The rhythm of your life and daily routine make you forget some important things. For example, your garden care. If you forget to maintain your garden regularly then some day you will find out that you have a private jungle.
Thankfully, you can use garden hand tools like gardening machetes to transform this jungle to a lovely garden again.
What is a gardening machete
Machete is a
weapon tool that looks like a broad heavy knife or something between a knife and an axe. This gardening hand tool is used as a cutting tool.
Gardening machetes uses
If you’re someone who periodically struggles with clearing brush or chopping compost, you may benefit from a gardening machete. Generally, a machete for gardening can help you to:
- Clear brush and undergrowth
- Cut small branches
- Chop down thick plants
- Chop your compost to bits
- Split wood
- Clear vines and brush
- Remove suckers (undergrowth from the base of a tree)
In addition, you can use some types of this garden tool for snedding and hedging.
Gardening machetes safety
Whatever they tell you or read online you shouldn’t have a machete in your garden tool shed unless:
- you really need it, and
- you are a seasoned gardener or someone who knows how to use this tool properly.
As a general rule, you cut in front of yourself with big swings and keep your free hand away from the cutting space. Typically, a machete is a very dangerous toy to play with. Machetes demand a great deal of practice to use safely and effectively. Nonetheless, some types of machetes are useful for gardening jobs, especially the billhook tool.
Types of gardening machetes
The most useful types of machetes that you can use for your garden are generally considered to be: billhooks, kukri machetes, brush axes and bush machetes. The metal material of their blades is high carbon steel most of the times. However, there are some gardening machetes that have blades made of stainless steel.
The Billhook tool is a brush axe machete or if you want the brush axe is a billhook. Nevertheless, billhook tools have been commonly used in Southeastern Europe (Greece) since the Bronze Age. The billhook is a one-handed heavy hooked tool with a small or long handle and a big curved blade. The main purpose of this garden tool is to cut the small branches off trees. In addition, billhooks are often used to strip the side shoots from a branch (snedding) and to cut suckers and woody plants. In our experience, the billhook tool is a great tool for removing the branches from felled trees.
2. Kukri Machetes
The kukri machete or khukuri is an offspring of the Greek sword kopis. A similar weapon to kopis is still used as an agricultural tool for cutting and harvesting in some parts of Greece. As for the kukri machetes on the market, some of them are able to chop down thin trees, while others are better for bush whacking. This happens because of their gauge (id est the thickness of their steel blades).
3. Brush Axes
Brush axe machetes or ditch bank blades, sometimes called sling blades, brush hooks, ditch blade axes or kaiser blades, look like long-handled billhooks. They can be used to clear dense growth of small shrubs, brushes and small vines. If you plan to buy one you should have in mind that you will have to sharpen it before you use it for the first time. This happens because most of the ditch bank blades are not sharp enough out of the box.
4. Bush machetes
Bush machetes are the classic machetes. They are knives with very long blades that can be used as gardening cutting tools for clearing brush and other uses. Typically, most of them come with a sheath.
Buying considerations for Gardening machetes
There are some things that you have to check before you buy a machete for your garden. Typically, these things have to do with the machete’s blade.
Blade length and gauge
The gardening machetes come in various blade lengths and gauges. Longer blades have better reach but are heavier. Thinner blades are not suitable for woody plants. On the other hand, they are great for clearing brush and grass.
Blade material of gardening machetes
The carbon steel blades have better cutting edge retention but you need to oil them very often because they tend to form rust very quickly. On the flip side, stainless steel blades are rust-resistant and you have to sharpen them more often.
If you buy a machete you will find out that it will not be sharp enough. Don’t freak out. You can sharpen them. Many brands ship their cutting tools not so sharp on purpose. Having this in mind, you should have a bastard file ready to use to sharpen your machete.
Where to buy a machete for gardening
Generally, it is not easy to find machetes for gardening at your local hardware or outdoor activities stores. On the flip side, you will find a plethora of machetes at online retailers. As a matter of fact, our online retailer of choice is amazon.com. There you can find many billhooks, kukris and other machetes that you can use for gardening jobs.
Gardening machetes maintenance
Keeping garden hand tools, like gardening machetes, sharp and clean makes your job easier. Also, it makes them last longer and they will be serviceable for many years to come.
How to clean a machete
Use water to remove dirt and plant debris. Also, always use a very thick cloth to remove sap, water and other moisture from your machete. You can use rubbing alcohol to remove resin.
Other maintenance tips
- If you notice any rust forming at your tool’s blade, then you can use white vinegar to rub it and remove it. If this doesn’t work, use sandpaper. In either case, remove the rust and after that, use an anti-rust lubricant to oil your machete tool.
- Always, check out your tool to verify that the handle is attached properly to its blade.
- Also, there is a great chance that your gardening machete has a wooden handle. If that is the case, then you should use an oil to finish it at least once a year.
- Additionally, your machete must be very sharp to be able to cut. If you intend to use your tool to cut grass, then its cutting blade must be razor-sharp. To sharpen it use a file or a honing stone and oil it afterwards.
Storing a machete
Store your machete in a safe and dry location like a garden tool shed or your garage storage cabinet. You should oil its blade before you store your gardening machete at the end of the season.
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