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Thread: Valiant Goloks, Review, Test and VS Kukhuries

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Valiant Goloks, Review, Test and VS Kukhuries


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    I recently acquired some Indonesian (Malay) goloks from the Austalian based Valiant Trading Co. (http://www.valiantco.com) . I think they are well worth putting a review in here.

    It might be strange, but lengths are in inches (because I understand inches better than centimeters for blades and knives sizes), and weights in grams (I'll never get used to pound and ounces ) .



    From the bottom, you see a

    Survival Golok Medium, 22 3/4" overall, 14 1/2" convex forged blade, distal tapered, false edge, horn handle, partial tang, superb ironwood sheath with horn circlings and fittings, 800 grams with scabbard, 36 USD (!).

    Golok Loka 1, 22 3/4" overall, 16" convex forged blade, distal tapered, hard wood handle, partial tang with brass ferrule, hardwood sheath, 600 gr with scabbard, 36 USD (!)

    On the top is my Himalayan imports Chiruwa Angh Khola, 16.5 inches total 11.5 inches blade, 1000 grams with scabbard, for reference.

    Inspection:
    First I must say that I was impressed by the quality of the blades.
    They are brush finished, and come scaringly (20 degrees edge angle!) sharp. Forging took place, and the symetry shows it, although less visible symetry defects are seen than on the HI Chiruwa AK. There are some superficial forge splits on the back of the Loka blade. I epoxied the sheath of the Survival G to fix the bottom horn fitting and belt loop fitting, and the sheath of the G Loka ad splitted along the glued joint of the two parts, so I epoxied it back. Unnoticeable now. Changes in air wetness and careless transport from Australia to France must account for this .

    The Survival G sheath is a marvel and fits tight (the fit can actually be controlled with the horn circling). The handle is marvelously confortable and rounded, finger grooved, and fits nicely in the hand, yet providing a nice secure hold for swinging movements due to the rounded butt. The feeling of the blade when swinging is slightly ligher than the Chiruwa, it must weight a 100 grams less.

    The Loka is a short sword, swings quickly, feels the same than a Cold-Steel Gurkha light to swing. The handle is confortable, and the angle helps retain the blade.

    The steel of these is spring steel. The hardening seems perfect, the blades are hardened from the start (+ 1cm ) of the handle to to the tip, constant at the same harness. A file running on the edge seems to point between 54 and 58 RC, which is good, even perfect, for this type of blade.

    As a comparison MY HI chiruwa is ~60 RC on the middle of the edge, and not really hardenned at the tip and handle, which I find a problem, as I rolled edges twice now in these places. On the other side, I could hammer them back...

    Closer view, the top one is called a Badik:




    Tests:

    So I took the CS gurkha light, HI Chiruwa , Survival Golok and Golok Loka to the garden. I tried them on all kind of wood, dried and hard, green soft, thick thin, high in the air, low on the ground, some mixed with earth and sand...

    As expected, the Survival is wonderful, no vibration felt when hitting hardwood, very very good penetration of both hardwood and green wood. The handle feel is marvelous. The blade never sticks, and the reach it gets is superb, thus saiving my hands in deep bush. The belt carriying is to my taste much more confortable than the Chiruwa, because it is flat, and 200 grams lighter, so one can just stick it under the belt, and not really feel it. The square tip proves usefull for reaching far away things and push-cutting with a rapier-like movement. The sharpened false edge is good for splitting wood and cleaning bamboos.

    The Loka, I was quite dubious. The result is quite good, the reach is fantastic, and the penetration is quite good too. The handle is confortable, although the carving is slighly aggessive (will disapear with time). I sticked the tip in a wood trunk and began bending the blade, I got to 45 degrees and back, no trouble. It is is a saber, and if you know the proper movement of pulling while hitting, the cutting effect is really amazing. It began showing it's limits when I started cutting a 4" very dried nut-tree branch, but nevertheless did it with just some more effort, weight being compensated with impact speed. Belt cary is also hardly noticed except for length. There is no loop hole, but a wooden clip!

