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Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"

Posted by Chum 
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Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 08, 2012 09:16PM
*** This review was originally posted on Knifetests.com on 11/25/2012 ***

I purchased this Aranyik CA-J1 "Unbreakable Machete" (5160 steel) recently ($28.95 and free shipping on Amazon.) I always liked the handle design on the Cold Steel Bushman, but that knife is too small for most of my purposes. This Aranyik has the same type of handle but it is a much larger blade.

Here are some photos from Google, they look pretty much like the one I have...





So... I haven't had much chance to play around with the Aranyik machete yet. I have done about an hour of wood splitting with it. I did chop down some 2 inch diameter bamboo with it, and I have put a couple of unsecured handles into it to see what it felt like.

Before I say how it performed I should tell you about the dimensions and the design. Strange would be how I would describe them. The blade is about 7/16ths of an inch thick near the handle, tapers down to 3/16ths at the middle. The last inch or so towards the tip the is just more than 1/16.

The entire machete is 18 inches long. It is about 1/12 inches wide near the handle and it gradually sweeps outward until you get to the end of the blade where it is 3 and 3/4ths of an inch wide.

The blade is just under 13 inches long, but only 10 inches of it is sharpened.

The grind is, um, hard to describe. I guess I would call it a full convex grind. The forward most 4 inches of the blade are narrow at the top, thickens in the middle and then narrows to the edge. You can tell that this thing was done completely by hand. It really doesn't have even dimensions anywhere.

It arrived sharp. I wouldn't shave with it, but if I didn't mind taking a little skin off in the process I probably could. I'd say it was just below shaving sharp.

I can see why they call it the "Unbreakable" machete. The handle on this thing is extremely tough seeming. I didn't put it through a torture test like Cliff or Noss, but I hacked at some very old, tough wood, and I did so at full force at times. It "feels" unbreakable

I think it is an exceptional wood splitting tool, at least for my purposes. I'm no expert on that subject however, so I don't really have to much to base this on. It works a lot better than my hatchet, and it eliminates some of the work I would otherwise do with the Monster Maul.

2 inch diameter bamboo... Two swings and it cut it down. I think if it was properly reprofiled and sharpened it would only take one swing.

There is very little finish to it. It looks like a LOTR orc weapon, and I like that about it.

I think I will eventually put a short wooden handle on it. I think if I extend the handle length by about 12 inches it would become an exceptional small axe like tool. I should still be able to do some one handed chopping with it that way, and it would continue to be a great batoning blade.

I found out about this blade when I was searching through knife reviews by WeAllJuggleKnives (I really like his shameless reviews of a knife's combat ability. He doesn't recommend this machete for that purpose btw. I think many an orc would disagree smiling smiley ) Here's his video on it...






Here's the current website for Aranyik Trading Company. It looks like they are a Thai company that makes Hawaiian farming tools. I'm sure I'll be buying something else from them in the future. Their E-Neps looks particularly nice, and apparently they are a favorite Thai throwing knife. I love knife throwing, and I really love the idea of throwing some of these beastie looking E-Neps...

WeAllJuggleKnives liked the E-Neps as well smiling smiley ...



Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 08, 2012 09:40PM
The life of a Chum owned chopper is a hard one. Reckless batoning and chopping of hardwood. Unskilled throwing. Little to no upkeep. They are loved none the less.



The "tip" was blunt...



I'm sorry to report that the Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete" is not truly "unbreakable." It simply couldn't withstand a day of particularly bad throwing on my part. I clearly remember one throw where Unbreakable hit the wooden slab target sideways. It made an obscene ringing sound. I didn't notice the crack right away, but one chop (not a hard chop either) and Unbreakable was no more...



Some close ups for you to scrutinize...








I would like to say that for whatever reason this Aranyik Machete broke, I really put it through more than it was intended to do. If you could see me throw this thing I don't believe anyone would question this. I am a very big fan of the Aranyik Trading Company and Miles Ratanaprukpan (owner.) His customer service is top notch and the products he sell are an excellent value. I will be buying from him again and I wouldn't hesitate to direct someone else to his company. In fact, I'll do so right now...

