Kukri has been a traditional cold weapon of the Nepalese Gurkha tribe since the 19th century. This knife has a unique shape of blade – it is bent from top to the bottom, unlike a saber or a yataghan. It is considered that such form of a blade increase the force of strike by several times. On the other hand, the center of gravity of the knife is placed closer to a handle which is two-three times shorter than its edge. Kukri knives have been extremely popular within the Nepalese people and later gained popularity in other countries due to their multifunctional design and convenience.
Kukri Knife Production – Preparing the Steel
Before making a kukri knife one needs to choose a proper material for a blade. Carbonaceous steel is carefully selected, then weighed. Completed Kukri knife usually weighs from 500 to 1200 grams, but the weight of steel for its production always has to be more as in processing it loses weight due to compression.
After that, the necessary length of a blade with an allowance for steel compression is measured and cut off from the bigger piece. Then steel is heated, and after it becomes red-hot, it is forged off by the three-kilogram hammer with use of the sharp cutting torch on metal. Forging is usually conducted by two people within half an hour, this is enough to produce the steel knife or a proper quality.
Shaping the Blade
After that the steel is forged by two hammers synchronously. At this stage the steel is heated to the red-hot condition, and a bend is shaped. It is made by the 1,5 kg hammer – the blade is bended to the final condition.
After the blade has been shaped, the blood groove is made. The special groove which nestles on the edge of the blade is also forged by the hammer. The edge heats up again, and when soft, and the bar is being cut off leaving the necessary dredging.
Further, depending on a type of the knife, the pattern over the blood groove is created by a kilogram hammer.
Furnishing the Knife
The following stage is zonal hardening: the specified part of Kukri knife is being poured with cold water to provide additional durability to the blade. After that, the edge is sharpened and the wooden handle is fayed on a shaft with glue.
There is a traditional sharpening method for a Kukri knife: you should make a mixture of seven parts of river white sand, 1 part of glue and 1 part of usual sand. It is mixed and left for solidification. After that the hardened compound is applied on a round iron frame, set on a wheel, which then sharpens the edge of the knife. Due to special composition of steel used for production of kukri knives, this sandy mixture is the best for sharpening without damaging the steel. As the last step, the knife is polished with a leather strip (normally it is skin of a buffalo).