ASTK Initial observations - bittersweet?

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Crustysnow, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    Upon use in the field I have concluded, to my satisfaction, that this twisted handle in this Khuk will not be an issue for me. But feel free to continue to read my post and follow my journey. Crusty

    The new ASTK V arrived this morning and could barely hold my small knife steady to cut the tape to open the triangle box. Opened the box and pulled out the contents and right away noticed a very nice sheath, very well done. I next pull out the 18" ASTK and it feels just right and has very good balance. I pu the kuk on the back of my chair and can find it's centerpoint and it balances on edge - GOOD. I hold it in my hand again and note that the handle is slightly beefier and longer than the 16"Bonecutter I had - also GOOD. Then I flip the kuk edge up and tang toward eyeball and look down the blade for symmetry and OH OH, NOT AGAIN! With the blade vertical the tang is at 20-30 degrees off. I returned the Bonecutter for the same reason, but this twist is even worse. Double and triple checked with a natural grip on the handle and sure enough, the edge would come down on its target at an angle instead of vertical.
    So - am I asking too much from a DOTD kuk to have tang/spine symmetry?? I mean this is the 2nd one in a row, and the first 2 I've ever had. I have not ever come across this in previous I missing something, or is this a common feature? Looking for some advice here. I really hate looking like a 'whiner', and if/when this one goes back, I'll have another $40 invested on top of the original price - not easy to come by here.
    This will be a 'user' kuk, MY Armageddon kuk, it has to perform.
    Your thoughts?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  2. Karda

    Karda Banned BANNED

    Jun 1, 2007
    As these are handmade items some assymetry is to be expected. It will not harm the chopping ability of the khukuri. Khukuri from any of the manufacturers will have this to varying degrees. Some more apparent than others. Even my pieces from master bura have some assymetry. If it is really an issue for you contact Auntie at [email protected].
  3. JayGoliath


    Mar 27, 2010
    I wouldn't worry though. It's handmade. Unless it's a wall hanger i would suggest you take it and whack some wood.
    Try the edge and you will be impressed.

    Mr Singh has always been a good mate.
  4. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Yeah these are features of hand made products. They give the knife character:) Could you find a hammer forged blade that looks machine-perfect, yeah of course. There are a lot of hand made japanese swords that look as if they were stamped by a machine. Unfortunately, they cost upward of $5000+.

    Any of the cosmetic imperfections will NOT hinder the knife's performance in any way. However, you always have the option of contacting Yangdu:)
  5. wildmanh

    wildmanh Part time Leather Bender/Sheath maker

    Jul 9, 2000
    Pretty Khukri you have there. At first I didn't notice the cockeyed handle, looked again and there it was. Some people won't mind and some will. Either way Yangdu will take care of you. Also I'm sure one of us Khukri nuts wouldn't mind using it. ;)

    IF it were mine, I'd perform the safety/break in test then put it to use for a bit. Then if the twisted/cockeyed handle still bothers/doesn't work for you, let Yangu take care of it. But if it grows on you.... ;)
  6. Issun


    Feb 1, 2011
    given the incredible balance of the blade, I doubt that you will have trouble holding so that the blade comes down without a cant.
  7. heinlein


    Aug 23, 2010
    I would guess the way a knife is held during hammer forging is unique to each kami. If you know which kami made a knife which has a tang not aligned with the blade I would not buy others by him; if this is important to you; as I suspect they will be the same.

    I have an Amar Singh Thapa Knife made by Dil with a lovely neem handle. It balances on it's edge approximately 1" in front of the cho. I never noticed until now that the tang and blade are not aligned perfectly.

    One solution would be to buy non-chiruwa Khuks.:D
  8. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Thanks for bringing this up Crusty.

    This is something I never even THOUGHT to look at. Looking at my 3 users -- 20" CAK (Bura), 18.5" Tamang (Vim) and 20" Siriupate (Rajkumar), and ALL of them are canted in the same direction of yours. Mine all look to have about 10 degrees of cant.

    I'm wondering if this is a design feature. When used right-handed, the blade would tend to roll to the outside on a chop. With the cant, it may take that into account and with the slight roll may end up actually aligning the edge into the chop.

    I'd say use it and see how it feels. I've never had a problem with mine, and in fact have always been impressed with how well they track.

    ETA because of Heinlein's post: Both Tamang and Sirupate are NON-Chiruwa handles, and what gets me is all three are off by about the same angle.
  9. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    A couple more pics.
    This first pic I think shows the balance rather than any twist/bend in blade
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  10. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    This ASTK must be a twin = also by Dil, the Bonecutter I had was by Bhakta
  11. DanSmithy


    Jul 19, 2010
    Talk to Auntie.

    The way the handle is twisted is actually not good and in my opinion can be dangerous when chopping as the khuk may slip sideways and in to something that's not wood due to the assimetry.
    The khuks are made from leaf springs which are naturally bent! Look at your trucks.
    The kamis straighten them up during the knife making process.

