Uluchet : folding hatchet/ulu


Description

A Uluchet is a hatchet which can be transformed : from a chopping tool:

into a slicing tool:

By allow the handle of the Uluchet being able to effectively rise up along the neck its center of gravity moves lower and produces a much more neutral balance suited for finer work. To unfold the Uluchet simply pull out on the handles at the top to detach them, they are held in place by a pin which fits into a hole in the opposing handle. Then rotate them around until they meet at the bottom and press them together to engage the pin again. The tang of the Uluchet is then fitted between two groves in the Zytel handle.

The Uluchet comes with a custom leather sheath which is fitted to hold it in the collapsed or open position. As for the specs; the blade is 56-58 RC D2, cryo. treated, the handle is Zytel (glass reinforced), its folded length is only 6.5 inches, it opens to 9.5 inches and weighs a 10.5 ounces, 15 ounces with the sheath. It sells for $129.99 including shipping. You can contact the dealer P. J. Turner Knife Mfg. Inc. at pjtkm@silverstar.com.

As a side note, during a conversation with P.J., it was mentioned that a small hatchet is often more readily accepted by non-knife people than a knife that has enough mass and length to chop. He immediately pointed out that the Uluchet folded and carried in the sheath may look like you are carrying a gun. When ever someone is forthcoming about negative aspects of their products it is always a good sign. If the gun printing is a concern, the Uluchet can be carried in the unfolded position as the sheath is open at the bottom. With the handle poking out it looks much like a regular hatchet. The only drawback to carrying it this way is that it sinks further down into the sheath and is therefore more difficult to draw out.

Initial impressions

A brief examination of the lock revealed it can not break in the traditional sense of a knife lock failure. There are no moving parts to give, and there is simply too much material that would have to be pushed out of the way. In order to induce failure the Zytel would have to deform enough to allow the tang to slip out as the tang is held in place by two opposing pieces of Zytel grooved into the handle. Wear may be a concern on the Zytel which would allow the fit of the tang to loosen. However replacement handles are available.

Performance overview

The Uluchet it is designed primarily as a hunting tool, while it doesn't have near the raw chopping strength of say a large khukuri like a 15" Ang Khola it had the necessary power to gather enough wood for a fire, cut a few sticks for makeshift roasters, point them, and still be able to quite easily clean a few trout.

The blade comes very sharp and can both push cut well with solid aggression on a draw showing a complete sharpness profile. It easily cut shirts into strips (bandages or makeshift bindings) and could push cut through stretched fabric and also be used in a sawing motion to cut up a bundled roll.

It was then used for food preparation, opening boxes, cutting rope and even slicing up carpet. On some tasks knife would be prefered (cutting poly rope) however on others such as opening boxes the curved face of the Uluchet actually made it less likely to have a point penetrate and stab the contents inside.

There were initially had some concerns about the comfort of the handle but that was unwarranted, it offers a secure, comfortable grip. The sharpness was not significantly effected by the above cutting.

Performance evaluation

The Uluchet was compared to a few knives knives of various types to round out its performance evaluation. The details are noted in the following page:

Review : TUSK / Uluchet / HI khukuri / GH Khukuri

In general it did very well, the only problem was in very heavy prying the stop pin at the end of the handle sheared off. This doesn't render it unusable, the handle slabs will just be more abrasive in use as they are not fixed together any more.

Update

Putting on the replacement handles requires a multi-tool and a SAK or equilavent. It is a tight fit so some lubricant would make the job a bit easier. The Uluchet was also used without the handle which was uncomfortable, but managable, chopping would be very difficult.

There has been some concern about damage to the Uluchet by using it as a hammer (see the above link for details). P. J. commented :

Received the Uluchet in todays mail, the spine of the Uluchet was polished more than dented. The flat of the spine shows approximately .002 in. variation, which is probably due to compression of the surface finish. The edge that took the majority of the blows (your right handed according to the spine, some hits weren't perfectly flat) shows deformation about the same as the cutting edge that hit the nail, around .006 to .007 in.

Conclusions and references

The Uluchet carries considerable chopping power in a very small package. It suffered no indentation or chipping on prolonged heavy wood cutting and even chopping on sheet metal. The lock held up well and still showed no signs of play. It is very easy to carry and in the folded up position it can handle a variety of cutting chores nicely. It can stand considerable prying without damaging the blade or handle or loosening the lock. The handle would be more comfortable if the inside faces were rounded and is easily replaceable in the field.

For additional information you can contact the dealer P. J. Turner Knife Mfg. Inc. at pjtkm@silverstar.com.


Last updated : 01 : 10 : 2006
Originally written: 01 : 05 : 2000
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