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Thoughts on the Bancharo

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Carolina River Rat, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    Got the Bancharo from the 4/20 DOTD in the mail last friday. My first impression of the thing was "HOLY $&!+ this thing's heavy!" I swing a 28oz hammer for a living and the Bancharo is noticeably heavier. This was not unexpected, however. Everything HI makes is overbuilt, which is a good thing. I think that if the Kamis made a fountain pen, it would weigh 2 pounds. It also came very sharp out of the box, and after a few licks on the strop I was afraid of it. The falat wood handle was good right out of the box, and will only get better with age and use, I think. I took it out and cut up some firewood behind Uncle Dan's house, and the thing out-performs axes twice its size. I also used it to cut a section of vine for my snake's aquarium. He was climbing on it this morning, so I guess he approves. After all this, the edge would still shave! Very impressive tool. Sorry for the lack of pics. I'll work on getting a camera.
  2. wildmike


    Nov 17, 2007
    Thanks for the Review Rat. I wish I had a camera too...but I keep spending the money on sharp stuff instead.
  3. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    I have that same issue. I might buy one when I get paid next week, unless a Bamboo Cutter shows up in the DOTD.
  4. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Nice review:) I can't wait for mine to show up some time this week:D
  5. Wovoka


    Nov 14, 2008
    Good review CRR. I think a Banchero is next on the "must have list".
  6. Ugly Duck

    Ugly Duck

    Oct 6, 2008
    Individual Bancharos seem to have different personalities. Look at the curve on the edge of these two specimens... #4 has a small radius arc & #5's is much larger. I ordered #4 because I figured it would cut deeper even though #5 looks way cooler. But then, having never Bancharo'd before.... that's just a guess on my part that it makes any difference at all...

  7. b.c.molin


    Nov 28, 2008
    Great review CRR!

    I had wondered how it compared to our axes, and now I know!

    With regards the straight handle, does it give the Bancharo a tomahawk feel or does its weight make it more ax like in its handling?

    As regards getting a camera ...great to have one but no way as hard to shark as a dotd! :D
  8. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    B.C., it feels like a very head-heavy tomahawk. If what you're chopping is on the ground, you really don't have to swing all that hard, cause the weight does a good bit of the work for ya.
  9. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    Jul 30, 2004
    The Bancharo was among the rarest of HI's, til' these latest started coming... wondered how that handle held up.

    Good stuff and thanks. :D

  10. greenwoods


    Sep 2, 2006
    Thanks Carolina RR for the useful info:thumbup:
    It's cool they are becoming more available, it's on me short list.

  11. starboard


    Apr 28, 2007
    What's the handle length on the bancharo, and the head or total weight? What sort of an axe did you have in mind when comparing the two?

    Could someone post a pic so we can see the head cross-section? :)
  12. Carolina River Rat

    Carolina River Rat

    Oct 29, 2008
    The handle's about 18 inches. Not sure how much the head weighs, but it's at least 2 pounds. The axe I was thinking of was my dad's, which I used to take out some trees on his property last year. Not sure what brand it is.
  13. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    The mail lady (oxymoron:D?) just dropped off my villager bancharo moments ago. I don't have a lot of time to play with it today, but man, CRC is right. This thing is heavy!

    Think a combination of axe and splitting maul. It has an edge keen enough to bite with enough mass to drive it deep. It has a huge wedge of a cross section that should obliterate pretty much any log that needs to be halved or quartered into firewood.

    The village finish is pretty sweet:) Satin with some noticeable forge marks, but these little pocks give it character :D I'm tempted to affix it permanently to a hickory handle or even try modding a fiberglass one for a stronger set up.

