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Old 5th November 2023, 10:38 AM   #1
fernando
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Default Too crude to be a Machete ?

I don't recall posting this one before; sorry if i did .
Too basic to pretend that it is artificially old. Yet the previous owner (seller) gave it a strong clean up, as may be noticed. So pretty old it migh be.
I just don't abandon the idea that this might be a weapon and not just a tool, because of that clip point.
What do you Gentlemen think of this thing ?


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Old 5th November 2023, 03:35 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Fernando, you are the master of bringing bizarre anomalies to 'show and tell' !

This 'item' is indeed 'crude' but 'too crude' for a machete, NOT. Most machetes are inherently crude as they are often fashioned from materials and components either handy to the village blacksmiths. Often repurposed blades and components might be used, but this is clearly locally forged.

Naturally this character is typical in so many of the tools, weapons etc. in Spanish colonial context, but of course, also in the rural regions in Portugal and Spain. Many of the 'cutlasses' used aboard vessels in the 17th-18th c. came from Basque field tools, i.e. machetes.

Actually, as we have often discussed, there is virtually little distinction between weapon and tool, and machetes are the classic example.

The well known 'espada ancha' of Spains colonies in the northern frontiers of Mexico was actually never called that, but what known for exactly what it was...a machete. While many used the dragoon blades from swords, it became well known that the heavier locally forged blades were better for their actual use, brushing trails etc.

Many of these blades locally made had a distinctive feature, which was actually 'uptick' at the blade tip. It would seem these had some sort of purpose in the utilitarian function of the machete, which I am not qualified to describe, however its presence was placed with purpose.

With that I would note the peculiar feature in the blade tip may have some remote association to the character of many machete blades.

The length of this blade @ over 30 inches gives it good length for effective use, and while the thin (2") width seems questionable with most machetes having wide, stout blades....a solid iron blade narrow would be easier to wield. The Cuban machetes known as guanabacoa have even narrower blades in some examples.

This is obviously excavated, and of considerable age, seeing the inner impurities of the iron working out through the surface in reaction to minerals in the soil or its deposit context.
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Old 6th November 2023, 09:31 AM   #3
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Fernando, you are the master of bringing bizarre anomalies to 'show and tell' !
This 'item' is indeed 'crude' but 'too crude' for a machete, NOT...
Thanks much for your input, Jim; for both your comforting words on the machete and for the 'show and tell' attribution, a term i wasn't familiar with .
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Old 6th November 2023, 05:14 PM   #4
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Thanks much for your input, Jim; for both your comforting words on the machete and for the 'show and tell' attribution, a term i wasn't familiar with .
Always my pleasure! and not intended as comfort, but matter of fact appreciation. 'Show and tell" refers to the event in school where kids brought in items of interest to display to the class, to their interest and excitement and all shared comments and questions. A great learning primer, which of course is similar to our much more seasoned efforts here
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Old 6th November 2023, 08:31 PM   #5
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...'Show and tell" refers to the event in school where kids brought in items of interest to display to the class ...
Yes Jim. It took me ten seconds flat to find its meaning soon as i first read it .
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Old 7th November 2023, 01:36 AM   #6
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Yes Jim. It took me ten seconds flat to find its meaning soon as i first read it .
Your note made me realize that sometimes the idioms I often use here might not be known to the international readers here, thus the elementary explanation. mea culpa.
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Old 8th November 2023, 08:23 AM   #7
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... The Cuban machetes known as guanabacoa have even narrower blades in some examples.
...

My examnple:

A 'narrow' Spanish military machete model 1881, made in Toledo 1895, a 'souvenir' of the Spanish-American war, used by the Spanish troops in Cuba.
slightly recurved.

Makes me think of Teddy Roosevelt & San Juan Hill...
Also, another spanish pioneer machete from the same era...
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Old 8th November 2023, 10:58 AM   #8
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Wink Machete ... ma non troppo.

