In late March I wrote about the new “Silver Line” by Spartan Blades, including (among two other knives) the Machai. It is part of a new line up of blades under the umbrella of newly founded Pineland Cutlery, a merger of Ka-Bar Knives and Spartan Blades. So if you want to know that particular backstory, I invite you to check out that initial article.
Since I touched the “Silver Line” and the appropriate background infos there, it is finally time to look at one of these blades more thoroughly. Having all three of the knives at my disposal, I chose to start with the Machai, being the one that made the biggest impression on me, when I first saw them. So let’s start with an overview and the specs, before we go into more detail.
Named after the daemons of battle in Greek mythology, the Machai is intended primarily as a chopping tool featuring a dedicated recurve blade. Having a total length of 29,5 cm, it is made of Ka-Bar’s 1095 CroVan steel and is equipped with textured micarta handles.
The sheath is injection molded and locks the knife in with a secondary retention. It is not only PALS compatible, but also features an attachment panel with belt loops.
- Steel: 1095 CroVan
- Handle: Micarta
- Total length: 29,5 cm
- Blade length: 17 cm
- Handle length: 12,5 cm
- Blade thickness: 4,8 cm
The Spartan Blades “Machai”
The blade of the Machai is a full tang design with a prominent recurve. A subtle choil offers the user the option for a forward grip for finer work. In doing so, the slight curve on the spine provides enough of an angle for the thumb to not slide forward. The jimping for the thumb rest is actually on the handle, more on that later.
The blade is coated with Ka-Bar’s epoxy powder coating, which is not as resistant as Spartan Blades’ DLC coating, but it does the job to protect the blade from corrosion and prevents any reflections.
As with all knives of Spartan Blades, you will find the logo of the company, information on the steel and country of manufacture (USA obviously) lasered on the blade.
The tang of the Spartan Blades Machai is not skeletonized. As a result the whole knife feels a bit heavier. This does not mean however that it is not balanced. The balancing point actually lies perfectly at the end of the fingerguard.
Made of micarta, the handle scales feature a very grippy texture. They are attached by two hex head screws on each side, which attach to a socket between them.
At the butt of the knife you will also find the obligatory lanyard hole, which comes in handy especially when using the Machai as a chopping tool. It is however smaller in size, allowing only one strand of paracord through it.
The scales of the Machai feature a very flat profile. As a result it is not bulky when carried on a vest, rig and/or belt. The groove for the index finger is comfortably fitted and works perfectly in tandem with the jimping (or better said) the thumb-rest on top.
The sheath is injection molded and looking at it, one can see that a lot of thought has been put into its concept. What is immediately noticeable is the push button of the secondary retention. The designers wanted that extra piece of security which they were familiar with from certain gun holsters.
The Machai secures with a solid click into that retention. As a result of the injection molded construction, there is some general play however.
Another aspect worth noting is the versatility with regards to attachment options. The sheath comes with a panel featuring two belt loops. Both can be opened by push buttons. Since these loops are attached by grommets, you can use the available holes to lace shock cord through them, if you decide you need additional safety to secure the handle.
Said panel is attached by 4 screws, bringing us to the various slits and grommets on the sheath. These allow not only a variety of mounting options using paracord, or zip ties, but also Malice Clips, Tek Loks, MOLLE Clips etc.
Neat little detail: the Spartan Blades Logo can be found on the sheath as well.
Being a product of two high profile companies with a longstanding reputation of excellent quality, you can expect no less from the Silver Line of Spartan Blades. The Machai is manufactured in a clean and diligent fashion.
The only thing setting it apart from other Spartan Blades fixed blades is the powder coating. With that everyone will have a different perception of look and feel according to their own personal taste. Being a Ka-Bar fan myself, the combination of both worlds has its own unique feel to it.
The sheath is thought through as mentioned before, but injection molded sheaths always have a bit of a cheaper feel to it. What will be interesting to see is how long the push buttons of the belt loops as well as the thumb button (to secure the knife) will hold up. So far I have encountered no issues with the sheath. It is well made and features no sharp edges or burrs.
Using the Machai was more fun than I had expected. The recurve blade makes it an excellent chopping tool. With that being said, it is important to equip the handle with a paracord loop. That way you can not only secure the knife better, but also grip the handle a little bit further back to enhance the chopping abilities. Thumb sized hazelnut branches are no issue to hack with 1-2 strikes. Thicker dried wood like beech is manageable as well, thanks to the aggressive line of the recurve.
The knife is not only a chopping tool. Finer work is just as easy for the Machai as well. The choil allows for a decent forward grip and the recurve provides just as good cutting abilities as with the chopping.
The tip of the blade is proved to be quite strong. Stabbing and drilling into a tree trunk with both vertical and horizontal prying left no noticeable marks or damages to it.
Having a slim handle, I was curious if it would be uncomfortable after some time of use – so far I cannot report anything in that regard. The handle is always comfortable to grip and even longer chopping was doable (i did however wear gloves).
Here is a video showing the knife in action
Edge retention is obviously not comparable with that of S35VN, which Spartan Blades is usually using. After my trip to the forest, the edge still had a working sharpness, but was not slicing paper as you would expect.
Being the easy to maintain steel that 1095CroVan is, the edge was quickly restored and back to its sharpness which you know from carbon steels.
Adding to that: while the coating is still holding, you can witness noticeable marks on it, after some heavier use – something KA-BAR users will be quite familiar with.
With that being said, it is time to come to an end and put some concluding remarks to this article.
The Silver Line goal was and is to offer a more affordable option for Spartan Blades users. Not everyone has the money to spend on a 300+ Euro/Dollar knife. At the same time they still wanted to offer a US made product, with a decent quality you can count on. Needless to say, the Machai managed to fill those expectations. Not only is it a wonderful example of the design qualities of Spartan Blades, but also the manufacturing of both them and KA-BAR.
The Machai held up to everything I threw at it and is the kind of knife you constantly want to have in your hands to play with. Not only because of its beautiful look, but also because it is a reliable tool for being outside.
I hope I was able to give you a decent impression of the knife. Many thanks to Spartan Blades for making this review possible!
Thank you for reading!