The best Kukri knives

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airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
Hello All , I am new to the forum but not exactly new to bushcraft / survival skills etc as in the past I was a combat survival instructor in the British Army , along with this I have an interest in the many and varied knives and tools used within these situations and in particular the one I would like to explain about in this thread , the legendary Kukri knife which is extensively used in Nepal and certain other areas within the Indian Sub Continent in an agricultural mode and of course known famously as the chosen fighting knife of the hill soldiers from Nepal , The Gurkhas .
Reading the many other knife forums out there it is obvious that there is a great interest generated for the many people who would like to buy a genuine / traditional Nepalese Kukri , and it is worth noting that there are quite a number of internet companies selling these knives but not neccessarilly quality made ones , so the byword when looking online is " BEWARE " . With this in mind I will try to give any potential buyers of the Kukri knives the best relevant information as to the best companies to buy from .
I have had an interest in knives since a young age and used to make my own Scandi type knives and sheaths until quite recently , I also have a reasonable understanding as to what constitutes a good knife regarding materials , uses and the many different metals used in the actual blade making .
For anyone interested in kukris , there is masses of information on the various knife forums and I believe I am right in stating that there are three main kukri manufacturers who most people tend to stick to for different reasons . For definition of an original kukri , I think most people would agree it would have to be made by hand in Nepal using the old tried and tested methods in which very basic tools are used by the "Kamis" or "Bishwakarmas" (Traditional black smiths ) to hammer and forge the steel ( usually vehicle leaf springs of 5160 type steel / very strong ) into the classic kukri shaped blade . The three main companies now producing kukris are , Khukuri House Handicraft Industry (KHHI) , The original company which is totally based in Nepal , Tora Blades which is UK owned and Himalayan Imports which is based in the USA .There are many smaller companies in Nepal who are actually flaunting the weak copyright laws of that country to produce inferior quality kukris and selling them on copycat websites actually using other companies information and even photos to promote their own products . As I said , BEWARE !

HIMALAYAN IMPORTS : HI are an American company that imports its kukris in from Nepal . They have quite a strong fan base (mainly in the US ) . I have handled a number of their kukri knives and although I would agree that they are a strongly built knife , I like many other people would tend to agree that they are probably a little over built in that they can be quite heavy . Another thing I don't like about HI kukris is that the majority of their kukris are built with the same kind of straight handle which can be a little uncomfortable when chopping or using it over long periods . Pricewise , HI kukris are quite expensive and then there is postage to add to that , but apparently they have a good customer service .

TORA BLADES : These are a UK based company run on a part time basis by a husband and wife team and when you order your kukri it is sent to you direct from Nepal , the only problem being is that after reading many reviews on the forums , delivery can and has taken between four and six months and you have to pay up front ! Tora style their kukris on original historic models and make them in comparison the same size , weights and styles as the originals ( a lot lighter than HI ) , dating from the Indian Mutiny era (1857) right through to both World Wars , the Malayan Emergency up to the Falklands war and also a couple of villager models . I quite like their styles but Tora are not flexible enough when it comes to customising their kukris like some other companies , so you get what you get . It is not my intention to denigrate anyone , but the owner of Tora Blades has quite a reputation on the various knife forums for denigrating other companies products as "Tourist kukris " and that is not entirely true ! He is very knowledgable regarding the kukri and its history but is also very opinionated , which is probably why he has been banned from some of the forums . Tora Blades are also as far as I am concerned , over priced . Enough said .

KHUKURI HOUSE HANDICRAFT INDUSTRY ( KHHI ) : Not to be confused with many of the smaller kukri manufacturing companies with Khukuri House in their name ! KHHI is the original and largest kukri manufacturer in Nepal and does make quality traditional hand made kukris . KHHI was originally conceived in 1989 by two Ex Gurkha soldiers who had recently retired from the British Army , Mr Lalit Kumar Lama ( 22 years service) and Mr Til Bahadur Bishwakarma (19 years service) both serving with the 10 Gurkha Rifles . After retiring they were asked to source some kukris for the 1989 intake of Gurkhas , and it was then both men realised that the quality standards had dropped dramatically to such a degree that the centuries old skills of hand making the kukri was in danger of dying out all together ! They decided to do something about it and by 1991 they had opened their manufacturing outlet in Kathmandu , Nepal and the rest as they say , is history . These days the son of Mr Lama , Mr Saroj Tamang Lama has taken over the business as sole proprietor and Managing Director and with his business skills and his innovative ideas saroj has moved the company forward always improving his products . I will say now that I have recently bought two kukris from KHHI and Mr Lama even customised them for me using my own specifications by hollow grinding the blades and making a few small changes and I have to say , I can find no fault with the quality build and the fit and finish . Because I had bought two over a certain amount he even gave me a free (including free postage) British Standard Issue kukri on a Christmas special offer !!! You cannot get a better deal than that . Over a period of weeks , I changed the specifications several times but Saroj was very patient and understanding with me and he is an absolute pleasure to do business with ! A real Gentleman . Once made the delivery time was only five days from Nepal all insured postage , that is good going . I know that in the new year(2017) , KHHI have some new and exciting ideas for their products making them an even better quality knife , so watch and see ! One other deal KHHI do is that if you cannot afford to buy your kukri outright , they will let you order the one of your choice and just pay in instalments as and when you can and the price will not go up ! Like I say KHHI IS A REALLY GREAT AND GENUINE COMPANY TO DEAL WITH . And as far as I can see , they are the cheapest company around .
These are obviously my own opinions based on a great deal of background research , so please if you are thinking about buying a kukri for campcraft / bushcraft work consider these views above , it might just save you a great deal of hassle . Hope you have enjoyed this article.
Thaknks.
M
 
