Field testing a GS and a question about the warranty.

Jun 9, 1999
Yesterday my Dad, brother and I were riding four-wheelers along our trail and we found a tree had fallen across one of them. It was a quaking aspen, a tree with very soft wood. They grow around here exceptionally fast, but are so weak they fall over in their prime, as this tree had done. It was about 12" or so in diameter, so I decided to chop through it with my GS.

The GS did an excellent job on the soft wood. It bit in very deeply, and within about 3 minutes I was halfway through. It didn't stick in the wood at all, even on my most powerful chops. I did have a slight problem with vibration of the handle though. Part of the problem was the cold, it was a little under 40 degrees at the time. I don't like chopping with gloves so my hands were pretty cold. The vibration of the handle seemed to be concentrated mostly at the butt, making my pinky and ring fingers sore, as well as the half of my palm below those two fingers. It's pretty easy to tell where the vibration hit the worst now, I can feel it every time I flex my hand!

The chopping performance of the GS diminished quite a bit once I was deep enough into the wood that the face of the cut was flat rather than round. I got around that by taking chunks out of the edge of the cut, which worked since I wasn't trying to go all the way through the trunk, I just wanted to weaken it enough that the four wheeler would be able to crack it apart the rest of the way.

Now for my warranty question. After I got about 3/4 of the way through the tree, the trunk cracked part of the way, but not far enough for the four-wheeler to break it the rest of the way. I decided I could possibly pry the trunk the rest of the way apart with the khukuri. My dad didn't like that idea though, he thought it would break. I decided not to argue, but it got me thinking; if I did manage to break a HI khukuri while I was prying something with it, would it be replaced under the warranty? I want to know for sure so if the situation occurs again I can tell dad it won't break and if it does it will be replaced.

On vibration - I find that the long thin khukuris like the Sirupati or the GS vibrate more than the wider models like the AK or the GRS. A stick tang will also help to minimize vibration.

On prying. While I can't speak to warranty issues, I have pried with my khukuries. When chopping pitchwood out of a stump with my 15" AK, I pried using the strength of my legs, similar to a leg press in the gym. I was able to flex the blade, but there was no permanent deformation. Remember, in their previous lives they were truck springs.

[This message has been edited by Howard Wallace (edited 04-18-2001).]
Howard, thanks for the feedback. This GS does have a stick tang though, which is why I commented on the vibration. I would have expected it with a chiruwa style tang, but from a stick tang it was a little surprising. I don't use this khuk for heavy chopping like that too often anyway, it's much better suited to clearing heavy brush and grapevines. It is nice to know that it can handle the big jobs in a pinch though.
A 12” diameter is a fair size piece of wood. Because you are attacking a round object the amount of wood that must be removed as you chop through it increases with penetration depth. Also, the khukuri has a long blade and as you go deeper it will contact more wood so it will not penetrate as deep. As you have found taking chunks out of the edge helps to get around this problem. It keeps up the force/length ratio from dimension.

Try holding the khukuri closer to the bolster to minimize vibration. I have found that vibration on the back of the handle can be severe and almost nonexistent if I held the khukuri normally. Do a search in the H.I. achieves, I think it was Cliff Stamp but he posted information about vibration dynamics.

I would not want to do heavy prying with a GRS. Due to the length of the blade you can generate a lot of leverage on it. Also, the cross section is not as suited for prying as an Ang Khola. I really don’t know what it can take. With the limited prying I have done, H.I. khukuri’s do flex when prying and will give you feedback before they fail (none of mine have broken but I was not trying to make them fail).

Thanks again for all replies.

Uncle Bill, thanks for confirming that for me. I was about 99% sure it was covered, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Will, thanks for the suggestion about holding it closer to the bolster, I'll have to try that. I'm not sure if you have a typo or if you misread my post though, I was using a Gelbu Special, not a Ganga Ram Special. Thanks for the info on prying, that's good to know. I doubt that I would be able to generate enough force for the blade to unexpectedly break, since I'm something of a lightweight.
Guess I didn't read your post too carefully
either. A GS, not a GRS HUH!? If you went 1/2
through 12 dia. 'soft wood' in three minutes
then I'd say...Chalk up one more for HI Khukuris! I have a 21" GS chiruwa on the way and your post just gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside
Glad I could help billpaxton
. The Gelbu Special is a really nice knife, and very versatile. It went through that tree without even dulling noticably (it REALLY is soft wood) and then took down some very small, light, springy thornbushes just as easily. It has a thin edge considering its size and weight, due to the fullers. My favorite thing to do with it is chop hanging grapevines. They're all through our woods, sometimes about 4" in diameter. The GS will go through one of the medium sized ones with one swipe if I get it just right. That's a lot better than the 18" Ontario machete I used to use on them