A couple months back I posted about the Nepalese Gurkha Kukri Bhojpure fighting knife that I bought to go with my semi-cleaned Nepalese 1878 Martini-Henry Francotte pattern short-lever rifle and bayonet as created by Gen. Gahendra Rana’s “kami” cottage gunsmiths in the 1880s (more on the rifle and bayonet here.)
Like the Francotte and its bayonet, the $89 Bhojpure Kukri came from IMA/Atlanta Cutlery’s 2003 purchase of the entire Royal Nepalese Arsenal, then located at the semi-ruined palace of Lagan Silekhana in Katmandu.
Well, that post got picked up by The Truth About Knives, which is cool. Maybe it resulted in some people saving some of these old knives.
I’ve continued to work the blade and, thanks to a tip from a reader (thanks, Robert!) picked up a new replacement sheath for the old man that fits it like a glove. It currently shaves forearm hair (knife fighter mange) and shreds paper with no problem.
However, at Atlanta I also found this bad boy:
They list it as a “Gurkha Officer’s Patch Knife” for $25 (!) and bill it as “most likely carried in kukri pouches by the elite Royal Guard of Bhimsen Thapa”– Nepal’s military minded prime minister, in the early 19th century– the chap that owned Lagan Silekhana.
The knife came without a scabbard, is 7.5-inches long with a 3.75-inch slightly drop point carbon steel blade, one-piece carved bone handle and brass furniture.
Like the rest of the Katmandu stash, it had sat in a wooden palace for generations open the elements and was covered in a thick layer of soot, yak butter, and Nepalese flotsam. It was in unissued condition and the blade had never been used (or sharpened– it was a total butter knife).
This is what it looks like after a good TLC with Ballistol, green pads, and the like, with the brass parts touched up with Brasso.
Patina on a weapon means it’s seasoned, right? I mean this little pot sticker is 150~ years old, or so the story goes.
I had to do a small repair on the butt cap as it separated from the handle during the cleaning process, but some replacement brass nails and epoxy corrected just fine.
I used water stones with a 1000/6000 grit to get first a bevel, then a fine edge– though not so thin that the edge would roll. You can trim fingernails with this bad boy now.
I intend to use a strop to keep it fine. A generic leather patch knife sheath ($10, eBay) fits it like a glove.
All in all, not a bad blade for a total of about $40 and a half-dozen hours of sweat into it. I rather like it and may pick up a few more just to have. A few more years in storage probably won’t hurt them.