M16 Recondo and Apollo machetes
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I use a machete/bolo pretty often, all spring, summer and into the fall a bit. In all that use however I noticed that I very rarely used the tip of a
big knife for anything. I decided to make a machete that I could use to dig with if I had forgotten my shovel, if I was in a hurry or for small quick work. I remembered seeing a U.S.M.C. round tip bolo that was used during ww2 and thought I’d make a version of that with my design influence thrown in. What I drew out looked almost exactly like the knife pictured.
A few days later I stumbled onto the C.I.S.O. ( Counterinsurgency support office) supplied S.O.G. (studies and observation group) bolo
that was used by American Special Forces soldiers while running recon missions in Laos and Cambodia. Then and there I knew this was the
knife I wanted to make so that I could do my small part to honor those veterans who did such a difficult, dangerous and vital job during the
In honor of 5th Special Forces group I have named this knife the Recondo bolo. 5th group hosted the Recondo (Recon and Commando) school and trained members from all services in the skill of reconnaissance and commando tactics in Nha Trang Vietnam from 1966 to 1970.
The knife is meant to be used to do light digging with and inevitably it will hit rocks. Expect the tip to chip or roll if you do this. A file
Will fix it back to using condition.
Traditionally, these knives were made of 1/4" thick steel, they were obviously not used as a machete being that heavy. Their main use was for clearing hasty firing lanes, digging quick holes for booby traps and hasty clearing of LZs (landing zones) for helicopter extraction. A secondary use was for back armor, the S.O.G. men used to put these bolos down the back of their ruck sacks, between the frame and the pack. A great place to carry them and it might just help if you caught a round in the back.
If you want a semi light knife for more machete type work then you should order the "light" Recondo bolo which is made of 1/8" thick steel. It's definitely not a machete, but its lighter than the heavy version. It comes with only the "standard grind" which is a low height grind.
If you want more of a chopping knife then you should go for the "Heavy" Recondo bolo which is made of 1/4" thick steel. This is the traditional version and can be made with a much higher grind for deadly serious penetration when chopping.
The Apollo machete is named in honor of the NASA Apollo missions of the 1960's. I love American history and any chance I get, I do my best to highlight American heroes. The early Astronauts were heroes in my mind. Going where few had gone before, into the unknown and risking the possibility of not being able to ever return. I admire that.
In the early days of the space program, NASA contacted Bo Randall about making a machete that would be on board the space capsules and stored in the survival kit. Bo declined and recommended NASA contact Case knives, which they did. Case made the Astro Machetes based off of the specifications provided by NASA and these knives are collectors items today.
The Apollo is my tribute to the Case Astro machete. It looks nothing like the original Case, which was a standard machete profile with saw teeth, but instead incorporates my design style. It is the same knife as the Recondo but with an actual tip and not available in a heavy version. It is available in ultra thin 1/16" steel only, which makes it a true machete, light and quick. Saw teeth are an option and not standard.
No hidden tang option on either knife
These knives are available to order but are subject to the steel being available. The steel supply on these is spotty at best, so just ask when your name rolls around to the top of the list if you're interested in one of these.
1/16" and 1/8" knives will be made from 15n20 steel
1/4" knives will be made from 5160 spring steel
Recondo blade length: about 11 1/2"
Apollo blade length: about 11 5/8"
Handle length for both: about 6 3/8"