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Trotsky

Full Member
I think it was Tora blades I used many moons ago when I bought my khukri. That model is apparently based on first world war officers khukri. It's a lovely blade and has travelled with me as far as arctic Norway but, it's a bit of a pig to sharpen and I must say that the leatherwork on the scabbard leaves a lot to be desired. £80 for a khukri from Nepal didn't seem steep to me however.
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
Hi Trotsky ,
Yeh if its the kukri Im thinking of it is a lovely piece of kit but it is a lot more expensive now £157 plus postage . Its the one I would like to own but Im not paying that sort of money . Anyway I have a sneaky feeling KHHI are going to launch a similar model which I would expect to be a bit less money . Easy way to sharpen a kukri is to lay a sheet of wet and dry sandpaper (fine) on top of a telephone directory , tip the blade at an appropriate angle and run the full length of the blade in one direction about half a dozen time , then the same with the other side , and just keep repeating . It works a treat . I do this with all my knives .
cheers .
M
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
Hi Trotsky ,
I forgot to say if the leatherwork is crap on the scabbard , you can buy the green / brown / or camouflage self sticking tape (what sticks to itself) and just wrap it round the kukri scabbard .
Hi Trotsky ,
Yeh if its the kukri Im thinking of it is a lovely piece of kit but it is a lot more expensive now £157 plus postage . Its the one I would like to own but Im not paying that sort of money . Anyway I have a sneaky feeling KHHI are going to launch a similar model which I would expect to be a bit less money . Easy way to sharpen a kukri is to lay a sheet of wet and dry sandpaper (fine) on top of a telephone directory , tip the blade at an appropriate angle and run the full length of the blade in one direction about half a dozen time , then the same with the other side , and just keep repeating . It works a treat . I do this with all my knives .
cheers .
M
 

Trotsky

Full Member
Hi Trotsky ,
I forgot to say if the leatherwork is crap on the scabbard , you can buy the green / brown / or camouflage self sticking tape (what sticks to itself) and just wrap it round the kukri scabbard .

It's more the belt loops etc, the quality there is really lacking but, I guess the various leatherworking supplies we take for granted here aren't readily available in Nepal. At some point I will get around to remedying the situation myself, first however, I have a period looking sheath for a broken back seax to make and xmas to get out of the way too.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,849
1,061
64
Florida
It's more the belt loops etc, the quality there is really lacking but, I guess the various leatherworking supplies we take for granted here aren't readily available in Nepal......

No, it's not due to a supply problem as such. You have to remember that the Nepalese are Hindus. They consider cows sacred therefore all their leather is either goatskin or occasionally water buffalo.
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
Hi santaman , yeh youre right about the leather thing , most of the leatherwork on a kukri scabbard comes from the water buffalo hide , and many of the handles are made from the horn of the same buffalo which looks absolutely great when polished up . Ive just received a kukri from KHHI in Nepal and I specifically asked for a lighter coloured horn if it were possible . KHHI obliged me by sending me a custom kukri with the best looking handle Ive ever seen !
Thanks.
M
 

Tommyd345

Nomad
Feb 2, 2015
369
1
Norfolk
While Himilayan imports are a bit more pricey, personally I think they are 10x the blade from anywhere else. Each one is hand forged from Spring steel by their kamis and each piece is unique. Their best models are actually found on their forum section on blade forum.com, where deal of the day and blems are a regular. Each kami has their own style, so if 12 kamis make the same blade each will be different, some make them lighter, thinner, more fuller, different sweep different length.

Customer service side, it's top notch. Yangdu or aunty and most refer to her as, makes time for anyone who needs help or has questions. You can just email her asking what you'll be using it for, your size, strength ect and she'll find you options. As I said, their best kukris are on the forum.

