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Thread: Please help, Kukri ID

  1. #1

    Please help, Kukri ID

    Obtained this item years ago at a thrift store, buried in a case of random junk. I've never been able to figure out anything about it, but it did come with a note stating that it was from the late 1800s.

    Any help or info is well appreciated! I know nothing about it and am very curious!

    Thanks
    Kristi
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  2. #2
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    Kukri

    It is oviously a Kukri, the Ghurka knife or short sword, the blade does not seem to be chromed which is a good sign, but the engraving is a bit crude which is not. You only post side views, a shot or two of the back would help, giving an indication of tang form and blade thickness.
    On the one hand a lot of these were made for the tourist trade, on the other the personal weapons of the Nepalese civilian were very similar. Cross fingers and post the other pics. There are people on these forums much more knowledgable than me.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info!

    Here's the pics of the back of the blade. Also included a pic of the edge
    itself.

    I always thought it probably wasn't a military blade, more likely a civilian
    blade. Of course, the piece of paper that came with it stated that it was a
    Nepalese Gurkha's blade. My uninformed opinion was that was not the case...
    but I know nothing.

    Forgot to mention too, there are no identifying marks on it that I can find.
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  4. #4
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    Tang

    Still no view of the tang, is it a full width tang visible front and back of the grip. Defo not a military one, but a nice ridged spine rather than the cheapo repro flat back, so could be a real non military one. The dead give away would be the feel of it, real civilian kukri's balance well, the repro's swing like a book.
    On the whole I am inclined to say it's the real thing, but of no great age. There is a good workmanlike look to it, and the blade looks to be hollow ground/forged which you don't see on the reproductions. Be aware, these are still made and carried for use in Nepal and areas around. That said, no opinion final without actual feel of it.
    Last edited by David R; 12-31-2010 at 02:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Understood that. Myself being older now, if I was to buy it again, I would ask more questions about its origin. Though, I honestly don't think the previous owners would have known. It was buried in a display case that was so full of junk you couldn't see everything in the case even remotely easily.

    As for the tang, it is not visible top and bottom of the blade, but it does seem to go the whole way, as there is a beat down "button" on the end. See picture. The handle is on there firm, it doesn't wiggle or move.

    One thing I've always wondered was what the handle was made of. It kind of looks like wood, but there's just this quality of the grain that doesn't seem like wood. Any ideas?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Daling View Post
    One thing I've always wondered was what the handle was made of. It kind of looks like wood, but there's just this quality of the grain that doesn't seem like wood. Any ideas?
    Water buffalo horn. The horn begins to delaminate when it gets very dry, showing the layers more prominently. Treatment with mineral oil or a lanolin-based product like Hooflex will help restore moisture.
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  7. #7
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    Hi Kristi, can you tell me please is the blade the same size as the scabard? From what little i know i would say the lack of clear deep fullers makes it WW2 era, the blade seems quite short and any idea on the weight please.
    David Gray

  8. #8
    Thanks for the reply!

    The blade is only an inch shorter than the scabbard itself. As for the length of the blade itself, I'm not sure how to measure it accurately. But, measuring the spine, it is 7 inches to the turn in the blade, for an 11 inches from tip to start of the hilt. Having seen a few kukris, this one is about the same size as most I've seen.

    Actually weighing it, it weighs 13 ounces. trying to balance the blade on my finger, it wants to balance right at the turn in the blade

  9. #9
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    Kukri Findings

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Daling View Post
    ...
    I always thought it probably wasn't a military blade, more likely a civilian
    blade. Of course, the piece of paper that came with it stated that it was a
    Nepalese Gurkha's blade. My uninformed opinion was that was not the case...
    Hi Kristi !
    First of all: Welcome to SFI - great to see that you found your way into our kukri section.

    That is an intersting combination you are offering, as the scabbard is very traditional and probably Nepalsese. It has the two red bottons (sometimes also reffered to as the Eyes of Shiva). They hold the kukri inside the "belt" of a Nepalese (actually multiple layers of cloth slung arround the waist.
    The buttons keep the kukri from slipping through the belt - as the kukri is worn in front of the body, the red buttons (like two eyes) "look" from the center of the body.

    While the sheath could be very likely Nepales, the kukri most likely isn't - but indian - as you guessed already. Berkly already showed two similar grip designs to your kukri - also made from water buffalo horn - Thanks Berk !
    The left one he posted is very identical to yours, while the right one is a "indian lion head tourist model". Those lion headed kukris found their ways into the west during the 1970, but maybe were arround before.

    Looking at the flower engraving - these engravings also point towards an indian design - and they became simpler over the years.
    Please find attached a picture that shows two of these engravings - the kukri on the top is either arround 1900 or early 1900s - while the lower one is arround WW2 or slightly later. So David Gray already pointed in the right direction.
    BTW.: The "early 1900s kukri" got discussed in more detail here:
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81691

    Looking at the detail you provided on your engravings they seem slightly simpler than the "arround WW2" engravings attached as a refference.

