Please help me identify the kami (yes, again...)

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Korbin, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. TheQuest


    Mar 8, 2007
    His HT should be fine, have several of his, no issues. If you're curious, you can do an acid dip and see where the hamon lines run.

    Now, regarding the edge:

    The helpers are the ones who put the final polish on the blades. If they get carried away, since the blades come with a fairly fine edge, that tiny little strip of metal can lose its HT and be a bit softer. That's why it feels sharp when it comes, but then those random mini dings appear.

    Does that make sense? The "good" HT is on the inside, and the very edge is a bit softer. One sharpening session should be all that's needed to get down to the "good" steel.

    Just use it, use the charda to steel the edge back in line, and when you get time sit down and sharpen her up. That soft outer edge should peel right off, leaving the solid stuff.
  2. Korbin


    Jun 14, 2009
    DISCLAIMER : This post became offtopic, I already got my answer - and thank you guys for that.

    @ndoghouse : Thank you for your input. But I have to digress...

    You said that "not all nepali kukris are equal"; you might be right and I might be wrong, but...logic dictates that there shouldn't be such a big difference.
    As I already said, I think HI and company "Z" (Mr. Simon H. - if it's OK to mention his name, and not the firm) have the best finishes/overall product. I'm by no means an expert, but HI seem to have a perfect record towards customer service and customer satisfaction (there are some rumors/stories with company "Z"). So, yeah, I think there is nothing wrong with HI, they are great.

    BUT...wouldn't it be fanboyism to state that there's only company "X" ? I, myself, have to try. I want to question everything, and get my own answers.
    If time will prove I was wrong, I thank everyone that tried to warn/help me do the right thing from the start. You, guys, are great - but let me make that mistake and learn from it.
    Right now (without using my CAK and without having experience using another kukri), just using logic, I think the "Y" firm's Panawal Dotted would be a serviceable blade. I don't think it would be of the same quality (finish wise) as my HI, but to chop some wood... Hell, even a sharpened piece of truck leaf spring without a heat treatment could do that, don't you think ?!

    Anyway, my findings would not hurt HI or company "Y" (or "Z", or...whatever alphabet letter you like to name the others...) ; I think everybody have a place. For me, HI is up there (and, yeah, you have to pay a price to have something good). Yet, I think we have to admit there's a place for company's "Y" product, when price is considered, or when someone wants something "good enough"...

    @George Azar : Thank you. Every day I am learning a new, interesting thing here. You, sir, are a great man and this is a great comunity.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
    George Azar likes this.
  3. ndoghouse


    Aug 26, 2010
    Well please pardon my intrusion. Sometimes when a post has completely served it purpose we (some of us) tend to go off topic. Probably why HI has ten times the traffic here than any other company. We are all friends guilty of plenty of b:poop: sometimes. "fanboy" I dont even know what that word means. Pls pardon my complete ignorance. Glad your here and nothing against any other company. I have some Khuks from other companies as well and my samples have all had plenty of hours behind them. HI wasnt my first intro to the Khukri world like many but this is where I landed much of it due to the good folks here. You will be hard pressed to find a better family than this one here. I also think its cool to be able to put a face to our tools rather than a serial number from a mass production piece. Dont take my comments wrong. Im in total agreement with most everything you mentioned. Like I said I only gave you two cents. I still got 98;)
    George Azar likes this.
  4. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    You're welcome sir!
  5. davidf99

    davidf99 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    One of the reasons that some of us are loyal to HI is that HI treats both its customers and its kamis well, which is a rare thing in this age of cutthroat business practices (in all countries). Some of the companies that sell on that great auction site in the sky seem to be khukuri-mills, churning out blades in great numbers made by anonymous kamis. Some of those blades are very good -- which is to be expected, since the khukuri is a national icon for Nepal -- but it's still a crap-shoot what you'll get.

    I have a few non-HI khukuris and almost all of them are excellent, but I was very selective when I bought them. I had pictures of the actual knives, not generic pictures, and I bought from individual owners in the U.S., some of whom I knew from the Forum.

    Another reason for loyalty to HI is that the company has excellent quality control, and blades with cosmetic blemishes (never structural problems) are sold at big discounts here on the Forum. Blemishes like a handle crack or a bit of rust are easy to fix. Also, we get to know most of the HI kamis after a while, and familiarity with their work breeds trust. Each of us has our favorites, but all the HI kamis do good work.

    I don't really agree that "logic dictates that there shouldn't be such a big diference." We're talking about blades forged and finished by hand using traditional methods and rudimentary equipment. The difference in quality and consistency between an ordinary craftsman and a master craftsman can be enormous. Think about the difference in a piece of fine furniture made by a journeyman carpenter and the same furniture made by a skilled cabinet maker. Think about the difference in prices and quality on the Bladeforums Exchange between the average knifemaker and some of the masters who post their creations in the same Exchange.

