Thinner blades for work

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Jul 13, 2007
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I fell in a hole for about 7 years. Back with a question for the more knowledgeable. I've got a VUK that I've been using for work chores around the home front: cutting up branches etc. The 15" 18oz size works well for this. I'm wondering if a Sirupate type blade would be strong enough for these duties? The light weight really sings and makes a lively chopper but I don't want to buy a blade that will be damaged or can't handle the job. What say the masters? My youngest son has been requesting a Kuk for a while so I'm thinking about getting him something new or gifting him one of mine. Looks like the prices have gone up a bit since I was here last.
 

Bawanna

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I was hoping one of the real experts around here would chime in, give it more time. In my opinion there are a lot of variables involved in choosing a knife. For the youngest I'd probably lean towards a lighter AK or CAK or perhaps best a VUK. Something he can go out and learn and put to work without messing up a show piece. A Sirupate would probably hold up fine but alot depends on type of wood and other variables.
I don't notice a rise in prices myself and I've never left, if anything some have gone way down. Some are higher asking if they are something special.
All are probably worth far more that Yangdu sells them for. One reason she has so many devout followers and supporters of HI.
 
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I agree with Bawanna regarding the importance of the different variables. I have a Sirupati that can handle any large task but it is 21” and 30 ounces. To me the length and weight are much more important than the model type. For your son I would recommend a BAS or a 15” AK. Those knives are the Jack of all trades knives in my book. Especially if you are wanting the whole package with the sheath and all. If not and you are just wanting a cheap first khuk I would say go with another VUK. If you found a 15” 22-24 ounce Siru it would be right up there with all the others.
 
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Interesting, I've got an AK that we both used along with the VUK. We both decided the extra umpf needed to use the AK wasn't as helpful as the lighter faster VUK. My VUK is approx 18oz while my AK is closer to 32oz. I guess what concerns me is the smaller cross section where the notch is. Seems like this could be a weak point if using the sirupate for something more than it was intended?

At this point I'm planning on giving my Son the VUK. I need to decide on replacing the VUK with another and/or a Siru. More is always the answer right?
 

Bawanna

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32 oz is a lot of knife for anybody to work very long. There are lighter ones that come along from time to time. There are so many different models that work well.
More is generally the correct answer. I think you have a good plan.
 

davidf99

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You say it's your "youngest son," but that could be anything from 12 to 52 years old, depending on your age. :)

Can you tell us a few things: How big and fit is your son? How old is he? What will be his main use of the knife?

You mention chopping and don't want something too heavy or too light to stand up to hard use. I'm inclined to recommend a 15" AK or CAK. It would probably weigh about the same as an 18" or longer Sirupati, but would be more robust and easier to swing due to the shorter length. Also, the edge geometry of this model is more suited to chopping and less likely to be damaged if your son is inexperienced.

In my non-expert opinion, longer blades are not necessarily superior to shorter blades for practical use, unless a person is cutting tangled vines, high branches or other conditions where extra reach is important. For those situations a machete might be best.
 
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The youngest is 16 about 5'11" fair build but not a brick $hit house. He and I have used the 15" 18oz VUK for dispatching limbs that we've pruned out of various trees. Just chopping things up for the burn pile/recycle bin. Not for building a cabin out of hardwood trees.

I think I'm mixing two questions and I've answered the first myself. I'm going to gift him the VUK. He's used it and the CAK a bunch and likes it best.

The second question is really what do I want next. I'm thinking I'll eventually end up replacing the VUK as well as adding some type of lighter blade. Items I'm not decided on: full tang, about open or closed cho I believe it's called? Something in the 22oz 18". Some of the profile names I've heard that fit this idea is Sirupati, Chitlange, Gelbu Special, Chainpure. Trying to study up on these types.
 

davidf99

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I've seen many of these blades. In my experience the Sirupati, Chitlangi and Chainpure are functionally very similar, differing mainly in cosmetics The Gelbu Special tends to run a bit heaver, and I think it has an edge geometry a little closer to the AK, in other words, better for chopping. The Chitlangi, with its double fullers, partly checkered handle and butt flare, is the most beautiful, but of course that's a matter of personal taste. When it comes to length, weight and thickness, there is some variation within and between these models, due to being handmade with traditional methods.

