A few words on sharpening a Kukri.  I had forgotten how much work it took.

But first, a few words about processing the handle, particularly if you get he K45 style, like I got, from India.  We will discuss below, again, how dull a Kukri blade is, when you get it.  For now, accept that it is completely dull. 

You need to know that the handles on the Indian Kukris typically have some separation, or a few small "voids" in them.  They are made as a working tool, not as an artistic expression.  As an artist, and a craftsman, I like to finish my tools.  (That may be why I like these, I get to actually do the final work on the knife.  That is, apart from the fact that the shape of the knife makes it powerfully useful.)

While the knife edge is still dull, and the blade easy to handle, work some epoxy into the tiny cracks or small pits in the handle, if you wish.  Over-fill them, and sand them down, to smoothness.  You may want to stain the handle, and seal it with a sealant, at this time.  Be sure to roughen any sealer you put on it, to cut down on slippage.  Now back to the story:

A few words on sharpening a Kukri.  I had forgotten how much work it took.

A few days ago I got a couple of Kukris in the mail.  Since then I have started on working the edges.  The people from India, who make these, do not give them a sharp edge, at all.

Though the metal looks like stainless steel, on the typical Kukri, from India, it is not.  All that they have done is given High Carbon Steel a really fine burnished shine.  You can work the edge with a file, preferably a new one.

It will take quite a while, but is entirely worth the time.  No knife or machete I own seems to get as sharp as a Kukri from India, or hold an edge as well.

They ship the knives blunt, for safely, and so that they can be called a "replica."  The metal will be found to be quite thick at the base, and thick again near the tip.  You have to decide for yourself, how much time you want to put into the edge.   I get a sharp edge along the entire length of my Kukris, but then I have used a machete since 1964.  Point is that some like to leave the first part of the normal "edge" dull, in case of accidental slippage.

I always to that with a machete, but not with the Kukri.  I say that because the traditional style Kukri that is made in India typically has a handle that is designed so it will not slip, in use.

Decide how you want to have your Kukri sharpened, and take it in two steps.  The first step WILL be just getting the very wide parts of the cutting edge down to something closer to what will become a cutting edge, though still not sharp.  

Second step will be to start shaping the actual, sharp, cutting edge.  From this point the Kukri will become difficult to handle, dangerous on the edge.  The steel becomes like surgical steel in sharpnesss, and takes a razor edge, so be careful.

Further notes on sharpening

refer to these, notes to follow

Read on the disk only-convert a Kukri to a Field Knife   Very Good. 


Web Link to the same file on converting a Kukri to a Field Knife


Notes and pictures as I convert my Kukris to specs in above articles


The metal of the Kukri blade will cut well with a new file.  The hardness of the metal is good, though softer than I first thought. I can cut it with a hand-held hack saw, though not easily or quickly.


Not really a problem.  The Kukri takes a razor edge.


You want to be able to work it with hand tools, for a survival situation.  Typically, in Panama, when we used a machete, it would have to be touched up with a file, after use.


The Kukris will hold the edge when using them on growing wood.  After chopping at some aged, treated wood, I found the edge to be deforming.  Though still sharp, close examination in the light showed that the edge was not holding its shape.


Seems the  original angle of the blade edge I made was filed too steeply, at too sharp an angle, for aged wood. I had followed the bevel on the edge of the Kukris, as they were shipped, and made a razor-sharp, thin edge. 


If you need to have a stronger edge, as in working harder wood, strike the edge with the file at an angle of more like 45 degrees, so that the edge, while sharp, will be stronger.  Over time, it may get too thick, sharpening like that. 


As that wears down, and the bevel before the actual edge needs it, I will work on it.   Paul