19th Century Khuks compared to HI (TONS of PICS)

Joined
Dec 8, 2010
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Hey guys. Issun and I went down to Atlanta Cutlery today and dug through a beautiful, beautiful create of mostly 19th Century Kukris from the Nepalese Royal Arsenal Cache. I ended up buying a "longleaf" Kukri (sometimes called Gurkha Army Kukri) and a Bhojpure Kukri (sometimes called Short Gurkha Army Kukri). Issun bought a 1941 Mk. II Kukri and a third friend of ours bought another longleaf Kukri.

Here's some pics of the old Kukris compared to my HI BAS and Foxy Folly. The old Kukris are quite a bit lighter than their size would suggest and exquisitely well balanced. The kamis who made these new what they were doing. The handles are small but well-designed and very comfortable. I'll try to track down a scale and measuring tape and update you with some figures. I'll also post pics after I clean the grease off the blades.

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Mk. II Handle and Markings

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Mk. II Compared to BAS

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Bhojpure Kukri

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Bhojpure compared to Foxy Folly

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Bhojpure compared to BAS

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Longleaf 1

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Longleaf and BAS

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Longleaf 2

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Anyone know what this says?

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Longleaf 2 and BAS

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Longleaf 1 and BAS

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Last edited:
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
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515
Wow. Those are gorgeous, dude. Some people are lovers of cars, and money, and other such things, but most all of us here love instead the blades that can trash cars and money in one fell chop! Thank you for sharing, I can say now that I am no longer needing my blade fix (for the next hour or two), and if you think the older blades can handle some action, demonstrate their chopping, cutting, and slicing capabilities comparatively, if you want to. I would appreciate it, to say the absolute least :) . Peace, dude.
David
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2010
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Spanking gorgeous! Esp the longleaf!
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Auntie or Sta94 might be able to help if they are around. I think Howard might be able to decipher it as well.
 
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Sep 2, 2004
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Thanks for the great pictures. All I have is HI Khuks (and love them) but I would like to get my hands on an old traditional high quality one.
 
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Apr 21, 2010
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Nice khuks! Great find on the Mk. II Issun. The IMA website lists them as out of stock. Thanks.
 
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Aug 19, 1999
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That inscription says "Propery of Mike L. Please return to owner promptly if found." :)
 
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Check out Beoram's webpage and blog for help on translating the inscription.
The easy part is the second half, which appears on all the Nepal cache inscriptions. It is the title and name of the Nepalese Prime Minister at the time the khukuris were placed into inventory:
mihohk.jpg

Field-Marshal Maharaja Sri Teen Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, GCMG, FRGS - or Sri 3 C[h]andra for short.;)
The first part is the unit name, and a number whose significance is not clear - may be the soldier to whom the khukuri was issued, or may just be a rack number. The number on yours appears to be 23.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
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Beautiful kukris. Thanks for sharing. Also, I love the profile of Foxy Folly and thickness; is it me or does the Foxy Folly taper near the tip?
 
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Nov 6, 2009
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Some great finds Rob and THANKS for sharing with us. That Mk.II is calling out to me...what a beaut.
 
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Jan 18, 2012
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Those are very interesting. You are so lucky to be able to personally pick out your antique Kukri. I bought some Bhojpures, WW1 Issue Kukris, a MKII, and I love them. They are the real deal and a very effective tool for utility work or if needs be self-protection. But these are history so they stay under glass.

P1020452.jpg P1020555.jpg P1020557.jpg Gurkha Old photos of Nepalese Army early 1900s Johannes Bornmann's website. httpwww.bilder-aus-n.jpg
I could not bring myself to use them because they really are heirlooms of the soldiers who used them and a national treasure of the Nepali people.

I recommend everyone reading RobCarter3 post order an antique Kukri from IMA or ACC before they are all sold. IMHO this is rare that people get a chance to buy old historic Kukris and other items from the Royal Nepali Armory especially at those low prices.
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
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275
Spanking gorgeous! Esp the longleaf!
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Auntie or Sta94 might be able to help if they are around. I think Howard might be able to decipher it as well.

Well ... most of the translating has already been done. The first two characters says "Surja" or "Surya" which means "Sun" - name of Nepalese army unit, the Surya Dal battalion??? After that it looks like c/23 - not sure. The 2 & 3 are in Devanagiri script.

Hope this helps.

Really cool for sharing pics. I have several of these old kukris from the NEpalese Armory cache too, as well as several WW2-era military and yes, they do look, feel & handle differently from most modern-day kukris.
 
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Jul 7, 2008
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1,000 similar khukuris were recently stolen from a storage facility, along with other military antiques, and two guys were arrested trying to sell stolen items back to the company that was ripped off.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2012/02/police_investigating_theft_of.html

Steve, does this mean IMA and AC have all of their stolen kukri back with them now??? Really hope so. And thanks for the link - I'd read recently about the theft but not about the perpetrators being apprehended.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
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Steve, does this mean IMA and AC have all of their stolen kukri back with them now???...

I haven't found any references besides the 60 items reported to have been recovered.

