Himalayan Imports
Chiruwa Angh Khola Khukuri

Le 29 septembre 2002, par James



A working test of a high quality khukuri, made by some of the best Nepali blade smiths.

The Khukuri or Kukri is the traditional knife of Nepal. It serves every day for a multitude of tasks. Its aspect is unique and makes it easy to recognize, with it’s bent blade. The Kukri has been made famous through history from it’s use by the fierce and fearless British and Indians Gurkhas regiments.

The chiruwa angh khola (AK)

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I own this Chiruwa Angh Khola khukuri from Himalayan Imports.

Khukuris are traditional blades of Nepal. Himalayan Imports khukuris are reputed to be the best available outside of Nepal today.

Description

It is a 16.5 inches total length blade, with a full flat tang, and weights some 1 kg sheath and tools included. The blade arrived mirror polished, very impressive ! The tools are well made and properly tempered.

It is a second class version (due to handle marks), (95 US $) made by one of their best blade smith (kami), called Bura. These blades are differentially tempered, using a method peculiar to the Nepali, and which requires years of practice : running fresh water from a tea pot on the edge of the red blade.

The edge bevel is a slightly concave V. The overall blade presents between 2 and 3 different hollows or depressions, from the edge to the back.

Receiving and discovering a blade of this kind is always impressive and a pleasure.

View of the sheath

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It comes with a nice leather-on-wood sheath, which includes a burnisher (chakmak) and little knife (karda). These tools are horn handled too, and well executed.

The finish is excellent ( some forge bumps, but it is expected on big forged tools). The Handle is thick and short, made from horn, and shows cracks that have been filled, but that is why I paid 35 US $ less than the normal price. It feels good and secure in my hand. Very good first impression. The file on the edge seems to point to some 60 HRC in the middle section. Tip and back are much softer (45-50), as later experiences will show.

A thick blade !

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Test

Any way, I went to the garden, and did some tree cleaning. This is south of France, and I got some interesting species :

Banana trees are no match, way too soft, Yucca is more of a match, although it is a soft palm-tree like wood, a single whack for 4 inches is fair. What is not fair is the spines in my calves when it felt

Cleaning the Yucca trunk from spines after dragging it in sand left no damage to the edge, amazing.

Going for stronger wood, it is nice that I had some orange trees to shorten, This can be done with no damage to the tree up to the 15 the of April, Sunday was the 15th . This is a much harder and dense wood, and it takes 4 to 5 blows to go through 3 inches, depending on position. Still the chiruwa did the job nicely, leaving clean enough cuts.

It is hard work, and a saw is probably more efficient, but less satisfying. I worked on 2 trees, finished the other 8 with saw, as I do not fancy climbing trees too high with a big blade and children around.

As a test I tried Olive tree for some dying branches, and well, it is a petty hard wood and required lots of work. The "chunk" tells you that your best blow will only penetrate 1/2 inch, and the vibration in the hand is awful. The full flat tang does not help in vibration absorption, that is sure. It makes the knife indestructible, but it destroys one’s arm instead. I stop there, got caught once with a bouncing Khukuri on hard wood, not twice ! Anyway, only caterpillars are a match for olive trees.

Finished the afternoon on some bushes, The blade is too heavy for that, there is no feeling of encountering anything, and energy is wasted to stop the swing. Also, the reach is too short and damage is done to fingers very easily when in thick bush.

After work inspection :

Minor scratches, little darkening of the polish (orange juice !), edge fine, except where I used it to pry a nail out of some planks. 2 minutes sharpening with a ceramic , and it was back to normal. The burnisher will not work very well on this edge, too hard !

I later worked on dead Cyprus trees very hard and seasoned. I really damaged my hands, as this is a machete job... Some metal wires were hidden in the tree, and damaged the edge on the tip and recurve. The edge bent, and showed a 1 mm dent, each time, but no chipping. Hammering it made it straight again, the steel is much too soft in these places, probably lower than spring hardness. On the other side, it came back in place after hammering, and was fully functional after a two minutes work, un-noticeable after 5 more minutes polishing, so while it is a failure, it is not a problem. I did not notice the edge in these places was soft, with any other cutting tasks I performed, and the hardness is really fine on a long part of the blade, just softer for an inch of the tip, and two near the handle.

