Best knife for heavy chopping?

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by khamsathous, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. khamsathous


    Oct 4, 2019
    I have a 18 inch 20oz wwII at the moment I've been using for taking down some smaller trees and processing some small to medium sized firewood and while it does a great job, for some of the larger stuff it doesn't seem like it has quite enough weight // power to get those big hits in so I've been looking at some of the bigger // heavier choppers mainly the CAK, bone cutter, and ganga ram.

    I've seen some photos on here of them all doing pretty heavy work but was just curious what you guys recommendations are for a real heavy duty chopper for really large stuff out of those three.
    Thanks all!
  2. Red Eagle Trapping

    Red Eagle Trapping

    Dec 3, 2016
    Best choice for heavy chopping m43, def a beast the trick is to find a medium weight one 23 -25 oz range, next a CAK , I find efficiency of cut and med weight lend to best cutting all around my go too is a dhar wood gopte similar to a cak and m43 mine is 27 oz and balances out better than a cak and the m43.

    The m43 though is made for heavy cutting and the longer slightly straighter blade has a larger sweet spot when cutting.

    If choosing just one step up to the m43 and in the worse case for me I had to shape and file down the handle as mine was a bit bulky for my hand but they chop. Just my .02
    George Azar and khamsathous like this.
  3. conan11


    Jul 28, 2014
    For heavy chopping I like 28-32 ounces.
    khamsathous likes this.
  4. davidf99

    davidf99 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    You're right to focus on the CAK, bone cutter, and ganga ram, as these are dedicated choppers, probably more so than other HI models. It's the edge geometry and weight distribution. The CAK and AK models are identical except for handle type, and there are arguments for the AK, especially in cold climates where you don't want metal contacting your hand.

    As for length and weight, that depends on your size, the strength of your hand/wrist/forearm, and how much chopping you expect to do. The really heavy blades can tire you out pretty quickly if you are a normal person. Since your 18" 20 oz WWII seems too lightweight, you can probably go up a level to 32 oz, which is fairly common for an 18" knife in one of the above-mentioned models. Yangdu often has heavier M43s and WWIIs, which are excellent choppers, but those models are designed for mixed use, and are based on somewhat lighter weight military models of the WWII period.

    There are also 20" versions of all these models that can weight 40 oz or more. These would probably work best for someone who is a power-lifter or swings a sledge hammer on the job all day.
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  5. Hawgsnawt

    Hawgsnawt Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 16, 2015
    the below message quoted because if I wrote a paragraph on chopping, it's almost word for word what I'd write...... CAK/AK, Bonecutter, Ganga Ram..... 28oz to 32oz...anything heavier is not realistic to expect anyone to swing one handed long enough to chop much of anything substantial.... it just wears ya out too fast, and that sir, you may take as the voice of experience from someone who's done construction type work most of my life and owns over a dozen 40+oz Kuks in varying styles.

    I'll add one more to the list however.... and honestly the more I use it the more a fan I become..... and that's the Gun Knife. The handle on the Gun Knife is at an extreme angle so that when the blade makes contact with the wood, the hand is holding the gun knife like one would hold a pistol.... wrist pointing forward, hand cross section pointing up and down......rather than a traditional Kuk which requires the added movement of the wrist to flick downward and puts the hand cross section pointing vertical ..... hell I can't explain it.... but the end result is it requires about 50% less effort to make a solid chop.... so you can chop FAR longer before fatigue sets in and things get dangerous .....making the knife overall one of the best choppers I own....or at least one of my first choices for any heavy chopping I need done.

    let me see if I can repost a pic of mine so that it helps visualize what I mean...... edit inc in a few with a pic if I can find it.

    edit... 3 pics added

    Ok... look at this pic... compare the handle angles between the gun knife being held by Yangdu's father.... and the knives on the table that more accurately mimic the handle style on a more traditional Kuk.... imagine the sweet spot of each blade making contact with the chopping material.... the gun knife makes contact with the hand in position as though you had chopped it with the butt cap of a 1911 pistol.... hand in a more natural and uncontorted position.... the more traditional kuks require that you whip the hand downward ...... over the course of several hundred chops.... the less stress placed on the hand by the gun knife extends the safe chopping range by imho almost half or better..... meaning I can chop FAR longer and process FAR more wood with far less energy with the gun knife than I can a more traditional knife or Kuk....

    hard to explaine =o/

    for what it's worth, that Gun knife he is holding, which shortly after that became mine LOL.... is 19 inch 32oz.... and is my preferred go to for heavy chopping....though, they are pretty rare in all honesty.


    and a pic of one that perhaps show's the handle differences I'm attempting to discuss best, though it looks to be on a shorter lighter knife that would be ill suited to chopping.... trying to demonstrate the handle angle as best I can since I do not seem to possess the vocabulary needed to convay my thoughts on the matter adequately .....

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  6. cul4u01

    cul4u01 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 5, 2012
    I go to my M43 for heavy chopping, I'm able to use it longer than my CAK, and to me, I just seem to be way more efficient with the M43 when I've got serious chopping to do.

    My Lok kami M43 at 18" and 27oz

  7. Red Eagle Trapping

    Red Eagle Trapping

    Dec 3, 2016
    Just a quick reason for a slightly lighter weight is unlike an axe alot of the swinging motion one handed on the heavy ones will start to fatigue then form starts to slip and I have had some misses that could if over tired be dangerous. I find 27 oz to be my comfort zone, 23-25 still cuts like a beast yet saves on the effort , think of a framing hammer 22 oz is a standard and can be swung all day by most step up to a 28 oz and you start fatiguin . I have alot of khuks but the m43 in the mid Light weight range cant be beat for volume heavy chopping. That long sweep has such an effective cut zone especially for long sessions of chopping.
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  8. ChangeOfPace


    Jun 14, 2013
    Ang Khola, Chiruwa Ang Khola, Baby Ganga Ram Special or Ganga Ram Special depending on size and preference. I really like the Baby Ganga Ram Special.
  9. ndoghouse

    ndoghouse Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2010
    20" AK, or 20" Super CAK. My Gangawalla would prolly do fine too just havent used it yet (too purdy). My 18"ers are nice too but they dont split as deep on first whack. Depends on the wood more than anything else.

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