    The blades did not move in their partial tangs, even after heavy whacking on hard wood.

    The Chiruwa is my reference for hatchet use, (750 grams) it is excellent on hard wood, not much reach, the handle is OK, but I cannot say confortable, sticks a bit in wood, due to the saber gring, and is generaly more physical. It is a pain, I find, to carry it on the belt, as it weights 1000 grams, pulls my pants down, has a pointy sheath, must be looped in the belt, therefore not allowing quick deposit. But it comes with a burnisher and small knife.

    The CS is my reference for edge holding and bush whacking. Light, flat package, needs a loop to carry, but due to it's flatness can also just be sticked under the belt, sticks a lot in wood (epoxy coating!), but penetration is OK.

    The kukhuries, due to their geometry have sometimes a tendancy to turn in the hand at impact, which may be dangerous. I found none of this with these golok blades.

    To my surprise, a few 1" and 2 " branches were cut without even feeling an impact with the Survival G.

    Edge holding: my preference to the CS, very narrowly followed by the Survival G and the Loka G, Chiruwa last. The Chiruwa is last because any bad hit outside the hardned area is a dent or rolled edge. I did tests on some wood which was sand impregnated, and this order reflects the sharpness left after this and hardwood cutting test. The CS, Survival and Locka were back to original in a 1 minute job, the Chiruwa took a bit more (5 min) on some parts of the edge (not sure 60 RC is good), and needed hammering on one dent. (all blades started with the same sharpness).
    All blades suffered scratches, that was expected although a bit less showed on the fully tempered blades. None of the blades sustained damages.

    The only negative thing I can say about the Golok is about the partial tang. But is is only a theoritical aspect of the blade construction, and only use will tell how resistant it is. So far my tests could not put it in defect, even when hitting with the blade sideways. It seems anyway that Valiant has got some full tang with scales versions.

    Survival G blade thickness:

    Survival G in hand:


    G Loka in hand:


    Comparison of the packages:


    Compared to a HI 16.5 Chirwa AK and HI 18" GS


    More on malay weapons can be read at http://perso.wanadoo.fr/taman.sari/home.htm. (to which I am not related)

    As a conclusion, I'll just say that at a minimum of one third of the price of the other blades (which are > 100USD), these Indonesian blades are very very good value. They sustain the comparison and often exceed the performances of the other blades. They excel as machetes, and are overall good replacement hatchets.

    I have not and will not cover the self-defense aspect, but one can imagine what the Golok Loka can do, and what are it's advantages in this field....

    I personally find the geometry much more useful and versatile than khukuries.

    The overall preference order is therefore:
    Survival Golok, Loka Golok, CS Kukrie and (to equality) HI Chiruwa.

    There are some other blades geometries that I want to try at Valiant Co, and I'll post new reviews when I get them.

    PS: I am in no way related to Valiant Co, and the comments I have done on Valiant Co goloks, Himalayan Imports kukhuries and Cold Steel kukrie are only valid in the context of this comparative test, as they are all nice blades.
    Last edited by Singularity; 05-29-2002 at 09:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    Informative reading. It looks like a very strong package for the price. I checked out the website awhile ago, but many of the blades seemed appearance designed and not overly functional, it is nice to see that wasn't the case for all of them.

    Is the edge on the Survival distinct from the main bevel, or does it all just flow together? The handle looks a bit slick, did you have any problems with it moving around? How would you compare it to a standard machete pattern say from Ontario?

    In regards to the glancing from the khukuri, this generally indicates the edge is too obtuse, and thus it can't handle the chopping angle (too acute). You can either chop at a more obtuse angle (and lose penetration and increase binding), or alter the edge profile.

    -Cliff

  3. #3
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    Great review and pics. Very informative!

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    re Cliff Stamp:
    Informative reading. It looks like a very strong package for the price. I checked out the website awhile ago, but many of the blades seemed appearance designed and not overly functional, it is nice to see that wasn't the case for all of them.
    It feels very strong. Time will tell . It seems most of the blades or at least the malay blades are neither reproductions nor presentation, but simply modern productions a bit more tuned for export. The production of these old patterns has probably never ceased. The very decorated and carved handles ones won't be of any use for sure. And I am also wondering about the layered ones (to the point I'll try one next).

