Bura Villager Tarwar:

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Duzzy, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Duzzy


    Sep 1, 2009
    Himalyan Imports Villager Tarwar

    by "Bura"

    I have to say that when I first held my Himalayan Imports Tarwar I was a bit disappointed. Given the veil of mystique that wraps itself around the sword tighter than guilt on a Catholic it isn’t hard. When I first unsheathed the Tarwar and thrust it towards the Heavens there was no angelically masculine choir to declare me as “He Man, Master of the Universe.” My cat didn’t grow to the size of a small bear with teeth sized to put my newfound He-Manhood to shame. Every heroic pose ended the same; with dismal failure. No amount of sweat, tears, or physical exertion could bring on a magical change in either my cat or myself. I’m still me, and as my Grandmother would say, my cat still looks like a Holstein.


    So far I have not gained any Ninja powers (be it “Mall” or otherwise), women still fail to flock to my fold, and those e-mails in my Spam Folder, like Sirens, still beckon me in my sleep. What did I gain by purchasing my first sword? Well, so far I would say that it’s limited to a small dent in my ceiling. Yet fear not fair reader! If sympathy pains have not rendered you unconscious I bid thee read on. For this tale may yet end happily.


    The first thing about this review I will note is that this particular Tarwar is a “villager” model. A “villager” model differs from Himalayan Imports’ standard offerings in two important ways. The first is that Microsoft word incessantly underlines the word “Tarwar” in red, and like zombies and that “paperclip”, nothing short of Divine Intervention will make it go away for good. The second difference is that while the fit is still high quality, the finish of the “villager” models isn’t nearly as high. The blade and handle are not polished, the solder lines aren’t cleaned up as well, and the application of the “laha” (“laha” is a native resin used as an epoxy) isn’t as well done as it is on the standard offerings. A “villager” model is also cheaper than the standard offering; so it really is up to the buyer’s preference. As I mentioned earlier the fit on this Tarwar certainly is not lacking in any way. The fit on the Tarwar is actually better than the fit on my Chiruwa Ang Khola Khukuris.


    One thing that surprised me was the very defined forward balance. This is a blade meant for slashing, cutting, and chopping; and you can see it in the design and feel it in your hand. So often with swords you hear about balance, but I haven’t often heard much about “how” they’re balanced. The Tarwar has a nice solid feel in hand, and I can comfortably hold it in either one hand or two. While it certainly would be possible to use it as a one handed weapon, it’s not something that I would be inclined to do without a lot of practice and a good bit more strength. It is certainly doable to wield it with one hand, but it’s much more responsive and less fatiguing when you use two hands. I’m a little torn on what to think because the Tarwar certainly isn’t a very large sword, I consider it just right for a one handed blade, but it needs two hands to use effectively. So for right now it isn’t a positive or a negative aspect; just an undetermined.


    You can see the by the Kami marks just above the brass guard that this Villager Tarwar was made by Bura (the crescent moon and eight rayed orb); the Master Kami of the HI shop. The two marks above his personal markings stand for the shop itself IIRC. The laha attaching the guard spills up onto the blade a little bit and there is also some exposed laha between the handle and the bolster. The solder line on the bolster itself is smoothed off and neat, but the solder that between the bolster and the guard hasn’t received any special attention. I don’t know if this is standard practice or if it’s specific to the “villager” model.


    The one thing that did surprise me is the lack of the initials “U.B.”. I think that it is marked, but in Nepalese (is that the correct language?). It has the four marks on the left side of the blade near the bolster (Kami markings and BirGorkha factory markings), two on the right side near the bolster (Uncle Bill?), and two on the right side further up the spine (Himalayan Imports). If the U.B. is indeed in a different tongue I have to say that I think I prefer it that way. I understand the reason, but the Roman characters always look out of place to me.


    The handle is made of Satisal wood and is a nice deep milk chocolate brown. It has two sets of two rings carved into the middle of it where it bulges out. The bolster, butt cap, and keeper all fit extremely well and look good. I would like to oil the handle, but I don’t know if I want to darken it. So that’s a debate for another day I suppose. If I could find a cute X-Ray technician to take out to dinner in exchange for a favor I would love to get an X-Ray of the Tarwar’s tang. I know that it’s a full-length tang because it’s peened over the keeper. However, I would also like to see exactly how thick it is and how much it tapers. This is probably the most controversial part of the Tarwar I will cover, so I will do everyone a favor and keep it brief. Rat tail tang! (Runs and ducks for cover.*)

    (*Note: There should be a “winky” smiley here, but since it counts as an image I cannot insert one without getting rid of the relevant ones.)




