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Latest and Greatest Safety Thread. REQUIRED READING!

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Bill Martino, Aug 22, 2003.

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  1. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    Safety Thread: Be safe, not sorry!
    From: http://www.himalayan-imports.com/SafteyIndex.html


    1. A khukuri is a tool which has a sharp blade. It can and is used for many useful tasks. It is not a toy. Treat it with the respect that it deserves.

    2. Take the time to learn how to handle a khukuri properly. You'll find that your use will be more efficient and enjoyable.

    3. Always handle and use your khukuri with safety in mind. If you are not 100% dedicated to safety, you have no business using a khukuri.

    Below are some examples of things not to do and consequences:


    These fellows are not being serious about safety...


    Neither is this fellow...Do NOT do this at home or anywhere else!!!

    And this is an example of the damage a dropped khukuri can cause:


    4. Even when a khukuri is being sheathed and unsheathed, safety should be kept in mind.


    Notice how the user keeps his hand away from the edge area.

    And the wrong way to unsheath/sheath a khukuri...

    The fellow handling this khukuri was lucky to avoid serious injury to his hand. He could have ended up like this:


    5. Watch out for the sharp chape!! (this is the sharp brass thing covering the tip of the scabbard) Take a file and round it off or remove it completely.

    6. Maintain your khukuri. Keep it sharp and make sure that it fits snugly in its scabbard.
    If it needs repairs, consult Uncle Bill and the khukuri experts at the Himalayan Imports Forum for advice.

    7. If you are allowing others to handle your khukuris, make sure that you instruct them on how you expect them to handle them.
    This is for their safety and yours. If any doubt exists as to safety, do not let them handle your khukuris.
    After all, what responsible khukuri owner/user would give a sharp knife to an idiot? Remember, you are responsible for your khukuri.

    8. If you see another person using a khukuri in an unsafe manner, stop and instruct them in safe khukuri use. You, and they, will be glad you did.

    9. Once more, a khukuri is NOT A TOY!!! It is a sharp tool that can hurt you and others if not used with safety in mind.

    10. The pictures and information above were provided by Uncle Bill Martino, Tom Marker, Russell Slate, MauiRob, Howard Wallace's Khukuri FAQ, Terry Sisco and other responsible khukuri users.

    11. The author of this safety thread is not responsible in any way if you misuse a khukuri and hurt yourself in any way. You, and you ALONE are responsible for your actions. No exceptions.

    _ _ _

    Controlled safe cutting principles... By Ferrous Wheel

    As per a request, I'm adding this to the safety thread. Think of it as prevention...

    Consider these principles when or before attacking some unsuspecting lumber with your khuk:

    1 -Controlled Striking with the primary cutting edge:
    Before cutting hard targets, it is best to practice controlled striking (with the hardened area--have to determine that as well) on softer targets, like 2x4s and limbs. You can tell you're ready to move on to harder targets once you can always hit with the hardened area of the khuk (you can tell this by looking at marks on the blade made by cutting wood--they should mostly be in the primary cutting area).
    Conveniently, the Center of Percussion -- the 'sweet spot' -- of each HI khuk is the zone that is hardest. It is no accident that this is the primary cutting area of the khuk, and will deliver the most efficient cut.

    2 -Controlling force and depth of strike:
    When you swing the khuk at the target, do not think of striking at the surface of the target--but through it or many inches into it. Try cutting plywood edge-on to master this technique. You can draw a line 3-4 inches down on the side of the plywood, and aim for that depth of cut. This also makes you conscious of blade control--by cutting TO the line, not through it or above it, you learn to stop the khuks downward descent so that it does not exit the target out of control and into one's leg or arm or rocky ground...you also get a feel for the strikes that are too weak or not perpendicular to the target. As you must initiate the swing, so must you terminate the swing in a controlled fashion.