I have their chiruwa Ang khola and my god it's one hell of a beast! Just thought I would add some info on HI as I'm not sure you quite did the, justice ;)
 

Madriverrob

Native
Feb 4, 2008
1,184
138
54
Whitby , North Yorkshire
Hi santaman , yeh youre right about the leather thing , most of the leatherwork on a kukri scabbard comes from the water buffalo hide , and many of the handles are made from the horn of the same buffalo which looks absolutely great when polished up . Ive just received a kukri from KHHI in Nepal and I specifically asked for a lighter coloured horn if it were possible . KHHI obliged me by sending me a custom kukri with the best looking handle Ive ever seen !
Thanks.
M

sounds special , do you have any pictures ?
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
hello Tommyd345 ,
sorry this is a little late but Ive been away a lot . Also sorry you don't think I did justice to HI khukuris . I actually do think they manufacture really well made kuks and have a great service to their customers . Its just that in my opinion I do not like what I perceive to be overbuilt blades on many of their models , ie blade thickness . I also don't like the majority of the styles that HI make as I much prefer the more traditional gentle curve in the blade spine rather that an angled peak ! As I say that's only my opinion and it does not detract from the strong build of HI khukuris . In my opinion I would not go past " Khukuri House Handicraft Industry " , and when I order from them I tend to semi customise the whole knife , especially with shape and making sure I get a nice hollow grind to the blade which tends to make it lighter and easier to handle with a nice balance . Mr Saroj Tamang Lama ( M.D of KHHI ) is always open to suggestions and will do all in his power and expertise to satisfy his customers .
Thanks
Mike
 

Highbinder

Full Member
Jul 11, 2010
1,257
2
Under a tree
Hi Trotsky ,
Yeh if its the kukri Im thinking of it is a lovely piece of kit but it is a lot more expensive now £157 plus postage . Its the one I would like to own but Im not paying that sort of money .

You might not want to hear this but why not make a thing of it and go to Nepal? I've seen flights from London to KTM for £150-200 each way, okay not super cheap, but cost of living/food/travel over there makes for a great holiday. When I was there in 2015 I bought a Khukri. You could visit Khukri House in person.
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
Hello Highbinder ,
I would love to go to Nepal and have a mosey around and see how their culture actually works , but unfortunately I have two replacement knees which don't do the work I used to do with them , and with Nepal being quite a mountainous Country I think I would find it rather difficult now . But who knows , I never say never ! How did you find it ? and where did you buy your khukuri from ? Just as a matter of interest , did you see much use of the khukuri in the rural areas ?
Thanks .
Mike
 
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Highbinder

Full Member
Jul 11, 2010
1,257
2
Under a tree
Hello Highbinder ,
I would love to go to Nepal and have a mosey around and see how their culture actually works , but unfortunately I have two replacement knees which don't do the work I used to do with them , and with Nepal being quite a mountainous Country I think I would find it rather difficult now . But who knows , I never say never ! How did you find it ? and where did you buy your khukuri from ? Just as a matter of interest , did you see much use of the khukuri in the rural areas ?
Thanks .
Mike

When I was there it was only a short trip, 4 days, unfortunately I didn't have time to see much more than Kathmandu but I had a blast. I did a few tourist things like Boudhanath, must of gone to half a dozen Khukri shops, ate my weight in Momo. I didn't find getting about the city too trying - much easier than some places I've been - taxis readily available, most roads paved, etc.

I believe my khukri was a KH job tho I can't be 100% sure. I've abused it.. here's an old photo

DSCF3726-2.jpg
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
Hopefully will eventually get there someday . That looks like a very basic but strong full tang job which would take some abuse . does it hold its sharpness well ?
Thanks
Mike
 

Highbinder

Full Member
Jul 11, 2010
1,257
2
Under a tree
Hopefully will eventually get there someday . That looks like a very basic but strong full tang job which would take some abuse . does it hold its sharpness well ?
Thanks
Mike

Yes it's very stout, not a full length khukri by any means. Grinding the choil helps a lot with fine tasks. I had to take the heel off the handle to stop it destroying my hand when chopping. It isn't very hard so doesn't hold a great edge, but comes back quickly on the stones, but it needs regular touching up when you beat on it. Since I picked up my 1/2lb GB hatchet I've been using it a lot less, but it's still a great 'big knife' IMO, especially as it cost me all of 30$ after a good haggle.
 

airborne09

Member
Dec 9, 2016
45
4
North East
I love my khukuris , which I purchased from KHHI in Nepal and who in my opinion are the original and best manufacturer to buy from . I am actually in the process of designing a new model for them that will be going into production later in the year , and because I have been given pretty much a free hand in the design stage , I have incorporated what I believe to be some of the best concepts in what a practical working khukuri should be ! Whilst working with British Army UKSF I nearly always carried a British Standard Issue khukuri stashed inside my Bergen just for general campcraft type duties / general use etc and in my opinion is as good as if not better than most other types of knives and tools used for such purposes .
cheers
Mike
 

eraaij

Full Member
Feb 18, 2004
519
24
Arnhem
I own a number of Khukuris from HI, -bought them years back when Bill Martino was still around. The build depends very much on the type and smith. Ang Khola models are beasts, Sirupate/Chitlangi models are slimmer. Just ask for specifics when Yangdu advertises the (almost daily available) batch on Bladeforums.

I use one of the Ang Kholas (a Villager model) for splitting firewood. That one is really great and keeps a decent edge. Those Villagers are IMO usually the best buy - good blades and simple wooden handles that add to the character. Blems are also good deals and usually not really a 'blem' if you want a user.

just my 0.02 eurocent.

-Emile
 

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