CRKT Liong Mah Mah-Chete

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

CRKT Liong Mah Mah-Chete
Illustration courtesy of Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc.

We decided to review the Mah-Chete, because most of the machetes on the market fail miserably in the field. They are either too light, made with cheap steel, or so poorly constructed that they do not hold up. Possibly, a combination of all three and especially their cloth sheaths.

We learned this the hard way when we purchased a well known, name brand machete to tackle some Russian thistle (aka tumbleweeds) that got out of control last summer during the monsoon season. After much frustration, our son-in-law threw it away and decided to use a hand axe to clear the area around our sheds. Even then, it was a chore and we finally waited until they dried out and torched the rest with a burner.

When we laid eyes on the Mah-Chete at the 2016 SHOT Show (and having the memory of last summer etched in our minds) we had to check it out. Although we are not familiar with Liong Mah's background, given the design of his Mah-Chete, it is apparent that he was well aware of the shortcomings of the majority of the machetes on the market. He designed one that would do what machetes were intended to do: chop weeds, brush and foliage with a minimum of effort.

The Mah-Chete is heavy enough to take out all of the brush and weeds that we have encountered, but not so heavy that it tortures our arms. The upswept shape greatly enhances its efficiency and, unlike most conventional machetes, the hammer forged steel remains sharp, only requiring an occasional touchup. The design includes a full tang for maximum strength and walnut handle panels.

Add in the reinforced nylon sheath that has a drop-down option, allowing you to strap it to your leg, and you have a very useful tool. This is not only an excellent survival blade, it will be invaluable to any backpacker or hunter who ventures into the mountains and woods.


  • Overall Length: 17.44 in.
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3.2 oz.
  • Blade Length: 12 in.
  • Blade Thickness: 0.18 in.
  • Blade Material: 1075 Carbon Steel
  • Blade Hardness: HRC 50-55
  • Grind: Concave
  • Style: Drop Point/Plain Edge
  • Handle Material: Walnut
  • Sheath: Reinforced Nylon (5 oz.)
  • 2016 MSRP: $99.99

Before we finish, we would like to say a word or two about the 1075 carbon steel used in the Mah-Chete. Because of its carbon content, 0.75% by weight, it is tougher and stronger than conventional knife blades. It is made for heavy chopping and, while it does not have the edge retention of belt knives, it sharpens easily when needed. Like the old Timex watches, the Mah-Chete is designed to take a licking and keep on ticking.

The CRKT Mah-Chete's 2016 MSRP of $99.99 is reasonable for what you get. You can pay less for another machete, but you will probably get much less.

Note: For additional information about machetes, see Gary Zinn's definitive article Machetes.

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Copyright 2016 by Jim and Mary Clary and/or All rights reserved.