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MunozBlades

Khukuri

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I was studying the Nepalese Kamis or (bladesmiths) and was trying to figure out howthey did their slow quenches on their Khukuris, but nothing came up does anyone know how they do this? How does a slow quench work?

By the way khukuris are awsome fighting weapons as anyone who has ever handled one would know.

Thanks much Bros. :)

Edited by MunozBlades

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I seem to recall that the kami pours a stream of water over the edge of the kukri, transforming the edge. I'm not sure of any or all of this, but I do remember reading it somewhere.

 

Ah, I found it, and it's more credible now, by a good bit.. Greg Thomas mentioned it some time back on the sword forum. I think that he posts here as Greg Thomas Obach. You might try PMing him.

 

josh

 

I was studying the Nepalese Kamis or (bladesmiths) and was trying to figure out howthey did their slow quenches on their Khukuris, but nothing came up does anyone know how they do this? How does a slow quench work?

By the way khukuris are awsome fighting weapons as anyone who has ever handled one would know.

Thanks much Bros. :)

23457[/snapback]

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yes, water was poured over the edge...

with some practice, this should work quiet well :)

 

 

dan

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This site used to have pictures of the hardening process but, they have changed the layout so you will have to look around. Himalayan Imports Lots of cool stuff about khukris here.

 

I tried the quench pouring water over the edge and can attest that it works quite well.

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This site used to have pictures of the hardening process but, they have changed the layout so you will have to look around.  Himalayan Imports  Lots of cool stuff about khukris here.

 

I tried the quench pouring water over the edge and can attest that it works quite well.

23461[/snapback]

 

 

here's the pic and the link:

Himalayan Import...

 

kami11.jpg

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Munoz, I don't have any experience fighting with a kukri, but I have years of experience cutting brush with a kukri and that it does very well.After all that's what it's designed for !!.....Looking at the picture - how do you avoid warping the blade if you pour water over just one side of the edge ?

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I own sixteen kukri. They range in age from 200 yrs old to the three I bought from a popular supplier-Himalayan imports.

None...not one have impressed me with their performance or manufacture. The older ones are better. The best one I own came to me via an English import company. It is from the mid 1800's. The finsih is superior and edges cut well.

As for the quenching

Pouring water over an edge will not create a good knife. Period. End of discussion.

 

 

Of the three new ones. I cut branches while clearing with two. The first one had the edge roll in three places and became useless. The second one had the edge chip out.

I didn't use the third. Instead I etched them to show the hardness. The "hamon" ran off the edge here and there on the large one that edge-rolled and was more pronounced on the one that chipped. Overall the fit and finish is so low level that I was shocked. They are filed and the curves and grooves are crude and unfinished then buffed over heavily to make them "look " better. Also it is worthy to note that they do not treat the body of the blade at all. They are dead soft. For this reason you typically see the body as massive. They argue that this is needed for cutting power. This is not true either. The ones I make are distal tapered like everything else. It is the foward curve and the added wieght of the width-not the thickness- that places the cutting force forward. Their extra thickness makes the knives wieght up to 2 lbs. This is ridiculous and not necessary. The older ones are thinner and more managable. When I spoke with the owner he eductated me that the kamis do not loook at these knives like we do, they see them as tools. He had to convince them that a higher level of finish will enable him to sell them to us. They would no more polish them and fit them with a high level of finish then we would an axe, crow bar or hammer. OK, I can buy that, but my Axes crow bars and hammers work as tools-these do not.

I have had the same results with the other Kukris I have bought-the edge hardenss is all over the place. Some were great- others were failures. I have stopped testing them and now just collect them. In fact I just bought two more off ebay.

What I find odd is that the older ones were finished more cleanly with shaping that was done with care. Thus I do not buy the story that the newer guys donlt finsh becuase they never did. I think a more accurute statement is that the newer guys just donlt care enough about them to finsihe them appropriately. More assurdly many of the older guys did. I and many other collectors own the proof of that.

 

We all know that to properly make and edge you normalize and then soak at temp for aprox. 10 minutes or so for an average edge. Then a full quench to bring the steel to full conversion. Pouring water over the edge can, has and will continue to produce spot hardness where the water boils and pops and will also harden the "skin" leaving a soft interior. In fact this softness (after repeated sharpening that abrades away the skin has been noted by the users of some Himalayan imports products. Of further note is that the Japanese have noted this tendency in a water quench for water to bubbles and skin or create gaprs in hardening. This is the reason you do a very loose slurry coat over the whole edge before applying the hamon shape and ashi application. It makes an even quench in the water.

I wish to add that the owners of Himalayan imports are great people-they offered to replace the kukris. I said "No consider it a support donation for the kamis." They work in abject poverty and we ask for more out of their knives then they consider reasonable. And that is a fair deal. The gentleman who wons the company does this to help the people of tibet-specificaly the kamis and thier families.

I plan to use heat stop to protect the handles and I will reharden the edges properly with my son. But I won't buy any more. Also note that other users were quite happy with what they recieved.

 

As a smith I will say that our work will outperform anything they have ever made- hands down.

 

cheers

Dan

Edited by Dan

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I think it was awhile back ....that I was inquiring bout this hardening method.... from the few people that I talked to.....they said lots of euro's were done this way too...

 

- if you have a very thin cutting edge..... i believe it wouldn't be that hard to cool it bellow the pearlite nose to start Martensite

- remember that the falling water cools quicker... this is why the old anvils were quenched this way

-if they were using old car leafs.... maybe 5160 ... this would need very little cooling under a thin cross section.... some fillet knives and one liston knife i've made almost air harden

 

as for how they avoid warps.... is mysterious to me..... maybe things is different down there :blink:

 

-i'd also expect spotty eratic hardening...

