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Munk Chunk Cobalt Cleaver pics and mini-review

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Steely_Gunz, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Well the Thunderbird Munk Chunk has reached my sweaty anticipating little hands:) CHUNK is right! This thing is a beast!
    You know when the postman drops off one of those joyous triangular boxs and you pick it up to shake it and get your initial vibe from your new prize? Sometimes you KNOW there is a knife in there, but it feels like Yangdu has stuffed the box full of Reno newpaper and forgot to include the knife:) Those are the funny tricks of physics and stretching the weight across the whole bulky box. That was NOT the case with the Munk Chunk Cleaver. As a matter of fact, when i picked up the box I thought there was a miscommunication and Yangdu has sent BOTH beasts to me. After pulling the Chunk from it's cave I found it to feel every bit as heavy as it had in the box. I think Bura made this thing out of darkmatter. It feels heavier than it should.
    The first thing I noticed gripping the handle is that THIS THING IS THICK in the handle area!:eek: I'm used to my AK Bowie's feel with its smoothed grip and lighter weight. I think that if i'm very careful i'll be able to take some of the bulk off the handle without damaging the scrimshaw. Which brings me to my first pic.
    The artwork is beautiful. I could see this being an heirloom from yester year. For all of it's brutish power, the Thunderbird Cleaver has a romantic feel. Not in that sandbar fighting kind of way like the Rose. No I get the image of the lonely cowboy sitting around embers of the fire glowing red and unnatural with twilight's purple setting in, or is it dawn? The cowboy has been lost in his thoughts for days. His only companions are his Ivory Colt and the mystical Thunderbird gifted to him by a grateful Chinese railroad worker for saving his life. When he asked the worker where he got such a fantasic blade, he couldn't answer. In a swirl of broken english he claimed "it had always been". Moving across the world boot, belt, and saddle. What the man did know was that it was forged by starlight in the highest hut on the highest cliff of the highest mountains in the world. The cowboy smiled politely, and thanked the man for the generous gift of thanks. Just a silly old knife with a silly old story, but at night in his restless sleep the Cowpoke could hear the rhythmic sounds of hammers on anvils and the low roar of stoked coal. Stange voices in a language from another corner of the world filled his head. Stange, but it filled the drifter with peace. There was something special about this blade. His Western mind could not grasp it, but for the first time in years his focus was clear.... Maybe a story for the Cantina.
    Anyway, the scrimshaw is magical.
    Upon hefting the mighty Cleaver I KNEW this was NOT an AK Bowie that many of us are familiar with. Luckily, I figured the mailman would be stopping by today and brought my trusty older AK bowie along for a comparison.
    Take a look:
    You can tell they're in the same family, but I'd venture to say that these two could be legally kissing cousins. They have an different feel to them. The Thunderbird actually makes my AK Bowie feel like a fighter!:eek: The Thunderbird is WAY wider. I was hoping that it would fit in the fairly loose sheath I made for my AKB. No dice. I was really pleased to see that the scabbard is MUCH better on these compared to the older AKB's. First of all, they have incorporated a ring like that found on the katana and Sher Attitude so that it is impossible for the scabbard to slip through the frog (a gripe I have had with every AKB i have owned). Also, there are SEVEN. Count 'em, SEVEN lacings through the frog. Good thing too. This sucker is 32 oz!
    This last pic shows the real kicker...the blade thickness.
    The Thunderbird has a real live 1/2" spine compared to the AKB's 3/8" one. Pretty impressive.

    To sum up, the new Munk Chunk Cobalt AK Thunderbird Cleaver is really something. I won't know if it'll replace my old bura AK bowie until i modify the handle a bit. Hopefully without destroying the beautiful scrimshaw. Munks design is obvious. This thing is a cleaver. I really like it. I haven't lost sleep over an a new HI product in awhile. I was actually awake and wide eyed at 2am this morning. "What's it gonna look like?...Am I going to like it, or love it?...will my old AKB get it's feelings hurt?" I was not disappointed in the least:) I really enjoy this knife. Now i have to pick up the stuff to keep the handle nice and put a scary edge on it.