Aranyik Blog
Aranyik 2012 Catalog

I think this would also be a good time to reiterate that my beloved Aranyik E-nep -1 is still going strong, and at this point it has gone through far more chopping, batoning and throwing abuse than Unbreakable ever had.

Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 09, 2012 01:39AM
That style of grind where the entire blade tapers towards the tip can make for a very versatile design as you can have a very thin tip for light bush, have it very wide for digging and rigidity in thick vegetables but still retail enough weight removal to make it usable for machete type work.

Those fold over handles are very common across the sea, one of the billhooks I have uses that as a handle, when done that way there is no difference in durability of the handle and blade which is a pretty nice concern for rougher work as the handles normally go far easier and in this case all you have to do it fit a haft.

I can understand your concerns about throwing and harder use, but that steel has serious problems, you should never be able to see the grain of the steel, it should appear very smooth. That grain is not only huge it looks like there are serious segregation and impurity issues.

How functional in general did you find the comfort and security of the handle?

Any comments on edge retention, ease of sharpening (burr formation), etc. compared to a modern production steel?
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 09, 2012 08:53AM
I bought an almost simillar machete in an asian import store in Paris, except the tip ends in a round curve to the straight edge. There are very serious quality issues. I noticed cracks on the edge, and a complete lack of evenness regarding hardness along the edge. With a file, in some spot it was just butter soft. And the cracks in the edge are serious, in the store I've seen some that goes up to the black forging/HT scale. I used mine (paid 10$ or so) on a staff to weed aggressively (japanese knotweed), but wouldn't trust it to chop or baton. In fact, it was sold as kitchenware.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 09, 2012 12:04PM
That grain looks nasty. No wounder it broke.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 09, 2012 03:14PM
It had gone through a good amount of batoning, chopping and throwing before it broke, but yeah that grain does look bad.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 10, 2012 07:02AM
Well at least it held up for a while.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 11, 2012 06:57PM
That grain looks like a couple of broken zinc alloy castings I've seen. sad smiley I had higher hopes for these things. I love their crude functional appearance. I mean, I'm not necessarily gonna write 'em off for one blade, but it makes me a bit leery nonetheless. confused smiley
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 11, 2012 08:57PM
Quote
G. Scott H.
That grain looks like a couple of broken zinc alloy castings I've seen. sad smiley I had higher hopes for these things. I love their crude functional appearance. I mean, I'm not necessarily gonna write 'em off for one blade, but it makes me a bit leery nonetheless. confused smiley

My understanding is that they aren't all made by the same people. I believe there are several different makers. The E-nep seems nothing like this machete for instance.

This particular model is no longer being offered btw. Perhaps they were a bad batch.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 12, 2012 07:45AM
Quote
CliffStamp
How functional in general did you find the comfort and security of the handle?

Any comments on edge retention, ease of sharpening (burr formation), etc. compared to a modern production steel?

Sorry Cliff, I missed these questions for some reason...

I loved the "idea" of the handle, but in practice I had a lot of issues with it.

First of all the blade was very heavy, and my hand wasn't aligned with the blade very well. This caused some uncomfortable twisting of my wrist when I was chopping hard. When I was chopping lightly it wasn't an issue.

Secondly, this machete, despite its thickness, was a horrible batoning device. If you didn't strike it in just the right spot you got heavy vibration.

I had always intended to put it on an axe handle, which may have corrected the issues I had with it. Obviously it never made it that far.

Edge retention and ease of sharpening were both excellent. I was able to slice paper cleanly, chop into oak repeatedly at full force, and continue to slice paper cleanly. I sharpened it with my Spyderco Sharpmaker, and it was about as easy to sharpen as anything I own.

