Knives are one of the most versatile tools available to any survivalist. They can be used for hunting or clearing a path through dense growth. For these purposes and more, many people choose to turn to Kukri blades. Their unique downward curving shape gives you more control, allowing you to deliver a more powerful strike which is a big reason why it’s used by the Nepalese army, for instance. To help you sharpen and maintain your blade, we’ve put together this helpful article. To compile it, we’ve studied numerous resources; below are some that might also be of use for you, including videos referenced later:
Sharpening Your Kukri
To get the most utility out of your knife you will need to make sure that you’ve sharpened it properly since most of the Kukri blades are shipped blunt which makes it safer for them to be transported. Once sharp, this powerful knife can cut through anything from thick growth to bone. There are several ways that you can choose to sharpen your Kukri, depending on what items you have available and how much time you want to spend.
Using a File to Sharpen The Kukri
The first method of sharpening a Kukri requires a file. To do so, you will first need to position the knife correctly. Hold the Kukri against a firm object and angle it away from you. Then take the file and, holding it at a 45- to 60-degree angle, start moving it up and down the blade. Start at the notch of the knife and stroke towards the tip. Once you are happy with how sharp the blade is, flip the knife over and repeat the process on the other side. To get the best finish you can file the edges of the blade using a Chakmak. It should be noted that you might want to avoid using this method too frequently as it can cause the blade to lose its temper, making it weaker.
Using a Stone to Sharpen The Kukri Blade
Instead of a file you might want to use sharpening stones. When doing so, you should be aware that there are two different techniques that you will need to use. First, in the middle section of the Kukri, there is a curve. To sharpen this section, you will need to slowly rub the stone back and forth. Second, on the end of the blade, you will need to start rubbing it in a circular motion. When doing this, make sure that you are using the flat surface of the stone so that you don’t accidentally damage the blade.
Using a Chakmak to Sharpen Your Kukri
Most Kukri knives will come with a Chakmak set included which is the traditional way of sharpening such a blade. One of the best things about using this tool is that they have been designed to fit the shape of the Kukri. Use it in a similar way to a file. Start by positioning the blade at an angle and work from the notch to the tip. To get the best results you might want to start at a narrow-angle, then start to slowly increase the angle as you get closer to the tip. This will ensure that you can use the end for cutting through dense growth and the inner curve for more delicate tasks, like carving up kindling.
Using Steel Wheels to Get a Kukri Sharp
Finally, you might want to use a steel Rada to sharpen your Kukri. This is one of the simplest methods: simply place the blade between the steel wheels and move it back and forth. After four to six pulls, the blade should be sharp. Plus, the steel will be able to sharpen both sides of the knife at the same time.
Purchase A High-Quality Kukri
One of the best ways to make sure that your blade will last for a long time is to purchase a high-quality Kukri. To do this, there are several things that you should be looking for. First, you should consider the type of steel that the product is made from. Ideally, you should find something that is made of carbon steel which is a very durable material. You should also look at the handle. Try to find something that has plenty of grip support so it doesn’t accidentally come loose from the knife blade or your grip. Finally, pick a Kukri that comes with its own sheath, made from high-quality material. For instance, this CRKT Kukri gets high marks on Amazon.
Using Your Kukri Safely
If used incorrectly the sharp Kukri blade can easily cause serious damage. As such, make sure that you take the following safety precautions. First, you should make sure that you keep it securely sheathed when you aren’t using it; using a belt sheath can make the blade easier to carry and provide quick access. When placing the Kukri into the sheath make sure to follow the natural curve of the material. This will reduce the chances that you accidentally pierce through the sheath.
Second, consider how you handle the knife making sure that you use the correct grip. You might also want to consider wearing gloves when using the Kukri. Doing so will help prevent it from slipping out of your hands, causing you to accidentally cut yourself. Proper handling will also allow you to get the most power from your swings.
Third, think about the angle that you swing the knife at. To get the best results, you should strike at a 45-degree angle. These blades aren’t designed to strike in a straight line as doing so will be wasting your energy very quickly. In addition, this type of machete works best when you use a longer swing, which may not make it the best choice for close-quarters work.
