Handle question

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Crustysnow, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    Howdy, first time poster, short time lurker......:)

    So, Full Tang, or Rat Tail. I would assume that the Full Tang is stronger, as it is with more conventional knives, but, is it an issue with Khukri's when they are 3/8 - 1/2 thick?

    I'm interested in one, that would be used extensively in the field for 'primitive camping' and other bushcraft. Hardwoods (maple, oak, ironwood) when green and occassionally dead/dry, the size for a small axe job. Anyone ever have any issues with the Rat Tail tang and strength or handle loosening?

    Am really stressing over this issue.


    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  2. The Man In Black

    The Man In Black

    Jan 3, 2007
    I have a WWII that I got on Christmas special. It has the Rat Tail tang. Unless you are taking the kukri, pounding it into a tree and jumping on the handle, I don't think it likely the handle will fail.

    I would say to get a 15" Ang Khola.
  3. Karda

    Karda Banned BANNED

    Jun 1, 2007
    Welcome Crustysnow!
    Due to the amount of metal involved, the Chiruwa is inherently stronger.
    But the H.I. Stick tang models are overbuilt enough so that in 21 years of khukuri making, there have been very few failures. Each was replaced under warranty.
    I would not worry about it in the least.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  4. 7rip13a


    Jul 2, 2009
    After numerous purchases and tryouts, I've found that rat-tail tangs feel better for me. Perhaps it's because the lighter weight makes it easier to use longer, perhaps the lack of weight in the handle makes the blade more forward-heavy. No problems with handle loosening. YMMV of course.

    In any case, like Karda said, don't worry about it. Overall weight and balance of the knife is more important when considering personal preferences.

    Oh, and welcome to BFC, and the HI community!
  5. kronckew

    kronckew Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 17, 2003
    it's a toss-up. is the chiruwa tang stronger? it has holes drilled in it which reduces the cross section. the substantial kangaroo-tailed tang that HI's use cannot really be called a rat-tail.

    unless maybe you have 100lb. rats....

    i have both styles of tang.

    plenty of knives, antique & traditional swords and other long choppers have substantially smaller tangs and have survived the test of time and battle..
  6. dirtypaulie


    Dec 28, 2010
    FYI: It shouldn't be refered to as a rat tail tang, people always hear that, think bad & that its so much weaker. From the reading i've done in this forum the proper term is hidden tang
  7. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    Well, I suspected as much. Just a little uncomfortable dropping that much coin down on something that you have not heard any reviews address - perhaps because it isn't an issue. It just got me thinking when visiting another site and many of their products have full tangs and riveted handles.
  8. stickfred


    Nov 6, 2009
    First, Welcome aboard Crustysnow and congratulations for considering a khukuri from HI. The hidden tangs in the HI khuks is more stout and beefier than what most expect. If you get a chance to Search the Forum, IIRC, there was a post in the last year about re-handling a khuk that had pictures...including one of the blade with its hidden tang showing. Although I have a couple of the chiruwa style handles, my preference is for the hidden tang. It can knock off a good bit of weight off of a khuk in these days of heavier weight (to my mind) and still be sturdy and probably be here long after I'm gone.

    Handles have occasionally loosened. Re-handling posts would be a good guide if needed but most of them are from people that just wanted to change their handle. The "laha" the kamis use seems to be pretty tough stuff.

    Have fun here and hope to hear from you soon.


  9. Cotherion


    Aug 7, 2007
    I'd go with chiruwa. And with minimum 3 rivet pins. So far only hidden tang I got is a Tamang cause it's for light chopping/clearing. This is of course my personal preference.

    Try the CAK or known as Chiruwa Ang Khola. I love mine and it'll outlast me and my children :)
  10. Cotherion


    Aug 7, 2007
    How tall and heavy are yez? We can advise on what to get :)

    Try the Bonecutter model in chiruwa, great choppers :)
  11. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    6ft 220lbs, mostly well muscled. I had been eyeing-up the CAK. Read of 'The Bonecutter', but had not seen it offered on the website.
  12. DanSmithy


    Jul 19, 2010
    Let's clear this up.
    The Rat-Tail does not protrude to the end of the handle!
    It is simply stuck in the handle hole with glue. Thus the frequent failures.
    Put to that the fact that in "ordinary" knifes the tang thickness is never over 4mm and you get the picture.