It sharpened easier and retained an edge far better than my CS Perfect Balanced Bowies. I had done some carving with it and it retained its edge better than my AUS8 blades. It did not retain its edge as well as the E-nep or the Fiskars X7, but didn't seem that far off.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
July 13, 2012 11:07AM
If I bought that ugly thing my self, my first thought will be snap in two the edgegrinning smiley sorry for you lostsmileys with beer

__________________________________________________________________________________

A man is never too weak or too wounded to fight if the cause is greater than his own life.

---Doctore Oenomaus, in Spartacus---
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 15, 2012 04:44PM
Thanks Cliff for letting me know about this thread. Geoff/Chum never contacted me about any problems.

I have never found anything wrong with the J1.

The J stands for Jamesy, who also produces the 007, J2-s, and some other items only people in Hawaii would know about. The J1 was extremely popular due to WeallJuggleKnives video, and the $28.50 price tag. Over 200 units were sold in 2010.

As far as Unbreakable models, changes to the temper could allow them to break. I have never been contacted about a broken Unbreakable. After 8 years of working with Aranyik in Hawaii, I can still count on my hands the number of broken blades. '1'. This one was a Bowie Blade style that either had a defect, or I had accidently modified the temper through power sanding. However there has been 4 returned blades, that all had to do with a previous 'rat-tail' design I sold. As of now I sell no 'rat-tail' designs. I don't sell stuff knowingly that has potential to defect.

Usual types of damage that may occur may include scratching, folding of the edge when hitting in rocks, or 20 degree bends when repeated force is applied in the same direction over months. The blade above shows no signs of use.

The only thing unusual I can see from the picture is the 'clean' area around the stamping.

In any case I tried to drill through a J1 to get a look inside, but was not successfull. Afterwards I repeatedetly hammered mine.

I have also hammered these against rocks in the jungle, enough to throw sparks.

As far as 'vibration' the blades were never designed to be used without handles. At least 'corking' the socket with a piece of wood reduces all vibration. A more comfortable feel can be attained by also wrapping the top portion of the metal socket.

I may do more field tests with my drilled J1 near the end of the month, in the meantime: here is the "Drilling the J1 video"

video: [youtu.be]
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 15, 2012 06:06PM
I assume that this is Miles representing Aranyik here.

I never contacted you about the broken machete because I didn't want a refund or replacement. There may have been something wrong with the steel on that particular machete, but I had used it quite a bit to chop and split hardwoods and it didn't have any problems. It wasn't until I had a bad day of throwing (bad as in I couldn't get it to stick into the target) that it broke.

I can actually remember the last time I threw it. It was a long throw (probably 15 yards) thrown as hard as I could throw it. It hit sideways against a thick slab of redwood. I remember the horrible ringing noise it made. I had assumed I broke it at that point, but I didn't see any damage. When I went to delimb a tree it cracked immediately. I'm not sure any knife would have survived that throw.

I couldn't be happier with my Aranyik -1 Enep. I think highly of the Aranyik company and have said so many times on this forum and on Noss' Kifetests.com forum.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 15, 2012 09:21PM
Quote
Aranyik
The blade above shows no signs of use.

Quote
Aranyik
The only thing unusual I can see from the picture is the 'clean' area around the stamping.

Cliff once mentioned that the edge on my Enep looked "pristine" I think he called it. Both the Enep and Unbreakable were used quite a bit, and in the case of the Enep I still use it. I sometimes oil, and wipe down my blades after use, but I have never buffed them or used any power tools on them. Just oil and a rag for cleaning. I sharpen them by hand and again use no power tools.

As I have said many times here, I mostly just use my choppers for throwing, chopping and batoning hardwood, and delimbing. Other than the occasional dirt, scratches or wood residue on the blades there isn't much to tell that they have been used. But believe what you like.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 16, 2012 12:11AM
Something is wrong that J1. I can send you an NS1 or 2 to replace it. In the case of power sanding this is not applicable for the problem with this J1. I would love to get the two pieces of steel back though.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 16, 2012 01:02AM
Quote
Aranyik
Something is wrong that J1. I can send you an NS1 or 2 to replace it. In the case of power sanding this is not applicable for the problem with this J1. I would love to get the two pieces of steel back though.

