World War Kukri (Historic)
Historic existence, importance of World War Kukri used by British Gurkhas
Since the formation of 1st Gurkha Military unit back in early 19th century many kukri knives have come into limelight and countless legendary tales attached to it. The World War version is one of them and believed to have been used by British Gurkhas towards the end of 2nd world war period. The documented sources do not really point to the fact that it was issued then but because of its more effective size, shape and weight Gurkhas were individually found widely using the kukri during the war torn days. Particularly it is learnt that Gurkhas used to bring this kukri from their villages when returning back from their official leave.
The historic and commendable relationship of Gurkhas and British has come a very long way that in fact began with horrific violence and intense battle only to turn into mutual understanding, friendship and brotherhood. Both parties were fascinated by the khukuri and when British decided to make it a part of standard gears of a Gurkha it swiftly earned a friendly and fearsome reputation and more so important became a very battle cum domestic utility knife. The same story goes with the World War; one of the many khukuris used by Gurkhas that famed them into glory and victory.
The World War is a very common and famous khukuri in the local khukuri world in Nepal. It actually existed in early 1980’s when makers made this kukri believing it was issued and used by Gurkhas in World War days, and hence named so. The khukuri was such a success probably because of its appealing name, shape and size, it quickly stormed the khukuri market and within a year it was seen made by all local and international makers. Ironically, KHHI’s deep study and research does not lead to the fact that world war was indeed issued and officially used. The shape, style, size and structure heavily vary than the original issued versions. This World War version was more like a preferred knife of the Gurkhas since they bought and brought on their own for service. Nevertheless it cannot be ruled out that it was never issued as the documented sources are very sketchy and imprecise itself.
Making of World War Kukri (Historic) by Khukuri House , KHHI
This 11 inch long kukri knife has a beautiful shape with no peak in the back edge. The belly is small and enlarges as it moves towards the head-point portion. The knife carries much of its weight at the front area but nonetheless the over-all weight is well balanced and effective. The blade is well polished and is fitted with a regular wooden handle. The rat tang of the blade goes through the handle and is peened over at the brass pommel cap at the base of the hilt. Brass metal is used to make the bolster and butt cap.
World War Khukuri has a basic sheath made from wooden frame in inside and wrapped with buffalo hide from outside. A simple single shoe leather (2mm) loop frog is fitted, for the belt to go through.
It comes with two traditional accompanying knives, KARDA (the small utility knife) and CHAKMAK (the sharpener).
Size of Blade :11 Inch
Material/Features :Water buffalo leather scabbard, Indian rosewood handle, 2 x small knives
Origin :Dharan, Eastern Nepal
KHHI also supplies the following Promotional Materials with every shipment:
- KHHI Warranty Card [1 year Guarantee + Lifetime Warranty]
- KHHI Brochure [Company's profile, its websites, products and related] Info leaflet [Info of Gurkhas and Khukuri]
- KHHI Manual [Tips and techniques on handling, maintaining and using a Khukuri]
- Design Khukuri Pamphlet [Custom-design your own khukuri/ knife through KHHI]
- Letter from MD [An official letter addressed by the MD himself to the buyer]
- Letter of Declaration [Letter of authenticity and confidence declared by FHAN (Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal)]
- Actual Weight (gm): 625
- Overall weight (gm): 825
- Shipping weight (gm): 1175
- Blade finishing: Polished
- Blade sharpness: Standard (very sharp)
- Blade material: 5160
- Place of Origin: Dharan, Eastern Nepal
- Accompanying knives/B-up: Karda Chakmak
- Blade thickness (mm): 10
- Handle finishing: Polish
- Sheath: Water buffalo leather
- Tang type: Full Flat
- Fixture: Brass
- Edge grinding: Semi convex
- Edge Hardness: 55-57 hrc
- Blade (panel) Grinding: Full Flat
- Function: Attacking, Defending, Hunting, Lethal, Military, Combat, Regular Work, Trekking
I have received the WW2 Khukuri, here is my feedback (and some questions at the end)
First impressions of the blade in the scabbard - this is exactly the fit that I was talking about. The knife is snug, but very easily freed with my right hand when it is worn on the left hip - it slips out easily and doesn't catch the scabbard at all. Your sarki is extremely talented! I see exactly what you mean by the buttcap being placed over a tapered section of the handle and I really like how it looks. It gives the handle an organic feel because of the step from the wood, down to the metal, then down again to the diamond pattern over the tang that is peened over. The handle is also very smooth, made of what looks like dense high quality wood, and it is perfectly shaped so that it gives a confident grip in the hand, it centers the edge of the blade properly.
As for the blade itself, it is also perfectly shaped and well weighted. This is not a light blade that you swing around without effort, but it isn't too heavy. After some practice with it, I am able to execute really quick strikes with it using the method described in the manual. It is starting to make sense how the knife is held in the ready position as it doesn't need the full range of motion in order to deliver an effective blow. It only has to be in the position that's already 'half way' through the cutting stroke - the transfer of force by swinging the left arm back and twisting the body forward gives it enough power (combined with the weight and forward angle of the blade).
It has the presence of a "one hit kill" weapon, so that you only need to to give your opponent one good hit anywhere to end the fight (if this was used in a fight). I feel that the weight of the blade and its balance are meant to assist in the chopping / cutting stroke so that the knife cuts deeper with less effort from the user. Speaking of which, the edge geometry is really good - it has enough metal behind the edge and it is meaty so that the edge doesn't roll when used to cut wood, and the knife won't stick in the wood. In war, I can see how the ghurkhas might have used this in the field to clear brush and build temporary shelter, make firewood, and so on. It is a tough blade that can easily be resharpened to a serviceable edge in a matter of a few minutes, it doesn't have to be razor sharp to cut wood. In war, I can also see how these ghurkhas gained such a fearsome reputation when used in combat because if this knife can chew through tough wooden branches with ease, then it will have no problems doing the same on the enemy even if they're wearing heavy clothing, or a metal helmet, or anything else.
Question 1: Was this blade profiled on your CNC machine? How does it work - do you just use a plate of steel that the CNC machine cuts out into the general shape, then the rest is done by the kami (grinding of edge, hardening/tempering, cutting of khol/cho, making and fitting of bolster and buttcap, making of handle, assembly of all components, etc)?
Question 2: What type of wood is this? So I know what kind of wood to ask for next time, I like the way it looks and feels. From a distance it even looks a bit like horn (but I know it is not horn).
Question 3: Why is brass so common in khukuris? Is it because it doesn't rust? I like the way steel looks on the buttcap and bolster and scabbard chape.
Kevin Mark, Canada
Design ID 1476, Canada