    Is the edge on the Survival distinct from the main bevel, or does it all just flow together? The handle looks a bit slick, did you have any problems with it moving around? How would you compare it to a standard machete pattern say from Ontario?
    There is no main bevel, on either blades, the edge just flows to the back. The handle is quite slick, but the big rounded butt blocks it during swings, and there are discrete finger grooves. I find it is actually quite confortable being so slick. The hand is at light angle, so there is little chance it will slip when pushing, because you push against the handle, not in a parallel way. At worst, anyway one can decide to checker or just sand it.
    I never got an Ontario or classical machete, so....

    In regards to the glancing from the khukuri, this generally indicates the edge is too obtuse, and thus it can't handle the chopping angle (too acute). You can either chop at a more obtuse angle (and lose penetration and increase binding), or alter the edge profile
    Mmmmm, I figured for the angle, never thought of the edge itself. I'll do some tries in this direction, thanks a lot.
    Last edited by Singularity; 05-29-2002 at 04:11 PM.

  5. #5
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    Singularity,
    Thank you for posting this review. I have been interested in ordering some models from this company, but I thought they might be wall hanger fantasy knives. I am happy to here they are functional.
    Thanks again,
    Chad

  6. #6
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    I just received the standard Parang (AB01) from Valiant - and it is very nice. Starts 5/16" at the handle and distal tapers very quick to about 3/16" and then slightly thinner at the tip.

    I haven't used it yet, but it appears to solidly made. For the price, it can't be beat.

    Cheersm
    Daniel
    Only sharp knives are interesting.

  7. #7
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    Singularity :

    There is no main bevel, on either blades, the edge just flows to the back.
    Good to hear, that is how such blades are traditionally made.

    -Cliff

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    Daniel L:
    I just received the standard Parang (AB01) from Valiant - and it is very nice. Starts 5/16" at the handle and distal tapers very quick to about 3/16" and then slightly thinner at the tip.
    Is the standard Parang chisel ground? looks like a nice blade too!

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    Regarding the tangs, I received the following complementary information received by email from Mr Suwandi, the owner of Valiant Co (which is I must say a pleasure to deal with).

    I post here what is relevant to this thread so far.

    I may add some infos here. Our horn-handled blade is definetley much better in resistance against impact (compared to one with wooden handle), since the tang was barely red-hot when pushed to the limit into the handle (some powder of "ant nest" were added at the bottom of the drilled hole, in some cases we use Araldite). The horn will melt, fill the gaps in (similar idea to rubber-moulded handle) and permanently grip the tang. So, there would be no chance the blade comes out of the handle under normal use! (NOT abuse!). The only way to take the blade out is by heating the ricasso until blue-velvet ~ red color and knock the handle off.
    This way of fixing the tang sounds fine with me. As I said, the difference to me, between full tang and partial tang is theoritical, as the resulting durability depends on craftmanship of the maker in both cases. In addition, No blade ever gets free like that, without warning signs, thus I do not fear for security, and if it gets, epoxy (or in the field force reinsertion with wood padding) will work.
    I understand it is a very personal feeling.

    We had a huge collection of goloks from the past (100-300 years old) and almost none of the blades can be easily dismounted from their handles. The critical condition however reach when the ricasso is heavily rusted through to the tang, the rust will 'eat' part of the tangs' surface and weaken the grip. Based on our experience, the blades were the first to deteriorate rather than the handles.
    This is the best advocacy I can hear about this way of mounting the handle!