There was no power buffing or power anything. Just throwing and chopping.

I was going to send them to Cliff to take a look at, but I can send them to you if you like. Send me a PM of where you would like them sent. I'll do it is as soon as I can.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 16, 2012 01:33AM
Thanks, I'll take care of any costs. I'll be glad to replace it as well. However I do not currently offer anything from Jamesy.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 16, 2012 01:49AM
Aand, with that I will be purchasing one of these blades given some time.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 16, 2012 02:46PM
Now this is called customer service. Coming forward in a public place asking for the broken item, no matter what was the use while it broke and sending a replacement. Really hats off
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 23, 2012 12:03AM
Yes, and sensible conversation between the user who broke the knife and the dealer/seller who sold it. I can't see how anyone who would view this and not gain confidence in Aranyik, problems happen with anyone/anything it is how you deal with them that counts. I know i will be definitively be getting blades from them/him.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 23, 2012 12:40AM
Quote
CliffStamp
Yes, and sensible conversation between the user who broke the knife and the dealer/seller who sold it. I can't see how anyone who would view this and not gain confidence in Aranyik, problems happen with anyone/anything it is how you deal with them that counts. I know i will be definitively be getting blades from them/him.

I think Miles is working on the handle video you requested btw.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 23, 2012 10:30AM
Quote
CliffStamp
Yes, and sensible conversation between the user who broke the knife and the dealer/seller who sold it. I can't see how anyone who would view this and not gain confidence in Aranyik, problems happen with anyone/anything it is how you deal with them that counts. I know i will be definitively be getting blades from them/him.

If I get a chance I will so too. This really is confidence inspiring
Re: J1 Jamesy "Unbreakable" Machete
August 24, 2012 01:48AM
I asked some other Thai blacksmiths their opinion, as they are more familiar with the specific processes in different regions. Even the different proprietary heat treatments. I have added my comments also.

“This problem originated from between hammering process and the heat treatment process. Somewhere along this timeline the heat of the blade exceeded (X) temperature. This temperature would vary depending on the specific alloy used, as not all Automotive Leaf Spring is made the same. The overall process is not just a few steps, but many steps to provide the shape and distal taper of the blade. This is how the rest of the blade was able to harden through casing, and also show definite signs of traditional blacksmith hardening and differential heat placement. It seems most likely that that during the hammering process the steel was dipped too hot, which would have made it easy to hammer, but also to have Carbon loss. Especially the amount time spent forging is important.

It is more likely that this is a serious deficiency in Jamesy’s work altogether. The chance of an accident like this, is less like an accident and more likely to happen again.”


This is a strong statement. But not unlike my own thoughts 2 years ago in regards to the socket forging of Jamesy. I found that Jamesy’s sockets were very far from the work of others. I have always used socket quality as a core indicator of retail value. It seems that the socket’s variations also indicated that the blacksmith allowed his process to be varied. This is not very scientific, and the blacksmith may never improve.

“In terms of distributors, do you carry the term ‘abuse.?” The blade was not made to be a throwing knife, and also the price was very affordable. If Jamesy did everything right, the process would have been more difficult, and then his price would better reflect how much a real hand forged blade costs. ”

I’m sure most of the people here would pay the extra money for a blade like this http://www.toyokuni.net/shop/netshop-details.php?ino=2133&sno=7

“From looking at the grain that is very coarse. I believe that the heat treatment process was too high of a temperature. Most blacksmiths everywhere like to hammer steel at a very high temperature. Especially in the handle area. The temperature was too high, and it made the grain coarse. This made the blade brittle, strong, but not really strong. In any case, how can I say. Something like that should not be able to chop wood, it should chip. The result of using too much temperature is Carbon loss. Especially in the forge, when the Carbon in the steel just escapes right into the air. The only way to fix… (this gets a little complicated)”

This was the strange part as well, in Chum’s blade there was no chipping. The blade looked like it was never used. It seems that during the stage of making the handle or doing the first stage of the distal taper there was Carbon loss. This can also appear to be why my J1 reserve sample did not fracture when I hammered it after drilling. I also noted differences in how the hilt of my reserve J1 looked in comparison to Chums:



