Ontario Knives Sawback Machete Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars based on 36 customer reviews

Product Description

The 1-18SBK Machete- Saw back features full tang construction, shatterproof handle, steel compression rivets and a carbon blade. The handle and blade color are both black.

Customer Reviews

Solid quality ~ reviewed by Amazon Customer

This machete is made of 1095 steel, a good all-around knife steel. But it will rust, so keep the blade protected with oil or some other rust preventative. The blade needs some sharpening as it comes new. The “sawback” is not a saw. The teeth are just straight “V” shaped notches, the same width as the rest of the blade. It looks cool, but it does nothing so I would just as soon have the plain back blade.

The blade has a full tang, meaning that it extends all the way thru the handle, unlike the Gerber Gator which only has a partial tang. Under heavy use, I believe the Gator could easily separate from the handle and cause big problems. This won’t happen with the Ontario. I have several other knives by Ontario and I believe that this company gives you a good solid product for the money. The handle seems rugged enough, but everybody has different hands so you will have to judge for yourself how comfortable it feels. I wrapped my handle with 550 parachute cord and it feels just right for me.

I don’t think you can find a better machete for the money.

Decent machete ~ reviewed by The2040

I just received this in the mail. Like most machetes it comes dull and needs sharpening. I only gave it 4 stars because of the handle. The plastic handle was not set well. The spine of the tang (I guess that’s the best way to explain it) sticks out of the front and the top part of the handle rubbing on my hand with the metal of the machete between my thumb and pointer finger. This should be flush with the 2 handle pieces. The bottom of the handle dose not mach up with the bottom of the tang so there is a valley between the 2 halfs of the plastic handle and cuts into my pointer and middle fingers. The plastic is sharp where the tang should be and very uncomfortable. If I used the machete as I received it I would get very bad blisters very quickly and I would not be able to use it for very long.

I can fix these problems by simply wrapping the handle, but for the price and how many people recommend this brand I expected a bit better quality. Overall it looks like it will do what I bought it for so I would recommend this to others who are looking for it, but be prepared to customize the handle so it wont cut into your hand.

Ontario 18″ saw back machete ~ reviewed by R. Hord Jr.

I own a few machetes and this is my favorite. Good thick heavy blade. Handle could be better, but is okay. There is no reason to spend a lot of money for a machete because how you use it. You usually cutting through brush and such, hitting rocks. So for $20 – $40 you should be able to pick up a fine a machete. It will get beat up after years of use. One complaint I hear about this saw back machete is the saw isn’t very useful. The reason is because the blade is pretty thick. Normal saws have thin blades. This is a thick blade machete with straight cut saw teeth. You would have difficulty pulling the saw blade if it had teeth set as a normal saw. Out of the box it didn’t cut that good. I put the machete in a vise and put about a 15degree pitch on the teeth. That improved the cutting ability, but does make it harder to pull. But, it works fine for what I do with it. Good machete if you’re looking for one.

Beastly, but needs better teeth ~ reviewed by Minimali5t

Construction: This machete is made from 1075 (some sources say 1095) steel with a tough plastic handle secured with rivets. The blade is through-hardened, which concerned me initially, but not after I used it. I have chopped through 8 inch pine and 6 inch hardwood with it. I have also batoned with this machete, including one instance in which it sprang back straight after a 15° bend. I have struck rocks and stumps (accidentally) after passing through brush. It dings, but does not chip the blade. A few strokes with a file brings it back to slicing sharp. It’s the thickest machete I’ve used, so it’s heavy, but it can still swing fast. Just beware of the follow-through.

Ergonomics: The pinky hook on the end is more useful than it looks. On multiple occasions, it has kept me from throwing the machete on a swing through the target. The handle is square with rounded corners. This is not overly comfortable bare-handed (I use gloves), but is very effective at preventing twist when the target bounces or redirects the blade. The weight means it acts a lot like a hatchet, but with slightly better balance.

The only reason this gets 4 stars is because of the saw teeth. They are short and have no set. I tried to drill out half the teeth, but even with a titanium nitride-coated bit, I couldn’t drill it. Nor could I bend the teeth to give them a set. They’re too hard! I plan to grind away every other tooth. Otherwise, I recommend getting the plain blade machete:

Even with stubby teeth, this is still a beast. I recommend this machete with the understanding that the teeth are ineffective.

