Broken Khukri

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by falnovice, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. falnovice


    Oct 9, 2005
    Well now, where do I begin?
    Since it was New Years Day and I didn't have much to do I decided to bum around the house most of the day. I did a little paperwork for work, futz with some side projects and even took a short nap . Late in the afternoon I went to stir up the fire and toss some more wood it. All big stuff.....God love my wife but she burns all the small wood up. So I decide to split up some smaller stuff as I am kneeling there by the stove. Now I usually use a hatchet for such work, but I just happened to have my Khukri within reach and figured I would give it a go.

    Full Disclosure:
    I purchased this HI Chiruwa AK about a year and a half ago from Daniel Koster. He had done "the works" treatment on the edge and karda. I have never had a complaint about this Khuk, and as my first one it rather ruined me for other khuks. Last year after I hurt my left arm I used this khuk to split wood. Mostly splitting halves and quarters down. To do so I would place the piece of wood on my chopping block, and chop into it with the khuk. Sometimes the khuk would split the wood with one swing, especially the straight grained stuff. But often it would not. So, with the blade buried in the stick I would lift it up a couple feet and slam it into my chopping block to finish the split. I have probably done this a hundred times with no issues.

    So, back to today. I snag the khuk and decide to give batoning a go. I am not big on batoning stuff....primarily because I usually have the right tool for the job so why force another tool? But I have never batoned with the Khuk so I wanted to see what it would do. At first I was pretty impressed. Bear in mind that I was not spliting large pieces here, only smaller ones, but even still most pieces split with two or three good whacks. Very few pieces could remain whole once the spine of the khuk was level with the top of the piece. Very impressive. However, a couple pieces were fairly knotted and resistant. So, as per my previous experience, once the blade was fully sunk into the wood I picked in up and slammed the wood onto the floor.
    Unfortunately, this time the khuk broke. :(

    I'm really not looking for anything other than opinions. I don't expect HI to replace it as I did not buy it directly from them. But I am curious if this is my fault or a bad blade. While I have split wood with it, I have never used this knife as a prybar.
    What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  2. MassMatt


    Apr 2, 2006
    Wow, that stinks, I am so sorry this happened to you--at least no one was hurt! I am no expert but the structure of the steel at the break doesn't look right to me, maybe there was a flaw in the heat treat. And while I appreciate that the cho has great cultural significance, it seems clear it does weaken the blade, look where the break occurred. Most HI kukris are so overbuilt it never happens, but here we are.

    I believe HI used to warranty the knives forever regardless of who bought/sold them but had to discontinue it because unscrupulous people were buying (very)used blades online etc and deliberately breaking them to get a new one. That said, Yangdu is awesome, I hope she can/will help you.
  3. Karda

    Karda Banned BANNED

    Jun 1, 2007
    I havent been here all that long, but i've read darn near everything on the retail sites pages and in the archives here, this is the first time i've ever seen or heard of a churwa Ak breaking at the cho like that. That looks like it was an earlier model the looks of the english kami initials. That really sux.
  4. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    A fairly clean break like that seems to indicate it was too hard and brittle at that point. From what I've gathered over the years, the kukri shouldn't be all that hard down there, and should not just break.

    However, I do remember this (cracking/breaking at the cho) being an issue several years ago.

    So, I'd say it's a flaw in the blade. I've chopped like you describe (on some BIG stuff, too) and batoned the hell out of my favorite CAK and it's no worse for wear.
  5. Acinonyx


    Dec 25, 2008
    The web-shop description does say that “If you can break it we'll send you two free. A good chopped and substitute prybar.” To me, that break looks like some sort of metal fatigue, and I don't think that should ever happen to a properly heat-treated knife from HI.
  6. seaice


    Mar 22, 2007
    That crystalline appearance of the broken surface reminded me of the mid 1990s when a front stub-axle on a well-known German make of automobile sheared through.... the UK office of the company simply couldn't care less, didn't even want to see the broken part -- "it's out of warranty, and what do you expect with a four year old car" was their comment. :eek:
    Just one day before it broke (causing brake and steering failure), I'd been driving the car on twisty, single-track coastal road in the Highlands, with a steep drop down to the sea.....
    So such things can happen with the giantest of companies too; except that with them it is more likely to happen in batches, than a one-off flaw. :(
  7. paua


    Jun 16, 2008
    This is why we try very hard to get Busse Combat Knife to make Khukuri.
  8. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Man that sucks:( You're in a sticky situation here. To my amateur eye, it looks like the khuk was overly hardened at the cho area. Usually, this area is left pretty soft to absorb most of the chopping abuse. Sometimes, a hasty hand will splash too much water and accidentally harden the cho. Generally speaking, a failure in this area tends to rear its ugly head in the first few minutes of heavy chopping. That said, I once sent an old AK that I had used but not really abused to a forumite as a bit of a gag gift (this khuk was Ugggggleeee). After 3 years of constant use by me without fail, the blade pinged off under the bolster the first time he took it out and about. Khuks are funny things.

