A good machete is very versatile and can add a lot to your survival gear.
I’ve been field testing the Southern Grind® GranDaddy G1, and it’s proving to be a real workhorse.
by Leon Pantenburg
Disclaimer: Knivesshipfree is a survivalcommonsense.com sponsor. I didn’t get a free knife, and was not paid to review this knife. Neither KSF nor Southern Grind had any input into the review. All we ever promise is a fair shake.
I already liked Zac Brown’s music. But I’m also starting to really like his Southern Grind® line of knives and the cause they fund. More on that later.
Zac Brown, to the uninitiated, is a country singer with three Grammys, three CMA awards and a 2016 iHeartRadio Music Award for Rock Song of the Year. He’s doing just fine in the country music field, but he’s also a knife enthusiast.
Brown created Southern Grind, according to his website, “to be representative of what he believes knives should be – ruggedly dependable and highly functional, born from state of the art technology and quality that is second to none.”
Since relocating to the southeast, I have more call for machetes. I hang out in deciduous forests, swamps and along the Mississippi River, and a machete is designed for hacking heavy brush. Also, I like the big knives because they are so useful for a variety of tasks. Machetes are great tools for building igloos, snow shelters and all sorts of winter survival shelters.
So I was interested in the Southern Grind G1 machete.
Here are the specs:
Handle: Black G10
Blade Steel: 8670M high carbon steel
Blade Finish: satin or black textured powder coat (I got satin – I don’t like coated blades.)
Hardness: RC 62, tapers to RC 50 at the tip of the blade
Overall Length: 16.625″
Handle Length: 5.75″
Weight: Knife – 15 oz., Sheath – 6.4 oz.
Blade Thickness: .095″-.105″
The GranDaddy went along on a Mississippi River canoe trip last month, where it was used for some minor brush clearing and chopping. But when a large branch fell off my Bartlett Pear tree in the front yard, it was a great chance to wring out some of my chopping tools. The GranDaddy and my Hults Bruk Felling Ax worked fine to convert the branch to firewood.
Here is what I found after using the GranDaddy for several hours.
Design: I used the machete for removing smaller limbs and branches. The knife cut like a lazer on the smaller branches, with little effort from the user.
Handle: A chopper needs a longer handle. While you may be using the machete with a hammer grip, the handle will be moving with the hand. I generally hold the handle tight with my index finger and thumb, and let the other fingers remain looser. Otherwise, your arm gets all the shock of the blade connecting with the wood.
The GranDaddy has a black g10 handle, which makes it nearly bullet proof. It worked great, even when it got wet from my sweaty hand.
Blade thickness: All the machetes I own have a relatively thin blade – less than 1/8-inch thick. The GranDaddy blade thickness of about .095-inch works really well. The grind is a flat bevel, which makes it easy to sharpen in the field.
Southern Grind claims the blade can be bent to a full 90-degree angle without fracturing. I didn’t try it.
Steel: High carbon steel will rust, given the chance. While I don’t like blade coatings, this may be one instance where a coating might be a good idea to prevent rust. In the high humidity of the southeast, where I live, you must maintain your steel tools. I use a little mineral oil on the blades, and never put one away without cleaning it. The GranDaddy’s 8670M high carbon steel comes from reclaimed carbon metal sawmill blades, and Southern Grind claims this makes for superior capability that’s also environmentally friendly. The blade is deferentially tempered, being harder near the handle.
This is a good concept, since the edge near the handle can be saved for carving, while the steel near the tip is softer. This also means the chopping part of the blade won’t chip when it hits a knot or other obstruction. The knife came shaving sharp. After being used hard, the blade dulled slightly near the tip. But it only took a few swipes with a butcher’s steel to restore the edge. I was impressed.
Full tang: The GranDaddy has a full tang blade. Any knife that could potentially be used in a survival situation should preferably have a full tang. This is the strongest configuration, IMHO, and lessens the chances of the tool breaking.
Sheath: Every rigid blade knife needs a sturdy sheath that protects the edge and the user. I really like the kydex sheath. It has a quick thumb lock-and-release mechanism, and a belt clip with an adjustable, webbed nylon leg strap. I very rarely wear a machete on my belt, but if you want to, this system is safe.
Made in USA: All Southern Grind knives are made in America, and each is assembled by hand. The craftspeople and company pay local, state and federal taxes, and contribute to their local communities. Buy American!
I saved the best for last: A former camp counselor, Zac Brown’s dream is “…that all children of all abilities will have an opportunity to experience the magic of the outdoors.” Proceeds from Southern grind knives go to support Camp Southern Ground.
Do you need a Southern Grind knife?
Well, anyone who goes outdoors needs a solid knife, and from what I’ve seen, Southern Grind produces some fine choices. And you can feel good about spending the money, considering where it is going.
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