    On a final note, once and for all:
    We need decide as a forum what this thing is going to be named. Munk Chunk, Munk's Cleaver, The Cobalt Munk Special..what?

    Right now this particular one has been dubbed The Thunderbird. Obviously because it has a giant bird scrimshawed into the handle, but also because it speaks loudly. It calls to be used, and when it rains down whatever is under it's robust edge is going to feel the wrath of it's storm.

    edit: To make sure the fictional backstory had a lil' more Nepal to it;)
  2. ferguson


    Feb 21, 2001
    Wow. Nice knife. Knife? Pointy Cleaver. Wow.:D

    Thanks Jake.

  3. Josh Feltman

    Josh Feltman

    Feb 12, 2001
    Very nice!
  4. eswartz


    Jun 29, 2005
    I like it. I just noticed that this knife is heavier than any HI product I currently own (25 as of today, I know, I know, that is only a good start). My Bowie is only 20 oz. My Manjushree Sword is 29 oz. My 21" Chitlangi is 30 oz. Good Grief, I'll wait until they drop the weight on this one....

  5. hdwrlover


    Sep 21, 2003
    Naming? Take nominations, then have forum members vote. Might need several rounds to narrow choices to top 2 or 3.
  6. eswartz


    Jun 29, 2005
    I was kinda wondering how the AK Bowie got its name. What about it looks like a Ang Khola...the fuller?

    In that vein this could be the AK Cleaver.............nah I don't like that.

  7. Svashtar


    Dec 28, 2003
    I vote for the "Cobalt Munk Cleaver" or similar variant. Both of those worthy fellows have a hand in this one.

  8. Svashtar


    Dec 28, 2003
    Yep, got it's name because of the big fuller on the top just like on the AK. So the "AK" part of that wouldn't really fit on this beast.

  9. munk


    Mar 22, 2002
    I want to hear about the field work, Steely. I am so happy to see this. Your pictures captured the beauty and magnificance this knife actually has, better than Yangdu's earlier photo's.

    It is so cool to see the two Bowies side by side. And when I put Rusty's old blade beside the Cleaver, indeed; the contrast DID make the AK Bowie seem like a fighter by comparison. But the Cleaver handles well. It does feel good in the hand, at least to me. In fact, it feels pretty awesome.

  10. eswartz


    Jun 29, 2005
    Man, this knife could use a fuller. Maybe two. Cut that weigh a little.

    Does anything in Munk's requirements preclude a fuller?

    Munk or Jake, is this knife too heavy for the intended purpose of cleaving, or do you want it this heavy?

  11. shane justice

    shane justice

    May 12, 2003
    Good review Steely...whatcha gonna do to mod the handle?

    When does the Plain Jane version start rolling....

    HAs HI ever considered a wrapped handle?

    Sort of waiting for somebody to etch one of these so I can tell how the HT was done...

  12. munk


    Mar 22, 2002
    It has a fuller, I think; you just can't see it well in this picture. At least the prototypes did, and they are very beautiful.

    It works well as a cleaver. The weight is your friend for tough jobs. You let the weight and size of the cleaver handle the vegitable. It is not hard to rock back and forth over a carrot on a cutting board. I wouldn't classify it as a 'workout'. You lift the blade and gently lower it; the weight helping you to maintain control, because you're using less muscle push. Makes it safe to use, I think.

    And it really does outchop the tradtional AK Bowie on wood- at least, mine did. Gotta figure more forward weight.