“It ended up looking like Cast Iron. Normally, a blade will bend before breaking. It should have at least had some signs of bending. It’s common with throwing knives, that the opportunity to break is more than that of just chopping. But still, at a minimum quality level it should have bent before breaking. A necessity of the hand forged blade is a sharp edge, the middle of the blade should have spring, and the spine should be soft… (A long and detailed process is explained here which also mentions similar problems with Carbon loss in O1 and L6)” Blacksmiths in Thailand usually have a system in place to improve upon each other’s work.”

Currently my dao line up features the work of Toong, Narong, Samreng, and Udom Chai. Aranyik Hawaii designs will be back in stock in a month or so.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2012 01:50AM by Aranyik.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 24, 2012 04:45PM
Thanks Aranyik! Very interesting to read what the various Aranyik blacksmiths had to say about the breakage.

Sounds like the concensus is that Jamesy gave it a poor heat treat... they don't sound like they like Jamesy that much (perhaps I'm reading too much into what has been said.)

As I understand it you no longer carry knives madeby Jamesy. Is that correct Miles/Aranyik?

I'd like to hear what Cliff, me2 and the rest think regarding those responses.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 24, 2012 05:59PM
As it was explained to me, it is not just a 'heat treatment,' forgive my layman's understanding, but this sounds like something you would just 'do' to the blade as a step. Kind of like how stock removal knifemakers just buy a piece of steel, and then heat treat it with a mix of chemicals and the right temperature. Which is similar to how your E-nep K-1 was made from 5160 stock.

In blacksmithing it was explained that the entire process beginning from the "type of steel," "type of charcoal," and "temperature raising" is all part of a "heat treating" process. Sure at the end each blacksmith from every area has their own way to 'heat treat' as a final stage, but what was explained is that the blade was flawed from the moment Jamesy began to hit it.

The main criticism is that traditional hand forging (*in Thailand as well as Southern China, Laos) must be done with Bamboo Charcoal, because it does not burn too hot. Second the blade must not turn yellow or white in color during the forging process. Thirdly, bamboo charcoal is expensive, the forging process must be exact, precise, and most importantly: QUICK. If any of these three primary concerns is not followed, the forging process will lead to Carbon loss, and the final heat treatment becomes not relevent. More critisim of Jamesy work, is that perhaps he was working on 4 or 5 blades at the same time. If this was the case, the first couple should be fine, but the last to be hammered would have had Carbon loss from the stove. I think most of the criticism is that how Jamesy was not 'quick' how else would have Carbon loss occured at that level?

I think this video showcases the forging process very well, even though it is low quality you can see that the handle was red in color during forging.

Also yes, your correct. I don't sell anything from Jamesy, but I do have 4 of his blades in stock as reserve sample. I can take some pictures later of the other samples of his work I have. The J1's were originally purchased in 2010, sold out in 2011.

Seems like one blade is forged very quick with a team of 4. If Jamesy was working alone, then this would have increased the forging time.

[url=

]Thai Blacksmiths[/url]



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 08/24/2012 06:15PM by Aranyik.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 24, 2012 06:35PM
Aranyik, if you don't mind I've got a little suggestion. It could be helpful to write down the name of the product next to it. Makes it a lot easier to find
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 24, 2012 08:06PM
Sure no problem, but I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean in the catalogs or website.. or?
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 25, 2012 08:25AM
Catalog or website. I noticed that when a friend and I were looking at your catalog. The explanation of "I like that one on the first page" makes for a bit of confusion.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 25, 2012 08:49AM
Thanks for the suggesion, I think this Fall I can clean it up. In the meantime the Amazon catalog pages are the best source of facts on the products. You can usually find the Blacksmith's name, Size, and Pattern identifier, like E-toh, E-nep, Pra, etc.
Re: Aranyik "Unbreakable Machete"
August 25, 2012 09:44AM
Thanks, I'm already looking trough