On today’s episode of “What’s John P. Destroying?, I’m giving you the rundown on the Southern Grind Grandaddy G2 Fixed Blade Machete W/ Brown Kydex Sheath – a $200 blade that has been differentially heat treated, with an innovative sheath, that performs well AND is a relative bargain. You can’t get a forged equivalent from anyone for under $600-700 at a bare minimum.
Le take a look at the Pros and Cons of the Southern Grind Granddaddy.
- Differentially heat-treated blade – If you are going to be swinging a piece of sharpened, hardened steel around there are obviously a lot of safety issues. Not the least of which is that steel can shatter just like glass, leaving sharp pieces of shrapnel flying all over the place. For this reason bladesmiths often perform heat treating processes that leave just the edge of the blade hard, and the spine soft. That way, even if the edge cracks the knife won’t come apart. You virtually never find this with mass produced blades, which makes them all inherently untrustworthy.
- Skeletonized Kydex sheath with quick thumb lock-and-release mechanism – The sheath on this knife alone may be worth the purchase. Then innovative quick lock feature works well, and the blade won’t slip out even on aggressive back country hikes. You insert the tip into the sheath and then slide the blade edge in until it snaps in place. Everything should attach like this!
- Lightweight and packable – Because the sheath is minimized and the blade is thin, overall the knife is easy to carry and can be strapped to a Molle system on a backpack as easily as hooked to a belt and strapped to a leg. I’ve done both.
- Good chopper with thin material – I can tell you from hiking aggressively in the rocky hills of Texas that you’d be very happy to have the Grandaddy on your side to help clear brush. I lead the way through dense terrain and was able to carve out a walkway for those behind me with ease.
- Thin blade doesn’t quite feel up to the task – The steel used for this chopper is old bandsaw metal, which will offer excellent edge holding capability for things like cutting. However, it might not have been the best choice for a tool designed to be abused with constant shock. Although it does perform well, I wouldn’t say it is effortless. The geometry of the sharply angled edge vs the flat thin metal means you need to grip it well when using it with gusto.
- The balance is slightly off – Although you can see from the photo I attached that the center of gravity on this knife is just forward of the handle, given that it’s primary purpose is chopping I would like to have see it be a little farther forward still. This would be achieved by either lightening the handle end, or using a thicker steel – though a thicker steel would have necessitated a different and more costly flat grinding process since these are not forged blades.
- The heat treatment is slightly off – I know its sexy to say that a blade has a hardness of 60-62, but the tradeoff for that hardness is toughness. And all of my hacking definitely left some nicks in the edge which will require it to be reworked to keep it shaving sharp. I would like to see the hardness dialed back to 56-58 for a tool designed for abuse. 60-62 should be reserved for things meant for cutting and shaving.
- This grip isn’t confidence inspiring – Although I like the material the grip is made of, and the grooves machined into it, there isn’t any sort of guard to protect fingers from slipping forward onto the sharpened blade in case of some sort of missed strike or accident. This could result in serious injury in the field. So first off, I’d like to see something done to keep your hand from sliding onto the blade. The scales are also culpable because they are only barely tapered on the sides, and they feel kind of fat and heavy. Generally the handle end just needs some attention to make it safer and more secure.
The Bottom Line
This is a very good tool that is probably safer and a better performer than anything else in it’s price range or lower on Amazon, but it needs a few small tweaks to be a truly outstanding knife at this price point. Still, when it comes right down to it, unless you’ve got $1,000+ to spend on a custom made blade, I’m giving it a thumbs up. You can get it here.