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strength of a kukri, compared to an axe.

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Fonly, May 1, 2007.

  1. Fonly


    Sep 24, 2006
    I just have a quick question for kukri owners here. I know the chopping efficency of a kuk is on par with a axe, even better in somecases. So I've been thinking that it would b neat to buy one from HI, 15"-18".

    But after looking around, I noticed kukris have a very thin tang, tiny in fact, are all models like this? and how long will the handle of one last compared to an axe poll.


    Considering the performance is the same, I was seriuosly considering one, but after seeing that, frankly I'm worried about strength.
  2. siguy


    Aug 26, 2006
    having no experience with kukris i really cannot say, but keep in mind that the handle of a kukri is a knife handle, not something that is likely to hit wood etc on a miss chop, like that first few inches just beneath an axe head.

    also as a note; an axe poll is the hammer face at the opposite end of the edge. if you meant how would the base of the handle compare to the pounding face of an axe, then i would say that the knife will work far less well than the axe. if this was a misunderstanding of the term, then read above.

    you also might have good luck posting this question over in the himalayan imports subforum on these boards.
  3. markksr


    Mar 15, 2007
    Regarding HI khuks:
    The Chiruwa Ang Khola is a full tang model.
  4. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Some khuks come with a full-length/full-width tang. Doubtless, such a design is stronger. However, recall that the more traditional design, which you have illustrated, has been used for hundreds of years. Many (including me) feel there is less impact to the hand and wrist with the traditional design.

    My only negative experience was with a very old, village-made khuk. The handle became loose, and I had to heat the handle to reset the laha (glue). It was no big deal.
  5. Jaiofspam


    Apr 24, 2006
    imo youll have to replace an axe handle sooner than you'll have to replace a kukri handle :) :thumbup:
  6. Fonly


    Sep 24, 2006

    Im going to in a few minutes, just reading a little more. To clarify more, Its such a small connection, with the tang to the hondle, I mean even on a small knife, with a tang like that, you would not want to baton, I cant imagine chopping, with a big knife with a tang like that.

    I know people do it, but I was looking for some reassurance on strength :eek:
  7. Fonly


    Sep 24, 2006
    Id like to think that. Just from looking at the pictures, you have to understand why this comes to mind.
  8. Yvsa


    May 18, 1999
    Fonly run your cursor to the HI Forum...http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=739
    and do a search on tangs. We liken the HI hidden tang to a Kangaroo Tail instead of a Rat Tail tang and they are plenty strong enough.
    The only way one is apt to break is if the kami slipped up and got some water on the tang when he was hardening the edge. And even if it should break the HI Guarantee covers it completely as long as you are the original purchaser of the khukuri, and as has been mentioned HI makes some with a Chiruwa handle that is a full tang if you prefer that sort of thing.
    I have several, several, HI Khukuris and have yet to break a tang and all except for maybe three of mine are the standard hidden tang that I much prefer.
  9. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    An axe of the same weight will chop better than a khukuri of the same weight.

    I have cracked and broken numerous khukuri handles and so far I have not broken or replaced an axe handle.

    I have bent and chipped numerous khukuri blades, and I have broken one axe head and chipped a few.

    Never have I had a problem with the tang of a khukuri.

    Where your khukuri excells is that it is dual purpose. You can chop with it and also machete if the khuk is not too heavy. It is much easier to whack a 1" branch cutting the crown up of a tree or a sapling with a khuk than with an axe head because the khuk is longer!
  10. Fonly


    Sep 24, 2006
    well, thats just it, I dont do alot of heavy work in the woods, So I wanted to try a long bladed knife for woods bumming.
  11. Fonly


    Sep 24, 2006
    ok, let me clear this a little more, I think im confusing some. I dont so much mean the blade it self breaking(though that could happen), but the wood incaseing the tang.

    As in the handle breaking, like the handle breaking away from the tang.
  12. sodak

    sodak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I'd post this question in the HI forum. They are a great bunch of people, and don't take offense at all. You'll get all the information you might want and then some. FWIW, I've been absolutely brutal with mine (I have 5 HI Khukuris), and *never* a problem. You almost have to hold one to see why. They make good draw knives too!
  13. Fonly


    Sep 24, 2006
    I've put up a thread in HI, just sittin' and watchin :)
  14. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Mine has a full tang and has whacked things for many years !! It'll never break.
  15. spiraltwista


    Nov 29, 2002
    A properly made kukri handle can last 50 or 60 years of daily use.

    Just depends on how it was made by any given kami on any given day & given hour.

    I have loads that are 50 to c.200 years old with original handles. Some of them have done a lot of work & I still use antiques ones as ordinary working kukri.

    There not meant to be axes though, light hatchets at most.

  16. longbow50


    Jul 12, 2002
    I've owned mine for several years. Have chopped, split, notched, sliced, diced and gouged with it and it's handle is just as secure as the day it was made.

    BTW, you won't have to batan the khuk. It has plenty of well balanced weight forward chopping power and will do an excellent job, without sticking in the wood.

  17. stickmaster2000


    Mar 31, 2007
    I bought a kukri from a UK company, www.toratoratora.co.uk they specialise in Kukris and the kukri I have has never failed me. Still like new after three hard years wear and tear. No handle problems at all.
  18. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005

    Fonly, as stated by HD, a khuk will not outchop an ax. Its a more rounded tool though, and easier IMO to use as a weapon if necessary.

    As to the handle, there are two reasons IMO to go with a hidden tang knife. Firstly, the tang is not thin. Its usually between 1/4 and 1/2" thick, and wide also. They go all the way through the handle usually and are peened over a brass keeper. Lots of strength inherant in that design. Its by far my favorite type of handle.

    Secondly, maintaining a hidden tang khuk is an order of magnitude easier than an exposed tang model. The scales on khuks tend to shrink, exposing sharp edges on steel that have to be filed away. That is a LOT of work. This isn't a problem with the hidden tang models. For this reason alone, I suggest avoiding exposed tang models.

    HI makes the best choppers. Period. Tora khuks are awesome, well made, and look phenomenal. But IMHO, they don't make a chopper that compares to HI's line. I've owned many of each, including the big daddy choppers in both lines. No comparison. HI wins in chopping. The guy who runs Tora is a martial arts guy. If you're looking for a fighter, the shopping gets tougher.
  19. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    Yeah I'd go with a hidden tang anytime over a full tang khuk.

    I use my khuks hiking for trail clearing and for chopping stuff up to about 6 or 7" too and for that type of stuff they can't be beat!
  20. Ravaillac


    Feb 14, 2005
    You don't want a full tang, in a chopping tool, full tang increases a lot felt vibrations. I have a 10 inch bladed chopper without any scales. Handle is forged in way that it fits hand quite well but vibrations are terrible.

    Hidden tang will be a lot more comfortable and it is not that weaker.

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