    By all means you should try non-HI khukuris, as many HI forumites have done. However, if you're interested in a relatively inexpensive khukuri that is good for all but the heaviest chopping, you can't do better than the HI KLVUK (Keshar Lal Villager Utility Knife, named after its creator, Keshar Lal Kami). Here's an example:


    This one is 16.5" overall length, and 22 oz. The model generally costs around $65. I got this one from the first owner, who had a custom sheath made for it by a forumite leatherworker (Wildmanh), which gives you an idea how much he respected this blade. I bought knife and sheath together, but a sheath like this could easily cost a lot more than the KLVUK itself.

    The knife is very well balanced and the handle is very comfortable.

    Final point: How many of those other khukuri houses in Nepal name any of their models after the kamis who first create the model? I've never seen a single example. By contrast, HI has the Bura Daily Carry (BDC), the Kumar Kobra and Kumar Karda, the Keshar Lal Villager Utility Knife (KLVUK), the Ganga Ram Special (GRS -- "inspired by an 80 year old village kami named Ganga Ram Bishwakarma"), the YCS (Yvsa Cherokee Special) and Cherokee Rose (named after long time forumite, Yvsa, who designed those models), the Pen Knife (named after forumite Pendentive), and probably others that I can't think of at the moment. There's something special, and unusual, about the relationship between HI and the people who make and design these knives. And that is deserving of a certain amount of loyalty.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
    George Azar likes this.
  6. Korbin


    Jun 14, 2009
    @ndoghouse : The term "fanboyism" = the collective outlook and behavior of a group of people concerning a subject (movies, games, hardware, comic book characters, etc.) which when challenged results in an antagonistic, passionate, and unreasoned response. In my reply, I wanted to express "brand loyalty". Please don't feel insulted, this would not be my intention.

    Also, there is no intrusion ; I am here to learn and to have a good time. Your posts contain valuable information, and I'm glad you took the time to write them. I didn't took your answers wrong, I cannot be mad if someone has a different opinion - it's great that, at the end of the day, at our worst time, to just say "let's agree to disagree".

    @davidf99 : I like that too. I like the business model that Himalayan Imports created.

    As to the difference in quality between "X" and "Y" being enormous...dunno. I lack the practical experience to push this discussion forward (and funds to build a large collection of kukris, from different manufacturers). I just think (and, partially you confirmed that) there are other good kamis not tied to HI that produce good blades. You were very selective when you bought your non-HI kukris, we - the regular folks, don't have always the same opportunity (sadly).

    I would like to firmly state the fact that I didn't (and still don't) wanted to transform this post into a "HI vs. the others" debate. I think that every manufacturer have it's place.

    As for the KLVUK...beautiful piece ! I like the fact that it's blade has unfinished/working finish. In a blade that I intend to use, a high-polished blade is just a visual treat, nothing more, nothing less. Thank you for the suggestion (there is a "BUT" :D ... I bought the CAK because I wanted a full-tang construction. I know that the rat tail tang of a traditional kukri would be good enough for chopping - as the good people of Nepal proved through the years, by using them daily, but...we, the foreigners, we only trust overbuilt things. As to the model you recommended, I initially settled for a Raw Panawal from manufacturer "Y", as it had the same blade shape as my beloved CAK, with a fuller and a "raw" finish ; I didn't pulled the trigger because on the lacking Harhari in the handle - for the traction they provide and the traditional look).

    For me, the ideal kukri to use would have the same shape as my 16.5 inch CAK, the blade finish of KLVUK or Raw Panawal, full tang with indian rosewood scales and harhari, a deep fuller, and in the price range of 60 to 70 USD. So, if there is such a thing (that would incorporate ALL the conditions stated above), please let me know :) .

    That so-called "disclaimer" was just to explain the fact that the post have gone off-topic. I have no problem with that, as long as the moderators/admins don't mind. Many of you provided valuable information, and I can only be happy with that.
    George Azar likes this.
  7. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Well said davidf99!!!
  8. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    I consider Himalayan Imports to be the "Fair Trade" supplier of Nepalese khukuris. I expect the "Fair Trade" khukuris to cost more, and I am willing to pay more, for these reasons (as told by Bill Martino):

    I have seen children some as young as six toiling in cement and brick factories, their little bodies white with dust, only the eyes not dusty white, peering sadly out of the ghostlike forms. I have seen boys ten years old working in hotels 15 hours a day, seven days a week, cleaning, mopping, washing dishes, sleeping on the cement floor at night and happy to receive a couple of plates of dalbhat and a cup of tea per day and maybe five dollars per month.

    This is also true of the more commercial "aruns", blacksmith shops. You will see a poor child gathering charcoal, pumping the handle on the forge, sitting on the dirt floor filing and sanding a blade, perhaps even trying to hammer some hot steel for a master kami who himself may be too old to work but does anyway because it is either that or starve.

    The last order I placed with old Kancha Kami was for six pieces of his Sherpa style which we had nicknamed the Kancha special. The price he asked amounted to about fifteen bucks per knife. I told him that I wanted him to take his time and do an
    especially good job for which I would pay considerably more per knife. Kancha was very poor and sometimes had nothing, not even a potato in the house to eat. He was most grateful.

