A soft tree cutting test, or
Banana tree VS Valiant blades
(survival golok, borneo parang, baiwan sword, golok loka)

Le 30 août 2002, par James

A strange test of Valiant big blades

I had this banana tree to cut in the garden :


The main tree (hidden behind on the picture) is 3 meters high, for a trunk diameter of 20 cm at 1 meter height.

I’ll use the Valiant Survival Golok M, the Baiwan, the Loka, and then the Borneo Parang. [1]

Banana trees are for those that never encountered one structurally like rolled cardboard, filled with water. They produce a kind of gum, which get very sticky and stops penetration. But the penetration of a big blade in a 20cm diameter is impressive. They make a good test to check how blades penetrate in wood, as the length of the penetration is bigger, and thus can be measured.

You can see here the Survival Golok, the Baiwan, the Locka, from top to bottom


A different view


The deeper penetration is the Survival G. The baiwan did not enter at same angle, so I retested it later, with the same angle, it is second, The Locka glanced, and would be last, but not by much. Actually, the lock again shows it is a contender, because, though I had little space for movements, I could accelerate it more, and therefore get a similar result.

I could not add another blade on the tree without crossing blades, which if I remember well "ghost busters" could cause the end of the world, so I then removed them and tested the Borneo Parang. I have no picture, but the Parang does slightly better than the Survival. [2]

No blade went though, but I expected this, as I chose the tree this way. 70 kg falling on you while holding a big blade is no fun.

A bit more fun : the Baiwan and huge leaves


The place cleaned


The blades are back in the backpack, the leaves in the front I’ll use tonight for cooking my chicken curry, eh eh ! They are typically of use to survivors like you guys. The core of the tree can be eaten, and is just a bit more fibrous than palm-tree core, but less tasty.

The cut-up trunk and card board structure


The cleaned place


The compost heap


The trunk has been dispatched in little pieces. The Borneo Parang was the only one that could slice totally though the whole diameter of the trunk, the SG was just behind, and needed a bit more swing.

So the order is :

  1. Borneo Parang, best penetration.
    - The Borneo Parang is for sure a smooth blade, requiring very little power to be efficient
  2. Survival Golok, 2 cm behind Parang on the banana tree penetration scale ;-)
    - The SG does not need more comments, Jimbo, V-Schrade, and I have discussed it a lot already. I’ll just say again that even in this context, it is the more versatile. [3]
  3. Baiwan, 2cm behind SG on the banana tree penetration scale
    - The Baiwan I have been using a lot recently, and though it looses a bit of efficiency because of the straight edge, it is equilibrated right between a Loka and a SG, a very efficient swinger. The handle feels Huge at first in the hand, but is very secure, and nice to use [4].
  4. Locka, 1cm behind Baiwan on the banana tree penetration scale, if the hit is accelerated, 4cm if same energy is involved.
    - The short sword, light, but not totally inefficient. It can perform very close to the others, though will be a bit more tiring as the lack of weight will have to be compensated by speed. The gap is larger, if the test uses the same amount of calories for each blow.

Curiously, this follows the centre of gravity repartition of the different blades, thus confirming what everybody knew, a good chopper has weight in the front, the axe is indeed a very good tool for chopping ;-) Seriously, an axe or hatchet would not have allowed me to dispatch this tree in 1/2 an hour.

Still, check the pictures, differences are minimal ( I also base my classification on the later dispatching on the compost heap)

Well the fun took me 1/2 hour, the cleaning of the blades another 1/2 because this bloody gum had stuck to them. the kitchen cleaner and scratch pad could not get rid of it, and I had to resort to citrus solvent, as I did not have alcohol...

Needless to say, no blade was damaged, I do not see how they could in such a tree :-)

The blades involved Borneo Parang, Baiwan, Loka, Survival Golok M, Hitam [5]








Please read this safety warning, if you intent to use such blades.

Notes :

[1] Some were already tested in Valiant Goloks.

[2] I got excited and felt compelled to take the tree down at that moment, which is why there is no picture

[3] More info.

[4] again Wandi amazes me with a handle design about which I doubted at first

[5] not used here, but check Valiant Golok Hitam.

par James



Le 17 septembre 2004
I have a golok L and I just cannot get a safe grip in it. I have never had that problem with my wood handled Kuhkri. I received a very bad cut on the back of my left hand when the handle slipped in my grip. At least it was my hand if the blade as sharp as it was had hit my leg or abdomen it would be a cripple or dead. It has been almost a year and I finally got full use of my hand again. I thought the smooth golok grip was the problem but I checkered the horn handle and it tried to come out of my hand. The shape and curve of the handle just cannot seem to be compatible with my hand. I wrapped it in rawhide lace and it made a tough grip but now it is too large a diameter. I guess I am going to have to give up and just carry my kuhkri.

Le site est affiché en français avec ses sections françaises seulement, sachez qu’il existe cependant beaucoup à découvrir dans la version Anglaise.

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