    The blade itself is interesting. Sighting down the top it’s very straight; though slight inconsistencies in the fullers can give it the illusion of wandering. What is much more fascinating is that this particular Tarwar has an “s” shape to the blade. Starting at the bolster the spine has a slight upward curve that dips before going into a more pronounced upward curve over the last third of the blade. The beginning curve is only noticeable when you sight down the side of the blade and I don’t think it was intentional. The Tarwar’s width stays very consistent throughout the first two thirds of the blade and then it widens slightly as the spine begins to arch upwards. Shallow fullers run the length of the blade from the spine to the beginning of the edge. The Tarwar didn’t arrive very sharp; though the edge profile seems decent. Once I get better at using a belt sander I’ll probably regrind the edge in a few places.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  2. Duzzy


    Sep 1, 2009

    The blade had two small flaws. The first was a “burnt” section about an inch long halfway up the blade. It was a small section the color of burnt toast where the burr hadn’t been completely removed and the flange was sticking straight out creating what some people refer to as a “false edge”. I ran the one of my Chakmas over the offending area and removed the burr, although a small burn mark remains. The other flaw was in the belly of the tip. There is a small section where the edge is actually chattered. I have no idea how this happened and I don’t think that my pictures captured what I’m talking about very well. Nevertheless, I ran the Chakma over it and it cleaned up most of it. Although I think that small section will have to be re-profiled to get ride of all of the chatter.



    The scabbard itself also had two flaws that detracted from the overall package. The brass chape at the end of sheath did not completely close off the tip, and it wasn’t properly attached. The tip is secure, but the wings are loose and catch and scrape frequently. The other flaw is small, but there is a nail that sticks out too far at the top. I think it’s simply that the nail couldn’t have been cut shorter and still serve its function. I know that I can’t push it in farther without scratching up the blade when I draw the Tarwar. The stitching is great, the leather is well finished, and aside from those two flaws (and a little excess laha) the scabbard is very well done. I am wondering, if like a Khukuri sheath, there is a thin wooden frame underneath the leather. My gut feeling is “no”, but I haven’t really investigated it yet. Which I really should do since it’s sitting upstairs but—that would mean losing a staring contest to a goldfish so… Onward to victory men!




    If this were a serious weapon there are a few things I think that I would change. One is that I would decrease the edge bevel and increase the size and depth of the fullers. The second is that I would make the guard a good deal larger and it would not be brass. I’m no expert, but the idea of a soft metal guard protecting my hands from hardened steel doesn’t appeal to me. I might even make it a smidge longer, but I don’t think that’s a necessity. To be perfectly blunt this is what I believe many “sword experts” would probably refer to as a “Sword Like Object” or “SLO”. While this phrase is usually used in a derogatory fashion I am of the firm belief that it doesn’t have to be used in that manner. To me a SLO is simply a sword that does not have the history and science behind it that the sword once would have. It is a phrase that, in my opinion, refers to the way an object is made not the quality of the made object. Personally, I didn’t buy it to use it as a sword. I bought it to use as an overbuilt Machete.


    So when I refer to the Tarwar as an SLO I do not mean that it is not a quality item, nor that it was in any way poorly made. I simply mean that the Kamis, to the best of my knowledge, are making an evolving tool not an evolving weapon. That is to say that I do not believe that any changes the Kamis make are based on feedback from people who live and die by the swords they make. I do not believe that the high Kami turnover rate (is this still the case?) is because they go out every afternoon hacking and slashing at each other to test out swords. Nor do I believe that they have the lineage and tradition of making swords that I believe they have with Khukuris. I could be wrong but… Your opinion may vary.

    I freely admit almost total ignorance when it comes to large blades. I can’t say how much the Kamis got right, nor where they missed the mark in terms of recreating the historical weapon (I also can’t comment on whether or not this was their actual intention.). Simply shaping and sharpening a piece of metal doesn’t make it the real thing. It certainly doesn’t make it bad or ineffective; but I would say that it’s the difference between a replica and a recreation. It would be great to hold a historical Tarwar and compare the two. I’d also be interested in knowing how other people have tested their Himalayan Imports swords (other than chopping things) without voiding the warranty through abuse.