    Because of these deplorable conditions in Nepal, I know that I pay more than is necessary for our khukuris, try to employ errand boys, people to wrap and pack, and do odd jobs that are primarily "make work" efforts and I charge accordingly. I could get the khukuris for less, (much, much less if I were to use one of the major shops in India or Pakistan who have the capability to make our khukuris to our exact specifications and have offered to do so, telling us that we could claim the khukuris were made in Nepal and nobody would be the wiser -- except me!) reduce my price, sell more and make more because of volume but I choose not to do this because I like to be able to look at myself in the mirror when I shave. If I were to beat the kamis down to bottom dollar, toss out the little guys who help in between the shop and here, I would be contributing to the exploitation of some of the poorest and most desperate people in the world and I simply refuse to be a part of that.


    My Gorkha brother who is the owner of shop 1 with whom we established the HI partnership said it best in a letter he wrote to me. He said, roughly translated, the following:

    The khukuri is the symbol of Nepal and it represents not only our country but our people and our culture. It is our national treasure.

    Because we had no choice due to the prices dealers pay us we have had to make khukuris that did not represent Nepal, our culture, or our true ability -- this just to stay alive. What choice do I really have? Many of our workers would go hungry if I did not provide employment for them.

    Although we still have to make these other khukuris, the high quality khukuri we make for you is what we really want to do. The khukuri we make for you represents Nepal, our culture and us. What you have done has allowed us to show the world what we can really do. Not only have you and Dai (big brother -- Kami Sherpa) given us money for our work but you have given us back our pride. All our kamis and I want to thank you for this from the bottom of our hearts.


    and more, at this page:
  9. Korbin


    Jun 14, 2009
    You, sir, made me feel ashamed. Thank you.

    It is hard, when you live in a world where the price/performance ratio dictates succes, to understand there's more than that.

    Thank you again for this lesson.
    Soshin likes this.
  10. Bawanna

    Bawanna Moderator Moderator

    Dec 19, 2012
    I truly believe we're all better people knowing Yangdu and HI. Uncle Bill created an instant legacy that HI strives to continue.
    The kami's and the people in Nepal are Yangdu's focus and priority. Taking care of the kids, education and medical cost etc.
    This even though on rare occasions where a kami will take advantage of her and the shop.
    I don't know another person with Yangdu's level of integrity.
    I felt humbled once again reading Mr. Tall's post. I've read it before but it brings it back to the forefront.
  11. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Mr Tall, your words make my heart hurt!! I love the bargains, but I'll never focus on those again! Thank you for sharing! Unless you tell us the story, we'll never know!
  12. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    How about this Ang Khola?
  13. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
  14. ndoghouse


    Aug 26, 2010
    Thats a beautiful and very special blade sir and was meant to live with you! It found its home. Feel honored, remember where it came from, and by all means it was made to be used! ENJOY!
  15. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Thanks ndog!
  16. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Can someone help me identify a Kami mark please? It is a cows head without the horns. It's on my Chiruwa Ang Khola. I'll post photos later.
    Thank you.
  17. Bawanna

    Bawanna Moderator Moderator

    Dec 19, 2012
    Purna. I think it's a bulls head. Early marks were quite intricate, later not as well defined.
    When I first saw it, I knew it would be a difficult mark to create on every knife but it is unique and he's a good/excellent kami.
    George Azar likes this.
  18. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Thank you. I'll post a photo of his mark when I get home from work.
  19. stwm


    May 6, 2016
    George your AK is so pretty it breaks my heart!

    Thanks Meister Tall for helping Mr. Korbin to understand why we are unashamedly Himalayan Imports fanatics.

    (edit: Mr Korbin, my kudos to you in broaching a difficult subject very tactfully. You astutely observed that things are a little 'different' here than a regular gear forum where people are totally objective. I am the first but not the only to admit that we have 'a problem'. The Himalayan Imports Khukuri Acquisition Virus is very real...incurable...very serious. Additionally, I know it's tricky being non-US with shipping, value, and the like. Good on you for being a if only they'd give you some tools to do your job! (guns!) Stay safe out there.)

    The most amazing thing is that even with the proper treatment of the kami and the people of Nepal, we still have not just affordable blades but -screaming- deals.

    I shudder to think what (the other guys) pay their folks......

    I got a beautiful Thamar Tin Chirra for less than $60.00 once. So cheap I'm almost ashamed. Everyone thinks they get the best deals and it's true Yangdu loves us so much.

    I was the bargain-king until you came along, George! :D just kidding, there are a lot of us.

    I am taking a break right now from buying because I am bursting at the seams with knives....but I can't get rid of any of them either!

    I'm honestly trying to figure out a way to sell them locally, maybe at a market or the local fair-trade cafe so I can order some more and keep the wheel turning.

    Each blade I buy is another one that has to be made and keeps the kami working. I hate to see the big inventory sell-downs, 'steel cost'.....

    Hopefully some day I can step up and be a real professional patron like our cherished departed Jay.
    George Azar likes this.
  20. George Azar

    George Azar Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    Thanks stwm. Having to take a break myself. I blame that on you because you didn't beat me to the bargains. Just kidding.
    You guys are the best and the forum family is awesome!
    Thanks for all the amazing info!

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