Catastrophic Kukuri failure

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by sirupatespecial, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. sirupatespecial


    Oct 16, 2013
    "It is in how the steel is treated at the forge by the craftsman and in quality control before the finished product reaches the customer."

    I understand. What I don't understand is how you could detect micro cracks in scrap steel without x-raying the blade or something. I suspect that this kind of defect could be much more common than I thought. I only have a sample of 2 but my failure rate now stands at 50%:( I also suspect that most who purchase Kuks never use them as intended i.e. a tool.

    "The premise behind getting you to place an order is so that you can be sold another item and so that you are then responsible for the costs of shipping. The replacement will be sent with the new, but you will still pay the shipping."

    I understand that. If I can get enough of a discount on whatever I pick out(if I decide to do that) to cover shipping then I might just do that. Or not.
  2. Jens Schuetz

    Jens Schuetz

    Jun 24, 2013
    Big cracks like this you can hear when you hit the Kukri with some metal. Of course for reference you need to know how a similar Kukri sounds when it's intact. I'm sure experienced Kamis know that too and might have a few more tricks. Just guessing but maybe a crack shows when heating the blade since it will conduct heat differently and maybe glow different too?
  3. JNewell


    Nov 18, 2005
    Sort of interesting to read these posts (below - all good posts). I've been mulling this one over as it developed and finally came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be excited about a khukri that the maker couldn't assure wouldn't leave the shop without a defect like this, since you can envision other circumstances where a serious injury could result from a broken blade. Am I missing something?

  4. Jens Schuetz

    Jens Schuetz

    Jun 24, 2013
    Depends. If only one in a thousand cracks you have pretty good odds.
    Somewhat related:
    I find it impossible to google pictures of broken Kukris. Thought it would be a good approach to see how they usually fail and if the cho is a weak point. Nothing :(
    Who can help?
  5. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    Back in the day, I worked for a company that rebuilt engines. One of the tests we did on key parts was magnafluxing to find hidden cracks in the metal. It wasn't that difficult or expensive of an inspection.

    The cho certainly creates a stress riser, although it's not clear whether that caused this particular problem. Normally, a stress riser would not be a problem with a chunk of steel this thick, but it is the place where you would expect a blade failure to initiate.

    What I would want to hear from the company that sold me a clearly defective knife is that I have a choice between a full refund -- including shipping costs -- or a new knife, with shipping free. Anything less than that is reason not to buy from that company again.
  6. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    My point about the steel is that I would like to know that they have an idea of what steel is being used

    I do not need a metallurgy lesson from you :)

    I am sure HI sources their steel similarly but I have had experience with their products and I have been relatively pleased with the performance and their customer service so I can recommend them

    The part were you say I am 100 % right about

    I do believe for some silly reason that a good axe being used like you should use an axe and a good saw again being used correctly has a fair chance of surviving the intended task a wee bit better than a imported Khukuri that is being flogged with a stick :)

    Just my opinion ........... I could be wrong
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  7. Karda

    Karda Banned BANNED

    Jun 1, 2007
    In all reality, you can't expect an "assurance" from any maker as to whether or not a blade will fail under use.
    Not just with reclaimed steel either. The steel makers aren't always perfect and neither is any maker.
    In 25 years of doing business, HI has had only a couple of known failures like this. Both were replaced.
    Like I previously stated, it's all in the manufacturing and quality control process.
  8. philllll


    May 23, 2013
    You need some Himalayan Imports in your life, my friend.
  9. mete


    Jun 10, 2003
    The best truck springs are from a M-B , 5160M . Scrap steel ? Any steel made today contains a large percentage of scrap !
  10. Chalkkdust


    Nov 19, 2011
    I have eight kukri in my collection. All were treated as heavy users on a daily basis at work. I've used them as choppers, splitters, and limbers, task the kukri was designed for.

    Having said that, I've noticed a serious decline in quality control over the last few years. I'm not blaming any one company as I have experienced quality control issues with all of them. Unfortunately the kukri of today is not the same as the kukri 10 years ago.

