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 Post subject: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:03 pm 
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I very much look forward to what you will say about this kukri, if you will be so kind. Please understand that I have not cleaned and polished up this kukri for photographing it for the forum, as I want you to see it as is. I have some ideas about it, not about what it is, because I know what it is, but rather what it purports to be. Please see the pic.
All right, it is a panawal, and the term means "full flat tang rivetted handle" (or so I have been told). Now I received this kukri new in July 2001 from the firm of Gurkha House, Virginia. I believe it was made in Kathmandu and supplied to GH. So far so good. Besides having a panawal style handle, the blade is what it called an ang khola. The words mean "curved spine", deriving from the Nepali "ang" which means the back of the body, and "khola" which means "open".
Now please remember, friends, I am not trying to teach you these facts, if that is what they are, but only giving you my own understanding of this kukri. I am inviting you (actually imploring you) to set me straight if I am erring.
OK, so what do we have here? It is a relatively new kukri. It is Nepal-made, and forged and finished by kamis in the traditional way. The blade has been termed an ang khola and the handle a panawal. But here is the question: how close is it to some original kukri style, used before the tourist kukri boom post-war? If an original vintage "ang khola panawal" kukri ever existed, what did it look like and what was it called?
I choose to call this kukri a reproduction. But how close is this reproduction to some genuine pre-tourist boom traditional kukri?


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:19 pm 
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I need to clarify something because otherwise the pic will be confusing. The kukri does not have a rat tail tang, as it has a broad tang visible top & bottom of the handle. But still the butt end of the handle has been peened over the steel butt plate. There is a keeper too. The original handle was made of buffalo horn, but it broke soon after I got it. I replaced the handle with a home-made mahogany-type wood handle epoxied onto the tang. That's why you don't see any pins. The stained condition of the blade attests to the hard use I have put it through over the years. I never kept this workhorse amongst my other kukris in their showcase. This one I keep in the toolbox. It even spent a week or 10 days on the shed roof in wind & weather, where I had forgotten it once.
When I show my original older kukris and gleaming newer ones to friends, I bring this workhorse in at the last moment to demonstrate that it is a true-blue chopper with a blade that can do the job admirably. No tourist fake this! Then I conclude that the kukris in the case are also able to work hard, because they were crafted by reputable makers in the traditional way.


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:55 am 
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So, after my long-winded explanation concerning a type of kukri you all are already certainly over-familiar with, I am wondering about its "legitimacy". How close is it to some original kukri style, used before the tourist boom post-war? If an original vintage "ang khola panawal" kukri ever existed, what did it look like and what was it called? Can one at least say this is a close copy of a some existing traditional kukri?


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:21 pm 
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I don't think its a copy of traditional Kukri. Just a modern very basic Kukri made not so long ago, if you look here on the forum at older models from 1940 or earlier you can see they are quite different.

Regards!


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:10 am 
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Location: Dunfermline ,Scotland
Hi Johan i dont think ive heard of the name or term Panawal,as a reference to any ww1 or ww2 or any other vintage antique kukri .
Might be wrong tho.
Think there is a wee village named Panawala in Nepal.so maybe the name from a modern Kukri came from that .?
Regards
Highlander


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:25 pm 
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Thanks rvr & Highlander. There's a good reason why I'm going on about this modern kukri. I'm asking myself (and I really do believe kukri afficionados must constantly ask themselves): Is this item at all a kukri? Does it have some features or sets of credentials or a brace of specific characteristics that allows one to call it that? Does it DESERVE the name kukri? And what's in a name? If the bird looks like a duck but never quacks, is it a duck? :roll:
I'm getting the feeling that a knife (if it wants to be called a villager kukri) must be able to be ticked positively in all of the following "boxes":
1 It must have been made in Nepal.
2 It must have been made by a kami using the traditional hand-operated forge and other tools of the trade.
3 It must exhibit those religious signs & tokens that have become the kukri signature appearance over many years.
This is one category; there are others, too, like the genuine military kukris. For them there will have to be other "boxes" to tick.
So, is my panawal/ang khola a kukri? The untraditional names aside, it get three ticks in the above check-list. It is a kukri. (OK, I did hand-craft the handle slabs myself, but that was a repair job.)
But if a world-renowned bladesmith living in America or South Africa takes a piece of swedish stainless and grinds it down using belt sanders in the stock-removal method, and fits a colourful laminated handle to it, and even copies the cho and other Nepal-type features, is it a kukri? I think no.
Terms like "reproduction", "copy" and "replica" are thrown around. What do these terms imply?
Friends, these points I make are only my personal ramblings. Please comment. And please forgive me if this topic has already been thrashed out in this forum - I have searched, but I might have missed it. And I will accept defeat if your arguments prove me wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:38 pm 
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Location: Dunfermline ,Scotland
Gosh Johan you certainly know how to ask a question.haha
If it was hand forged in Nepal by a Kami using traditional methods and shape id class it as a Kukri.
A short answer to a long question ,haha
Regards
Highlander


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:20 am
Posts: 3350
Location: England.
Hi Johan.

Wow that's some thoughtful questions! Ill try & explain my thoughts on some of them...

First, Ang Khoala means " back valley" in Nepalese, an apt description of the wide fuller at the back of the blade.

Panawal? That's funny in Nepal I sat & talked with a major exporter of Kukri, the proprietor of a large kukri workshop & English importer, simon hengle .

When they referred to some kukri as panawal they said it wasn't a Nepali term & they had learnt it from simon Hengle! O how we all laughed!

Simon was embarrassed, then said it was a term heard others use so had copied it. So today the kukri factors know what it means as a word but its not got any true meaning there!

But of course if you want to buy one they will still sell it under that name to you...

For me a western made kukri is a western made kukri... A traditional kukri is made traditionally in Nepal or India using traditional methods.

I think some things need a sentence or paragraph to describe them, some don't.

What about a kukri made using stock removal in Burma by descendants of Gurkhas? Some things need a description, I think.

What you have for me is a relatively modern , riveted hilt kukri of Nepalese manufacture. Whether one counts riveted hilts in Nepelese kukri as traditional or not I don't know, but for me personly Id say its non traditional in Nepal. But perhaps traditional in the British army.

Spiral


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 Post subject: Re: Panawal workhorse
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:34 am 
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Thanks Highlander, I sometimes get all wound up with interest, because I enjoy my small kukri collection and want to know all about my items. Hehe. But seriously, there's another very small collection I have, namely the indonesian keris. Now those enthusiasts go all out and wax lyrical on their kerisses. They explore the keris from all angles and really in depth. Then again, I think you might agree the keris has been more deeply researched than the kukri..... (I'm a bit off topic here, so let's move away from the keris, I would not want it to steal the limelight....!)

Thanks also, Spiral, you have given me some food for thought. I did not fully realize a pinned handle is not traditional for a villager kukri.


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