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Thread: KABAR Kukri vs Ontario Kukri

  1. #1

    KABAR Kukri vs Ontario Kukri


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    I've been looking at both of these models...and wanted to to know which one in you guy's opinions is the better buy? I'd like to stay below the $80 mark for a good blade, because I'm short on cash..hahaha.

  2. #2
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    Do you have experience with the Kuk design. You might want to try it out first. I have found equivalent quality between Ontario and Kabar - sometimes you get a sharp blade with a good HT, sometimes not so sharp, even rarer is a bad HT. I believe the Ontario is US made, and the Kbar may be Taiwan, not sure. In all respects an HI Kuk will be better quality but more expensive. If you are looking to get a good one on the cheap, get the Cold Steel Machete version 20 bucks, or the Condor Kuk machete for around the same with sheath.
    Last edited by Smash05; 02-22-2010 at 09:01 AM. Reason: spelling
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  3. #3
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    Agree on pointing you towards HI. Kraton handles on a heavy, dedicated chopper likely will have durability issues (depends on the tang design) and definitely will wear the hide off your hand. If you do go with either the Kabar or Ontario, wear gloves when using.

    If you keep an eye out over at the HI forum:
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/fo...play.php?f=739

    Now, if you order direct from the website, most models are more than your listed price range. Watch for threads entitled "Deals for 2/25" or whatever date it is by user name Yangdu. There aren't deals everyday but it does happen frequently, usually at least once or twice a week. Often there are khuks there with minor cosmetic flaws for about half price.

    There really is absolutely no comparison, and even if I leave my preferences for traditional blades out of the mix and focus on pure performance, the same holds true.

    Edit to add: Oh! Just worth mentioning, if you do look at HI models, keep in mind that the lengths listed (e.g. HI WW2 16.5") are the overall length, not length of blade unless it specifically says otherwise.
    Last edited by t1mpani; 02-22-2010 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Remembered something

  4. #4
    The 20$ cold steel "khukri machete" ain't a khukri by any mean, it's just a khukri-shaped machete. Not saying it's bad, it's just... not a khukri. It lacks thickness first of all, the "real things" have pretty huge thickness and whole different weight, which determines whole different field of usage. I'd save some more or wait for a good deal and get an HI model. Oh yes, expect it to smell bad.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chenko View Post
    The 20$ cold steel "khukri machete" ain't a khukri by any mean, it's just a khukri-shaped machete. Not saying it's bad, it's just... not a khukri. It lacks thickness first of all, the "real things" have pretty huge thickness and whole different weight, which determines whole different field of usage. I'd save some more or wait for a good deal and get an HI model. Oh yes, expect it to smell bad.
    You can still get a decent idea of capability with the machete version. Its not a Kukri, its a kukri machete.
    Remember, only you can break your knife.

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  6. #6
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    I had the Ontario model and found it to be a pretty decent blade for the money.
    I say "had" because I sold it after getting the real deal from Himalayan Imports.
    I now own three HI khukuri's (Ang Khola, Chiruwa and a Sirupati) and they will be with me as long as I can hold onto them. They are a whole 'nother animal from the Ontario model. (And, the KABAR model too, I presume.)
    The chopping ability of these HI khukuri's really has to be experienced to get a good idea of their capabilities.

    The Ontario model, as best as I can describe, should be classified as a "Khukuri Lite".
    Still a good knife for the $$, but not as good as the real deal.

  7. #7
    It really depends on what material you are cutting and how much weight you want to lug around. I have a couple of traditional style HI kuks and they don't go into the woods with me anymore. The Cold steel LTC and "Gurkha Kukri" chop what I need to chop better with much more efficiency than the HI models, they also rust less than the HI models. The Ontario kuk model is on my list to get because it will be a better tool for me. The HI handles poked and bruised my hand plenty as they came. Ultimately you're not gonna know for sure which style or brand will be best for you until you use them. I love all my kuks, but I grab the one that works best for the job at hand.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleyn1975 View Post
    Ultimately you're not gonna know for sure which style or brand will be best for you until you use them. I love all my kuks, but I grab the one that works best for the job at hand.
    Well said and true enough.

    That's why I advocate a try before you buy method when possible. Just handling a knife before purchase tells one a lot about how well it'll work, or not, for them in use.

  9. #9
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    I've had the BQM (Ontario) kukri for 4 or 5 years now and haven't had any real issues with it. I've stripped the coating off mine and reprofiled the chopping edge into a convex edge. I've cleared lots of brush with it and have found that the handle will cause hotspots and blisters if you aren't wearing gloves. With gloves, however, it's a pretty decent chopper for the money.

    I also have a Cold Steel Kukri machete. Good for light work, but definately not in the same class as a heavier blade.


  10. #10
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    I haven't used the Ontario, but I own the Cold Steel Kukri machete, the Kabar Kukri machete and a HI Foxy Folly. The Cold Steel is a really good machete, but it isn't that much of a chopper. The Kabar is a great machete that feels really solid on your hand and it is a much better chopper than the CS. I would agree that both the Kabar and Ontario are "Kukri light" tools. As kukris, they are much more effective than the CS and all the cheap Chinese "kurki shaped" machetes around, but they lack the necessary weight and thickness to effectively do what a "real" kukri can do.

    Now for some details. The Ontario is 1095, thicker than the Kabar by 3/32 and its shape is closer to a British Officer's Kukri. It would probably make for a better chopper than the Kabar as a result of its shape.

    The Kabar is 1085, 5/32 thick and shaped closer to a Foxy Folly. The 1085 would allow the Kabar to take a little more punishment than the Ontario at the expense of edge retention, although I find that it has very good edge retention. Like the Foxy Folly, its shape makes it a Jack-of-all-trades. It isn't superb at anything, but can do everything very well. In other words, it is an excellent all round tool.

