Nicaraguan Tools: Customizing a Machete for Coconut Cutting

A visit to a Finca in Diriamba, Nicaragua, provided a perfect opportunity for a ‘How to open a Coconut Lesson’. A much needed skill in a country where coconuts and coconut water are in such abundance and so very good for fresh consumption. The owner of the Finca handed me my new multi-use tool and his field men used it to demonstrate the many methods of use. The brand new machete was roughly 36″ long and perfect for cutting fields of grass and crops at their roots with its long, flexible reach. But I was simply after a refreshing drink and the fresh meat of those cocos. They demonstrated how with a shorter machete, roughly 24″ long, one has more control while cutting a coco and how much easier it would be to cut oneself in the foot using a shorter machete for wide swinging on the ground. Our first step was to cut it down to the right size.

Customizing a machete, marking the cut.Cutting the machete blade to sizeSparks fly while cutting the machete down to size with an angle grinderThe machete resized with the removed piece.Buffing out a machete after cutting the new shapeBuffing and shaping the tip of a macheteSharpening the edges of the machete on a stoneDemonstrating the downward motion while sharpening a machete on a stoneCutting Coconuts with a Machete

At last! My machete is a good fit for coconut cutting and with the shorter blade I will have better control. I tried out my newly shaped and sharpened machete on a few coconuts. Of course it is harder than it looks. First I cut a coconut free from the bunch. Then with a whack, I made the first cut a few inches from the top of the yellow casing to cut it down to the hard inner shell. Then by rotating the coconut and whacking as I went, a small bit of the brown fuzzy inner shell was revealed. With angled slices, I made the opening wider and with one last whack to crack open the shell the white meat was revealed. By inserting a straw or by piercing and widening this opening, the coconut water can be sipped or poured out. I earned my first machete wielding blister! I am enjoying the abundance of fresh coconut water and meat right from the tree.

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