    3 - Ignore the Point (or tip) of the khuk:
    When using the khuk for cutting, realize that the tip (meaning the part of the blade that extends past the sweet spot) is really not the cutting area--The point is the secondary cutting area of the khuk. Most folks when swinging a sword or long blade for the first time want to strike with the point. This is not the sweet spot, and delivers an ineffective cut with no mass behind it (and using the softer tip, also a no-no).
    Basically, the last few inches of the khuk are there to put mass further out past the sweet spot, which is mass that converts to a more forceful blow. The tip is there to roll the blade through the target without snagging.
    When test cutting, ignore the tip of the khuk--act as if the khuk stops right after the hardened area. You will be surprised how well the tip of your khuk will hold up when it it not used as a primary chopping edge.

    4 -Think in arcs:
    Unlike a spear, arrow, or bullet, a khukuri does not travel in a line. It and other swung objects travel in an arc. When you swing your khuk, be aware of the start and finish (and everything in between) of the arc. Be aware that anything that gets in this arc is subject to being cut. Check the path of the arc by envisioning the swing, and make sure there are no obstructions.

    5 - Cut away from yourself:
    This basic rule for all knife use is paramount in khuk use, as they have two deadly ingredients --- mass and sharpness. When thinking in terms of arcs, the khukuri arc should always start closer to you than where it ends up. If you are swinging an arc that goes away from you but comes back close to you as well, you must rethink this arc or you risk injury. We all know that a khuk goes slicing thru most target materials much faster than we think it will, so do not assume that the target will miraculously stop the khuk dead.

    *Test cutting and extreme cutting principles*

    Edge profile:
    HI khuks are made with different edge geometry, which can mean there are different khuks for different tasks. I would not use a thinly profiled blade to cut wood, but it'd do a job on reeds, brambles, grass, underbrush (i.e Gelbu special). I would not use a thicker profiled blade to cut lighter targets, but it would be perfect for chopping lots of wood or harder test targets. The more obtuse the blade geometry, the better the blade will hold up to extreme cutting--conversely, it may not cut as deeply as a thinner model.

    Confirm your target:
    Know the composition of your target, and ensure that it is not harder than your khuk.
    When cutting certain high carbon or spring steels could really chew up a khuk. You can test target hardness by runnng the hardened area of the khuk along the target material, like peeling a carrot or shaving a sliver from a stick. If the khuk cuts or bites into the material, then you pretty well know how things are gonna go. If the surface is resistant to the khuk and the khuk will not bite, then you'd be better off not striking the target. Keep in mind that it is possible to successfully cut small amounts or thin pieces of material as hard as the khuk by exercising the principles in 1-5. Proper technique can make all the difference.

    If you practice for a while, master blade control and can use your wrist in conjunction with the swing to 'snap' the blow into the target, You will be ready for safe and effective cutting.


    _ _ _

    AND PLEASE.....!!! From Kismet

    1. Contain your initial enthusiasm.

    2. Go slower when you are tired, and be more deliberate in your actions.

    3. Stop before the accident. The job will stay there until you are rested.


    _ _ _

    Here's another safety article worth reading (Thanks to lcs37 for posting it)

    _ _ _

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2012
  2. Nasty

    Nasty Chief Cook & Bottle Wash

    Nov 11, 2003
    A new addition:

    George Azar likes this.
  3. Karda

    Karda Banned

    Jun 1, 2007
    Proper Batonning technique

    Using the "sweet spot" of the khukuri and hitting the spine forward of the curvature of the blade, over the "sweet spot", but behind the unhardened tip with a wooden baton, thus concentrating the most force over the hardest part of the blade. Just as you do not want to chop with the unhardened areas, you do not want to baton with them either.

    Keep the handle area level or slightly higher than the piece you are batonning and keep it from contacting the piece you are working on. Contact can break your handle or break the blade in the tang or cho areas and can also cause a serious hand injury.

    Use common sense when batonning. You should'nt try to split logs in half, this is what axes, hatchets, splitting mauls and wedges were made for. You should be creating "shake' or small firewood of up to approximately 4 inches, not processing lumber. The term "do not bite off more than you can chew" would apply here.

    Once you have embedded your khukuri into the wood you should NEVER raise the khukuri and wood as a unit by the handle and force the blade thru by slamming them to the ground, this can cause the blade to break at the tang or cho areas and can also cause a serious hand injury.

    As stated before, Always practice safe khukuri usage and exercise due care whenever you use your khukuri. You alone are responsible.

    George Azar likes this.
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