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How to Sharpen a Kukri

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by The Man In Black, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. The Man In Black

    The Man In Black

    Jan 3, 2007
    Ok, I havn't used my WWII much yet, but at some point I will need to sharpen it. I was just wondering exactly how you guys do it. I hear people use a mouse pad with sandpaper over it. But what type of sandpaper?

    I think I read of people using sandpaper over a block eraser to sharpen it. If this method works well, I want to attach one to my sheath somehow to use in the field to sharpen it. For that matter, how do you guys keep it sharp in the field?

    And I didn;t get a chakmak with it. Would this be good to use as one: http://www.amazon.com/Corona-Clipper-AC-8300-Sharpening/dp/B000BPASBK

    It says it is carbide. If not this, what can I use as a chakmak?

  2. Issun


    Feb 1, 2011
    I use 2000 grit sand paper on either a mousepad or on thick cardboard... but that was more when I first got it and needed to put an edge on it, more likely you will go into the field with it sharp

    in field sharpening is going to just be repairing the edge by running the chakmak over it, straightening out any part of the blade that has rolled over.. the carbide should also do this perfectly fine

    these knives are hard enough that once you get an edge on it, it should stay sharp through a lot of abuse, I wouldnt worry about packing in a sharpening kit unless you're going to be out for a long while
  3. RobCarter3


    Dec 8, 2010
    Mousepad and sandpaper works for me too. It takes a little patience but the edge is sharp and durable.
  4. shortwinger

    shortwinger Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Here is a recommendation. Since you haven't used the kukri much, before you go to the field or camping, do some hard chopping around the yard. As you can read in some other posts, sometimes due to the polishing process, you may end up with some soft metal near the edge that may roll on you when you first use any kukri. This is normal but would be a pain in the neck to deal with on a camping trip with only a chakmak. It is very easy to fix at home with sandpaper or whatever sharpening method you use.

    If you don't do that, even a good sharpening, even though it does not need it will take any of that soft metal away.

    I like to take a small sharpening steel/rod with me to the field, like the ones that come with your kitchen knives. It makes quick work of small burrs or just to touch up the edge after some hard chopping. Use a very light amount of presure using a steel, your not trying to remove lots of steel or re-profile the edge, just put a fresh bite to the edge.

    A simple sharpening stone also works but I find that most of the time using a stone will begin to degrade the convex edge. But I would bet that many people that actually use their kukri, partly or completely lose the convex edge anyway.

    Good luck,
  5. Zixinus


    Apr 16, 2009
    On the subject: what about those diamond rod things? Too aggressive for the purpose?
  6. The Man In Black

    The Man In Black

    Jan 3, 2007
    My kukri is a villager. So I assume I will not have this problem.

    Thanks for the info guys.
  7. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Like this one? 3 inches, costs 3 bucks (I don't have one myself)

  8. MrMike


    Jan 22, 2006
    I was the person who provided the tip on the rubber eraser and sandpaper method of sharpening. I discovered it after being unhappy with the mousepad method for touching up the recurve area near the cho. It's great because you can pack a variety of paper cut to the size of the eraser and put them in a ziplock bag when camping. I use 600, then 1500 grit.

    The 1500 grit is awesome for quick touchups after using the chakma to align the edge. I would suggest carefully sharpening the entire width of the bevel to maintain a convex edge. Sharpen from the start of the bevel to the edge PERPENDICULAR to the length of the blade. Do not sharpen just the very edge because the obtuse angle will gradually create a more blunt cutting profile over time.

    Agreed on the soft metal removal. I've seen this firsthand. Depending on how hot the blade gets during the buffing process, a micro-thin layer of steel may soften on the surface. It's basically annealed. You need to remove this skin so you can get at the harder, properly-tempered metal underneath.

    Villagers don't have this issue because they're left unpolished. Same goes for the scale-forged models. Hope this helps - I love the results.
    Whitou likes this.
  9. The Man In Black

    The Man In Black

    Jan 3, 2007

  10. wintermute

    wintermute Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I've never convex sharpened something this large before. If I do the mousepad/paper setup (which I've used on smaller knives), should I use any arc or circles in my sharpening motion, or just run the full length of the bevel across the sandpaper?
    sleyer likes this.
  11. RobCarter3


    Dec 8, 2010
    I tend to do the bulk of the sharpening in 2 stages. I do the belly and tip in one stage and then I wrap the mousepad and sandpaper around something round like a mason jar to really get at the recurve. I then take the full edge down the sandpaper a couple times to try to get the edge more consistent. I don't use any circular motion, just the motions used in the excellent video series here (I'm pretty sure everyone with an internet connection and a knife has seen this but here's the link anyway) http://www.knivesshipfree.com/pages/Sharpening-Videos
  12. bladerique


    Aug 31, 2010
    I'm not sure what you mean?



    I suppose they are made larger?
  13. MrMike


    Jan 22, 2006
    other members can chime in but arc circles are a waste of time and futile on a khukuri blade due to its shape. Some of the sharpest edges imaginable are on my factory ground CASE knives. They use a belt sander with 600 grit paper. The cutting motion is perpendicular.
  14. MrMike


    Jan 22, 2006
    that'll work. The brand I use is FOOHY. You can pick them up at any craft store. They are a rectangular block.
  15. javand


    Oct 17, 2010
    I normally use the "mouse pad and sandpaper" method also for most blades, but for my khuks, I really like the method the owner of Tora recommends, which involves using a large phone-book instead of a mousepad.

    You can let the edge of the phonebook roll over, and it'll cradle the recurve section of the khuk extremely well.

    FWIW, most new mousepads don't work for convex sharpening, so make sure you do some research if you go that route.
  16. Svashtar

    Svashtar Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2003
    I have sections of old foam computer keyboard wrist rests that can be covered with sandpaper and use easily, but I've seen people sharpen kukris by hand with DMT hand held hones and do a beautiful job of it.

    Yvsa personally hand sharpened my Cherokee Rose using a DMT medium folding hone at the 2005 Khonvention at Gin's place in Mesa, and did a fantastic job. Using a stiff hone leaves a few "feathers: on the steel, but who cares? The thing will decapitate bigfoot! ;)

    Since I got a Kalamzaoo 1X42 a few years ago though that's about all I use, just have to be very careful not to grind off the tip. I have an old smooth 80 grit belt that gives a nice toothy edge to the kukri. If I want to go razor sharp I use a 4X36 leather strop on a Craftsman belt sander, with a belt lifter that turns it into a big slack belt grinder. This does a good job on most of he blade, but will not get far down into the deep curve approaching the cho on many kukris.

    For the most part on a working kukri you don't want the edge to so razor sharp that it will lift hair though, as you don't want to risk turning it on harder wood. A good working convex "toothy" and tough edge will do just fine.


    P.S. The great thing about convex edges is that they can be touched up on almost anything; magazines, phone books as Javand says, lot's of things. Ken Warner (on his Blackjack II models which are all convex) recommends just using cardboard to touch up the edges of the Knifeware Kukri II and others in the line, and it works. He knows his stuff and those knives are some of the sharpest & toughest production knives you'll ever find.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011

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