Balance in a Khukuri

Discussion in 'H.I. Cantina' started by Hans Asmussen, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Hans Asmussen

    Hans Asmussen

    Nov 19, 2012
    First of all, happy New Year to everyone!

    I wonder how one defines balance in a khukuri. It might refer to the distance of the center of mass from the bolster, but one has to keep in mind that a khukuri is supposed to be blade-heavy. Is it dependent on variables, such as e.g. "the heavier a khukuri the closer the center of gravity should be to the bolster"?

    Is it about the sweet spot, i.e. where the center of percussion lies? Depending on where you grip a khukuri, the center of percussion moves on the blade. It appears that the recurve increases this effect. In one of mine khukuris, the center of percussion almost moves from the point where the blade bends forward to the tip. Is this what a balanced khukuri is supposed to do?

    I found one text where somebody defined balance by slowly tipping forward an upright held khukuri. If the forward force felt in the wrist goes up by bumps instead of growing continually, a khukuri is said to be badly balanced.

    Is there a generally understood or accepted definition?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  2. Karda

    Karda Banned BANNED

    Jun 1, 2007
    Balance in a khukuri is often defined by the tasks for which it will be used.
    For a chopping khukuri forward weight is beneficial as it will increase chopping power.
    In a fighting khukuri a more neutral balance is beneficial, as it will be used in a defensive manner and may need to change direction quickly.
    Just as there are different designs for different tasks, there are different weights, thicknesses and balances. One should be considering these things before purchasing
    No matter where your hand is placed on the handle, one should be training themselves to always hit with the sweet spot. In straighter khukuri, this task is made easier. In more curved models, such as the M-43 or the hanshee styles, there is a bit more learning curve and a bit more training is required to maintain a proper muscle memory.

    I surmise those that talk of badly balanced khukuri are those that prefer a balanced khukuri and dislike anything else.
  3. Stubai


    Mar 16, 2007
    So many variables here...but the one I like is the Condor CTK490-13HC. While not nearly as heavy as my HI knives, the balance is good, or at least feels 'right' to me. The stock is much thinner of course and it may be that I like the speed with which I can wield the blade. Knives that sport a 5/16th of an inch spine seem to be quite a bit slower in the mit. If you do any extended work in the field, you'll feel the stress in the wrist and arm the next day.

    The kuks are well thought out blades. Not sure there is any real way to prove the best sweet spot...but the traditional curve of the blade lends itself to hitting the right spot with adequate, focused power for the job at hand. If you are feeling good about the handle and grip, you are half the way there. Some traditional handles have stressed my hand out to the point where gloves become a regular friend.

    These mighty blades, regardless of their configuration have become some of my best liked knives for the field. I like to call them a hand axe that just about fits the bill for a near bullet-proof tool. They are designed to chop with surefire power!
  4. Hans Asmussen

    Hans Asmussen

    Nov 19, 2012
  5. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I think it hinges on what people mean by "balanced". Usually when people use the term they mean "equally balanced" as in the knife feels neutral in their hand due to the weight distribution, an extension of their arm if you will. A khuk by design is not going to be "balanced" for the most part. Sure, there are some with thin blades and heavy handles that feel more balanced in the hand. The new Bashpatil model is one of those very neutral FEELING khuks. It feels great for general chores and self defense. However, I don't think it would be my first choice to chop down a 4" tree if I had the option to use an Ang Khola of similar length.

    A knife with a large blade curving downward is not going to balance very well. If it does, it's not going to chop as well.

    For me, a "balanced" 15-18' khuk has the balance point about 2" in front of the cho. My favorite dedicated choppers balance about 4" from the cho as more metal/mass is in the business end of the knife. However, for daily "light" chores and packing around on my person, I really like a more neutral khuk like the Bash which balances right about 2.5" from the cho.
  6. sweetcostarica

    sweetcostarica Banned BANNED

    Jan 18, 2012
    I was thinking about this tread and read an old tread elsewhere that backs up Karda's and Jake's above posts:

    "I believe the word balance is usually used in the common sense when discussing knives. It might well be used in an aesthetic sense also...

    ...I believe that the goal when balance is discussed is to have a knife that doesn't feel particularly heavy bladed or handled. However, when long-bladed knives have chopping as a primary use, one wants them to be blade heavy, with the balance point out near the "sweet spot" along the blade. With the blade heavy knife, less exertion is needed at the handle to chop. The extra weight of the blade does a lot of the work for you.

    For fighting knives, many wish to have the knife somewhat handle heavy. It is desirable to have the blade feel light, and very easy to maneuver. Many fighting knives have distal tapers to the blades. Because light weight equals speed, such knives may even have a tapered tang also, but still need to remain handle heavy.

    I may be completely at sea on this, but I believe that explains the primary concerns about balance in knives.

    From The Stare's comments. I think this sums up the "balance" of a knife very well.


    Aug 10, 2001
    Stubai, Iwould like to see a pic of this knife.(So many variables here...but the one I like is the Condor CTK490-13HC.)
  8. Hans Asmussen

    Hans Asmussen

    Nov 19, 2012
    Many clear answers indicating a consensus by those who have wielded many khukuris.

    So, balance - as in center of balance - is a function of intended use. I will open a new thread about the sweet spot. Thanks to everyone contributing.
  9. greenwoods


    Sep 2, 2006
    FOR ME, IMO, balance is subjective.
    Like in any way I look to 'balance' it has many dimensions for me to begin to grasp and understand what tool I'm using and not just the usual single dimension.

    In other words, I find the journey to understand the balance of maker, materials, weight, style, grind, sharpness, use, appearance, etc... to be an ongoing one for me. A journey that has been greatly enhanced by HI.

    Happy New Year,

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