    However, I think the Bancharo fills a niche that I had not thought about. That of a packable collapsible hand axe as well a make shift ulu. The handle gives you plenty of swing to build a shelter, and there is certainly enough mass to use the back end as a hammer for tent pegs or cracking open things. While not the most comfortable to grip, the fine edge of the axehead when palmed could easily be used to mince up vegetation or scrape hide. I bet you could skin a moose with this thing;) Oh, and it came SHARP. A little bit of strop and stone and this thing will be able to take a foot off:eek:

    Setting and removing the head is as simple as letting the mass work for you. Slide the head down the handle shaft, give the brass bolster a good smack down on a rock, and it feels pretty solid. To take it off, just grip the top of the handle and smack the other brass tip at the bottom and the head slides down. Will it hold up forever? Nope, I doubt it. However, will it last long enough to do the job...easily:thumbup: If I make a spare handle, I'll probably fit it with a set screw or a bolt and wingnut to keep the head on the haft a little more securely.

    At any rate, this is a fine axe:thumbup: I plan on taking it with me on a little excursion with my dad and little brother this next weekend. I probably won't need it, but I like it too much to leave it behind;)

    Thank you Yangdu and Sher. The bancharo is another winner in HI's line up.
  14. wildmanh

    wildmanh Part time Leather Bender/Sheath maker

    Jul 9, 2000
    Jake, what shape is the eye on your Bancharo? Is it perfectly round or is it oval?

    I special ordered one with a 2 pound head when I first heared about them many years ago (Probably the 2nd or 3rd to be made) and the eye is perfectly round. I've had a hard time keeping the head to stay in place. I'm thinking of having the eye milled out so it's oval and adapting a standard hawk handle for it.

  15. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    It's round as can be, Heber. The underside however is just the least little bit tear drop shaped. Maybe the head could be fitted to a modified haft that would keep them from rotating.

    I plan on using mine as just a camp axe for splitting firewood.
  16. wildmanh

    wildmanh Part time Leather Bender/Sheath maker

    Jul 9, 2000
    Jake thanks for the information. If you get the chance, would you try chopping with yours and telling me how well it works? I'm thinking of modding the handle on mine to see if I can get it to rotate less before I get someone to mill it out. Am thinking that there might be a way.....

    BTW I want to use mine as a general camp ax and maybe even carry it backpacking. Mine came scary sharp and it's a shame that it's been sitting under my bed for 7 years no.

  17. Mackenzie4856


    Mar 28, 2006
    I snagged one of the villager Bancheros from the 4/27 DOTD, and the 'slight shrinkage of the falat wood handle' makes the head very loose, even when I smack it down on there. It's prone to spinning when it hits, and I'd like a better solution than just whacking it until it sticks, because that's going to quickly eat my handle. Any ideas? should I just resign myself to a new handle?

    Other than that, which I consider an annoyance at worst, I love it. This axe head is the size of my palm, and it feels sturdier than my car.

    Last edited: May 2, 2009
  18. wildmanh

    wildmanh Part time Leather Bender/Sheath maker

    Jul 9, 2000
    Mack, I'm tempted to drill a hole through the the handle and head and put a bolt through it. Might be easier then milling out the eye so it's oval. Then again I might do both....

  19. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I've been looking at mine a little bit. I have thought about a couple "fixes" for the issue.

    One would be to just leave it be. I have split a couple piece of wood with it, and the head does not turn on mine if the strikes are straight and true. This would make it perfectly acceptable in the role of a camp axe to split kindling and pound tent pegs, etc.

    Another one would be to modify a shovel or post hole digger handle so that the head is fitted downward onto the handle then wedged from the top for a "forever" setting.

    I think Heber's idea is a good one too, but it would put the bolt right through the markings on my head.

    I think what I might try since the lower end of the hole is a bit wider is coming up with a "second step" in setting the head. I think that a tight wooden or metal wedge shoved up between the head and handle and kept in place with friction and a laced leather sleeve should, in theory, keep the head straight unless the blow was just ridiculously glancing.

    I might give this a try in the next few weeks.
  20. Mackenzie4856


    Mar 28, 2006
    Steely Gunz, let us know how that turns out. I'm sure I'm not the only one unwilling and/or unable to drill through my banchero head.

    Not to knock your idea, Heber. I just don't have the tech.

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