    So, if you are looking for a cheap kukri to be used primarily as a chopper, consider the Ontario. If you want a good all around tool that makes for a good chopper, consider the Kabar. When your financial situation change, go for an H.I. and you won't regret it.

  11. #11
    Go for the Ontario, as it is a fairly sweet blade. The KaBar is big and ungainly in hand. You can always buy a cheap Ghurka Kuk off of the web, e.g., from Bud K, and grind down the handle, maybe give it a heat treat. For under $30, you can have a fairly good kuk to beat on out in the woods. I have used--even abused--mine while hiking and camping, and it has never failed. The imported ones from the fancy companies are too expensive and, honestly, not that much better.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fartingbadass View Post
    The imported ones from the fancy companies are too expensive and, honestly, not that much better.
    Actually, thats balderdash, You get what you pay for. Properly maintained and sharpened almost any H.I. khukuri would outchop and outlive any of these KLO's and do it with alot more style and grace.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Karda View Post
    Actually, thats balderdash, You get what you pay for. Properly maintained and sharpened almost any H.I. khukuri would outchop and outlive any of these KLO's and do it with alot more style and grace.
    Such claptrap. How, I must ask, is a ghurka Kuk a KLO?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fartingbadass View Post
    Such claptrap. How, I must ask, is a ghurka Kuk a KLO?
    None of those are a Gurkha khukuri in any sense of the word other than the marketing. They have No traditional materials or construction, are not made by a Kami and they have no "cho", "Sword of Shiva", Chakma or Karda or any of the things that make a "real" khukuri. And they have no puja blessing.

    Don't get me wrong. They are alright for what you pay and a half decent beginner khukuri, unless you're getting the San Mai versions, which are more expensive than a really nice H.I. product. Once you try a real one you will know the difference.
    Last edited by Karda; 02-27-2010 at 12:21 AM.
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  15. #15
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    Those who think the chisel ground "kukris" available from Bud K and other similar sources are comparable (or could be made comparable) to products offered by HI and KH are, I'd guess, the same people who keep the late night infomercial outfits in business.

    "Others sell similar products for hundreds of dollars, but if you call in the next five minutes, we'll give you one of our incredible, AUTHENTIC Kookrees for $19.95!!!!!!!!!! Supplies are limited, and won't last long!"

    Chisel ground, in the 48-52 HRC range at the edge, often with no primary grind other than the edge bevel itself, pine handles stained dark to simulate hardwood.

    My recommendation--stick to farting, badass.

    Just as a by the way, I can take an unhardened billet of welding steel into the woods with me and bang it on stuff, and it will "never fail." It won't achieve anything, either.
    Last edited by t1mpani; 02-27-2010 at 01:47 AM. Reason: "wllding" is not a word

  16. #16
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    I apologize for not being up on all the acronyms around here... what's KLO???

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRMUDD View Post
    I apologize for not being up on all the acronyms around here... what's KLO???
    Khukuri Like Object
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karda View Post
    None of those are a Gurkha khukuri in any sense of the word other than the marketing. They have No traditional materials or construction, are not made by a Kami and they have no "cho", "Sword of Shiva", Chakma or Karda or any of the things that make a "real" khukuri. And they have no puja blessing.

    Don't get me wrong. They are alright for what you pay and a half decent beginner khukuri, unless you're getting the San Mai versions, which are more expensive than a really nice H.I. product. Once you try a real one you will know the difference.

    how do those things add to performance?

    (keeping in mind i have a HI khuk too........as well as my GO TO khuk....my Kabar)

  19. #19
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    They don't add to performance, they make it a khukuri--hence, some object shaped like a khukuri that doesn't have them is a (extracting the words khukuri, like, and object from this sentence) Khukuri-Like-Object.

    Now, the things that add to performance are distal tapers (counteracting the widening tip so as to make it a much less clumsy tool than one that's full thickness all the way out), convex grinds which do not stick in hard cutting targets (think really hard about how many flat ground axes you've seen) and handles that, once gotten used to, don't beat the hell out of your hands. Now I know, this is the time when the inner fourteen-year-old trying to impress the girls rears up his head and says, "Well my KLO never beats MY hands up and maybe I'm just manlier than you guys! " and that's fine. The simple fact of the matter is that khukuries were used, for hundreds of years, as do-all agricultural tools and weapons, often as the SOLE tool of its type that its extremely tough but unfortunately impoverished owner possessed, and they used them every single day. And by 'used', I don't mean they went out on a Saturday afternoon, lopped some limbs off a non-offending tree and then stuck the blade in a stump and took a picture of it to post on a forum. They cut, they dug, they cleared, they slaughtered, they cooked, and very occasionally they fought. And the next day they got up and did it all again. They were fully capable of carving a little bird's beak/hook on the end of the handle if they'd wanted one, and yet it's conspicuously absent on just about any original you'll find, at least the non-ceremonial ones. People who use tools every day make those tools differently than hobbyists who just sort of know the concept. Go pick up a handsaw from 100 years ago and compare it to the best Ace Hardware offering you can find, for an example. Same applies to old guns. Amazingly, people who didn't have a word for "ergonomics" understood it far better than we seem to now.

  20. #20
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    Very well put, t1mpani.

    I would like to add that the kami's experience and knowledge of khukuri dynamics in the way he forges, shapes, heat treats and finishes his blades definately play a part in performance, just as the materials he uses does. There are hundreds of years of reasons why true nepali khukuri are made the way they are. Just because you may own a khukuri, doesnt necessarily mean that you understand them, their technique or mystique.
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