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Safety Thread: Be safe, not sorry!

   (original by Harry, revised by 'Gonzo Beyondo' )


1. A khukuri is a tool which has a sharp blade. It can and is used for many useful tasks. It is not a toy. Treat it with the respect that it deserves.

2. Take the time to learn how to handle a khukuri properly. You'll find that your use will be more efficient and enjoyable.

3. Always handle and use your khukuri with safety in mind. If you are not 100% dedicated to safety, you have no business using a khukuri.

Below are some examples of things not to do and consequences:

3 stooges

These fellows are not being serious about safety...

william tell kukri

Neither is this fellow...Do NOT do this at home or anywhere else!!!

khukuri scar

And this is an example of the damage a khukuri can cause.

4. Even when a khukuri is being sheathed and unsheathed, safety should be kept in mind.

safely unsheathing a khukuri

Notice how the user keeps his hand away from the edge area.

And the wrong way to unsheath/sheath a khukuri...:
don't do this

The fellow handling this khukuri was lucky to avoid serious injury to his hand. He could have ended up like this:

5. Watch out for the sharp chape!! (this is the sharp brass thing covering the tip of the scabbard) Take a file and round it off or remove it completely.

Maintain your khukuri. Keep it sharp and make sure that it fits snugly in its scabbard.
If it needs repairs, consult Uncle Bill and the khukuri experts at the Himalayan Imports Forum for advice.

If you are allowing others to handle your khukuris, make sure that you instruct them on how you expect them to handle them.
This is for their safety and yours. If any doubt exists as to safety, do not let them handle your khukuris.
After all, what responsible khukuri owner/user would give a sharp knife to an idiot? Remember, you are responsible for your khukuri.

8. If you see another person using a khukuri in an unsafe manner, stop and instruct them in safe khukuri use. You, and they, will be glad you did.

9. Once more, a khukuri is NOT A TOY!!! It is a sharp tool that can hurt you and others if not used with safety in mind.

10. The pictures and information above were provided by Uncle Bill Martino, Tom Marker, Russell Slate, MauiRob, Howard Wallace's Khukuri FAQ, Terry Sisco and other responsible khukuri users.

The author of this safety thread is not responsible in any way if you misuse a khukuri and hurt yourself in any way.
You, and you ALONE are responsible for your actions. No exceptions.

Controlled safe cutting principles... By Ferrous Wheel

As per a request, I'm adding this to the safety thread. Think of it as prevention...

Consider these principles when or before attacking some unsuspecting lumber with your khuk:

1 - Controlled Striking with the primary cutting edge:
Before cutting hard targets, it is best to practice controlled striking (with the hardened area--have to determine that as well) on softer targets, like 2x4s and limbs. You can tell you're ready to move on to harder targets once you can always hit with the hardened area of the khuk (you can tell this by looking at marks on the blade made by cutting wood--they should mostly be in the primary cutting area).
Conveniently, the Center of Percussion -- the 'sweet spot' -- of each HI khuk is the zone that is hardest. It is no accident that this is the primary cutting area of the khuk, and will deliver the most efficient cut.

2 - Controlling force and depth of strike:
When you swing the khuk at the target, do not think of striking at the surface of the target--but through it or many inches into it. Try cutting plywood edge-on to master this technique. You can draw a line 3-4 inches down on the side of the plywood, and aim for that depth of cut. This also makes you conscious of blade control--by cutting TO the line, not through it or above it, you learn to stop the khuks downward descent so that it does not exit the target out of control and into one's leg or arm or rocky also get a feel for the strikes that are too weak or not perpendicular to the target. As you must initiate the swing, so must you terminate the swing in a controlled fashion.

3 - Ignore the Point (or tip) of the khuk:
When using the khuk for cutting, realize that the tip (meaning the part of the blade that extends past the sweet spot) is really not the cutting area--The point is the secondary cutting area of the khuk. Most folks when swinging a sword or long blade for the first time want to strike with the point. This is not the sweet spot, and delivers an ineffective cut with no mass behind it (and using the softer tip, also a no-no).
Basically, the last few inches of the khuk are there to put mass further out past the sweet spot, which is mass that converts to a more forceful blow. The tip is there to roll the blade through the target without snagging.
When test cutting, ignore the tip of the khuk--act as if the khuk stops right after the hardened area. You will be surprised how well the tip of your khuk will hold up when it it not used as a primary chopping edge.

4 - Think in arcs:
Unlike a spear, arrow, or bullet, a khuk does not trave in a line. It and other swung objects travel in an arc. When you swing your khuk, be aware of the start and finnish (and everything in between) of the arc. Be aware that anything that gets in this are is subject to being cut. Check the path of the arc by envisioning the swing, and make sure there are no obstructions.

5 - Cut away from yourself:
This basic rule for all knife use is paramount in khuk use, as they have two deadly ingredients --- mass and sharpness. When thinking in terms of arcs, the khuk arc should always start closer to you than where it ends up. If you are swinging an arc that goes away from you but comes back close to you as well, you must rethink this arc or you risk injury. We all know that a khuk goes slicing thru most target materials much faster than we think it will, so do not assume that the target will miraculously stop the khuk dead.

