HI Khukuri VS Bowie

wildmanh

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Last spring I went camping, took some Khukuris (16.5" WWII at 24oz and 20" Sirupati at 23oz both by Bura) and a few Bowie knives (SOG Tigershark old Convex edged SK5 steel model and Kabar Heavy Bowie). It was a nice little trip with a coworker, just up Provo's Rock Canyon for a few hours. Camping was outlawed in the area a few weeks after we went so we won't be doing that area again....

Anyways I've see a lot of posts about chopping with Bowies (Kabar, SOG, Busse and others) recently and some have been shoot outs with Khukuri and Khukuri shapped objects and Machetes. Seems like the Machetes and bowies have been winning the tests which I find rather odd. On the campout last spring I tested some of the same blades others have and my Khukuris have out chopped the other blades. I've also out chopped the Machetes with them. Most of my chopping has been against either standing dead wood or green trees being removed for trail clearing. Every time I do a shoot out between Khukuris and Bowies or Machetes the Khukuris win hands down.

So the question is, what gives? Why am I getting such different results then others? A bowie in my hands almost feels like a blunt object but if I pick up my Sirupati it gracefully slices through what ever I want it to. I'm guessing that I've practiced my Khukuri chopping technic so much over the years that I've forgotten how to use other large knives assuming that I knew how to be effective with them in the first place. Am also considering that Maybe what Bura forged my 2 khukuris he had brush and green wood in mind. What do you all think about this? Questions and comments welcome!

Heber
 
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Could be any number of factors... the comparative edge geometry of your knives versus the other tester's knives is the one that springs to mind first for me.
 
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I would risk this answer: Khukuris have a longer learning curves than bowies. Once you learn how to hit with the sweet spot, Physics will do the rest.
 
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I would risk this answer: Khukuris have a longer learning curves than bowies. Once you learn how to hit with the sweet spot, Physics will do the rest.

Bingo!! From my experience the wrist snap is not intuitive to most people, so they try to muscle it. The khuk loses some of it's efficiency if not used correctly.
 
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I think the learning curve has a lot to do with it. I bet a lot of these reviews are the first times the knives are handled. It's not often people review old knives. Usually an assortment of shiny new steel arrives and it's off to the woodpile for "testing".

Once you get a feel for a khukuri you realize the devastating power it possesses.
 
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I think the learning curve has a lot to do with it. I bet a lot of these reviews are the first times the knives are handled. It's not often people review old knives. Usually an assortment of shiny new steel arrives and it's off to the woodpile for "testing".

Once you get a feel for a khukuri you realize the devastating power it possesses.

There is definitely some technique involved in chopping with any recurve. I do have some large straight blades that are darned good choppers, though. After a little practice with it, I am going to put my new Ang Khola up against my new Crash Axe and a Busse FBM (bowie).
 
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Doesn't everyone snap the wrist when chopping with a khuk or large knife? (scratches head)

On the other hand, the "draw cut' I find very difficult, say, when using parangs or goloks. Kind of a wrist snap equivalent for backwards-curving blades.
 
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Doesn't everyone snap the wrist when chopping with a khuk or large knife? (scratches head)

On the other hand, the "draw cut' I find very difficult, say, when using parangs or goloks. Kind of a wrist snap equivalent for backwards-curving blades.

I've seen some people work way to hard using a machete.
You let it rotate in a 3 finger grip and it cuts easier.
 
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Maybe their khukuris had poor geometry. I had a Bura, forget the model, which had the worst geometry of any knife I have ever seen. went to 1/4" thick maybe 1/2" behind the edge. so there is a lot of variation in such hand made items.
 

wildmanh

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So far people think it's the lack of practice which gives the Bowies and other straight knives the edge and other edge geometry. I've been thinking it could be both.

Had a SwampRat Camp Tramp (7" bladed Bowie thats about 1/4" thick) that was really strong and held a descent edge. But it didn't chop as well as a knife of it's size and mass should. The edge was to thick. My BK-9 (9" bladed Bowie) was a hair under 1/4" thick and didn't feel as blade heavy but it cut and chopped better. Much thinner convex edge. I kept the BK-9 and sold the CT. The CT cut as well as my 12" AK, but I liked the AK better so I also kept it. Figured at the time that since I needed the money and I already had 2 other blades of a simmaler size and useage that I'd keep the 2 that worked for me.

Last night I was thinking about my problem with using Bowies, The fact that thwy are not effective choppers in my hands. Well, my idea is that I bought my first Khukuris before buying Bowies so I have way more practice with them. Years ago before buying a KHukuri I used a Hatchet/Axe and a Old Hickory Chefs knife to do my chopping. The Old Hickory did the light stuff and I used the hatchet or axe for bigger stuff. The Chefs knife was used like a Machete when not used in the kitchen. Since I learned chopping with a Khukuri and not a Bowie, I'm obviously going to be better with the Khukuri.

Others please weigh in on this. Would love to know what you all think. :)

Heber
 
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Heber,

I've used bowies of various sizes for over 50 years and think they make great all-around
using knives.
There is NO way any "normal" sized bowie (say up to 11" blade) will outchop a real khukuri like one of HI's. It just doesn't have the blade mass.
The testers you refer to must have misused the khuk (probably by letting the handle twist in their hands and hitting glancing blows) or used some awful bent piece of metal that someone mistakenly called a khukuri.
It's really just basic physics -- a bowie with anywhere near the blade mass of a real khuk would near un-useable for any other knife chores.
Where's Cliff Stamp when we need him for a physics lesson?
 
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I just posted a chop-off over on Busse Forum. My fat FBM edged out the HI AK. But the fatty has 4 ounces on it. I was quite pleased with the HI's performance. The Busse Fat Fusion Battle Mistress is a tank. I'm pretty sure one of the heavier HI khukuris with a good edge can take it.
 
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I've seen some people work way to hard using a machete.
You let it rotate in a 3 finger grip and it cuts easier.

This is a grip I've heard about for Indonesian and other southeast Asian blades... the hand low on the hilt, and practically all of the movement generated in the wrist and a little in the elbow.

As per an HI Khuk to beat out the FBM in chopping... I reckon if you could find a Bonecutter with the same weight when Sgt. Khadka makes more, that'd be the chopper to test all others against, save professional hatchets/axes.
 
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Let's not forget personal biases. It's not unreasonable for a tester's preferences to translate into skewed results. Even without being completely aware of it. It only takes a little observation of various threads to see that many members are heavily invested in their particular favorites.
 
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The material will make a big difference, as well. A very thin blade will tend to penetrate more deeply than a much thicker one, even if the thin blade doesn't hold up as well in the long run, or tends to bind.
 
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