    DOTD offers are sometimes blemishes, but Auntie usually marks them as so.
    Talk to her. If quality is sleeping, she has to know for the better of everyone.
    You can decide to keep it too or even fix it yourself. I only had one like that but it was much less bent.
  12. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    I'm not sure. I have LOTS of khukuris and none are noticeably bent to one side or the other.

    One time recently here I mentioned I sold an M43 because it seemed to twist my hand when I chopped with it. Wondering now if it could have had a slight twist to it.
  13. Ugly Duck

    Ugly Duck

    Oct 6, 2008
    I just looked at my users (20" Bura AK & 16.5" Kite-Kami CAK) & noticed slight asymmetry as well. Nothing as dramatic as pictured, but pics can be deceiving depending on camera angle, etc. Hadn't thought of checking it cuz they do their job so well. Used the Bura AK yesterday to dismantle a small pine to make way for tomato planting & it ruled the world. Whatever cant it may have seems to match up perfectly with my swing - blind luck?
  14. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    I just came in from giving it an initial light workout and it passed with flying colors. But I will reserve final judgement until after this coming weekend with a more extensive pole bean pole harvesting workout.
    It is interesting in that I believe it is out performing the 16" Bonecutter quite handily. This ASTK 'feels' so much better in the hand, more like a part of the hand than the Bonecutter did. I'm sure this is the way it is with different kuks/handles/people. This ASTK has a larger handle - both longer and in circumference and larger bell. It has much better balance - the balance shown in the photos I could not get the Bonecutter to balance on edge OR the side of the blade. I noticed I can easily adjust my grip to ensure the vertical angle of attack. This was mentioned in another thread in the past, but I wonder if it doesn't perform better than that Bonecutter because it is better balanced?
    It 'feels good' in the hand, looks good, really fine job on the sheath and chakmak, the karda blade is good, but the handle has a crack from the insertion point to more than halfway to the butt, however I could not observe any movement of this crack when torsion was applied - so it probably won't be an issue.
    Did I mention how nice that sheath is? I'll have more pics of all and further review this coming weekend.
  15. Yangdu

    Yangdu [email protected] Himalayan Imports-Owner Moderator

    Apr 5, 2005
    Send the ASTK back to HI and I will refund your money including the shipping cost. These days my Knives inventory are very low to send replacement.
    Thank you
  16. Svashtar


    Dec 28, 2003
    Sorry, will have to respectfully disagree here. He said "Double and triple checked with a natural grip on the handle and sure enough, the edge would come down on its target at an angle instead of vertical." That does have some effect on the chopping ability (for this user with this hand anyway.)

    This is the tell, and what Hollow also experienced.

    If the turnout (one of the first things I check) is just 5 or 10 degrees then your hand can adjust pretty easily and keep the blade stright down. More than that and (for me only) holding the handle normally brings the edge down at an angle.

    I've had this with three M-43's and a few other knives. I only sent one back though, and the gorgeous antler handle on that was dead straight, it was the blade that was "s" shaped and unusable. The others turned in my hand when I chop hard with them, as the blade bites in at an angle and turns the knife exactly as Hollow described. if I chop less hard and adjust my hand then they work fine for me.

    Good advice, but it can't be fixed without removing the scales and reheating, straightening and retempering the blade.

    I would send it back, ask Yangdu to keep the $ you paid, and send you a straight one when it comes in. This kukri will still be of value to someone else as a fighting blade, or to someone whose hands may hold it slightly differently.

    However, try chopping with it a bit more and see if your hand naturally adjusts to the turn out, and you may be surprised and decide to keep it.

    Excellent advice from Heber. :thumbup:


    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  17. Svashtar


    Dec 28, 2003
    Well, see the tang where it meets the bolster? That part looks aligned with the blade, so if your hand is sitting there then the only "negative" is that the top of the pommel will be off to the side of your palm rather than centered with it. It looks like only the last couple of inches of the handle is turned out.

    Bottom line if you can hold it normally and the edge comes straight down then you've got a good user. The test is to see if it turns in your hand or creates hot spots, and if it doesn't the flaw ends up being cosmetic only.

    Let us know how it works out with further use.
  18. Uplander


    Apr 18, 2007
    For the sake of discussion, the better shotgun stocks have a few degrees of "cast" to allow quick instinctive pointing. Would this be a part of the khuk's design?

  19. snow and steel

    snow and steel

    Mar 5, 2011
    My CAK has a small bend in the tang - but the handle slabs were actually cut to accomodate that, so the WHOLE of itself is actually straight. thus, when chopping it cuts perfectly straight. so for me, it's a non-issue, and reminds me that it is indeed handmade.
  20. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    Yes, yes, and what Uplander posted.....had more time to study the lines last night and Svashtar saw it in the pics. The twist occurs, for the most part, in the handle, especially toward the butt, the blade itself - tip to bolster - is quite straight and satisfactory. So, slight handle mod. may be in order, we'll see after further field use.

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