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Filipino Bolo Knives

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by bear the dog, Sep 11, 2011.

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  1. bear the dog

    bear the dog Member

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    Filipino Bolos

    Hi all, I'm new on this forum. I read a post here about old bolos from the Philippines. While in the Philippines I was exposed to more Bolos than one human should ever see! Just wanted to share them with you all here as it seems there is a fondness for big choppers here, hope you enjoy them!

    [​IMG]
    web photo

    I just picked these up out here in the Philippines (where I still am). I contributed photos of their country for their gallery section and I got these from them. Finally, a site that offers them shipped to the rest of the world.

    http://filipinobolos.com/index.html

    These are the ones I own. The handles are interesting and come in plastic, rattan wrapped, and carabao horn. Interesting convex grind and sort of a chisel grind where it is flatter on one side. Last year when I reviewed Filipino Bolos for Tactical Knives magazine I noticed the Vasayan Bolos had this chisel grind too.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]]
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  2. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Curious...

    Bear the Dog--Just as a curious question or 2, what is it that makes a particular knife a bolo--You seem to have a variety of designs pictured. And what is the special use for which a bolo is adapted?

    Very nice knife pics, BTW!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  3. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Isn't a Bolo knife dy definition front heavy?
     
  4. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    A lot of these look like Kukris. What's the difference?
     
  5. docnyt

    docnyt Member

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    This brings back memories. Not many households back home are without a bolo.
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Bolos come in a variety of shapes.
    They tend to be choppers so you get a lot of different "chopper" shapes depending upon local. A weight forward pendulous blade shape is "simple" to forge so you'll find a lot of similar shapes across the world because function and technology will drive form.
     
  7. bear the dog

    bear the dog Member

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    Sorry for the late reply. I am still here in the Philippines, but about to fly out in a few days. Last year I was here for a while and got to travel around while doing a story for a magazine called Tactical Knives. I learned a lot about bolos and continue to. A bolo is definitely characterized by a long blade with a weight forward design usually with a deep belly, hand forged from a leaf spring (5160 steel).

    After that visit, I went to Thailand and Malaysia to do further collecting and writing about their blades. There is a fine line between a Bolo from the Philippines, E-Nep from Thailand, Parang from Malaysia, and a Golok from Indonesia. Without getting too technical and serious, I will just say they all have their purpose and reasons why they use what they use based on their heritage, traditions, and influence that has entered their countries thousands of years ago.

    -RB
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  8. bear the dog

    bear the dog Member

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    Sorry, if I didn't answer all the questions, not really sure how to multi-quote here yet!

    -RB
     
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Kukuris are also a weight-forward chopping design, but kuks's spines angle forward.
     
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    John,

    You'll find bolos that have their spines angled forward as well.
     
  11. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, if they look like this, they're not bolos. :D
     
  12. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Treebeaters! :D

    lpl
     
  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    to-mah-toe/tmaa-toe

    :neener:

    Anyway, EVERYONE knows that the bolo migrated to Nepal where the kamis simply put a little Indian ethnic spin on it. :evil:<running for cover>
     
  14. bear the dog

    bear the dog Member

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    This will stir you all up. Check out the knife second from the bottom. It's a Thai E Nep, but I would say, "that looks like a kukuri!"

    -RB

    [​IMG]
     
  15. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Among other things, all "real" kukuris have the "eye of Shiva" cutout near the base of the blade. No eye of Shiva= not a kukuri, but a Khukuri-Like Object (KLO) at best.

    Also, looking at your Enep, kuks usually have a more abrupt transition from the base of the spine to the belly, and being chopping instead of stabbing tools, rarely have false edges. So, no, it still doesn't look that much like a kuk.

    John
     
  16. TomADC

    TomADC Member

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    I bought a couple back in the mid 60's use one here to chop kindling for the fireplace the other I gave to my Dad. Was told mine are made from old Jeep springs..
     
  17. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    5160 is good knife-making steel, especially for large blades.
     
  18. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    Pardon the repeat...

    Bear the Dog: Forgive me as an uninformed novice, but I have to repeat my question: Exactly what is it that makes a particular knife a bolo?? Or, if you wish, what disqualifies a knife from that designation?
     
  19. Mac Attack

    Mac Attack Member

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    Love those usable bolos.
     
  20. bear the dog

    bear the dog Member

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    My answer was meant for you, but I didn’t know how to directly quote you while answering. A bolo is definitely characterized by a long blade with a weight forward design, usually with a deep belly or recurve. They are hand forged from a leaf spring (5160 steel). The Filipinos call them bolos or “Itak” in Tagalog. Here is where it gets confusing, any long blade they make they call a bolo. There are specific names for certain shapes and then when you go to a different region, there are different names for the same blade design. Bottom line, if they make it in the Philippines and it is a long bladed chopping knife, it’s a bolo, even if it looks like an Indonesian Golok, Thai, E-nep, or Nepalese Kuk! This is something I’ve accepted despite the straight bladed choppers I have seen here that look like machetes, or the square tipped Golok looking knives. In the Visayas region they have bolos that I swear are almost exactly like Parangs! All this thinking about it made me ask so many questions and eventually come to a happy place of acceptance.

    Here are a few various models of Bolos that resemble other knives from other cultures.

    [​IMG]
    Bottom bolo looks like a Malaysian Parang

    [​IMG]
    All from the Ifugao Mountain province in northern Luzon. The top resembles a Golok
    [​IMG]
    This looks like an Indonesian Golok, straighter blade with a flat tip.

    [​IMG]
    This bolo looks like the Cold Steels kukri machete shape, I know, not a real kuk.

    As you can see influence from one culture is present in others.

    -RB
     
  21. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Very informative and well-illustrated. Thanks. :)
     
  22. TomADC

    TomADC Member

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    Here's mine

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

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    OK! Confusion ended!!

    Bear the Dog--You said
    And that clears up my confusion! Thank You! Now I understand!

    Kind of like "Bowie Knife"--"everyone" knows one when they see one, at least Americans, but try to narrow down a definition of exactly what is or is not a Bowie.

    I understand that leaf spring steel is so usual among American knife forgers that it is called "OTS" or "OCS" (Old Truck Spring or Old Chevy Spring) as a standard abbreviation, and that OTS makes very fine blades if tempered correctly.
     
  24. bear the dog

    bear the dog Member

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    J-
    Thanks.

    Tom-
    Nice one, looks like a bowie bolo. Carabao horn is really comfortable, looks like it came from Pangasinan.

    Smokey-
    Glad it could help. Jeep (Jeepney) springs left over from the war is what they use here in the Philippines. In Thailand and Malaysia they use their version of, like you said, "OTS" or "OCS" (Old Truck Spring or Old Chevy Spring). I will post pics of them when they are raw.

    -RB
     
  25. TomADC

    TomADC Member

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    RB, bought them outside the gate in Olongapo.
     
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