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My first Himalayan Import?

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by ShamrockWill, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    Hello khuk lovers,
    I'm very new to all this. I just found out about HI two days ago, but since then I have been fascinated. I was gonna buy the same Ka bar Khukuri machete my brother has until I second guessed myself, googled "Best Khukuri", read lots of forum posts, and found out there was a clear consensus of "Himalayan Imports" as the answer. So here I am contemplating my first purchase from HI and I need help!
    So far, I want to buy everything!!! But... I'm on a tight budget and the only reason I can spring for one is that I just rolled up all my change and came up big this time. Anyways I'm looking for one that I will mainly use to replace the old crap machete for chopping back the blackberry bushes that surround my property. Ironically they are "Himalayan" blackberry bushes and they are very invasive when they're growing in Northern California. for that reason I need some length, so I'm looking at something in the 20-25 inch range that is light enough for me to use for an extended period of time.
    BUT, I wont be getting another one of these for quite some time so I also am looking for an "all around" khukuri that I can take hiking/camping and is capable of slicing through 2 or 3 inch tree branches with a single well placed blow and can be used as a chopper in a pinch.
    Right now I can't make up my mind between the 20" Serupati, the 21-22" Gelbu Special, or the 25" Kobra. I guess I am leaning towards the Gelbu, but will it be light enough? The website does not list a weight for either of the sizes offered. Any and All responses will be greatly appreciated.
    Sorry for the long post but I found a Benchmade pocket knife (my first high quality knife) in a river over Fourth of July weekend and it has renewed my interest in knives and multiplied it by a thousand ie: I am now a collector. I was gonna get the Ka bar now and save for another Benchmade but now I must have a HI Khukuri and I'm saving for another. Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. Shann


    Sep 2, 2004
    The 25" kobra would be cool, but it is more of a sword at that length and is not a chopper. It is not what you want for a user; it is more of a martial arts weapon and when you get to that length, they aren't as user friendly. I have a 30" sirupati that is awesome but frankly except for my son using it to beat down an overgrown hedge, its never been used.

    The sirupati is indeed light for an HI but probably heavier duty than any machete you've had before. I think it would work very well on brush but I don't know about chopping. I've heard great stuff about the Gelbu but its one I don't have myself. I have an 18" WWII that is my all around user.
  3. willywonka


    Mar 26, 2004
    From your list, the 21 inch Gelbu is great as an all arounder BUT it is quite abit heavier than a normal machete and I was surprised as to how thick it was. My all arounder is a WWII as well. Also if you want something akin to a heavier machete, that is a definitely a khuk, look at a 21 inch chitlangi. They are works of art and my favorite khuk. They move much faster than a gelbu but are definitely heavier than a kobra. Maybe some sirupati guys can weight in.
  4. moogoogaidan


    Feb 21, 2009
    To be honest, you might be better served with a machete for your tasks, not an authentic khuk that HI offers. Even the lightest khuks (sirupatis, kobras, gelbu specials) are much thicker than the thickest machetes so they'll also weigh more. More weight equals slower swing. Slower swing means less clean cuts to springy brush.

    Machetes are sweet to collect and use, too! You can buy a dozen machetes of different styles and lengths for less than $100, and some of them don't make bad choppers at all. Remember, there are two types of chopping -- quick chops and heavy, crushing chops. I prefer quick chopping.
  5. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    Alright, I've already made up my mind about getting a HI Khukuri. I'll do some blackberry bush cutting around the house but I guess I'm really looking for one I can take on a hike and use to clear a path through heavy brush and trees. I am looking for something light and long, but I know it will way a ton more than a machete. I'm a big strong guy (6'1" 190lbs) who lifts weights and I can easily use my brothers Ka bar which weighs in at 27oz. 2lbs is only 32oz so I guess I'm looking for one that's 2lbs or less but 20" or more. Thanks again. -Will
  6. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    It doesn't fit your length requirements, but the Tamang usually comes in at 18-18.5" and is the most machete like HI blade I've used. IMO it's better for such use than my 20" sirupate.
  7. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    I couldn't find the Tamang on the HI website. Does anyone know how much the Gelbu Specials weigh? Is the 25" Kobra really that heavy? it says it comes in between 1.5 and 2 pounds. That doesn't seem too heavy for something that long, especially if it was towards the 1.5. Plus, I guess Tom Holt likes them. Also how thick are the Kobras. I'm still totally up in the air between a 20" or 25" Kobra, 21" Gelbu (pending the weight issue) and a 20" Sirupati. I guess now I'm leaning towards the 20" Kobra because of its light weight. Can anyone testify to the slicing and or chopping ability of this blade? Sorry, way too many questions I know. -Will
  8. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    Man, now I'm thinking 20" Sirupati because it weighs a little more than the Kobra and I want to be able to chop through at least some inch to 2 inch branches also. I want the perfect khukuri for for slicing my way through the jungle like Rambo. I can't make up my mind. Any thoughts?
  9. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    First, look in the links in my signature, they provide pictures of many models that you've never seen. Fairly few of the available items are on the HI website. I think Yangdu does the lion's share of her business here, so we see many new items and variations that you'll never see in the store.

