The Khukri: legendary and cheap to make

Khukri in North Africa, 1943
A soldier using a Khukri in North Africa, 1943.

Khukris have always fascinated me because its one of those knives with a deep history, practical application and a somewhat mysterious manufacturing process. Forged out of leaf springs, these knives are the every-day working knife of the people in Nepal. But the knives won world-wide recognition as it was carried by the Gurkha Army, a mercenary army employed by Great Britain, from the deserts of Africa, to the jungles of East Asia, to the mountains of Nepal.

In short, it’s a concentrated knife to carry when you need to depend on a large blade to get out of jams.

And yet, the manufacturing process is simple. So simple, in fact, many craftsman don’t use electricity.

In many cases, they hammer their blades over a sledgehammer head re-purposed as an anvil. In all, the equipment these knifemakers use probably costs $30.

A legendary knife, humble beginnings — I feel like starting a weekend project. Anyone want to donate an old sledgehammer head?