We’ve been reviewing the Ontario Spec Plus product line here on the blog and had an opportunity recently to pick up one of their Survival Machetes for a pretty good price.
The SP8 was sharp right out of the box. There were no issues with the cosmetic quality of the knife or the standard issue Ontario sheath. The 1095 carbon steel blade is a full 1/4″ thick almost all the way forward to the tip. The main cutting edge is flat ground while the forward cutting edge has a convex grind. Overall length is around 15″. It’s close in size and weight to the SP10 Raider Bowie.
I took it out to give it a try at brush cutting and general camping-type chores. I was impressed by the way this knife handled the task of clearing small limbs away from some of the mulberry trees we’re planning to remove. There was no bounce or deflection, the knife just cut thru the sapling growth like they weren’t there. We’ve done this task with other knives, hatchets and machetes over the years but none of them handled it as well as this knife did. It was like using a precision hatchet or a cleaver.
After clearing some of the scrub brush, I took the knife to the woodpile for some further testing. Batoning was a breeze… this is a seasoned cherry limb.
The black finish is durable but definitely shows wear after multiple uses.
The knife has saw teeth ground into the spine. I’m not sure what the planned purpose for this feature is. The teeth are directional, they cut only on the forward stroke. Cutting wood was ridiculously slow compared to chopping. I suppose someday we’ll get to use the teeth to cut something that can’t be chopped. (Possibly root cutting?)
I REALLY like this tool.
- It is a forager’s dream, the front edge cuts and flips edible roots right out of the ground with one quick motion.
- The “cleaver” feel it has is my favorite feature. I’m looking forward to cleaning fish with this knife.
- Made in the USA
- Consistently priced lower than the closest competition.
The only negatives I can find about this knife are minor and they are easliy fixed.
- The factory sheath is a bit clunky to use. It’s a good sheath and it protects the user and blade however there are 4 snaps to deal with when drawing and re-sheathing that are sometimes awkward and, odds are, one or more of them will probably fail at some point in the future.
- Being made from 1095 steel, the blade WILL rust in short order if it’s not kept clean.