    I asked about damascus blades and if they were for presentation or could be use, here is a part of the answer:

    Our damascus blades are indeed using blades just like the good ol' days, NONE of them are for presentation or decoration purpose only (though some collectors might do). Every single blades are properly made (even to the "fanciest" ones) and treated with a very basic idea in mind ... someone's gonna use them somehow, someday!
    BTW, 90 out of 100 antique goloks are in damascus ... which Indonesian people refer to 'besi pamor' or 'balik mipih'. And as we clearly and proudly stated in our website, the people who forge and make our blades (especially the damascus ones) are STILL of the same generation who made the same style of blade 2-3 centuries ago! Yes, we did create some new hybrid or 'fancy' looking blades to cater the collectors, but more than 80% of them are based on original and traditional concept ... "form follows function".
    Sounds fine with me, and I now feel the need to own and test some!

    Any comments?

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Singularity; 05-31-2002 at 04:19 PM.

  10. #10
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    While on holidays I went to the guy's house "somewhere" in Perth and ended up getting 4 or 5 machetes and a kerampit.
    So far i have only used them for light pruning chores and they work very well. I really really like the balance of the survival golock.
    It cuts really well.The toughest thing i have done with it is only some half inch branches of somthing I was pruning
    The kerampit i havnt used at all but thats a good thing considering what it is made to cut....
    Stephen
    http://members.optusnet.com.au/~deviant/
    my homepage with pics of knives i have done

  11. #11
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    The Standard Parang grind is NOT chisel - it is sabre ground with no seconday bevel (ie the grind is about 1 inch wide and the bevels meet with no secondary edge.) I will probably convex it with my trusty sanding block and sandpaper.

    I still haven't had a chance to test it yet... I've got a whole lot of cardboard boxes in my garage

    The fit and finish is much better than I expected - the blade is almost a satin finish.
    Last edited by Daniel L; 06-01-2002 at 06:01 AM.
    Daniel
    Only sharp knives are interesting.

  12. #12
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    I still haven't had a chance to test it yet... I've got a whole lot of cardboard boxes in my garage
    Take care with cardboard, I tested mine on this to, and I was surprised that the golok behaved as if there was nothing to cut, while a huge panel would fall. I was happy not to have any part of my anatomy in the way...




    By the way, I also received the following on Valiant's blades damascus structure, thanks to Mr Suwandi:

    Our damascus blades are different from the ones you probably have known where the patterns are paralel and laid alongside the core/hard metal in the middle => in this case, the impact on the blade is absorbed by the core only. You can always see layers of steel at the spine => please refer to PAMOR MLUMAH. Ours are totally of different concept where the patterns created because of the forging, no core, just layers of sandwiched steel => impact is absorbed by the whole blade (layers of soft and hard steel). You seldom see any layers of steel at the spine => please refer to PAMOR MIRING.The negative factors (if there are some forging imperfections) are: - if the blade cracks, it will crack throughly to the other surface (you can see the other side through the crack) though it may not affect its performance at all; - if the soft steel unexpectedly becomes the outer layer of the cutting edge, it may be vulnerable.To show the difference, attached some references based on a keris structure which is quite different from our blades, but at least they would give you a better idea in what we're talking about.


    I then received this:




    Ha well, the more I read about it, the more I want one
    I now have to decide which one
    Last edited by Singularity; 06-02-2002 at 12:57 PM.

  13. #13
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    Additional testing has been performed at:


    http://www.knifeforums.com/ubbthread...t=1&PHPSESSID=

  14. #14
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    The Martindale goloks have been making the rounds lately, any comments from those who own both?

    -Cliff

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    New blades

    Quick preview:
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-01.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-02.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-03.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-15.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-16.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-17.JPG">

  16. #16
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    Latest arrivals

    Just more pictures:
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-18.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-05.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-07.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-09.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-11.JPG">
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-13.JPG">

  17. #17
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    More...

    <br>Parang.
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-04.JPG">
    <br>from under:
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-06.JPG">
    <br>Baiwan:
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-08.JPG">
    <br>Loka:
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-10.JPG">
    <br>Survival
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-12.JPG">
    <br>Hitam
    <br><img src="http://singularity.free.fr/upload/New-14.JPG">

    Review coming after some heavy testing... in july...