    I also highly recommend you read the sticky thread detailing the HI warranty. You'll find the Kobra not under warranty for any of what you want to do. I don't know where Yangdu draws the line between general use and field use, but 2" branches may get you into field use territory. In which case, she gives a short list of models warrantied for such, and the super lightweights are not on that list.

    ETA: In fact, Here is the link for the warranty

  10. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    Thanks! Now I'm thinking forget berry bushes I want an all around survival Khuk. One warranted for field use would be nice too, so I guess I'll forget about the Kobra's and Sirupati's for now. I have read some very good reviews of the 18" Gelbu Special saying it was a good "all around Khuk" kind of a mix of a Sirupati and an AK, but it's not on the field use list. The CAK is tempting me now as well cause that pry bar warranty sounds awesome. Still looking for one that's not too heavy and I prefer around 20". if I go shorter than 18" it will be for a CAK but I still would like it to be a little longer. I'm just as confused and undecided as ever??? Maybe I'll get lucky and get a chance to grab a blem. That way I could be in the market for a second khukuri. Still taking suggestions Thanks! -Will
  11. shortwinger

    shortwinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    First let me say welcome. Then let me warn that you are heading for disapointment. You must completly understand the following definitions before you go on.
    Machete - Used to cut "VEGETATION", vines and small brush. It normally has a very fast thin "flat" blade that "slices" through smaller vegetation.
    Kukri - Big heavy blade used as a weapon and as an ax. The blade has a grind used to explode wood like an ax or hatchet.

    The machete does not work like a kukri and will break under harder chopping which can be very dangerous to anyone around. The kukri by comparison makes a lousy machete because it is far too heavy and the blade's grind and edge do not grab and slice vines and smaller vegetation, they bulldoze it out of the way but rarely cut it.

    In your description you hone in on a general "all around" camp knife. That would suggest something more like a BSI or 15" AngKhola, not a 20" - 25" blade. If you wanted to go up a bit in size from the BSI/15 AK, I would suggest the 18" models such as the ASTK, Bonecutter or M43. They are lighter and faster than the same sized CAK which means easier to carry and light enough to still be used for smaller more delicate jobs. Using a CAK for smaller jobs is like using a crane to remove a sliver!

    IMHO, going up to the 20-15" blades will end up being a desk ornament, it will see very little sunlight. The last three days there has been very nice village M43's posted for sale that would have been perfect unless that is more than you want to spend.

    Good luck in your search.
  12. JayGoliath


    Mar 27, 2010

    I agree with Bill on the machete and Khuk comparison; Khuk's a hybrid of axe and knife, front heavy and you ought to practice safety. It's not a knife AND Axe.
    It's a combo of both.
    Cpl's suggestion on Tamang is a good idea since it's light enough for the chores but still managed to handle light chopping. Anything heavier will command a stout construction like CAK or Bonecutter.
    My ASTK isn't good at slashing bush but my Billhook excels in it.

    On choosing the length, you might want to consider your built. 16-18" are what most Gurkhas will pick. Though they are shorter, they are very skilled wielder.
    You want a size comfortable enough for you to start from basic. Once you get hooked there's no turning back.
  13. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    Still can't find a Tamang. Also havn't seen or heard of a Billhook before. Can you send me some pics and specs of these? Also how does everyone feel about the use of an 18" Gelbu Special or Chilangi for my purposes? I've read both as described as somewhere between a Sirupate and an Ang Khola. That sounds like what I might be looking for.
  14. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Bottom one in the pic is a Tamang, 18.5" (top is a farm knife)


    The tamang is a thin blade, light, and makes the best machete of any kukri-shaped blade that HI makes, IMO. I would NOT use it extensively for chopping any wood over 1" in diameter. It may survive, but the bevel angle on mine is very thin, and I don't think that's an anomaly. They are meant to be thin and machete-like.

    I don't know how big you are, but a 20" anything bigger than a sirupate may be a case of your eyes being too big for your hands, so to speak. I'm not tall, but am quite large and strong, and a 20" CAK is my primary kukri. I'll be the first to admit it's a battleship of a kukri. Now I did make the bevel into a shallow convex, rather than the straight bevel it came with. It does chop wood better than the same length axe, splits wood great, and is sharp enough that it cuts light vegetation just fine. However, if you are going to play Tarzan and hack a lot of light vegetation all day, a 3+ pound kukri is not what you want to be using.

    Let me reiterate WHY I picked a 20" CAK as my first, and still my primary, kukri. I wanted what is essentially the most unbreakable "Armageddon-ready" blade that can chop wood to make shelters in survival situations FAST, can be honed to cut light things if needed, and can lop heads and limbs in case, you know, the Borg invade or something. I'm also big and strong and can probably swing the beast as well as an average build guy can swing a 16.5" CAK.

    Now, if I were to pick the best all-round kukri, and DID NOT insist that it be bombproof, I'd pick an 18" M43, especially if they make them lighter like they originally did. The shape of the M43 helps it chop better than other kukri of the same length and weight, can be honed to cut light stuff very well also. I also prefer the more "pointy" profile of the blade, not just for combat use, but for woodscraft use (it makes a better tool to drill bow drill divots, for instance), versus the WWII, BAS or Bonecutter.