    However, the universal warranty is the sticking point. Due to the abuse of the policy by a few, all of us now have to deal with a bit more restriction. The 'bay is to blame, really. Buy a used khuk at next to nothing, put it in a vice and use a 6' cheater bar to snap it in half, and submit it as warranty to HI getting yourself a a brand new shiny khuk. It's a shame:(

    My advise to you is to go ahead send Yangdu an email explaining the situation. If you can, ask Dan what he remembers about the khuk. Send a link to this thread to Yangdu as well. She always makes the most fair decisions for everyone involved. Maybe she has something sitting around looking for a good home at a good price.
  9. casio


    Nov 17, 2008
    too bad about your CAK. have you e-mailed Yangdu?
  10. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I'm sure Busse could make a fantastic khuk, Paua:thumbup:. I love their stuff. That said, I'd put money on the fact that our friend here did not pay Busse prices for his khuk;) Both companies fill a very distinct niche and fill it well:)
    I have lusted after a Busse for years and years. However, I'm not at a financial level to enjoy their offerings just yet.
  11. Pahtoocara


    Feb 9, 2006
    This could be interesting. It does appear the cho played a part in this knife breaking.
  12. The_Shadow


    Apr 18, 2006
    I had a Buck General knife that broke under the exact same conditions after about 15 years of service. I sent half the knife back to Buck and they honored their guarantee and sent me a new knife with no questions at all. I am certain HI would honor their guarantee as well, and you should not feel bad about asking for it, in my opinion.
  13. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    I think it'd be likely that Yangdu would honor the warranty. You could tell if it was purposely broken because there would be plastic deformation around the break. But since it wasn't initially yours. . .she might just make you a deal on another one. Definitely email her. I'm sure she'd want to know about it no matter the outcome you two agree to.
  14. GregS


    May 6, 2008
    Man that sucks, good thing nobody got hurt or killed. I agree with others that said it looks like a hasty heat treat. That is unless the "works" done by the previous owner drastically and obviously altered the heat treat. I think you're entitled to a deeply discounted one at the very least. I hope HI takes care of you, keep us posted... I'm very interested in hearing the outcome. Best of luck too you.:thumbup:
  15. Yangdu

    Yangdu [email protected] Himalayan Imports-Owner Moderator

    Apr 5, 2005
    Hello, falnovice I am sorry to hear about the broken blade. Now and then we will have few blade failure but you are covered with HI guarantee. Email me your correct mailing address to: [email protected] and will ship the replacement CAK today.
  16. MagenDavid

    MagenDavid Want some Kosher Salami?

    Nov 2, 2008
    Gee... I wonder why everyone has all these nice things to say about Yangdu. Oh... wait...

    You know, it just dawned on me, isn't there a thread floating around here where everyone just says why they love her?
  17. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Can't beat that:D :thumbup:

    Ya know, these things just happen. Luck or fate is on our side when no one gets hurt. When I was 17 I had an old 1977 Camaro as my first car. I loved that thing:) However, like all cars, it had it's quirks. One day i noticed that the engine was making a goofy noise as I was heading down the driveway to school. I leave the car running and pop the hood to take a look. It sounds out of balance. The engine is rocking on its mounts. I'm not a car guy, so I start to drive it up to my dad's barn a few hundred feet away for him to look at it. About 50' into my journey a loud THUNK is heard and a clear cut and outward dent is visible on my hood. The balance issue had to do with a loose fan blade. A fan blade that was spinning right under my face just a moment before. It had sheared off and gone straight up cutting into the thick steel hood. That would have been right where my neck was.

    Someone was looking out for me that day;)
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  18. J_Curd


    Jul 26, 2006
    Awesome service. Glad no one got hurt. "Throwing" a blade like that during a swing could've done serious damage.
  19. starboard


    Apr 28, 2007

    It seems unlikely the handle was removed, the cho heated to a suitably incendiary temperature, quenched, and the handle reapplied. By Daniel Koster. ;)

    But indeed, the sharp angle created by the mysterious cho protuberance is a stress raiser, especially if formed by chisel rather than compressive hammering. (The same goes for bolt threads that are cut rather than rolled).

    On a working chopper, it might be a good idea to take a Dremel to the cho and radius all the corners, remove any chisel indentations, and polish the result.

    (I will take my own advice when time permits, and post up some photos)
  20. seaice


    Mar 22, 2007
    My worst was a round of high-velocity .22 rimfire hitting a stone about 50 yards away and coming back to chip a chink of roughcast off the wall just inches away from my head...... hard to live it down, missing myself at that range.

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