Here's a related quote from the IMA newsletter dated 2/17/12:

"In late December 2011 and January 2012 we saw multiple advertisements on Lehigh Valley Craigslist and a classified ad in a local newspaper advertising what believe to be our material. Then, due to firsthand reports, we were told that distribution was centered around a private residence in Bangor, Pennsylvania. Furthermore, lots of the above material surfaced at a recent local gun show, and a few first class vendors even gave it back! They sure put a silver lining on a dark cloud."

"We think that some of this material has yet to hit the market, and since our many of our items are unique and the collecting world relatively small, we hope to recover it or at the very least serve justice to those who stole from our family business."

"Fortunately both Law Enforcement and the Press are taking this matter very seriously... The Pennsylvania State Police and the New Jersey Police are involved and have made some initial arrests. However, the investigations are still very active so if you or anyone you know has any information whatsoever please reply to this email and/or call us at 908-903-1200. Furthermore, the Pennsylvania State Police asks anyone with information about the reported thefts to call the Belfast barracks at 610-759-6106."
 
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Dec 8, 2010
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Well ... most of the translating has already been done. The first two characters says "Surja" or "Surya" which means "Sun" - name of Nepalese army unit, the Surya Dal battalion??? After that it looks like c/23 - not sure. The 2 & 3 are in Devanagiri script.

Thanks for the translation. I found the same thing using Berkley's excellent links. All I could find on the Surya Dal Battalion is that it fought in Burma during WWII and was involved in peacekeeping operations in India in 1948. I'm still looking for information on the unit's history.

sweetcostarica said:
I recommend everyone reading RobCarter3 post order an antique Kukri from IMA or ACC before they are all sold. IMHO this is rare that people get a chance to buy old historic Kukris and other items from the Royal Nepali Armory especially at those low prices.

I agree 100% If you haven't already, go ahead and buy some of these IMA/AC cache kukris while they're available. It's a great way to own a historic military kukri without having to sift through all the fakes and tourist models on ebay. The crate they had in the showroom floor (he said they had 14 more in the back of that store) had about 40-50 Khuks in it and I would have been happy to own almost any of them. The AC staff was incredibly friendly and helpful and I bet if you called and placed a phone order, they would do their best to fulfill any criteria you asked for.

Timelord said:
Beautiful kukris. Thanks for sharing. Also, I love the profile of Foxy Folly and thickness; is it me or does the Foxy Folly taper near the tip?

The FF does taper near the tip, but I think this effect is accentuated by the fullered construction of the blade. [/quote]
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
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217
heres some more images of the M.I.41 after some cleanup (I bought this one Rob has two of the others)
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compared to a 17.5" Kobra
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Joined
Dec 8, 2010
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So here's the pictures of the cleaned-up Kukris and some final thoughts on the antiques vs. the HIs. I cleaned the Kukris using nothing but hot water, mineral spirits and a cotton rag to ensure that no patina/character was lost in the cleaning process. The knives cleaned up very well, but retain that "authentic" antique feel that they did in the grease. Hopefully Issun will join us and post some pics of his cleaned up Mk. II. (edit: looks like he already did)

Cleaning up what I called "Longleaf 1" above revealed a hidden "papu(?)" or "masters(?)" mark on the blade (I think they're calling these knives Budhumes on the IKRS forum). In terms of quality, this knife is on a different planet from the others. The blade spine and edge are perfectly straight and the handle is in line with the blade (a lot of traditional kukris including the this Longleaf and Bohjpure and my BAS have a very slight leftward or rightward warp). The Budhume shows far less forge marks than the other two, and the difference in execution of the cho and bolsters is pretty stark. The Budhume also uses higher quality, better finished wood and a better executed handle ring. It weighs literally half of what the similarly sized Longleaf does. The feel and balance of this knife is exquisite; it's very hard to describe, but it was immediately evident when I picked this knife up in the store and I knew I had to have it.

After comparing the HIs to the antiques, I think it's fairly safe to conclude that the HIs are in general much beefier or more robust than the old blades (which feel quite robust as well; I guess I'm just saying that HIs are absurdly robust). Traditional HIs are constructed by peening the tang to the pommel, which will be significantly stronger than the antiques which appear to secure the tang to handle simply with Laha. The HIs also tend to be thicker and heavier for the same blade size. An interesting exception to this trend was my Foxy Folly. The FF was really very comparable to the Bhojpure, mimicking the weight and feel and exquisite balance of the antique kukri quite well (albeit with quite a bit more handle space). This makes sense to me since the FF is based on a 19th Century Dui Chirra with significant input from a forumite. I'll be interested to hear Issun weigh in on this topic since he owns more HIs than me.

Anyway, enough talking and on to pics

From top to bottom

Budhume
OAL: ~ 20"
Blade: ~ 16"
Weight: ~ 1.5lbs

Longleaf
OAL:~ 20"
Blade: ~15"
Weight: ~ 3lbs

Bhojpure
OAL:~ 16"
Blade: ~ 12"
Weight: ~ 1.5lbs

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