Unhappy to say the least. ~ reviewed by JG

I bought this item because of the ratings on Amazon. I may have used this thing 4 or 5 times and notice that the sawback catches on the sheath and quickly tears it apart. But, The reason I decided to write the review is because 2″X1/4″ piece of the cutting part of the blade broke off right in the middle rendering pretty much useless as a machete. I called Ontario Knife for warranty and they said to send it in and they would fix or replace it. Thats great, but it cost $15 to send it to them at my cost. No thanks… I’ll buy a $10 dollar one at Tractor Supply. So, I took the machete and cut a knife out of it. I can probably get 2 more knives out of it so I guess it all works out but I would’nt buy this product again…

Extremely useful ~ reviewed by Brian M.

This was the first machete I ever purchased and the first machete I ever used. I purchased this machete for use in my yard. My main use for this machete is to cut small side branches off tree limbs and saplings. It’s a lot easier and faster than using pruning shears. The machete arrives dull but the primary bevel is already ground on the blade. When sharpening a machete for use as a tool, the cutting edge bevel should be 30 to 35 degrees. Thus, each side would be sharpened at 15 to 17.5 degrees. I set my bench grinder up to about 16 degrees and gave the machete a good basic sharpening on both sides. I then used a fine single cut mill file to refine the edge. This only took a few minutes and the machete was sharp and good to go. The machete will dull with use so keep a good single cut mill file handy. I really don’t use the saw back that much. Thinking back, I should have purchased the model without the sawback because it is significantly cheaper. Being my fist machete, I did not know how long of a machete to purchase. It looked like 18” was the standard length but you can buy them longer and shorter than 18”. My original instinct was to purchase a longer machete. After using my 18” machete for 20+ hours, I think 18” is the perfect blade length. I think a longer blade would only be a hindrance. It would take more space to swing safely, it would take more energy to swing, and it would make the machete more top heavy than it needs to be. I think the sawback is worth the extra money if you are using this machete for camping/hiking/bug-out. For use in the yard, the sawback is not needed (in my opinion) because you probably already own a saw that cuts limbs better.
If I knew how useful a tool a machete was, I would have purchased one ages ago. Ontario makes a quality machete and you have to like the fact that it’s made in the USA.

machete ~ reviewed by dsbkneary

I was under the impression that the Ontario Sawback’s blade came stamped saying “Ontario Knife U.S.”. This machete simply came stamped “MACHETE”. I am not sure if this really is an Ontario, therefore I am not sure the steel and whatnot, but it does seem to be a decent machete. I am still thinking of sending it back though and actually ordering the one from Ontario directly. Despite it being a decent machete I wanted the Ontario. Knowing it was made in the U.S. is a big thing to me along with knowing for sure the steel. Plastic handle is uncomfy but you can mod it with some tubeing. It also took 4 days just to ship out the door.

Good Quality but Root Saw Overrated ~ reviewed by Jonathan Davenport

I purchased this for $24.99 from The Sportsman’s Guide and used it fairly hard for work trail clearing, butchering and more. The saw back is only for use as a root saw and is too wide to really use efficiently to cut anything, and really just got hung up on the sheath. If it were not for the uselessness of the saw, this would be a 5 star review.

My recommendations for a new owner are to roughen up the smooth plastic handle with 50 grit sand paper or a wire brush, put a better edge on the blade but do not change the bevel angle. Clean the blade with a solvent lubricant like WD-40 after cutting green vegetation.

I am just going to purchase the same size model minus the sawback.

Saw back is of little use but looks cool and doesn’t cost extra on Amazon. ~ reviewed by Davis W.

So get it, and get a sheath somewhere, doesn’t have to be the one designed for this machete, but if you do, go ahead and get the hard case. The blade is strong with some flexibility but not annoyingly so. Sharpen it and oil it from time to time and you’re golden. As many will note, the handle isn’t too comfortable but a little customization will handle that. This product is as good if not better than any machete offered here even up to quadruple the price.

Great machete. ~ reviewed by db1

What’s there to say? Issued to US military since the 70s? It must do something right.
I received this very fast and it is a great knife. I put an edge on it with a file and modified the sawback to a larger staggered tooth design and rounded the handle a little. Now it’s very sharp, comfortable in the hand, and the saw cuts twice as fast as stock. It’s everything I could ask for in a brute machete. Thanks Ontario, US Army and Amazon!Buy it at Amazon

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