    So the first observation is, that the scabbard is not the original one - kukri and scabbard met somewhere, sometime - also custom made kukri scabbards fit their kukris very well - 1 inch longer is to much for an original scabbard.
    Stephen l. provided a kukri with its original scabbad in this thread:
    http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=103945
    (Post number 7, first picture shows how tigthly a scabbard can match the blade measures.)

    I agree with David R. that this is not a military kukri but from common usage, availble to locals and foreigners at bazars; but as David already pointed out - that doesn't mean it is not made for use; looking at the details of spine and edge you provided (thanks btw. for providing so many detauiled pictures - that really helps a lot) it makes a solid impression, most likely properly hardened to hold an edge.
    If the feel is good you have a tough durable multi-usage kukri there which with 13 ounces is too heavy. With the balance point at the shoulder (the point wehere the spine changes direction) it sounds about right.

    So my guess would be: Post WW2 indian all-purpose kukri from the late 1950s to 1970s with nepalese scabbard
    Sorry definitely not 1800s .

    Just my 2 euro-cents.
    Best regards
    Andreas
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    Last edited by Andreas Volk; 01-04-2011 at 03:50 PM. Reason: some typos
    As lo, the boy looked upon the beauty of the forward curved blade, and beauty stayed his hands
    and from that day forward, he was financially doomed.

    King Kukri, 2005

  10. #10
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    The scabbard, if not original, is probably pretty close to the original design.
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    Last edited by BerkleyB; 01-04-2011 at 05:44 PM.

  11. #11
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    Beautifully engraved kukri there Andreas, and nice to see a captive kauri!

    May we see some more indepth images?

    Prosit Neujahr!!

  12. #12
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    Scabbard Findings

    Quote Originally Posted by BerkleyB View Post
    The scabbard, if not original, is probably pretty close to the original design.
    Hi Berkley.
    Thanks a lot for adding another piece of important info to the kukri puzzle ! I stand corrected in regards to the design - the scabbard you present most obviously is the original one to your kukri - and it is what I called "Traditional Nepalese" - yet with a flower engraved kukri I labled - and still label - as "indian".

    Though I still believe that the one that kame with Kristi's kukri is too long to be the original, I agrre that the style is original and that I was wrong .

    Yet the design is most interesting, as I always regarded the one that came with my engraved "arround WW2" kukri to be not original as well. Now I'm not so 100% sure anymore. (pic attached).

    The one I have has some Dehradun features - as to my understanding the population of Dehradun is of nepalese ethnicity that would explain the "nepalese design" of the scabbard.
    Do you have any information on the origin of the flower engraved kukris we see arround WW2 ? The scabbards at least show a close link with Nepal, though I still regrad the design to be indian.

    Again - thanks a lot for that info !
    Andreas
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    As lo, the boy looked upon the beauty of the forward curved blade, and beauty stayed his hands
    and from that day forward, he was financially doomed.

    King Kukri, 2005

  13. #13
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    Arround WW2 engraved kukri

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher J G Scott View Post
    Beautifully engraved kukri there Andreas, and nice to see a captive kauri!

    May we see some more indepth images?

    Prosit Neujahr!!
    Hello Christopher!
    A happy new year to you as well - may it bring good health and a growing collection !
    Thanks a lot for the compliments !
    The "early 1900s engraved" with its enclosed kauri has been discussed in this thread already:
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81691

    So I'll focus on the "arround WW2" piece. It came with a damaged handle (piece of the bone had been broken off) but I found it so nicely made, with much love to detail, that I invested more than I had paid for it, to have the damage repaired (new piece of bone got inserted).
    It is a full tang design, with decorated side rivets - the tang is rather thin and is veen getting thinner towards the end.
    Bolster and cap are brass - I'm not sure what type of wood the lower part of the handle is, looks like rosewood - but I really am not sure - could also be a tropic dark hard wood, maybe one of the SFI knife makers can help ?

    Its dimensions:
    Blade length: 28.7 cm
    Handle length (incl. Bolster): 10.9 cm
    Length overall: 38.6 cm
    Spine thickness at bolster: 8.5 mm
    Weight: 390 gramm

    regards
    Andreas
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    As lo, the boy looked upon the beauty of the forward curved blade, and beauty stayed his hands
    and from that day forward, he was financially doomed.

    King Kukri, 2005

  14. #14
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    Andreas,
    Dehradun is certainly a possible place of origin. Another is Darjeeling, on the opposite end of Nepal. I once had a small kukri marked "Souvenir of Darjeeling 1944". The only tourists who were buying Indian souvenirs in 1944 were Allied aircrews flying "over the hump" in the CBI theatre, for whom Darjeeling was a rest station. Unfortunately I gave the kukri to a friend who has since passed away, and I can't find a photo of it.
    Berk

  15. #15
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    Thank you Andreas!!

    Well done for getting the WW2 example restored, I myself have often spent more on having a kukri brought back to life than it cost me in the first place! Nice to know I am not alone in doing that!!

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