The Spanish pattern 1881, followed by the 1891 for the 'Ejercito de Cuba', were factory made side arms for regular forces. I am afraid that, although they are called Machetes, they certainly fall out the discussed context; perhaps belonging more into the Militaria area .
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Old 9th November 2023, 04:56 PM   #9
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Excellent and fascinating examples Wayne!
While of course spending most focus on historical swords and edged weapons of earlier times, these examples, though often deemed somewhat scornfully by many collectors of antique arms as 'militaria' have their own intrinsic value historically.

When I first began collecting as a young boy, I went into war surplus stores, WWII had been over barely a decade, and old military gear provided us with the camping equipment we used. There were old bayonets literally in barrels, and could be bought for 'loose change'......my exact 'budget'.

As I bought these, I became curious on the differences between the various forms, and nationalities etc. ........this was the root of my obsession with the study of edged weapons as I sought any references to identify them over the years.

I remember many years later, the late RDC Evans was writing articles solely on bayonets in an arms magazine, and I read this in amazement as he descriptively placed wonderful perspective on these common and ubiquitous arms. He became a good friend and remarkably, showed that a great deal of key information that pertained to markings etc. applied to swords, bringing new dimension to my appreciation of the larger scope of arms study.
I am not particularly drawn to guns, however I cannot describe the numbers of times I have found the clues and answers to questions regarding edged weapons in firearms references.

The Spanish American war was an intriguing conflict which provided the circumstances which brought resolution to many mysteries in the study of Spanish colonial edged weapons, with those of Cuba and connected as far as the Philippines. As Fernando notes, these factories were producing edged weapons for military forces, and often bayonets and 'machetes' fell into close association as the utilitarian function was typically most required.

No stone left unturned in serious arms study

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Old 9th November 2023, 06:02 PM   #10
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Cool Wayne not minding ...

You and your way, Jim. I appreciate listening to your collecting experiences during youth but, aren't we missing the point ? This topic, as submitted, being weaving considerations over artisanal machetes, is it within context comparing their variable specs. with a mass produced example like the 1881 military pattern ... whether you find it an excellent and fascinating example ?

PS
I later saw that you edited your post; sorry, too late !
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Old 9th November 2023, 11:43 PM   #11
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I knew you'd be comin' Fernando, so I always go back and recheck to 'fine tune', even though never quite out of reach.

I guess its important to note that I am mostly interested in the historic aspects of arms, so of course I tend to find most items of some notable age 'fascinating' in one degree or another.
Also, having noted that my 'collecting and study' of weapons spans back to my youth, a most considerable number of years, it is hard to resist some degree of analogy in writing. I think it is highly typical of men my age to be unapologetic story tellers, just ask the grandkids! In positive notes on weapons being discussed, I always recall hearing of one of the most highly respected of the early collector/scholars, Sir Guy Laking, of whom it was said,
"...he would always find something kind to say about a fellow collectors object, however humble it was".
I see these weapons even in the 'militaria' class as interesting in their own right, just as are most items presented in this miscellania forum, which allows presentation outside the chronological boundaries of the others.

I suppose sort of a mantra, and that was written by Mr. Claude Blair, a kind man and brilliant scholar, who always had time to answer questions and it seems, followed in much the same manner.

It seems that 'my point' was about what inspired me to pursue the study of weapons, and while identifying them by comparitive differences, learning the history of them in thier use.
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Old 10th November 2023, 11:38 AM   #12
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... I always recall hearing of one of the most highly respected of the early collector/scholars, Sir Guy Laking, of whom it was said,"...he would always find something kind to say about a fellow collectors object, however humble it was". .
Absolutely Jim; a commendable attitude. I am sure Sir Laking was a sensitive person and had a fine way to do it; in a sincere but not exalting mode ... and in an innocuous manner concerning others in the room.



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Old 11th November 2023, 07:47 PM   #13
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Kronckew's lower example's handle is vaguely reminiscent of the machete in post Spanish(?) Machete Sword with horn grips.

