What is the Genuine Article Khukuri ?

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airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
Hello All ,
Further to my post " The Best Kukri Knives " , using what personal knowledge I have regarding khukuris and the research I have carried out , I thought I would expand on my previous thread to help give any interested members a little more informed information as to what to look for when buying a kukri knife !
Obviously people have their own preferences not only between the various kukri manufacturing companies but also whether or not they want a genuine antique kukri or a genuine Nepalese kukri from a reputable company ( of which I explained in my previous thread ) , OR the third option , a Kukri Like Object ( KLO ) as they are known , and which in my humble opinion are NOT true kukris .
Unless your hobby and interest is collecting genuine antique kukris and for which there are more specialized forums , this thread is mainly about the present day companies that manufacture original and genuine Nepalese kukris and KLOs and what differentiates them !
I think most present day kukri manufacturing companies are guilty of edging away from the traditional Nepalese style / shaped kukri in many of their models to accommodate customers wants and needs for what the customer perceives to be in their view a genuine kukri knife just because it has been made by one of these companies . Many of these KLOs have weird additions to both blade and handle shape with no thought of balance and what it actually feels like in the hand or how it can be utilised in a practical way and consequently many of these knives are far too heavy and cumbersome with thick spines , not at all like the original genuine kukris from the past that consisted of many of these blades that were constructed in the true Ang Khola , Dui Chirra , Tin Chirra or Hollow Grind styles that gave not only a reduced weight and strength to the overall kukri but also a good balance in the hand when in use . As I said , it is all down to personal choice of what the individual wants from a good bushcraft knife , but if there is no information forthcoming , then how will the average customer know what the difference in choices are . That is why I mentioned in my last thread about some kukri manufacturers overbuilding their knives . It does not mean that any particular kukri cannot do the job or that it is not strong enough , but I know through years of knife making and knowledge that a knife , especially a kukri that is built to certain standards and taking into account its weight , balance and style is much easier to carry and handle over longer periods of time . This is why I have chosen Khukuri House Handicraft Industry when ordering a kukri as they will customise it to any size , weight and balance with the dimensions that suit you .
I hope this will help anyone who wants a quality kukri made , make the right choice .
With thanks .
Mike
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,708
1,641
Bedfordshire
Moved to Edged Tools from Articles and Reviews. More likely to get more traffic here, and it isn't really what the Articles and Reviews forum is meant for. :)
 

Muskett

Forager
Mar 8, 2016
131
3
East Sussex
Completely agree with airborne 09 that the "Western" concept of what a Kukri should be is a world apart from the agricultural tools used by the Nepalese of old. I certainly can't get on with "modern" kukris as they are all too often overweight and just a thug of blade. Absolutely horrid, further diminished by so called Survival and Blade Reviewers that haven't got a clue and reinforce the falsehood.

Fighting Kukris came in two classes, the light and fast and the bludgen. One as a fighting fast knife the other to parry a sword or bayonet thrust and then to cave in a scull. Very different approaches. As for agricultural tools they tended to be longer and lighter to better suit the vegetation to be encountered. Heavy for hard wood or light weight for soft and vegetation.
So there are different styles to suit the work, many with their own names, but they all seem to be just called Kukris right or wrong. Again modern takes are far too often built too thick and heavy, to they point they aren't much use at work.

All pretty hopeless. Of the three I own only one is correct and lets just say "lively".
 

airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
Hello Muskett ,
Glad Ive got a supporter out there
Thanks for your comments which I obviously agree with and it is a shame to see such an iconic working knife such as the kukri being changed out of existence by many of the less salubrious manufacturing companies who are merely jumping on a worldwide bandwagon to make money on the back of the kukris popularity and reputation but adding ridiculous features and weights that only make a joke of what a real kukri actually is ! . Just to let you know that I have recently designed a kukri for KHHI which will be put into production later in the year . without saying too much at this present time , I have tried to retain the original and traditional shape and features of a Nepalese Kukri whilst at the same time making additions to the whole knife that will make it a more lightweight and practical all round use utility tool which hopefully hits all the right pointers for a classic bushcraft heavy use knife , it will be complemented with a quality 8 1/2" companion knife which fits neatly behind the main kukri . I am sure I will be able to negotiate a little discount for any interested members of this forum . So watch this space .
Thanks
Mike
 