  13. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    You really can't tell at all from the photos, and it's actually pretty subtle in real life, but this is a double fullered knife, sort of. it's got a shallow fuller near the spine like an AK, but it also has a fuller that sweeps from the cho towards the tip area. It really gives a "flow" to an otherwise "all business" blade. I've spent the better part of the last couple of hours sharpening and wiping the extra ink off the slabs. Man, this thing wears you our just handling it because it's grip is a big fat square because of the extra thickness at the spine. I think I feel some unneeded high spots on the under half of the grip that when sanded down should make this a lot more comfortable to the hand. I really like the knife itself though. I've already told myself that if I have to modify it, i have to modify it. I should be about to get the diameter right without damaging the Thunderbird scrimshaw at all...but the surrounding plants and fish might take one of the team;)

    I have heard about a dozen different names for this beast:

    The Cobalt Munk Special
    The Munk Chunk
    The Bullet Bowie
    The AK Cleaver

    We need to name this thing SOMETHING. I have a feeling that the kamis are going to drop the weight of this knife and really crank them out in the near future. I thought it was going to be an AK bowie without a clip point and a straight edge. I was wrong. It really is a pointy cleaver. It kind of reminds me of the lovechild between a young and proper cleaver that was swoon by a rough drifting bowie that came passing through her kitchen one day. The offspring was...different. This blade looks like it might have an origin story similar to Papa Saturn from the horror classis "The Hills Have Eyes". Just born big and mean, and when left to the elements of the desert he got stronger and meaner and thrived. This knife is really growing on me. A little modification and I'll be set;)
    On a side note, the edge sings on this one. I wouldn't think it possible for a 2lb knife, but it does. Thunderbird must be a songbird as well.

  14. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Thanks, Shane.
    I think there is plenty of places that I can take down along the top and bottom of the spine without messing up the birdie. I think i can take a rotory tool to it pretty easily.
    As fas as the heat treat goes. The edge seems to be a lot like a khuks with a really hard area for the sweet spot. The tip seems standard as far as hardness goes. The straight, while not as hard as the sweet spot, does seem to take more work for the file to bite. This is a keeper of a blade.
    As a cleaver it makes work easy, but rolling it around in my small hands really tuckers out my forearms:eek: I'll mod it tonight, and if i don't totllay screw it up, i'll post some pics tomorrow.

  15. munk


    Mar 22, 2002
    I was thinking we'd get around to Cobalt's original drawing someday. The AK Bowie but with the 'bullet point' instead of the clip point. IT would not have a cleaver straight flush edge. That is the real Cobalt Bowie.

  16. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    Jul 30, 2004
    Nice writeup, Jake. A good read.

    It's beautiful, big & scary. It has a simple brutality to it. Elemental.

    How about....

    "Yeti Tooth" :eek:

    "Himalayan Fang"

    "Camper's Horror Story"

    "Bear Killer"

    Something like that...

    at least it went to the right guy. Congrats.

  17. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Jake and Munk, I want to know which knife you would buy if you were only intending :)o ) to buy one? My wife the other night said "yes" to the AK bowie, but I like heavy knives, and this one is a beast. I do plan to carry the thing camping. Which one if you could only choose one?
  18. munk


    Mar 22, 2002
    I'd get the cleaver because it is more useful for me.


    Ever since this knife was proposed, I've wondered what we should do about the name. I wanted Cobalt to have credit, but the cleaver aspect throws that off, particularly when I'm fairly certain we can get a short run of the original Cobalt AK bowie. Yes, I think Yangdu would do that when we were ready. Three Bowies; all powerful.

    I'm not a knife guy, and if you put my net name in there somewhere's I'd get a big kick out of - laughter- good laughter- but if this is a sacred subject, and I know how knives and emblems and designs and initials mean more to some people than others, then don't put my name in. There are people who think my head is too swelled as it is, and today I took a screwdriver, drove it inside my cranium, and relieved some of the pressure.

  19. Berkley


    May 5, 1999
    Jake, that's an amazing knife, but you need to modify the fireside backstory a little. That ain't no Chinese Thunderbird, it's a Nepalese danphe. I leave it to your imagination how the old Gurkha vet made it from the Raj to the American frontier, met the cowboy and gave him the precious blade which had saved his own life during the Sepoy Rebellion...
  20. Krull


    Aug 18, 2005
    I like the looks on this one more...less bowie more utility knife..

    How about we name'er the "MCC" et "Munk Chunk Chopper"? :D

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