As far as this post's original example goes, I have been perplexed by what looks like a small diameter piece of pipe welded to the blade as a tang or uncomfortable handle. Even weirder is the apparent split down the back if the blade?? Is this iron forge welded around the steel edge with the line being a cold shut welding flaw? I have looked at this every day and just scratch my head. I've seen a lot of homemade agricultural knives for different crops and uses. This one is an interesting and unique curio.

We seem to be developing a machete data base in this forum as of late.
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Old 12th November 2023, 10:33 AM   #14
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I don't have the luggage to exchange ideas on the handle fixation nor on the blade forging method, but i see that the handle length (only) fits a small grip like mine. It could be that this was the only piece of pipe the owner (smith) had at hand. I did post the blade split picture in purpose to call attention, but only now i notice that this happens in both sides, as both forte edges have the same thickness in the first third section.


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Old 12th November 2023, 04:44 PM   #15
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Many scythes, and 'clearing' or cropping implements had hafts, thus were mounted on these or perhaps even longer, in the manner of pole arms.
Recalling the idiom, 'swords into plough shares' which reflects the cases of weapon into tool, or clearly vice versa, as glaives, bill hooks and the like.

Whatever the case with this item, it is fascinating for its rustic character and clearly obvious age, its 'mystery' not withstanding.

The handle is perhaps not viable for most modern hands, if indeed this was the intent, but overall the hands of individuals centuries ago much as their physical size and structure was generally smaller. However, the 'socket' idea seems quite plausible.
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Old 12th November 2023, 06:35 PM   #16
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I can see what you mean, Jim. However i doubt that this thing once had a haft. The handle has an elliptical cross section, the usual shape of a grip, and it doesn't look like it has been previously round, like for a socket. Nor could its diameter fit one ... i would say.

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Old 12th November 2023, 08:39 PM   #17
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I can see what you mean, Jim. However i doubt that this thing once had a haft. The handle has an elliptical cross section, the usual shape of a grip, and it doesn't look like it has been previously round, like for a socket. Nor could its diameter fit one ... i would say.

.
I had wondered if it had 7-15cm of an extension, but probably not.

Was this item buried at one time?
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Old 12th November 2023, 08:41 PM   #18
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I see what you mean, and I hadnt noticed the elliptical shape. As a rather crudely formed blacksmith work, as you note the flatter shape rather than round would seem more suited as a 'handle'. Certainly is a conundrum, and an intriguing one.
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Old 13th November 2023, 10:55 AM   #19
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... I had wondered if it had 7-15cm of an extension, but probably not...
Some kind of ... not impossible. But i guess we will never know.


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... this item buried at one time? ...
That also remains a mistery. I bought it in the local street fair several years ago. I didn't even recall that it was me who took it for rust cleaning, but today i found old pictures of it in my files. Perhaps such cleaning wasn't a good idea; the person who did it uses a bench polisher. But i reckon the rust cover was critical. I wonder that, instead of having been buried, it was only exposed to wheather for a rather long period. Could you judge on that looking at such pictures ?


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Old 13th November 2023, 05:13 PM   #20
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Question Unless ...

Unless the blade was originally designed (forged) with its own tang, to support a 'conventional' handle; a tang that might have accidently broken, and only then a piece of pipe was used to regain its handling ability.
Just a fantasy, of course .
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Old 16th November 2023, 04:39 PM   #21
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Some But i reckon the rust cover was critical. I wonder that, instead of having been buried, it was only exposed to weather for a rather long period. Could you judge on that looking at such pictures ?
I went to my scrap pile and stared at it and thought about your question. I looked at mainly wrought iron items 100-150 years old. I cannot tell from pictures or in person what items with such a long life experienced. I hypothesize that the deep pits are contact with earth. Such pits and very thick layers of corrosion have been characteristic on items I have unearthed over the years, but in a wet or salty climate I do not know what the ageing of a blade hung but exposed to some elements would look like. Such as a tool hung in a barn that lost its roof and was left to rot. The broken tang or blade theory sounds like very probable.

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Old 16th November 2023, 05:11 PM   #22
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All duly noted, thank you.
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