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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:43 pm
Posts: 1633
Location: Austin, Texas USA
Atlantia wrote:
Thank you Everyone!!!
What a nice bunch Kukri collectors are ;)

Here's the method for Watervole and anyone else who might want to have a bash.

Tools needed:
Bench grinder
Dremel with grinder bits
Blow lamp
Silicon carbide paper
Epoxy/some kind of resin

Start out with the steel and a piece of wood of course.
I don't think the type of steel is dramatically important as the Nepalese smiths would use all kinds of scavenged metal.
I'm using a stock bar bought for a few quid from a local metal merchant.
The advantage of that is that you get a piece roughtly the right size to start out with.
Not like cutting down a leaf spring ;)
The wood is an interior shelf from a 1960s G-Plan cabinet that was beyond use so had to be broken up.
It was a teak cabinet, but I think the shelf is some kind of mahogony.

Here are the materials:


Use a bench grinder to cut out the basic shape, the below picture shows how they look at this stage, also once the Karda has been 'thinned' right down so that looking down on the spine it tapers to around half the width at the point and the cutting sdge has been ground (with a fine file).
Thin the chakmak too, but just a little.
Use a file to get the shoulders straight so the bolster will fit nicely.
Cut a small section of the same stock steel for the bolster AFTER drilling a small hole and expanding it with a square needle file to fit the tang.
Useing the bench grinder get the rough bolster shape.
Put the bolster onto the blade and you can use the bench grinder and dremel to shape it some more. Take it off, put it in the vice and use files to get the shoulders cut-in.


Roughly polish the bolster on the side facing the point of the blade, and polish the blade (silicon carbide paper and a block or you'll lose the nice shoulder on the cutting edge)

Temper it with the blow lamp. It's not a big blade and it's not going to need the best temper in the world, so as hot as you can (cherry red) then quench. Then heat until turns blue and quench again.
That'll do.
Doesn't really matter too much on the Chakmak.

Roughly cut a bit of wood and drill a hole for the tang.
Trim the tang down to about 2/3 the length of the handles finished size.
Use epoxy to glue it all together.
shape the handle a bit more closely with the bench grinder, then closer still with the dremel and a sander/grinder bit.
Finish with silicon carbide paper (dry) including the leading edges of the bolster. Don't worry about the bolsters metal dust staining the wood, it'll all add to an 'aged look'.
Patinate, stain, polish to taste.
Hmmmmm, Kukri happy, new tools!


...Just a few things to add if I may.

Wear goggles and a dust mask!

Have a mug of water near at all times to regularly quench the job as the grinder will make it hot in seconds.
A pair of gloves is useful if you don't have 'heat proof' fingertips!
Tempering and quenching will damage the polish and you'll need to do a final re-polish. Don't remove all little marks unless you want the final item to look completely new.

I use a low power bench grinder deliberately as I find the lack of 'umph' makes it better for doing small jobs. More like an old hand cranked grind stone.
Even so! Working these little blades with a powered wheel means that the best thing is to shape as much as you can before you detach the job from the stock-bar. Like tapering the blade towards the point as well! As these are so small, you can slide the end of the stock bar with the basic shape cut in 'point first' and use the side of the wheel to slowly taper it down.
Having it still attached to the rest of the bar makes it easier to hold and less likely to 'flick' out of your hands (Remember goggles!!)

Once it is detached and you are doing the fine grinding, shaping etc, take extra care: Your fingers are right by the wheel and you'll be glad its not a really fierce one!!!
Wear gloves, goggles and a mask. Quench regularly.
AND ALWAYS: Slower is better. You can always take more metal off, you can't add some back on!

All projects of this nature carry the risk of injury, so are performed at your own risk of course.

Bench grinders like mine are around £25 in big DIY stores.

Have fun making them, your Kukris will be happy you have
Lastly, don't obsess too much on getting them perfect. The originals very rarely are!!! A little uneven and rustic looking will only make them look even more authentic.

(For additional pictures, see: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=709 ).

"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.

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