Muskett

Forager
Mar 8, 2016
131
3
East Sussex
It will be interesting what airborne09 take is.
Western hands are bigger so there is an argument to make the handles a little bigger. However, the traditional design does work (those little twin ribs are part of the grip system). Interesting what weight and what weight forwardness. Hatchet weight or machete weight; something in between? Reach too. Cutting grind, keen to catch the cut, or a more robust edge to withstand hard wood without buckling? I don't think one tool can do both jobs. The nearest I've found is the Skrama but then it can't hack hard wood logs like an axe so still a cutter not a chipping machine. One or the other.
Have to say if I want to cut a log its an axe and even then a saw is far safer and more efficient. Bar for carving I'm not a fan of small axes. Not a fan of Kukris trying to be an axe either. I don't think knives are good at chopping.

I have to say I leave Kukris to Gurkhas, as they make the best curries with them. The fighting spirit of Gurkhas ensures their kukris are formidable; scares me (and we were just training together).
 

airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
Hello Janne ,
I think I know what you are saying and Muskett has got a good point about making the handles slightly longer for the larger Westerners size hand but that in itself will not change or interfere with the overall general and traditional shape of the kukri , making design additions such as hollow grind , Dui Chirra or Tin chirra blades etc is nothing new and was how many better designed kukris were manufactured in the past . Also I take on board what Muskett says about leaving kukris to the gurkhas but as I said its everyones personal choice of what style or type of knife they prefer for the woods so to speak . I am not trying to say that the kukri serves every purpose , just as an axe or a machete / parang does not , what I was trying to get across was that within reason a well made 12" blade kukri knife serves most purposes as a campcraft / bushcraft tool without taking up large amounts of space in your Bergen . Having taught on many SF combat survival courses I know the importance of a reasonably heavy duty knife and the kukri is my personal choice , but saying that , I do not advocate (especially in the Military ) people walking around with a huge Rambo type knife dangling from their belts , which is why I used to keep my kukri stashed inside my Bergen . Just as a matter of interest , many Gurkha soldiers although they get two kukris issued , are buying their own for use on operations and I have noticed on a few photos that some are carrying the slimmer "Sirupate " style kukris ! I hope this has helped explain what I was trying to say in the first place .
With thanks .
Mike
 

airborne09

Tenderfoot
Dec 9, 2016
70
21
North East
Hello Janne ,
Yes you are right about using good quality steel on any blade that is going to take some heavy knocks . I know that many many machetes on the markets are made with whatever kind of inferior steel and where blades are badly fitted into the handle as Ive used them myself . Of course there will also be higher quality machetes out there that will cost a bit more money but do the job better . As I said before there is no one knife that can accomplish every bushcraft task so this is where people make their own choices to suit their needs ! Most quality kukris have blades that are made out of what is termed as 5160 High carbon content steel and more often than not manufactured from reclaimed Leaf springs from various types of vehicles , so this in itself is a very strong and robust product to make a kukri blade . It then may take 2 or 3 kamis a full day or more to physically heat the steel and pound it into the right shape using different weights of blacksmiths hammers ( you can see this on youtube ) . Then by heat treating and tempering the blade , usually using water applied to the right parts of the blade they eventually turn out a decent quality kukri blade . You have to remember the whole kukri making process is done by hand using home made tools etc so each kukri will be slightly different as the manufacturing tollerences are not as fine as if they were machine made ! This is what makes each one unique . During the blacksmithing process the kukri blade can be hollow ground , or made into a Dui or Tin Chirra style blade , and if done correctly (which some of them are not ) , these processes and features will help to reduce the overall weight of the kukri whilst at the same time giving it extra strength and balance . This brings me back to my original point of some kukris being overbuilt and heavy to use ! Most of the " Kamis " who make kukri knives have been doing it since early childhood and usually follow in their Fathers footsteps . Unfortunately they belong to to one of the lowest class " Caste " systems called the Bishwakarma and are classed as the Untouchables whereby a higher class does not even shake their hands or invite them into their homes . It sounds almost unbelievable these days but is an accepted way of life for them .
Hope this has answered your main question .
Thanks
Mike
 

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