TOPS Taps GM for Barong-style Machete

After recently releasing Grandpa’s Ax, designed by TOPS Knives CEO Leo Espinoza’s father, the company continues to tap into the minds of those closest to them. This time it’s a barong-inspired machete called the Yacare 10.0, designed by none other than Craig Powell, General Manager at TOPS.

The Yacare leverages its unusual dimensions to make it a high-intensity, mid-size chopping machine. This machete has a 10-inch 1095 blade and a stock that’s 3/16” thick. The huge, curving belly mimics the leaf-like blade shape of a barong. A high grind offers a balance between chopping ability and slicing prowess that TOPS favors on all but its burliest designs. At 17.7 oz. the Yacare isn’t a lightweight, but it does come in underneath some other heavyweights in the lineup like El Chete or the Armageddon, while still offering high levels of horsepower.

Yacare 10.0

It would be hard for anybody who enjoys knives to work at TOPS and not want to try his hand at making a blade of his own. And Powell says the Yacare isn’t his first foray. He’s produced a few personal projects over the years but this is his first design to hit the big time – literally and figuratively. “I’ve made a small number of knives since I started working at TOPS. But the Yacare is much larger than anything I have attempted so far.”

Powell says he can recognize any one of TOPS’ 250 or so active products by sight. But out on the factory floor he still needed help when it came to making the Yacare a reality. He credits two experts in particular for their role in the project: TOPS President Leo Espinoza and Joe Flowers, professional outdoorsman. “Leo has been cool to help me learn the basics and get started. We sent a couple prototypes with Joe Flowers to be tested in Columbia.”

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With their help, Powell made subtle but important changes to the Yacare before it hit production. “We ended up raising the grind quite a bit, which reduced weight, balanced it better, and improved its slicing capability. We also made some small adjustments to the handle.”

Yacare 10.0

Powell tells us that if the Yacare is successful, there could be variations down the line. “If it’s a model that does well and continues to do well, then that’s always a possibility.” His list of design credits could also continue to grow. “If something I make ends up being another TOPS model, I definitely wouldn’t object. I’d actually be ecstatic.”

The Yacare is now available directly from TOPS, and it’s on its way to leading dealers.

Knife featured in image: TOPS Knives Yacare 10.0