by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary
USA -(Ammoland.com)- We decided to test and review the Columbia River Knife & Tool Mah Chete because most of the “conventionally” designed machetes on the market fail miserably in the field.
The reason being is that they are either too light, made with cheap steel or so poorly constructed that they do not hold up…. OR, a combination of all three. (especially their cloth sheaths).
We learned this the hard way when we purchased a well-known name-brand machete to tackle some Russian thistle (aka tumbleweeds) that got out of control last summer during the monsoon season. After much frustration, my son-in-law threw it away and decided to use a hand axe to clear the area around our sheds. Even then, it was a chore and we finally waited until they dried out and torched the rest with a burner.
When we laid eyes on the Columbia River Knife & Tool Liong Mah Mah-Chete at the 2016 SHOT Show, and having the memory of last summer etched in my mind, I knew we had to check it out. Although we are not familiar with Liong Mah's background, given the design of his Mah-Chete, it is apparent that he was well aware of the shortcomings of the majority of the conventional machetes on the market.
“Liong Mah is a designer working in New York City. He says, “As a kid my uncle would give me pocket knives and I would see what I could change to improve the design. My books would have knife drawings in them instead of school work. About ten years ago I started reading books on how to build folders.This helped me understand the anatomy of a folding knife. I learned how to use AutoCAD and that has really helped me to create my designs. I like to blend old styles with modern materials, to create a knife with that is safe, functional and beautiful. I prefer blade and handle materials that are low maintenance, because I know that most people do not want to have to oil and wipe down their blade each time they use it.”
“Doing collaborations has helped me bring out my ideas. I have been very lucky to work with some of the best makers in the industry, including Allen Elishewitz, John W. Smith, Howard Viele, Edward Baca, Phil Boguszewski, Jeremy Marsh, Brad Southard and Keith Edick.”
As such, he designed one that would do what machetes were intended to do…. chop weeds, brush, and foliage with a minimum of effort.
The Mah-Chete is heavy enough to take out all of the brush and weeds that we have encountered, but not so heavy that it “tortures” our arms. The upswept shape greatly enhances its efficiency and, unlike most conventional machetes, the hammer-forged steel remains sharp, only requiring an occasional touchup.
Columbia River Knife & Tool, Liong Mah, Mah-Chete Sheath
Add in the reinforced nylon sheath that has a “drop down” option allowing you to strap it to your leg and you have a very useful tool. This is not only an excellent survival blade, it will be invaluable to any backpacker or hunter who ventures into the mountains.
The specifications of the Columbia River Knife & Tool, Liong Mah, Mah-Chete are:
- Overall Length: 17.44 inches
- Weight: 1 lb 3.2 ounces
- Blade Length: 12 inches
- Blade Thickness: 0.18 inches
- Blade Material: 1075 Carbon Steel
- Blade – HRC: 50-55
- Grind: Concave Grind
- Style: Drop Point/Plain Edge
- Handle Material: Walnut
- Sheath: Reinforced Nylon @ 5 ounces
Before we finish, we would like to say a word or two about the1075 carbon steel used in the Mah-Chete. Because of its carbon content, 0.75%, it is tougher and stronger than conventional knife blades. It is made for heavy chopping and while it doesn't have the edge retention of belt knives, it sharpens up easily when needed.
Like the old Timex watches, the Mah-Chete is designed to “take a licking and keep on ticking”.
The Mah-Chete has an MSRP of $99.99 (way less online) which is very reasonable for what you get. You can pay less for another machete, but you will get a lot less…. and we mean a LOT LESS!
About Jim and Mary Clary:
Jim and Mary Clary have co-authored over three hundred and fifty articles, (and counting) on shooting and hunting. You can read many of them on AmmoLand News.