4/18 Chop Test update

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Mike P. Swaim

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Apr 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM4/18/97
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Ever since I did the original Chop Tests, I've looked forward to
trying out the CS LTC Kukri. I've been eagerly awaiting being able to
tell you all that I've found the perfect belt carry, fenceline
clearing tool, that simply puts all others to shame. Well, after
finally aquiring one of them, I'm still waiting to be able to tell you
all that. Make no mistake. I like mine very much. It just didn't quite
outcut the machete, although it came very close. It may well be my
favored chopping tool at the moment, but there is still some room for
improvement.

I just did the very same average of (3) severances of a pressure
treated 2x2 and timed and counted the strokes it took to chop
completely it in two over a pine stump. The CS LTC Kukri averaged
6cuts in 8 sec. Let's put that in perspective:

1) US GI Machete by Ontario 7 sec. 4 hits

2) Ontario SP8 Survival Machete 6 sec 7 hits

3) CS LTC Kukri 8 sec. 6 hits

4) Generic 440 Kukri 8 sec 7 hits

5) Scandvik CampAx (hatchet) 8 sec 10hits
(This was the best of several hatchets tested.)

At this point all of the top (5) performers are very good indeed, and
are so close together that the little differences strictly in
performance of this particular test, are almost negligible. In fact,
as I've pointed out, the rankings may well slip and slide around a bit
from user to user, and would almost assuredly be different from
material to material. At this level, what becomes more relevant are
the little differences noticeable to the user that go beyond mere
chopping ability.

The point that I draw out of all this, is that if you already have one
of the above, there may not be much reason to buy another off the
list. If you don't already have one, and need a chopping tool, then
you might want to seriously consider the inexpensive GI Machete. It's
more tool than what a lot of folks realize, and is perhaps more
politically correct looking than a Kukri.

OTOH, the Kukri might serve a little better as an impromtu weapon, if
that is important to you. Also, due to the extreme 'belly curve' on
the CS version, it might also be better for skinning game and other
uses that involve cutting rather than chopping. Perhaps most important
of all, to me; it's also more compact, and rides MUCH better on the
belt. This is a big concern if you anticipate wearing your fence
clearing tool while walking long distances. The GI Machete, bangs my
legs, and the Survival machete makes me feel like I'm listing to one
side, whereas the CS LTC Kukri just rides moderately comfortably on my
belt. (The handle does occasionally poke my ribs.) Whether that's
worth the extra cost, is something for the purchaser to think about.
Also, I find the soft Kraton handles to be much more comfortable and
sure than the smooth plastic of the GI Machete. (Course, I fixed my
machete with some cheap grip tape. ;-)

Mike Swaim


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