Handle comments :

The handle is not uncomfortable, but not comfortable either, the ring on it has a tendency to painful to the hand. I had to make it smoother, and this is work, because it has metallic parts [1]. I also rounded the butt of the handle. I did not get any blisters, just sore hands. This said, the grip is secure, as the ring holds the hand when pushing, and the enlarged handle butt helps while swinging it. The lack of vibration absorption from the full tang does not help either.

Handle view, note the "ring" in the middle

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Conclusion

This blade is an excellent replacement for a hatchet. The handle, while not the most comfortable I have used, is fully functional and gives a feeling of security.

The overall khukuri shape is not my preferred, I prefer straighter outlines nowadays. But these are personal preferences. The recurve of the khukuris allows to use them as a sickle, the belly provides a good slicing knife, the tip a skinning knife, and the knife is heavy enough to perform well in chopping wood for fire. So the facts are also that this is an impressive and useful blade, and lots of outdoors men swear by them, I understand why : This is a very functional and useful outdoors knife.

The only real reproach that can be done, really is the weight. I find the total weight much too high for my personal use, as it pulls pants down too much. But some can carry a 800 grams hatchet, so I suppose that this is personal preference too. To counterbalance this remark, notice that for this total weight of one kilo, you carry a smaller 3 inches knife, and a burnisher for quick sharpening. People that really want to carry it on themselves should consider a baldric.

This is truly an unbreakable knife, with an unequaled "you get two if you ever break one" guaranty for life [2]. [3]

So if you are looking for total [4] robustness, there may not be any contender in this range of knives for this price and workmanship. But other tools [5] and more versatile (in my taste) and cheaper blades are also available on the market [6].

Please read this safety warning if you intend to use one.

Post-Scriptum :

Though HI khukuris are not the cheapest in the world, it must be noted that most of the money goes to Nepal and the makers, thus enabling them a decent life in one of the poorest countries of the planet.

You can also find excellent information on Khukuries, kukries, cookries at Himalayan Imports Faqs

Another khukuri article on this site : Khukuries from Khukuri Palace

Notes :

[1] the full tang

[2] this generally means your life or the life of the company, whichever is the shortest !

[3] guaranty which has never been needed since HI creation, it would seem !

[4] and I’d even say excessive, and vibrant !

[5] It should be noted that in these size of blades, most sharpened pieces of steel are already impressive cutters, if the edge is fine and resistant enough.

[6] Valiant Goloks is a comparative review of this knife against goloks and a Cold Steel Khukuri / kukri. Valiant Golok Hitam is a review of another blade of comparable size and use

par James

 

Commentaires

 
JM
Le 29 septembre 2002
The range of HI blades is huge, so if someone can present me a review of some other models, he’ll get published here.
 
Anonyme
Le 25 septembre 2005

Hi JM, Thanks for the detail of this khukuri. IT ’s really pleasure to read it. As you mention this khukuri cost 98 dollors. But I got it in 19 dollor with same feature in www.khukuriknife.com though i bought it along with other khukuries also in wholesale price... Once again thanks for you info...

Peter

 
JM
Le 26 septembre 2005

Hi Peter,

That is effectively a very interesting site, well worth a check, thanks so much for the link. They seem to be the real thing differencially hardened with a tea pot.

Have you tried a fine file parallel to the edge (lightly, do not wreck the edge) on the "sweet spot" ( 1/3 of the blade from the tip), does it rip or grips ?

I am tempted again...

 
Nasty
Le 27 septembre 2005

If you have questions regarding the Khukuri offered by Himalayan Imports, I have quite a few of almost all models and would be glad to address them here.

Bear in mind that I have absolutely no connection or financial interest in HI, nor do I get anything free (I did get a gift from Yangdu once but it has no bearing on anything except friendship).

BTW...in response to the question I saw here, yes, HI khukuri are differentially hardened. They are hardened in the typical working areas of the blade according to the individual design. The spines and tang are left softer. This is accomplished with a hot water pour done manually on each individual blade with the intention of providing a hard (for the steel used, in the upper 50’s of the Rockwell "C" scale) working edge but at the same time, offering strength with the flexibility of the softer back and tang.

The blades are not uniform as each is hand made...but those I have, have used and have seen or seen used have been almost uniformly usable...oftentimes well beyond reason.

Hope this helps and again...if you have questions, please feel free to ask.

Nasty

 
Shay
Le 3 juillet 2006

6" Jungle Khukuri - has anybody seen these ? I got one on the internet, and it hasnt arrived yet, so i dont now what to expect - is it too small to be functional ?

Cheers

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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James
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