*Test cutting and extreme cutting principles*

Edge profile:
HI khuks are maed with different edge geometry, which can mean there are different khuks for different tasks. I would not use a thinly profile blade to cut wood, but it'd do a job on reeds, brambles, grass, uncerbrush (i.e Gelbu special). I would not use a thicker profiled blade to cut lighter targets, bur it would be perfect for chopping lots of wood or harder test targets. The more obtuse the blade geometry, the better the blade will hold up to exreme cutting--conversely, it may not cut as deeply as a thinner model.

Confirm your target:
Know the composition of your target, and ensure that it is not harder than your khuk.
When cutting certain high carbon or spring steels could really chew up a khuk. You can test target hardness by runnng the hardened are of the khuk along the target material, like peeling a carrot or shaving a sliver from a stick. If the khuk cuts or bites into the material, then you pretty well know how things are gonna go. If the surface is resistant to the khuk and the khuk will not bite, then you'd be better off not striking the target. Keep in mind that it is possible to successfully cut small amounts or thinn pieces of material as hard as the khuk by exercising the principlles in 1-5. Proper technique can make all the difference.

If you practice for a while, master blade control and can use your wrist in conjunction with the swing to 'snap' the blow into the target, You will be ready for safe and effective cutting.


_ _ _ 

Chopping Felled Trees

Here's one for all the khukuri lumberjacks out there. Let's say you just felled a nice tree with your chainsaw, and now it's time to draw the trusty khuk and set about de-limbing and such. Be dadgummed careful of any small saplings the tree might have fallen across. They'll be bent over storing energy just like the pole in a good snare setup. A large khuk will lop through a wrist thick sapling with one good lick, suddenly and violently releasing the energy stored in that bent sapling. A sapling of that diameter will recoil with enough force to put out an eye, crush a windpipe, et cetera. So what do you do? Don't cut either end, cut in the middle of the arc of the bent piece of wood, and only enough until the wood cracks, releasing most of it's energy. Same deal for limbs that are supporting the weight of the fallen tree, they're storing energy too.

Before you ask, no, it's never happened to me, and I'm sure plenty of you out there already knew about it, so I thank you for your patient indulgence. It just occurred to me that there's a lot of brand new khuk users popping up on the forum, and some of them may be new to chopping trees down/up. I've been through several hurricanes and seen a lot of folks hurt trying to deal with fallen trees. They can be very dangerous and entirely unforgiving.



AND PLEASE.....!!! From Kismet

1. Contain your initial enthusiasm.

2. Go slower when you are tired, and be more deliberate in your actions.

Stop before the accident. The job will stay there until you are rested.


Here's another safety article worth reading (Thanks to lcs37 for posting it):
    Blade Safety (by Singularity)

Power Grinder

I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of watching what you are doing if you try polishing a blade like this on a power grinder!

I used to do a lot of buffing when I first started in the machine shop.  This was done on a huge grinder and I have lost the small aluminum parts and almost lost my Cajones from getting Zapped with them!  I have literally layed on a dirty grinding room floor gasping for breath when I got nailed by one of these small aluminum 'toe stops' for roller skates.

Guys if a Khukuri got loose from you on a grinder it would be much, much more serious than when the Kami hit that Khukuri wrong a while back and it went flying. You are going to be standing way to close You may lose more than your Cajones.


Safety at Plant 2

Just called Nepal this morning and got this report. Here's what happened. Two kamis are pounding in tandem on a 20 inch Sirupati held on the anvil by a third kami. One of the pounders missed his mark and hit the blade off the anvil. Of course, the blade flipped out of the tongs and went flying through the shop, narrowly missing a couple of the other kamis.

The kamis immediately held a conference and blamed the accident on the "improper blessing" done by the boss on the first shipment. They said this is also the reason the shipment was lost -- not properly blessed so Kali took it into her own hands to see that the khukuris did not reach the intended users without the proper blessing. Breaking an egg doesn't get it with the kamis and they insisted on a "proper" blessing. This involves a Kali puja so sister-in-law, Sanu, went out and bought the biggest, fattest hen she could find and took it back to the shop. Next shipment this hen was killed as Kali puja and the khukuris were properly blessed. Of course, the kamis happily cooked and ate the hen after the puja was complete.

Shop 1 also does Kali puja. It is part of the kami religion and culture. It may or may not be part of the khukuri blessing. This is up the the kamis...unless the boss happens to be Buddhist. From now on they will have their ceremony and the boss will have his. Equal opportunity!

Having the conference, acknowledging the accident, doing the Kali puja keeps what happened in the front of the thinking while manufacturing is going on. This is most important -- stay focused! The reason the guy missed is he lost his focus. He has the skill to never miss. He was thinking about something else, got distracted, needed to scratch his nose, whatever, but he should not have taken that swing. I will bet a dollar to a donut that he will not make this same mistake for a long time.

Bill Martino

Copyright (c) 1999-2001  by Howard Wallace, all rights reserved.; 2002-3 Himalayan Imports.
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