Red Flower and I recently took off for a vacation month down under. We flew out during a break in the snowstorms in the Pacific Northwest, into some fine summer weather in Victoria and Tasmania. We missed most of the snowstorms and the flooding in Washington. We had a great time down under, and we flew back home just before the 120 F+ heat waves and the fires started in Victoria. One of the towns we visited was completely wiped out by fire a few days after we left. It seemed we were hopping from point to point on the globe just ahead of the bad weather. Coming back to our place in Washington wed left for a month, some things needed tending to. In particular, there was a branch partly broken, and hanging off one of our trees. I went to the toolbox in the bed of my truck to get the 15 AK and cut the branch down. It was then that I discovered that sometime during the rainy Pacific Northwest winter the seals on the toolbox had failed and it was completely full of stinky water. The water had apparently been there for some time, judging from the smell and the deterioration of all the supplies within. I dredged everything out and threw it on the lawn to drip before trashing it. Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, emergency blankets, canned food, everything went into the trash as it was not worth the trouble and risk of trying to resuscitate these items. But there was 1 thing I couldnt throw away. The 15 AK. This was the first khukuri I got from Bill, the one that had started my relationship with HI. It was made in shop 1, before HI had their own facilities. Bill and Kami Sherpa inspected those shop 1 blades to ensure they were up to HI quality standards before they went out. I must have bought it in the early or mid 90s. I cant remember the time exactly. Its been riding in the back of my truck since then, seeing hard use and always uncoddled. It looked pretty bad now though. The sheath was slimy and stinking. The khukuri was stuck in the sheath, and the metal that could be seen was covered with a thick layer of red rust. So I put it in my garage to drip out for awhile. Today I went out to examine the knife. With a little work I was able to get it out of the sheath. The entire blade was covered with a coating of red rust. Karda and chakma were in the same shape. The sheath was still serviceable but it stunk to high heaven. If I had 300 miles of jungle to cross and I needed some way to carry my knife I have no doubt it would have served the purpose. However, since I live around people and could see no way to get rid of the awful smell, I threw away the sheath. Next came a scrubdown with a steel wire pad. 5 minutes of this took the red rust off the khukuri, and the accessories, and also the slime off the horn handles. Under the red rust was a layer of black oxide, fairly uniform. Then I took the AK out to the back yard and beat the heck out of it against a hardwood round from an old apple tree. I wanted to see if the knife had lost any of its integrity. It it was going to fail there was no point in spending more time on cleaning it up. However, the AK was rock solid. Not a bit of play in the handle, and no tang failures despite sharp hard blows from every which direction. It was, apparently, worth a bit more care. Next came 5 minutes with a scotch-brite pad. During this time the horn handles came off both the karda and the chakma. I had not torture-tested these little tools against the hardwood like I did the khukuri. The failure of these two handles pointed out the clear superiority of the full peened down rat-tail tang on the AK. The implements that had just been glued in the handles did not stand up to the long immersion. The little tools are put aside for now. Perhaps one day Ill glue them back into their handles, but perhaps not. I rarely use them. The 5 minutes with the scotch-brite pad took off some of the black oxide, leaving a interesting and beautiful pattern on the blade. Another three minutes was devoted to putting an edge back on the knife with a coarse slack belt on the belt sander. Finally, 2 minutes on the crock sticks gave it a fine working edge again. The blade is fully functional now. Ill put a rubber edge guard on it for carry. As Bill would have said, its got at least a hundred years of work left in it.