Reviewing a new machete is always something I look forward to because I know it is the one category of blade where I won’t need to “simulate” anything in my fieldtesting. I’ve been working with machetes since I was around nine or 10 and my grandfather grew sorghum cane on his farm. All of it had to be hand cut, loaded on a wagon and hauled to the mill, where it was crushed and boiled down for blackstrap molasses. Swinging a WW-II army surplus machete in the cane field was actually a farm job I looked forward to.
During my years working in the woods as a forester and with a woods engineering crew (basically a wilderness survey party), I cleared trails, road p-line, property lines, and research plots on an everyday basis. Along the way, my wife and I invested in our own stand of timber and I evaluated a wide variety of machetes for the same range of tasks in my free time as I did on the job.
While I no longer work as a forester, we continue to manage our timber acreage and it is a never-ending battle to beat back the brush on our little ranch. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t spend a few hours chopping someplace on our land. Needless to say, I have some fairly strong opinions as to what constitutes a useful machete.
Life of Tomes Machetes
I’m not sure how many generations of machetes P.J. Tomes has actually had but I can remember at least four. Of those, I have had a chance to field test the last three. The first was 16 inches in blade length, the second 16.5 inches and the most recent was 19.75 inches. My first rule of selecting a machete is “the longer the better” and the ones that see the most use around our place are 24 inches in blade length. But I know there is a very good reason why most people don’t care for blades that long—they are generally uncomfortable to carry on a belt. That is an easily solved problem for me, as I simply don’t carry my normal work machetes on my belt; I just throw three or four freshly sharpened ones in the back of the truck. On those rare occasions when I do feel the need to wear one on my belt, the second-generation Tomes has proved about ideal. The new third generation is pushing my limit for belt carry, but possibly someone taller than myself would not find that a problem.