Cleaning Your Kukri Blade
When you use this blade it’s common for you to get substances like tree sap and bark on the blade. Unfortunately, if you leave these contaminants on the knife for an extended period they can start to damage it. To keep your blade clean and ready for use, simply wipe down the surface with a soft, dry cloth. And, of course, avoid getting the Kukri wet as this can increase the chances that it will develop rust patches. At the very least, wipe it down after use in the rain.
Storing a Kukri Correctly
One of the most important parts of caring for you Kukri is storing it properly. First, make sure that the Kukri is clean and dry when you store it. For starters, this means removing any fingerprint markings from the blade since the oils in your fingers can cause damage to the blade, such as causing rust or merely discoloring the blade.
If you intend to use it again shortly, simply store it in the sheath. You should be aware that more leather sheaths will change, depending on the temperature. If they get cold, they can expand, while they will shrink in warmer temperatures. In some cases this can make it hard for you to get the Kukri into the sheath, so much so that you may need to oil up the blade first, but that’s only for very difficult leather sheaths.
If you want to store your knife for a longer period then you should first check the condition of the blade. If necessary, remove any rust or fingerprints as noted earlier. Then make sure to oil the blade lightly and try not to store the blade in a sheath for a long period of time. Instead, you need to wrap it into plastic, making sure that you don’t leave any air pockets. You should also make sure to keep it in a dry room without too many temperature extremes. By doing this, your Kukri blade will remain in great condition for a much longer period of time, perhaps even indefinitely.
Removing Rust From the Kukri
Though you might store and care for the blade correctly, it might still develop spots of rust. Thankfully, this problem is easy to fix. First, you need to apply gun oil to the Kukri. Then, take fine sandpaper and rub it along the affected areas. This should remove the rust spots. After this has been completed, re-apply the oil. If you want to re-shine the area, you can use a buff machine. It’s best to take a proactive approach to rust. The sooner you spot it and take action, the easier it will be to remove it. You should also avoid making the Kukri wet, or storing it while wet. This will help prevent rust from developing.
How To Fix A Kukri Tip
The tip of the Kukri is often the thinnest and most fragile part of the blade. This means that it can get bent or even break off. Let’s look at some of the ways you can prevent this from happening. First, you will need to consider the way that you remove the blade if it gets wedged into something. For some knives you might try to free it by moving it left to right; however, this can place additional pressure on the weaker Kukri tip, thereby increasing the chances that it will be damaged. Instead, try to pull it up and down being careful to not cut yourself if/when the blade becomes free.
Even if you follow this advice, the tip can still get bent out of alignment. Thankfully, this is fairly easy for you to fix using a file. How coarse the file should be will vary depending on how badly bent the tip of the blade has become. Generally, the more bent the tip has become the coarser the file will need to be. To fix this, slowly move the file back and forth, following the natural curve of the blade as usual. In some cases, though, you might have to apply some force when doing this. After one side has been straightened, flip the Kukri and repeat the process on the other side.
Caring For Your Sheath
Finally, you will want to keep your sheath in good condition which will ensure that it will provide excellent protection to the Kukri for years to come. There are several ways that you can do this. First, you can use some shoe polish on the leather. Doing so will help extend its lifespan and keep it looking great without much addition effort, assuming your sheath is made of leather. Better yet, before you store the sheath for a long time, you should treat it with a leather product. This will help make it more effective at keeping moisture out of the sheath since water can damage the blade, causing rust.
Another potential problem that you might encounter is holes forming in a leather sheath. For a low-cost solution, you can use glue to close the hole, then wrap the area in duct tape to make sure that it is waterproof or, at least, water resistant. Sadly, this can leave the sheath looking a little worse for wear. For this reason, some people prefer to take their leather sheath to a repair shop; clearly, this can be an expensive repair, although, you will be able to ensure that the problem is treated correctly.
Whether you want something to clear growth on a camping trip or a knife to help you dress animals on a hunting expedition, you can’t overlook a Kukri blade: they’re a great prepper’s knife!
[Note: This was a guest post.]