Hey Johan

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May 24, 2001
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There was a question about spring steel over on the HI forum. I couldn't find the article you wrote on khukuri steel on Bladeforums (to post a link), so I posted the entire article from my archive. I hope you don't mind.

Patrick
 
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Hi, Patrick! Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I'm sure what you did was A-OK. I'll go have a gander....
 
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Johan,
hoping to start a good chat with you and Dan soon - I'm furiously busy at work right now, but several of my projects get going soon so I can take a break.

Pat
 
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That's nice, Pat. Don't forget ol' Berk - he's 'peering round the corner, too.

I re-read that article of mine you posted on HI. It's horrifically long, not to mention long-winded. Hope it doesn't scare the forumites to Timbuktu and back! I think I should get a booby prize an' a kick up the stern for originally posting the longest reply ever on any forum....
 
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Johan,
I think you had just enough detail to cover the basics. It's nice to see longer, in depth posts. Of course, I was just telling my wife that I used to think of ten pages as a long paper, now I wonder how I can say everything I need to in just 10 pages :)

Pat
 
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Thanks for nice comments! Let's entice ol' Dan back with something he's sure to enjoy... He wrote about these high velocity rifles used for bagging chucks. I heard the 220 Swift has a barrel life of not more than about 3000 rounds. Now I wonder whether it's the terrific friction caused by the mantled bullets churning through the barrel at stupendous speeds which causes the high rate of erosion, or maybe the extraordinary heat of combustion of the high-powered loads pushing the bullet....?
 
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Johan, you sure know how to fetch me, now don't you? There is much out of date folklore about the high velocity cartridges that push bullets at 4000 fps. First off, there have been so many technical advances in metallurgy and bullet technology that have made these problems totally passe. When the Swift appeared in the early 1930's, the pre-WW2 quality of bbl steel accounted for much throat erosion, and it didn't help when folks overheated their bbls by not letting them cool. The bullet jacket quality, thickness and design is much better understood and improved now. Bores can be polished to reduce the friction and lessen fouling. Molybdenum disulfide ("moly") can also be a big help (but while a true benefit for a .17 Remington factory bbl) it's also very controversial. We also have so many previously unthought of cleaning agents now.

I also found this to be the case when I used to own and shoot a Swift without any of these legendary problems. It was a factory rifle with a polished bore that was well taken care of and grouped well under .5" @ 100 yds and 2" at 300 yards. It might've done even better with some bullet seating depth experimentation. Not all that many folks who aren't avid target shooters really shoot out bbls much anymore with proper cleaning and cooling. And custom ss bbls are in another class.

As you know, I got a stainless .17 Rem heavy varmint rifle for calm days and ss .243 target rifle for windy days. A .17 will let you actually watch the show in the scope due to no recoil. The .222 is for nostalgia's sake. Anything under 200 yards is a pistol shot for now, but I hope to have the means to correct that someday.

As with knives or anything steel, there are some old notions that just don't seem to pass with the technology. Speaking of which, I'm reading an article from Scientific American that has proven to have unlocked the mystery of wootz steel. They've done all the microscopic and chemical analysis, too. Maybe I'm out of the loop, but it seems to be the real deal.

Hope y'all are well....Dan
 
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Thanks for interesting info, Dan! It must have knocked the stuffing out of Pat, 'cause he's all quiet...

My son-in-law and I tried to further sight in my MH last Saturday (9th). My shots all went into the bull (size of a computer mouse pad) at 100m, but 'bout three fingers low. So I lopped off 1 mm off my home-made front sight so's the rifle'll shoot slightly higher. Next Saturday should see improvement.

Maybe you'd like to see my latest thread on HI forum on the origin of the name khukuri?

Go well, Dan & Pat
 
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Originally posted by Johan van Zyl
Thanks for interesting info, Dan! It must have knocked the stuffing out of Pat, 'cause he's all quiet...


Knocked the stuffing out of me, indeed!;) :D

I shoot mostly old military bolt rifles, so I'll have to admit that Dan's post is way beyond me. Thanks, Dan for clearing up a few commonly held misconceptions regarding barrel wear and small bore bullet velocity.

Khukuri content: I've been reading about wire forged damascus. Now that would make and interesting khukuri! 'Course, I wouldn't turn down a Wootz blade, either.

Patrick
 
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Here's another interesting topic, along the same lines as khukuris. We know the khukuri to be the traditional pioneer knife of Nepal. So in the same sense the Bowie is traditionally American pioneer. Well, we in S.A. also can lay claim to a "traditional indigenous pioneer knife", the HERNEUTER.

Here's the gen on the herneuter before I have to go to class (hope you find it interesting):

"Herneuter" knives were very popular indeed in the days of the pioneer Voortrekkers, who bought them and used them for everyday tasks. Their fame spread so that today these knives, if original, are in the "sought after" and even "famous" class.

I heard tell that these tools were so popular in the old days that if one farmer wanted to ask the other to show him his knife, he would use the word "herneuter" as if it merely meant "knife".

Herneuter knives were made at the old "Baviaanskloof" (Eng: "baboon canyon") mission station, which was the first mission station to be built in South Africa. It later came to be known as Genadendal (Eng: "mercy plain"), situated about 35 km to the north of Caledon, a town in the far south of S.A., in the old Cape Colony. The knives were made from about 1770 to 1840, and was one of the most important products to be made and sold by the inhabitants of the mission station, under the guidance of the missionary.

So what is the origin of the name "herneuter"? In eastern Germany there is a small town called Herrnhut. The congregation in Herrnhut sent members to southern Africa to help spread the Bible's message to the Hottentots (as they were then called), a brown-skinned indigenous people living in the Cape Colony. Having previously undergone training in the art of knifemaking at the famous knifemaking facility Neissers in Holland, missionary Kuhnel from Herrnhut started the business at Baviaanskloof. He trained the Hottentots and they made hunting knives, penknives, fruit knives, pruning knives, bread knives and table knives. The word "Hernnhutter knives" soon became "herneuters" in the vocabulary of the Afrikaans speaking people who actually used the knives daily. Some say the most widely used were the pruning knives, because winemaking was so extensive in the Cape Colony, and most of the clients who purchased these knives were farmers, esp wine farmers.

The "hallmark" on the knives was a small knife symbol stamped on the blade. I can't post a pic, but the knives look much like those used by the American pioneers and backwoodsmen to cut the patches for their Pennsylvania long rifles. I read an article on these olden day patch knives in a knife book and saw the pictures: looks much the same - rough and practical, but quality users-knives.

The reason for the business going on the blink in approx. 1840 was the big influx of cheaper Sheffield knives which flooded the market.

I heard a rumour that these knives were going to be made again, but I don't have any details yet. Whether at Genadendal or not, or whether as reproductions by high-tech cutlers, it'll never be the same.

How's that grab ya? Stay well!
 
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