    I will probably never purchase a new kukri again as the last four or five I've handled have not held up to my originals. On some of my returns, the second kukri was worse than the first and are clearly someone else's return. It's a borderline scam. It seems as if the Kami's have learned they can crank out crappy souvenirs faster then they can make usable tools yet still get the same price per blade.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the kukri. My earlier blades are still going strong. I am bashing the modern kukri (last two years) as it is very difficult to obtain a freshly manufactured blade that matches the quality and dependability of earlier HI's or Torras.
  11. sirupatespecial


    Oct 16, 2013
    "I do believe for some silly reason that a good axe being used like you should use an axe and a good saw again being used correctly has a fair chance of surviving the intended task a wee bit better than a imported Khukuri that is being flogged with a stick"

    Of course. But you use what u got and in this case I had a Kuk. I prefer splitting wood with a maul. An axe gets stuck in the wood too often (my experience) and ends up costing more work. After I broke the knife I found a pick that had a small wedge on the other side and finished splitting with it. The Kukuri was actually more precise, although admittedly I am out of practice splitting wood. If you have smaller, dry, straight grained wood I could see batoning actually being easier than using an axe or maul, if you were trying to split smaller pieces to start a fire. Splitting small pieces of kindling, batoning would be easier, I think.

    So, again, I guess it all goes back to what you have available and what job you are trying to accomplish. Or, as someone much wiser than me once said "use the right tool for the job":). Or something like that.


    Apr 4, 2007

    Bro, your still not getting it and Im not really sure how I can explain it any better. Me and you share the same opinion. I agree that many knives CAN handle batoning. Im not arguing that certain knives cant handle the chore. Im saying that that in "most" cases they are not designed for it. I never said that they shouldnt or couldnt. Just as many cars while not designed to have turbo or supercharger added CAN handle the extra power. But if you blow the engine on your mustang because you add 20PSI of boost ford is not going to warranty the car because you used it in a way that they didnt design the car or intend. Another example, lets say someone takes a ZT 0300 one of the toughest production folders being made right now and decides to baton with it. The knife in for conversation sake NEVER fails. That doesnt mean it was designed for it. And that is what I said. Not that the knife wont withstand it. But that its intended purpose is not for batoning. And if ZT was any other company they probably would consider that abuse even if the knife didnt break.

    So really if you take my original statement that you quoted and break it down which again was "Most knives are not designed to baton with period" that is a factual statement. Even if the knife can handle it, it wasnt designed for it. No other meaning is expressed nor implied in that statement. I agree you can use knives for it but again not designed for it. Now another hang up your having with my words it the term "most". Most does not mean all. And I used the term "most" because if you take every knife in current production and look in its specs and item description you will find that they dont mention batoning. But the great thing about the word "most" is that it doesnt exclude your few examples of knives that were in fact designed with batoning in mind from being acknowledged If the majority of knives in production arent designed for batoning there is nothing false in claiming that "most knives are not designed for batoning" Because most in fact are not even if they can handle it. I also use that word to describe that again the majority of companies consider batoning abuse. This is also true. Because again the majority, not all will consider it abuse. I think the real issue here is that Im stating things very very simple and your reading further into it than needs to be done. I agree a knife can be used to baton with. Im not arguing that. But to drive the point home a bit more a banana can be used as a sex toy. But that doesnt mean Chiquita would agree that their bananas are intended for that purpose. And they probably wont guarantee it if you use it as such. Regardless of how much you feel it works well in that regard.
  13. Jens Schuetz

    Jens Schuetz

    Jun 24, 2013
    Most Bananas or all?
  14. mete


    Jun 10, 2003
    Definitions -- Microcracks are very small seen only by a microscope --therefore the term ! In one of my metallurgy books there is a crack that is contained within one grain ! No, x-ray, ultrasonics, and other common non-destructive testing methods won't show it . But it's a weakness .
    A crack in the the already weakening groove is a fracture waiting to happen .
    Yes I have a couple of kukris , no I don't baton them , I take good care of my tools .


