Hello Do It Yourself-ers! This is my first instructable, and I thought I would give documenting my machete build a shot and turn it into a How-To for the site!
Now, we all know that a nice, big axe/knife comes in handy during camping trips or in survival packs. In my case, I will be using this hefty, sharp piece of metal for camping trips. It will serve the purpose of cutting down firewood or building small shelters, and boy, will i look cool doing it!
1/8" x 3" x 3' steel or metal of choice (size, material and thickness depend on what you are looking for out of your machete)
Steel rod or dowels (to hold the handle to the steel)
jigsaw or cutting tool of choice
Grinding wheel and sharpening stone
Vice and clamps
Belt sander or disk sander
Rasp or file
Sharpening tool of some sort
Step 1: Make your design and START HACKING!
To start off, you may want to have a design or shape for your blade in mind. For this blade I chose to keep it simple and have a larger section for weight towards the tip of the blade, and had it taper off into the handle. NOTE: the blade will be built right into the handle so don't cut it short! I cut about a 1/2" shy of the bottom of the steel for the bout at the tip, and tapered it down to 1 1/4" where the blade meets the handle, then continued on at 1 1/4" for five inches or so for the handle.
Make the outline of your blade shape on the steel, and start cuttin'! You want to make sure the steel is secured properly or it will just jump around on you and cutting will be a pain. And please wear safety glasses!
Step 2: Refining the blade
At this point, you should have a rough cut of your blade and hilt. If you have a belt sander, use it! smooth those edges up and make everything to your liking. refining the hilt is not completely necessary because we will be cutting into that again.
Step 3: The handle
Now that you have shaped the blade and hilt. its time to add a nice handle. From a previous guitar build, I had a slab of mahogany left over so I cut out a block of wood, the thickness of the blade, and cut in half with the band saw. You can do all of this with a jigsaw or hand saw. it does not matter. from there on, I thicknessed the two pieces of wood to my desired thickness and sandwiched the two pieces of wood on the outside of the steel. Finally, i cut the two pieces of wood to the length of the hilt.
From here, you can square the steel to the wood and clamp down the wood and steel. then drill two holes straight thru the steel and wood. Make sure your drill bit is the same size as your metal rod or wooden dowel so they can secure the handle and blade together.
Now, after drilling the two holes, mark the length you will need to cut your dowel or rod and cut two of them. So, with all of your parts, its time to bust out the epoxy! Slather up the hilt of the blade with epoxy and sandwich it between the two pieces of wood lined up with the holes you drilled, and put some epoxy on the two dowels/rods you cut and pound those in. Finally, clamp the handle in a vice and leave over night!
Step 4: Make it your own!
After a night of sitting, un-clamp it and get a feel for your handle. you may just want to round it out and leave it as is! For mine, I took the handle to the belt sander and made myself some finger slots, then clamped the blade into the vice and rounded the edges with a rasp. The sky is the limit here! After you have obtained your final look, you can sand it down so its smooth with 180 grit.
Step 5: Lets give this baby an edge!
Sharpening this tool is really up to you. If you want it razor sharp, it may take a while and don't expect it to keep its sharp edge. Remember, its steel!
I took the blade to my belt sander and gave it an edge, then finished the job with a cheap sharpening tool that I found at my local sporting goods store. That thing works wonders and I sure will be using it in the future.
I kept the blade moderately sharp to keep it simple to my uses, but again, the sky is the limit!
Step 6: Now, concur the outdoors...
With your trusty machete, feel confident while at camping trips or know that a reliable tool is waiting for you in your survival pack.
In part two, we will cover how to make a sheath!
Explore with confidence, my friends!