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Gelbu Special broke

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by kazushi, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. kazushi


    Jul 25, 2011
    I was testing my Gelbu Special batoning a piece of wood and the brass/metal piece that fits over the end of the tang at the pommel split open and came loose.
    The steel held up fine and the handle and blade are secure everywhere else so that is pretty good. It seems the weak spot is that piece of brass at the end of the pommel.
    Are other HI models any stronger in this area? I'm sure that a CAK would have thicker blade, be better chopper etc but the Gelbu held up it was just that one brass piece at the end.
    I probably shouldn't even be batoning with the Gelbu but I wanted to test it. Are there any HI knives where the metal over the pommel is stronger? Because the end of the Rat tail tang broke through mine and it came loose. Everything else held up well it was just that one piece. Anyone else have any problems with that piece?
  2. jdk1


    Apr 21, 2010
    Well, let me be the first to ask for pics:D. I believe you are referring to the keeper. The small, diamond shaped piece on the pommel which the end of the tang should be peened over. If that's the case, this isn't too rare for khukuri of any make from what i've seen. It seems to be an issue of construction method. Sometimes the peening job just doesn't move enough metal and it gives under shock. Hopefully someone with personal experience will chime in, but from what I've read, it can be fixed pretty easily. If you can get the kepper back over the tang, I believe you would get some good epoxy coverage in the area, replace the keeper, then re-peen the tang carefully. I haven't done it, but it sounds simple (famous last words right:)). Pics will certainly help. Any khuk can have this issue, except the ASTK, which has no butt plate, and isn't indicative of strength. The warranty for a Gelbu may not cover heavy field use, but they have been used for such with success. I personally wouldn't worry about your khuk after repairing this keeper issue. Good luck and please document your repair as it helps to have the info available for others.
  3. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002

    Excellent advice all around :)
    The keeper is probably more cosmetic than anything, actually. If you think about that big ol' tang held in by all that epoxy with a brass plate over the end of the tang that also has some epoxy on it, there isn't much that the keeper is really holding on by that point. I'd also try to get the keep over the tang and epoxy it down with a heavy duty modern epoxy. Then give the exposed tang a few pops with a ball peen and she should be ready to rock and roll for 100 years.
  4. Yangdu

    Yangdu [email protected] Himalayan Imports-Owner Moderator

    Apr 5, 2005
    If you have further problem on repair work then send the GS back to HI for replacement, kazushi
  5. kazushi


    Jul 25, 2011
    Ok thanks Yangdu, I will try and fix it myself. I was at camp in Adirondack mountains in NY and was trying it out. I was surprised because the tang broke through the keeper and made it loose but it didn't really affect the functionality of the knife at all.
    Maybe I can drill out a hole in the Keeper and then glue it down over the tang. Because it really doesn't do much but is for looks.
    Is the epoxy that holds that on just tree sap?
  6. kazushi


    Jul 25, 2011
    i dont know what materials HI uses but I heard for an epoxy they use some kind of a tree sap called Laha. My friends in the field were to USA carpenters and they laughed about using tree sap and suggested modern epoxies. They were very surprised that it held up to as much abuse as it did with using old stuff like tree sap. I wonder if it is more than just this.
  7. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    If you can get it off and scrape out the hole some, and you want to fill the hole with Brownell's Acraglass and put the tang back in it probably will not ever do it again. Sometimes the tang does not have enough filler around it and the backlash in the tang hole when it contacts a hard object can crack the back of the handle also. That's interesting that yours cracked the keeper. Maybe the shape of the blade or way it impacted exerted more stress there. Usually it's the back of the handle.
  8. Dirtbiker

    Dirtbiker Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 2, 2010
    Your friends joke about lala but once you try to remove it you will see it's no joke, lala is tough stuff. I do agree that modern epoxies are better but lala suits it's intended purpose just fine.
  9. sweetcostarica

    sweetcostarica Banned BANNED

    Jan 18, 2012

    Most of the Khukuris used in the past in Nepal and possibly the present are partial or hidden tang. These partial tangs are held in place with this very dark natural “Laha” (Nepali traditional glue). That is it. No pins, no stick tang penned over, just this glue and pressure.

    IMA Hoard of Khukuri.jpg tangs3gy.jpg
    Left: IMA Kukris Right: 2006 photo of partial/hidden tangs by the possum

    I have four 100 year old IMA and ACC Nepali Military Kukris and all have totally solid partial/hidden tang handles. So I wouldn't worry about the Butt plate or re-penning just try to replace the end piece with epoxy if you want to and use as normal. God Bless.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  10. hunglvq


    Jun 8, 2008

    Knowing that you are on the move but it's always best if you could post a picture. :)

    I assume the handle was not fully filled up with laha. There was still some empty space inside. When you chop, shock from the chop transmit to be vibration to the stick tang. That is why the keeper came loose. Jay Goliath has experienced the same thing once with his Salyan.

    The solution is to remove the whole handle using the boiling method. Brush off all the laha both on the tang and inside the handle. Then use slow set epoxy to reattach the handle.

    You should use slow set epoxy as it is very thin and can flow to the deepest corner, and make sure there is no hollow or spongy space left inside.

    Same method applied to reattach the butt plate.

    Peening is also easy with a small hammer. It's not so difficult as we may think.

    GBS is a great blade from HI that you can always enjoy.

    Have fun

  11. Heattreet


    Nov 4, 2011
    1. Anything can be broken
    2. Nepalis would expect to break the handle at some point in time.

    The blade is the important part after all and they routinely last generations. When a handle is broken, they simply make a new handle and continue using their khukuri.

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