    Apr 4, 2007
    Definitely "most" bananas. We are obviously splittin hairs here so If I were to say all someone would post a picture of an imitation banana strap on and prove me wrong, lol.
  16. sirupatespecial


    Oct 16, 2013

    Wanted to follow up with the progress on getting my Kukuri replaced. Here one of the e-mails:

    Dear David,
    Thank you.

    I wud really appreciate if your picked one but even if you did not then we have never failed to impress anyone. Thats just not KHHI. You will be send one replacement for sure.

    Thank you and Namaste,

    So, I asked him to make an offer shipping the 13hd. Knife was 59.99 shipping alone was 40. Shipping the 13hd and the replacement was 56.00. Shipping the replacement was 35.00 by itself. Based on the shipping estimator on their website. I didn't see how they could come out to the good shipping both but I asked him to make me an offer and I'd consider it. Here's that e-mail:

    Dear David,
    Ah I get it now!! I thut you had put an order at KHHI. You have been very kind and we appreciate all your patience and willingness to sorting out the matter with us. Its really very generous of you.

    The 13DH Machete with shipping is coming at around USD 100. If its possible then I wud ask you ONLY half of it, that is just flat USD 50.00. Pls let me know if this comes within your budget. And with this order I will also ship the replacement 1 x std Jungle Panawal.

    Thank you and Namaste,
    SLT, KHH

    So, I told him to send it on. I don't know what they accomplished by doing that. Maybe their shipping is a whole lot less than what's listed on their website? Might be a P.O.S but what the heck.

    Anyway, here it is. Can't figure out how to post the pics tho...
  17. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    I read some where over the years that many of the WW1 -WW2 era Kukuris from Nepal and India were made of old Brit railroad tracks that were made from 1070 carbon steel. It sounds like a good plausible source of steel but I don't know if this is true since I wasn't there and haven't had old Kukuri knives analyzed for carbon content.
    Is there anyone here that knows if there is any truth to this?
  18. coyotebc


    Jan 26, 2005
    In his op he said that it was the first time, he only owned the knife for a few months and had only done some chopping with it
  19. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    I don't really see that technique was the issue. Any knife can break, be it a Becker, Busse, HI, or anything else, for a wide variety of reasons. It seems pretty clear that this one had an inclusion. Batoning or not, it was bound to break eventually. I think they were smart to get another order, but the CS is pretty good regardless. I'll stick to HI for my khukuri, or make my own though. (Or get one of those stellar ones made by Jason Knight, if I had the scratch for it). That's one of the nice things about HI; the blades you order come from their location in the US, and I'd bet they just send over replacement stock for their warehouse with the next batch. The only things they'd have a harder time replacing are the really specialty stuff (like manjushree, etc), and I have no doubt they'd take care of any manufacturing defects (and without asking for another order). I'm glad khukuri house is replacing it, but in your place, I'd be switching to HI.

    Khukuri are designed and used as a all-purpose knife. They do everything with khukuri and the karda and chakma. Batoning shouldn't be beyond them. I wouldn't hesitate to baton with any of my HI ones. Those things are beefy, and I'd be more inclined to baton one of them than any of my Beckers. jimh, do you own any quality ones, such as an HI? If not, I'd be a little more hesitant to make judgments about what they can or cannot be used like. Just the fact that you called it a machete suggests you're more used to KLO's like Cold Steel's offerings than anything else.
  20. jdk1

    jdk1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2010
    IIRC, the documentation is pretty solid concerning WWII khuk production. Makeshift shops were hastily set up near railroad terminals to make khuks from "Condemned Carriage Springs". I haven't researched it, but imagine that would just be leaf springs from RR cars. I can't say about using the tracks, but it's certainly possible. It would be interesting to test an old khuk to see what we could learn. Take care.

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