  18. #18
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    I own and tested the 16.5 inch Chiruwa AK, the 21.5 inch Survival Golok and a 19 inch Chitlangi (very similar to the GS) on 2 to 3 inch Ironbark trees (one of Australia's hardest hardwood trees). The AK and the Golok performance have very little in common. The Chiruwa AK chopped comfortably through the Ironbark. It is really hatchet-like in performance. The Golok ended up with a 5 mm by 1 mm chip out of the blade about one third the way from the end of the blade after about 3 strikes on the first Ironbark sapling it encountered. Prior to attacking the Ironbark saplings, the Golok had done excellent machete type work at clearing lantana and other weedy material. The Survival Golok proved to be an excellent machete type blade but is not a chopper like the AK. The Chitlangi (or the GS you pictured) is between the other two in weight, length and performance and more worthy of a comparison. I found that the Chitlangi could chop through the ironbark, but at nowhere near the ease of the AK. It was also proficient on the lantana with nearly the same ease as the Golok, but not quite.

    Singularity, I am curious as to why you initially compared the Survival Golok to a Chiruwa AK and not the 18 inch GS you had at your disposal. The Chiruwa AK and the Golok are really very different blades. I agree with you that the Chiruwa is not comfortable to carry on a belt. I use a army shoulder webbing attached to a belt when I have to carry the Chiruwa around and I find that very comfortable. My Chiruwa AK weighs 1108 grams with the scabbard and two smaller blades (815 grams by itself). The Chitlangi weighs 918 grams with scabbard and two smaller blades (600 grams by itself).

  19. #19
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    G'Day Glenn.

    Ah a fellow tester !

    I first answer your questions:

    I tested the Chiruwa AK against the Survival, as it is my reference for hatchet work. I did not compare with the GS, as I did not want it to be Himalayan Imports goods again Valiants's, so I threw a third party, the Cold-Steel ghurka light. This later one is close enough in capabilities to the GS.

    The other factor was that I have used and know the Chiruwa a lot, same for the CS, when the GS is still unknown to me.

    Certainly, I do more machete-like work through 2-3 inches fresh wood, so my test might reflect that. I generally cut growing stuff, at any level, generally chest or knee height.

    For hatchet work, I've checked the penetration, and found that the Survival would not stick, and retreat naturally from it's deep position, probably due to the grind.

    I am amazed of the chip... Jimbo have tested the Survival on tough stuff too at knifeforums...

    This proves that forged blades are forged blades, and may differ, as I no not see how Ironbark would be worst to the edge than some test I did on seasoned and sandy wallnut tree (but do not know this wood, so I may talk in the air there...).

    The goloks are differentially clay tempered, so I'd guess this one is to hard on the edge, as much as my Chiruwa is too soft in places for the same reasons.
    Hand-made tools... Still less expensive on a 36 $ item

    I do have some questions on my own:

    Did you feel a glance when the chip occured? I mean did the cut when turning?
    I did some tests recently on hardwood, where I glanced voluntarily the cut (rounded cut), full blow, and the only damage I got was and edge rolled a bit like a wire edge after sharpening...

    Have you tried checking hardness with a file around the chip?

    Will you reprofile the edge?


    Cheers,

  20. #20
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    In regards to testing, it isn't always possible to have ideal comparisons. As mentioned on the HI forum, there are khukuris which are more similar in nature to the Goloks, such as the Sirupatis and more specifically the Cobras. In any case you just work with what you can. I also feel that it is of merit to compare radically different blades, such as one of the above Goloks and say a 20"+ AK.

    You simply need to be careful when comparing such different blades not to generalize to style (khukuris vs goloks), as the differences seen can easily be from variations within a style rather than from one specific type of blade to another. The disclaimer does cover this, though still such generalizations do leads to misinterpretations very easily. This is a minor point though when compared to the information presented in the above review and the thread on Knifeforums. And it is obvious that there is no intended bias.

    I look forward to your future comments.

    Regarding the chip, you can't expect 100% QC. If possible get a comment from the manufacturer on their reaction to this problem, and its reported frequency.

    -Cliff

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