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?

Pictures of my first knife designed with CAD

Besides writing, I enjoy knifemaking. While I could only admire the knife world from a distance for months, I’ve made my way back into the knifemaking world thanks to CAD.

I always thought Computer Aided Design (CAD) was something expensive and out of reach to the average Joe. My first glimpse into the world of CAD was when I rode shotgun as my dad went to pick up building plans from his “CAD guy.”

Through my young eyes, I saw CAD as expensive, confusing and something you probably went to college to learn.

But thanks to 3D printing, CAD is almost ubiquitous. Want to create a 3D image? There is free software that you can use, like SketchUp and TinkerCad, in addition to the professional-grade software. With this software, you can design an image, hit print and a few hours later you can hold your design in your hand.

3D printing technology is in its infancy. Like the personal computer, techies say it will revolutionize the way we manufacture and consume goods. I figure it would be a good idea to dabble in the technology, before it does, or does not, take off.

So this weekend, I messed around with CAD. I first downloaded SketchUp, but it had a high learning curve. I slid right down the curve and switched to TinkerCad. The program is also free, and it was designed for the weekend craftsman.

It’s almost stupidly simple and in a few minutes last Friday and Saturday, I created this space-age looking knife:

It’s a knife I would be proud to make in real life.

Just so you know, one of those large squares equal an inch, so the knife is about 10 inches long.

I’ve noticed with both SketchUp and TinkerCad that it’s difficult to create curves. This knife has many straight lines and angles — something I hope to fix in the future because I think knives shouldn’t have many straight lines.

Knife Design

This knife will probably stay in the design stage. With the limited free time I have, I want to make knives that will get used by me or other people. This knife looks like something an astronaut in a dystopian sifi would use. For what, I don’t know. We’ll let Hollywood figure that one out.  Sure is pretty, though…

Knife Design2


U.S. Government solicits bids for 1,500 combat knives

Gerber’s Combat Fixed Blade is one of the knives the U.S. government is looking to purchase. | (Courtesy

The U.S. Government is soliciting bids for nearly 1,500 combat knives to be filled by small businesses.

According to solicitations on website, the federal government is looking to buy two types of knives: First, 982 full-tang, partially-serrated knives and second,  574 Aircrew Survival Egress Knives.

The response date for both solicitations are Feb. 13, 2014.

The Aircrew Survival Egress Knife, developed by the Ontario Knife Company, is the survival knife for Army aviation units. In a period between June 2004 to May 2005, the Army bought almost 12,000 of these knives, which suggests this solicitation of nearly 600 survival knives is something of a routine purchase.

The other solicitation for the full-tang, partially-serrated knives was interesting to me because the design of of the knives are elegant. Digging deeper into this solicitation on the Defense Logistics Agency’s Internet Bid Board System, it seems like the bid is between Gerber and Benchmade.

Both knives are made with 154-CM steel. Both sport a black finish. Both are partially-serrated.

However, Benchmade’s 140SBK Nimravus is slightly thinner and longer. It’s a drop-point blade with an aluminum handle.

Gerber’s CFB sports a tanto blade with a rubberized handle.

The differences between the two knives seems small. If you were in a combat situation, would you prefer one knife over the other? Why?

Feel free to comment below.

Knife transportation bill introduced to U.S. Senate

'Senator Mike Enzi' photo (c) 2011, AMSF2011 - license:

The Knife Owner’s Protection Act of 2014 (KOPA), a bill designed to give legal protection to knife owners traveling through states with restrictive knife-carry laws,  was introduced to the U.S. Senate earlier this month.

You can read the entire text of the bill here.

The bill, introduced by Mike Enzi, a Republican senator from Wyoming, allows for the transportation of knives that are locked away and inaccessible during transportation. The bill also legalizes the “carry in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle a knife or tool designed for enabling escape in an emergency that incorporates a blunt tipped safety blade or a guarded blade or both for cutting safety belts.”

The bill does not override the Transportation Security Agency’s regulations for air travel.

In a press release on his website, Enzi said the bill was designed to give travelers consistency and prevent “government overreach”

“A few overzealous states or cities shouldn’t be in the business of punishing folks for what is legal in most parts of the country just because they passed through their jurisdiction,” he said.

KOPA is similar to the Firearms Protection Act passed by Congress in 1986 which protected the transportation of firearms across state lines.

While Enzi introduced the bill to senate, Representative Matt Salmon, a Republican from Arizona introduced a house version of the bill Nov. 13, 2013.

The text of the house bill can be read here.

Both bills have been referred to committees. The senate version was sent to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the house bill was sent to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

Last September, AKTI talked with legislators in Washington about the issue of transporting knives by telling them stories about travelers who got in trouble when they carried a knife through a place where it was illegal to do so, according to a press release by the organization.

Its contributing legal council, Dan Lawson, helped write the legislative proposal for KOPA.

“We sincerely thank Senator Enzi and his staff for taking the lead on our proposed legislation and we look forward to continuing to work with them through the legislative process,” said Jan Billeb, executive director of AKTI.