Uncle Bill Especiale

I have always enjoyed examining the art and design of something, figuring out why it was done that way, then determining the best way to use it. With knives or swords, the blade will tell you how it is to used if you're "listening".

This could probably come in part from my pronounced lack of talent with machines- grinders, sanders, polishers etc. I think at heart, I'm just a primitive. Give me a couple of rocks and and I'll make a knife. I have always admired those having skill with these things, and frankly- more power (no pun intended) to them. If I had a knife that I liked, but it had some damnably irritating feature, I wouldn't hesitate to take it to someone who could fix it. I do think though, we sometimes get in a hurry to use our great technology for a quick fix. For us primitives callouses are cool.

"To Know and to Act are One"

[This message has been edited by Finn (edited 04-17-2001).]

That is the Yin-Yang Code of the West.

What goes around, comes around- and ya better keep a lookout.

"To Know and to Act are One"
Skinny handles- GOOD; fat handles- BAD.

But then I have dwarf hands. Still and all, though, I find that fat grips tend to give an initial sense of security and then when you start using them your grip deteriorates.

I'd like to get a good description of Finn's grip, though. When I let the pommel slip past my wrist I find my grip shifting from hammer-like (Pressure between palm and back three fingers) to saber-like (pressure between thumb and index/middle fingers). At the end there, it doesn't feel secure. If I maintain the hammerish grip, I have to turn the blade to get it past my wrist. That can't be right.

What am I doin' wrong, Finn?
I have just recently started choking up on the handles.
The last YCS and the BGRS have handles that aren't as long as some of the other khukuris and I for one prefer the shorter handles.
These 2 make it more comfortable to hold the handle with the center ridge between my ring and pinky fingers instead of between my middle and ring fingers.
I haven't had a chance to try this with my other khuk's yet so don't know how that will affect them and I may learn something I never thought of before because of the longer handles.
The only handles that have been absolutely way Too Big for me are the ones on the bigger khuk's like the Super Salyan and the standard GRS. I have cut both of them down to fit my hand but I have kept the original design.
Rusty has mentioned that the handle size of his Super Salyan is that of a large Mag-Lite and that's way too large for me to use comfortably while swinging a blade of that

One thing that I almost always do with the handles that have a flat butt cap is too use a small sharp file too cut an angled groove into the junction of the butt cap and the wood or horn.
This effectivey removes the sharp burr that's often there caused by the little bit of natural shrinkage
in the wood or horn.
And by removeing the burr it makes the handle more comfortable when your hand does slip backwards.
That burr can and will cut you, I Know!!!!

One thing I have noticed lately about the handles is that they're more round than they used to be.
Even Terry Sisco has mentioned this too me.
It used to be that the handles were more oval or egged shaped, with the smaller part of the egg at the bottom, making them easier to hang on too even if they were larger.
And believe me Terry has some Large Hands!!! Hell, Terry is Large all Over!!!

But the kamis know we usually have much larger hands than they do and so make them larger to fit us.
I have no problem modifying a khukuri handle if it's too big or even rounding the sharper points off the pommel, but I do it _minimumlly_ so to not mess up the reason for it being the way it is in the first place. And in the modifying I make the handle more egg shaped since it does fit the hand better AFAIAC.

I bought a top of the line production knife that the handle was way too thick and square for me.
I remodeled it bit at a time and may still need to do more.
The thickness of the handle is okay, but the squareness of it had to go, so I rounded the corners off.
Then the handle was too thick up and down so I took some of the belly off as well as some off the back.
And I may need to do some more to have it exactly like I want it but I am taking it slow and easy since I want it just right and not too small.
I don't know if I have voided the warranty and don't really care since the knife was no good for me the way it was.
And this way it is personalized just for me.

The bottom line is that no manufacturer is going to be able to make a one size fits all handle.
I am of the thought that it's easier to make a handle larger by wrapping it with some of the really great products out there now than it is too make one smaller.

However I do agree with Finn that the handle design is the way it is because of a long time evolution and figureing out what was best for the khukuri.
And the handle shape goes a long ways in defineing what a khukuri should look like for me.
So my suggestion is that if you have to modify a handle keep the design as close as possible to the original and then if it still doesn't perform like you want alter it until it does.
Just remember that if you get it too small or out of shape you might be calling on Terry to make you a new one.

My .02 cents on modifying handles and I sure hope the reply to posts doesn't start screwing up the forum.


Indin word for lousy hunter.
I know what ya mean DocPat. I don't quite
break the 5' anymore (damn gravity) and the
latest YCS (Thanks Uncle!) handles seem huge.
The deeply carved handle of my silver-rig AK
fits perfectly. The fatter, longer YCS handle
seemed nice at first but harder to grip after
it's first aspen tree.

(BTW Yvsa, nice design. Can't wait to pry
open a paintcan ;D )

X-Head, DocPat, et al.

Here goes an attempt to describe what I referenced. I probably left out some things, as I am knocking this out pretty fast.

Firstly, I have been lucky in that all of the khukuri’s I have received from HI have been a good fit for my hands. I do realize that this is not always the case for everybody. The following is based on the handle being sized for an individuals hands, and is simply my recommendation based on experience. The handle design of the khukuri is simple and straightforward- it flares at the butt for retention during powerful cutting and chopping actions, and has a ring to provide an anchor during thrusting actions. These design principles can be seen on Norse/Saxon to Sudanese heavy cutting blade handles.

The grip:
The handle is laid diagonally across the hand, the fingers are curled around it with the thumb across the middle finger, the forefinger resting free and somewhat forward, the middle, third and little fingers with the thumb applying the grip holding the butt against the palm of the hand. This allows a smooth forward cutting or chopping motion, without undue bending of the wrist, keeping the bones of the wrist and hand in their natural alignment. Maintaining this alignment is important due to target shock and the leverage applied by the blade. Also important is keeping a straight line between the arm and the edge of the blade. The edge being off-line from the arm requires using the small muscles of the hand and wrist to overcome the off-center power of the great muscles of the trunk. With prolonged effort at this they will rapidly become fatigued, leading to progressive loss of control. These small muscles should be working for the subtle adjustments of the edge to target index. Lack of proper alignment can lead to fracture of the small bones in the wrist and hand more easily than most think. Ask a boxer about this.

The knife is held in a relaxed grip with just enough pressure to control the blade until a technique is executed. This reduces fatigue in the muscles of the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder and allows more rapid reflex response in all directions. Full compression of the grip is applied at the time of actual contact with the target.

To use a traditional tool like this well, you must practice and develop strength and toughness in your hands and palms. You can wear gloves, or put some kind of wrap on the handle to try to avoid some of this, but you cannot avoid maintaining good alignment.

Peace and Prosperity

"To Know and to Act are One"

[This message has been edited by Finn (edited 04-18-2001).]