    HI khuks use:
    Full-Tang - all the way through following the handle shape and the wood is secured on both sides with pins going thorough the tang and wood.
    Particularly good for 'prying' jobs like stabbing and twisting where the pressure is transferred through the handle.
    Partial-Tang (or whatever term you choose for the skimmed down tang that goes all the way through the handle and is secured at the back with the pommel plate. Good for chopping due to the forward weight of the khuk.
    The proper technique required to chop wood with a khuk does not put any significant pressure on the handle or the tang.

    Glue is also used in both cases.

    Handle failure is more of a neglect to maintain the wood properly.
    By all means, if used correctly, 'partial-tang ' will serve you a long time.
    If you are strong man and don't mind the extra weight and you are going to put a lot of extra 'prying' pressure on the handle - get a full tang.
    In both cases abusing the knife is not good for it. It's just a tool.;)

    Hope I'm right and this helps to clear the 'tang issue'.:confused:
  13. Andrew Colglazier

    Andrew Colglazier

    Sep 14, 2006
    I mostly use hidden tang khuks, and I use mine a lot. I find the hidden tang to be better balanced and create less hand fatigue during chopping. Lots of guys like the chiruwa style and that's fine too, but having used both, side by side for similar tasks, I prefer the hidden tang.

    I haven't had a failure with one yet.

  14. kronckew

    kronckew Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 17, 2003
  15. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    RE: tang

    Thanks for the education...

  16. Cotherion


    Aug 7, 2007
    You're big :)

    Go for anything above 18 inches total length. You would like the ASTK, CAK and the Bonecutter in my opinion. First time users need a little getting used to khuk chopping but once you get the hang of it you'll never go back :)

    Chiruwa is my favorite handle cause I can replace it easy if ever it breaks. I'm not confident in making a new handle for full hidden tangs (terminology adjusted). For added benefit it'll be great if the chiruwa tang is tapered to maintain forward balance.

    By the way, the ASTK a 3 pinned and a lanyard tube on the handle, that is my favorite.
  17. Crustysnow


    Feb 9, 2011
    Sorry, but what do YMMV, and ASTK stand for???
  18. Karda

    Karda Banned BANNED

    Jun 1, 2007
    No need to apologise, crusty.
    You're learning.

    YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary
    ASTK= Amar Singh Thapa Khukuri

    This should help you in the future:
  19. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002

    The others have answered it better than I could, but I have never had either style fail on me of the 40 or 50 pieces that have passed through my hands.

    The hidden tangs are incredibly strong. Keep in mind that the gap between the blade and handle material is very porous and filled with a natural epoxy. If you ever try to get these handles off, it takes a lot of patience and a lot of boiling water. Honestly, if you don't super heat the laha (the epoxy), you will literally have to smash the handle to pieces to get it off. It simply won't twist off. On top of that, the end of the tang protrudes enough that it is peened over with a keeper. So now you have a handle that won't twist in your grip nor will it come flying off the tang should you wedge it and pull straight back on the grip.

    These knives have been around over 1000 years. The kamis know how to make a knife that will last several lifetimes, and that measured in Nepali use. They use these things for pretty much every cutting chore. You typical American collector just isn't going to wear one of these out without setting out to destroy it.

    Now, personal preference....I don't really have one:D Whatever comes up for sale that grabs my attention, I snag:) IF you twisted my arm, I would say hidden tang. They feel a little better in my hand and don't get so cold if I'm chopping without gloves in the snow.
  20. Cotherion


    Aug 7, 2007
    Enjoy ur Bonecutter :)

    You know how rare are those Bonecutters, and no sooner than I recommend it to you you snag one with a nice wide bevel with unbeatable price :)

    Enjoy and we await your review!

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