    Overall I’m very happy, and hopefully once I get out and start chopping with it I’ll be able to fully appreciate all the Tarwar can offer. And if all goes well that will include that angelically masculine choir declaring me, “Master of the Universe.” A bevy of beautiful women to go along with my up and coming He-Manhood wouldn’t hurt either…

    Himalayan Import’s Tarwar Vital Statistics:
    (I don’t have a good way to weigh it, but Yangdu described it as 29 inches long and 36 oz.)

    Overall Tarwar Length
    29 3/16”

    Blade Length
    20 5/8”
    Blade Thickness
    5/16” (at bolster)
    ¼” (at tip)
    Blade Width
    1 7/16” (at bolster)
    1 11/16” (at belly)
    Edge Bevel Width

    Guard Length
    2 ¼”
    Guard Width
    1 3/8”
    Guard Thickness

    Handle Length
    8 3/16”
    Bolster Length
    1 3/16”
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  3. Azraell


    Dec 27, 2006
    That's a really nice camera.
  4. C.S. Graves

    C.S. Graves

    Jun 13, 2006
    A much nicer selection of shots than I managed to take of my Bura villager tarwar, Duzzy! :thumbup:
  5. b.c.molin


    Nov 28, 2008
    Excellent detailed photo's! :thumbup:

    Plus you are a brave man as I'd be afraid of been arrested by the Police for having a 'weapon' in a public place if I took photo's in such a beautiful spot. Will you share its location?
  6. MrMike


    Jan 22, 2006
    did you cut the tip off the chape?
  7. tedwca


    Dec 10, 2005
    It's not the camera, it's the person using the camera that makes a nice photo. :D

    Very nice pics, I can't wait to hear the review.
  8. Jikidahou


    Apr 21, 2006
    That first photo is otherworldly, relly nice shots! Glad the tip of the Tarwar stayed put while you took the tree photo...:eek:
  9. DannyinJapan


    Oct 9, 2003
    Why don't I have one of these?
  10. Mark Nelson

    Mark Nelson

    Feb 21, 2003
    Just thinking the same thing.
  11. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    Love the Lake pics!

    Dunno, everyone needs a Tarwar!

  12. John Shields

    John Shields

    Oct 11, 2009
    Duzzy, what's the specs on that? Length, width, weight and such.
  13. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    Like the sword, but the I like the location better...

    If that's your backyard I'm seriously jealous.
  14. John Shields

    John Shields

    Oct 11, 2009
    I was just thinking the other day that I'd love a house on a large lake. :p
  15. Duzzy


    Sep 1, 2009
    Thanks, but it really isn’t that fancy. Buy two DOTD Khuks and I’d be willing to bet you spent more than my entire set-up.


    Thanks. The location isn’t that public; it’s my Grandma’s house in Northern Idaho on Lake Pend Oreille.

    Nope, that’s one of three flaws I found with the Tarwar. All will be covered in the review.

    Normally, I would agree with you. However, in this particular instance I will simply take the credit and run.

    I’m working slowly on the review. I am still trying to knock out an updated “usage” review on my CAKs. Busy, busy, busy--and not finding a good place/way to test lateral strength but… that is an issue for another day.

    It most certainly did not. It tried to fall on me twice. Luckily, I was a good bit away and using my zoom.

    I have no idea. But, I suppose it’s easily remedied.


    I honestly have no idea. I’ll try and include all of that in the review.

    I wouldn’t mind if it were…

    It was better before the Californians invaded. ;)
  16. Duzzy


    Sep 1, 2009
    Put up the first part of my review. Sorry about the extended delay.
  17. b.c.molin


    Nov 28, 2008
    It was well worth waiting for Duzzy!:thumbup:

    I assume the second part of the review is putting it to the test cutting and chopping various items? :confused: :D
  18. Duzzy


    Sep 1, 2009
    Nope. Still not done with my review of the blade itself. A performance review will be part III or IV. Heck, I still haven't tested my CAKs properly...
  19. sta94


    Jul 7, 2008
    Hi Duzzy, awesome pictures and very detailed & fun review so far, looking forward to the rest. Just wanted to point out that the markings above Bura's signs are the Devanagiri (Nepali & Hindi) initials "la" "ba" for "Lal Bahadur" which, iirc, is Bura's real name, Bura being his nickname, meaning 'old man' - then again, you probably knew this already!
  20. lal chatri

    lal chatri

    Sep 2, 2008
    you know guys i'd sell my grannie to get a couple of decent h.i. swords
    a tarwar for one and a nice h.i.katana for another so any one need a gran?:D;)

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