesn't sell sheath's, I have found the Cold Steel Machete Sheaths to be a good fit for most of the size machetes that Tramontina makes.

So, if you're in the market for a budget machete that is something that you won't be afraid to beat on, take a look at machetes by Tramontina. There's a reason why they have such a high regard in the knife community.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review - Kershaw Leek

A knife that has been around for a while, but is still as elegant and functional as ever is the Kershaw Leek. Designed by Ken Onion, who now designs knives for CRKT, the Leek, is an assisted opening knife that I like to call a "Gentleman's Folder".

The Kershaw Leek comes in many different colors.
This elegant knife is 6.9" long when opened, and features a 2.9" Blade. The blade comes in a modified drop point design that has either a plain or partially serrated edge. The blade tip is fairly delicate, however, but is incredibly precise. This knife reminds me of a surgeons scalpel, and can no doubt be used for some fine cutting tasks.

The blade steel on the Leek is a Sandvik 14C28N Stainless Steel, which keeps a keen edge, but is still easy to touch up.

The Leek's pocket clip is reversible for both tip up and down carry.
The 4" handle on the Leek is either made of stainless steel, or has colored aluminum scales over stainless plates that hold the knife together. With all of the various colors that the Leek comes in, you're sure to find a handle that will fit your style.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Leek is an assisted opening design. It easy easily opened with either a flipper integrated into the blade, or with the thumbstud. The knife locks up with either a frame lock or a liner lock, depending on the handle design. Either way, the lockup is strong with no blade play.

The Leek also carries very easily. It's slender design and smooth scales allow the included clip to easily clip onto a pocket in either a tip up or tip down configuration. The Leek is only meant for right-handed carry, since the clip is not reversable to the other side of the knife.

The Leek has either a frame lock or liner locking mechanism.
My only gripe about the Leek is how delicate the tip is. While this has never happened to me, I have heard stories of people cracking the tips of their knives. However, it's not all bad because of the delicate precision that you do get with this knife.

If you're in the market for a light to medium-duty folding knife and want it to look extra classy, then check out the Kershaw Leek. It truly is a gentleman's folding knife.

Do any of you have any experience with the Kershaw Leek? If so, let me know in the comments below!