Here are pics of two of my favorite blades, both Chitlangis. The first is 15.5" overall length and weighs 16 oz, by Lokendra Kami. The second is 18" overall length and weighs 24 oz, by Tirtha Kami.

Chitlangi15.5in-Villager-Lokendra16oz-for-Dave-01cr.jpg Chitlangi18in-Tirtha24oz-02.jpg
 
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Those are beauties Dave! I saw some videos today from a bloke down under hacking away with a Chitlangi. Looked a lot tougher than I thought. Thanks for sharing. I think that 18" is about what I'm looking for. Those double fullers look great also!
 
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Sounds to me you just described a Gelbu Special on the lighter side if you can find it. Altho... The Chitlangi is an excellent choice as well. I wont mention VUKs because you already got one. I already know what kind of wood your chopping because if my memory aint totally gone you live just down the road from me. Heck id even loan you a couple if ya just wanted to check them out? I use a Sirupati, Chitlangi, and GS for whacking smaller stuff depending on what im doing. They can all chop medium duty stuff but the harder sapwood of an old live oak or cedar can roll an edge if your not careful and or take too big of bite. The Gelbu special is an excellent chopper because it has the same edge profile as the AK/CAK but the fuller if deep enough still keeps the weight down and leaves enough meat behind the edge to chop with the best of them. Dont even consider the cho causing these knives to fail. Not so unless there just happens to be a freak defect at that location. You could whack thru a six inch yaupon and break it down in minutes easily with a longer Siru and save your back too! Id say just pick one that feels good and is the right length. If you like the VUKS then all of the knives mentioned above would be at least as strong of an edge for chopping with few exceptions. I have a 21" Single fuller Chitlangi that has a bit thinner edge than the double fuller Chit but Im careful when doing heavier chopping and never rolled an edge. Its actually one of my favorites. It just sings through low hanging Youpon, Cedar branches, and grape vines with ease.
 
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Thanks for the info ndoghouse, I think I'm leaning hard toward the Chitlangi. I'd love to try out a few but I'm here on the wet side of Wa state. Looks like your down in Tejas. I lived outside of Houston for a while but have only been back to visit. I do miss it though. Glad to hear about the cho not being a problem! Most of the stuff I'm chopping here is plum, maple and alder.
 
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WA! Oh man i missed it grossly! Musta been thinking when you lived near Houston. Went thru there yesterday. Urrrghhh! Not fun to drive thru. I think your leaning in the right direction. I love Chits and they look great! Plum, maple and alder are awesome woods if you do woodworking. I wish I had some of that stuff around here! Good luck to ya and hope you find the right Chit!

120983699b61c434541e49c71cdc6717


I did!

 

davidf99

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WA! Oh man i missed it grossly! Musta been thinking when you lived near Houston. Went thru there yesterday. Urrrghhh! Not fun to drive thru. I think your leaning in the right direction. I love Chits and they look great! Plum, maple and alder are awesome woods if you do woodworking. I wish I had some of that stuff around here! Good luck to ya and hope you find the right Chit!

I did!​
Is that a single-fuller Chitlangi? Looks like it, but hard to be sure because the stump obscures the lower part of the blade.

Single fuller Chitlangis are uncommon, but one does see them from time to time. I have one that looks just like yours.

It's 20.5" long and weighs 26 oz, by Lokendra Kami:

Chitlangi20.5-Lokendra-for-Dave-01cr-26ozHorn-mirror.jpg
 
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Yep your right! Mine is Tirtha made. Its about the same length and weight as yours. I forget exactly but close to 21". They do have a thinner edge than the regular Chits but they sure like to slash! The edge is similar to a VUK or even Farm Knife but has a bit more convex than a FK which is better for light chopping. The single Fuller has a pretty sharp pronounced knee which you dont see much in history but I find it very sexy!
 

Howard Wallace

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Fellow WA wetsider here. For a glimpse of one of my most used knives through the decades, follow the link and scroll down to udahipur. Read the linked review also. You won’t be able to duplicate this villager exactly, but it will give you some ideas on what you might want to look for.

 
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