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Styles and Uses of Machetes

A few notes on the various style and naming conventions used at MacheteSpecialists.com.

The machete is a cutting and chopping tool used in agricultural as well as rural areas all over the world. As the machete is very popular in different regions, names and styles vary, and often overlap.

Preferences for one style over another are often subjective, and like many other things, based in large part on region, tradition and experience.

Machete styles have never been standardized, and one style melds into another. At what point a bush machete becomes a weighted machete can be anyone's guess, so our categories are somewhat fluid.


bush machete: An all-purpose machete with a normal, straightback blade. The blade tends to be evenly weighted and fairly stout.

Uses: Very portable, can be fitted with a sheath easily for carrying around. Good for cutting green vegetation and as a utility tool.

Alternative Names: chumpa, cola de gallo, colin, copeton, corvo, cutacha, el salvador guarizama, latin style machete recto, para chapea, pata de cuche, peinilla, rula, vizcaino,

weighted machete: The workhorse of the machetes. A cross between an ax and a knife, the heavy machete is weighted toward the top of the blade for chopping thick and woody vegetation.>/span> The cutting edge is relatively flat for chopping, not curved for slicing, and the tip is dull or removed.

Uses: The best style of machete for chopping woody or tough vegetation.

Alternative Names: barrigon, carupanero, cuta, double edge, guapote, heavy machete, lampon, mojarra, outback, pulla, thunder head, tunca

bolo machete: Popular in SE Asia with a thicker than average blade. The bulge adds heft to the fore-blade for additional chopping power.

Uses: Compact, weighted machete good for chopping woody vegetation.

Alternative Names:

panga machete: Machete design popular in Africa and the Caribbean. Deep belly provides weight for chopping and curvature for slicing. The upturned point can concentrate force on a small area for piercing.

Uses: Good for slicing and chopping moderately thick woody vegetation.

Alternative Names: burriquito, cutlass machete, daga, liniero, puerto rican, rozador, swamp master, viking

barong machete: These machetes are known for their unique leaf-shaped blade, which is traditionally only sharpened on one side. The traditional weapon of certain tribes in the Philippines, the barong was feared by European colonizers for its ability to cut through rifle barrels.

Uses: Aside from use as a general utility tool, and as a status symbol, the filipino barong is used in the forms of martial arts known as Kali, Eskrima, or Silat, all of which originate from the Philippines

Alternative Names: barung, moro barong, rawit

kukri machete: Kukri machetes have 3 parts to their blade, a pointed tip for stabbing, a wide midsection for chopping, and a narrow area near the handle for whittling and carving.

Uses: The kukri is THE tool of central Asia (Nepal,India,Pakistan,etc), carried for protection and as a utility tool.

Alternative Names: bush hog, gurkha kukri, kukuri, khukuri, khukri, magnum khukri

colima machete: These machetes are sharpened on both sides of the blade.

Uses: Great for mowing or clearing swaths of vegetation by cutting on the fore and backhand strokes, this machete is weighted on the back side for aid in clearing on the backstroke.

Alternative Names: acapulqueno, caguayano, costeno, panzon

parang or golok machete: These machetes generally have a distinctive curved shape in which both the spine and the edge of the blade is curved, much like a scimitar. They tend to be long and either slightly weighted or fairly evenly weighted, and usually have a thick blade.

Uses: Good for cutting woody material without lodging in the material.

Alternative Names: crocodile golok, golok no 2, gokok kembar, golok mala, pedang batak, talibon, gununting, pinuti, parang bandol, burmese Dha, golok bengkulu, sable

cane machete: wide, blunt-tipped machetes perfect for hacking corn stalks and sugar cane. Often the blade is hooked to allow the user to pull the chopped cane from the plants still standing. The thin blade thickness allows for easy cutting through cane style vegetation.

Uses: Typically used for cutting sugar cane, rice, and corn stalks. Cleaver variety great for butchering and chopping thick vegetation.

Alternative Names: aztec cleaver, brazilian style cane knife, camp cleaver, canero, corn knife, cuta, machete de suelo, tunca, sugar cane machete,

short-handled sickle: An ancient agricultural implement sharpened on the inside of the curve, the sickle permits the cut stalks to be drawn together and pulled out after being cut.

Uses: Uses for reaping and harvesting. Blade cuts and draws together the cut stalks for efficient collection.

Alternative Names: clurit, hand sickle, japanese grass sickle, malayo, scythe, reaping hook, usugama

spear point machete: Machete blade with a point for piercing or stabbing.

Uses: Livestock slaughter and self-defense.

Alternative Names: combat, hog sticker, jungle saber, peinilla, tactical machete,

hawkbill machete: A curved or hooked machete that can be sharpened on both sides or on the inside of the curve. The sharpened tip can concentrate force on a sharp point allowing it to pierce an cut very hard materials.

Uses: Generally used for cutting tall grasses.

Alternative Name: machete cuma

bill hook machete: Ancient agricultural implement in much of a Europe, the billhook has a curved blade for chopping around curved objects like tree trunks.

Uses: Traditionally used for snedding, which is the process of stripping side shoots and buds from a branch. The hooked blade, sharpened on the inner curve, is also ideally suited for gripping and cutting vines and brambles. Also used for hedge construction and maintenance, and by charcoal makers for use in coppicing and woodlot management.

Alternative Names: bagging hook, bill hook, bush knife, coa, reaping hook, sheaf hook, trimming hook, woodman's pal

coping machete: Machetes with a blunt tip.

Uses: Good in rescue situations to avoid harm to victims and as tools in tight spaces to prevent the tip interfering with the cutting surface.

Alternative Names: rescue machete, coping blade machete,

sax machete: The machete of medieval northern europe. Ancient European blade with a straight edge and a sheepsfoot spine.

Uses: Long flat blade provides long, consistent surface area for good control of the blade when chopping and hewing.

Alternative Names:

tanto machete: Japanese blade design with an extremely strong point, orginally for piercing armor.

Uses: Reinforced tip used almost exclusively for piercing and stabbing.

Alternative Names: tactical machete, combat machete, military machete

two-handed machete: Blade attached to a long handle for swinging and hewing with two hands.

Uses: Great for generating additional power by swinging with two hands or for additional reach. Great for tough, woody vegetation, palm tree trimming, and high branches.

Alternative Names: calabozo, coa, scythe, two handed machete

bowie machete: Blade with a clip-point or skinner tip for skinning wild game. Style popularized by American frontiersman Jim Bowie and still popular for survivalists and backwoodsmen.

Uses: Machete having a distinctive skinner tip, a good utility knife for the woodsman and hunter.

Alternative Names: large bowie knife, survival machete

tapanga machete: Blade with a distinct back-swept weighted chisel tip popular in certain parts of Africa.

Uses: This machete typically has a flat cutting edge for general use, but also has a front-weighted blade for chopping. The blade can be turned over and the spine of the blade sharpened for hacking.

Alternative Names: Sometimes called a bolo machete.