Homemade Machete (April 20th, 2009)

Recently I had a sudden burst of inspiration and decided to make a machete out of an old Snapper lawn mower blade that was kicking around. The blade is incredibly tough and heavy; it's 3/16" thick, 2" wide and 16.25" overall. At first I just wanted a Bowie knife, but I ended up making more of a machete or a really short sword. Maybe I'll just call it a sheath knife.

I started with an awl and just scratched out the general outline onto the mower blade. Then I used a Sawzall to cut off the wings and cut out the general shape. Next I used a grinder and took the metal down to the line I drew and begin beveling the blade. After getting the blade beveled I used a few files to make it sharp and take off any burrs. Afterwards I used a stone to sharpen the blade even further. Next I used a drill press to drill two holes through the tang that will hold a wooden handle.

Making the handle was much simpler. I just used the table saw and ripped a few thin pieces from some wood that came from an old pallet. I'm not exactly sure what species it is, but it'll do. I just drilled some countersunk holes and bolted the pieces on. Next I used a rasp and power sander to make the handle comfortable. Then I glued strips of wood into the gap between the two handle pieces and then sanded them flush.

Overall it's pretty effective. It's got a great heft to it and easily chops through anything up to small saplings. I've already used it to thin back some of the brush around the edge of my field.

Lawnmower Blade Machete
Katana swordsmiths don't have nothing on this ;D

I guess the lesson learned from this project is that there's a good reason for shaping your metal before hardening it. Also metal gets really hot. :P