    You need to understand that kukri are truly all-purpose blades, made for people who probably can't afford more than one, ever. With that comes drawbacks. A kukri will be heavier for light jobs than a dedicated light chore tool. It will also require more effort to do large jobs than a two handed, heavier tool like an axe. The benefits are, you get one tool to carry around that you can leanr to do anything you need to do. Most models (note: not the tamang) comes with a small knife (karda) for small chores and chakma (sharpening steel), that are carried in the same sheath. Obviously designed as a do-all system.
  15. Shamrockninja


    Jul 7, 2011
    Excellent post.
    Informative replies like this one convinced me to register here.
    I emailed Yangdu recently about a few blades, and got a very quick response, and was planning on pulling the trigger on a Cherokee rose and a Ultimate fighter, however after reading more posts here I may have to opt for a more original style HI Khuk first.
    They have so many fine blades.. I dont know where to start first!!!!

    Im a nutty collector that always goes overboard, and HI has re-ignited the collecting fire within me.
    Before the year's up Im sure Ill be happily posting picture of a small arsenal of HI products

    Thaks bladeforums and HI for helping me convince my wife that we should invest in some awesome steel rather than new blinds for the living room :p
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  16. ShamrockWill


    Jul 7, 2011
    The Tamang is cool, but not quite beefy enough for me. I'm gonna forget about using the Khuk for berry bush whacking and focus more on trail clearing and tree limbing. If it weighs the same as the WWII then the M-43 is a bit heavier than I would like. I am a 6'1" 190lb strong and athletic 25 year old (I can do 22 pull ups in one set) but I'm looking for something around 28oz or 1.75lbs. I could go up to 2lbs but no heavier than that. after reading many reviews I'm still leaning towards either a Chitlangi or Gelbu Special. I would prefer the 21 inch models but am not sure if they would be heavier than 2lbs? Any thoughts on those two particular models would be much appreciated. -Will
  17. fearn


    Apr 12, 2005
    I love my gunga ram for general field stuff, and that's my favorite. I have a sirupate which works approximately like a machete, in that it's light and fast.

    To be traitorous to the khukuris for a moment, the best blade I ever found for cutting Himalayan blackberry was the Woodsman's pal (and I tried a number of blades). The back hook on that thing is just perfect for reaching into thickets and lopping the canes. The problem is that blackberries are springy enough that you really need a sharp blade to whack them. Hooking them works better. Pruning shears work well too, for that matter.

    Not that I'm going to dissuade you from buying a khukuri. You NEED a khukuri. It's just that sometimes it's not the best tool for a particular job. I wouldn't attempt to mow the lawn with my sirupate for instance.
  18. shortwinger

    shortwinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Grasshopper, the new blinds in the living room are designed to block out the light but collecting kukri will open your eyes to many possibilities!

    Here is a great base for your collection.

    R-6 - (get the horn/antler handle if possible. Then get a sheath made)
    BAS - It is common and plain but when no one is looking it will be your favorite kukri.
    Bonecutter - For when it absolutely positively has to be destroyed right away!
    M-43 - Just to let you know there is a God!
    ASTK - Get this one just to make Jay happy! ;)

    With those models you can do everything from finely chop vegies, chop wood for the fire, scare an intruder to death and be ready for the great Liberal vs Conservative civil war...
  19. Shamrockninja


    Jul 7, 2011

    Wife saw this post and said she wants a bonecutter and an M43 of her own.
    Ahhhh.. Bob Sagget......I'm gonna need a second job.
  20. Qeth


    Dec 13, 2010
    Hope this post will help. I don't have the kuks you mentioned, but allow me to show you what these blades can do.

    I've purchased a few HI gear:

    and used them to help a buddy clear his backyard.


    A lot of creeping ivy, both on the floor and on the fence, fallen logs and branches, and trees with 8-12" diameters.

    Top in the pic is Rajkumar's Tarwar. I had to take a belt sander to the handles as there were a lot of hot spots (and to shave it down a bit, I'm 5'3"). Steel and temper are awesome, chopped lower limbs and smaller trunks quite easily (scarily easily, actually). Also used it to tear up some vines on the floor, swinging it in a pendulum (a la putting swing) andletting the weight do the work was enough to cut the vines, which were then raked away.

    Second in the pic is a Bahadur, and though I like the shape and balance, the handle is a touch too large, and the spine a tad too thick for my liking. The steel is a little softer, too, for this guy, a lot of rolls produced during the melee. Used it to chop and whittle lower branches to have just big, straight branches that can easily be stacked in the truck. Also grabbed some floor vines, cut, and then repeat. More effective than the tarwar for that.

    Third in the pic is a 15" GRS. Same work as the Bahadur, but this guy has better steel/ temper an came out with few rolls and dings (which were gone once resharpened). Also much better than the Bahadur in its chores.

    The smaller Pen knife and 12" AK got to watch it from the deck ;)

    Hope this gives you a better idea of what specs you want on your purchase.

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