 

i only own 2 kukri's ..... one from Pakistan... and its decorative... and bent

- and a CS kukri like object.... ( I have absolutely nothing good to say...so I will say nothing bout it)

 

Greg

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My experience with kukris is limited to three.The first one was old and had a spine so soft if you looked at it wrong it would bend.Perhaps it was intended for display only .After dumping that one I got one that was similar to the WWII military version.I can't find any problem with this .After years of use the spine has never bent, there are no soft spots on the edge.I've cut fairly large trees to light brush with it .It's used regularly.The newest one is an agrussell ,lighter weight so used for lighter jobs.It's well made also....Maybe HI needs a metallurgist to educate them in heat treating !! :rolleyes:

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Lets not be too tough on HI. They are local smiths who are very poor and just doing the best they can. And HI is literally putting food on their table. Think of it like a donation and you get something in return. They use Mercedes truck springs-but are hampered by their understanding of the kukri being only a tool.

We-as smiths- all know they coudl be doing far better with only hand tools-but they don't see the need. Hence the finised, polished hammer or pry bar analogy. Make sense?

The pouring water over the steel is just a blatent error. But they claim it as tradition..

Anyway.....we, as modern smiths, still make the finest tools in the world.

 

Cheers

Dan

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Lets not be too tough on HI. They are local smiths who are very poor and just doing the best they can. And HI is literally putting food on their table. Think of it like a donation and you get something in return. They use Mercedes truck springs-but are hampered by their understanding of the kukri being only a tool.

We-as smiths- all know they coudl be doing far better with only hand tools-but they don't see the need. Hence the finised, polished hammer or pry bar analogy. Make sense?

The pouring water over the steel is just a blatent error. But they claim it as tradition..

Anyway.....we, as modern smiths, still make the finest tools in the world.

 

Cheers

Dan

23571[/snapback]

 

 

whilst I will not argue about the fact that the water pouring over a hot edge will NOT produce OPTIMUM results, I would not go as far as to lable it an absolute error...

It's about two or more years ago when I gave that method some tries, out of pure curiosity wether it would work and if yes how well...

with a bit of practice (ammount of water, speed of lenghtwise movement, etc) results are not that bad... some pieces (I made about ten test pieces) even got quiet decent... again NOT OPTIMUM but usable at least...

so it's not complete BS... it's not comparable to "proper" heat treatment, but still can deliver working results.

 

daniel

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Yeah... I somewhat agree...BUT

With sixteen knives from all eras, and results that are all over the place- with three from the same smiths, from the same village that are ALL a mess. I still opt for the term "blatant error."

It is just not consistent enough to be considered a "method" to me. The skinning hardness it creates (which reminds me of the results of case hardening) and hardness which is all over the place is just not a place we should recommend any smith going in. Add to that the fact that the full quench is faster and easier and will make great knives which would help these men if they knew.

 

Methods should be consistent in their success so that the repeatng of them brings consistent results. That means money and confidance.

It is a mistake to be heat treating steel with a method with more chance of failure then success.

 

I look at it this way. Would any of us start forging 5160 knives, 12"-16" with a width up to 2 1/2" and make a huge thickness with wieghts up to 2 lbs. to compensate for poor heat treat and latteral weakness and then.....heat and pour water over the edge and go take the ABS test with it?

 

Any effort should demand the best. Even in a tool.

 

Most, if not all of the worlds indigenous cultures best blades would never pass an ABS test anyway. Modern smiths make the best blades in the world. Any of us could be warped back to any culture, in any era, and make the same blade types they were making, with the same crude tools they use, and still make them better than they did. In our hands, with our knowledge, they would become the best blades in the world. I believe once seen and tested, the old smoths would adopt our ways.

Steel is steel. ;)

 

Cheers

Dan

Edited by Dan

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What I wonder is how a thing like pouring water over the edge ever got started? Does it make any sense, or is it just another tradition that never got questioned?

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You know, this conversation sounds a lot like a group of metallurgists trying to tell a group of professional bladesmiths that their understanding of metallurgy is flawed and that better methods are available. If the kamis had access to this discussion I could well imagine them saying that "Kukris are a special tool and the laws of metallurgy do not apply" or "I have been doing it this way for years so don't try to convince me I am wrong" or "I normalize three times facing north and kill a rodent every time I quench the blade! No Worry! Be Happy!" :lol:

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You know, this conversation sounds a lot like a group of metallurgists trying to tell a group of professional bladesmiths that their understanding of metallurgy is flawed and that better methods are available.  If the kamis had access to this discussion I could well imagine them saying that "Kukris are a special tool and the laws of metallurgy do not apply" or "I have been doing it this way for years so don't try to convince me I am wrong" or "I normalize three times facing north and kill a rodent every time I quench the blade! No Worry! Be Happy!"  :lol:

23624[/snapback]

 

;) ;)

 

well... only that we're bladesmiths too :)

 

@ Tai...

I have no Idea how the Idea of pouring water over the edge came to be.

I can think (and I bet all of you can too) of many "simpler" yet more effective ways to achive a "differntial" hardened blade...

however I believe that it is one of this things which just one day have been started and never really been questioned...

It's like medicine... for a long time people from the west believed malaria (Mal Aria = Bad Air, latin) to be a Airborne disease... and continued to shut their windows close in asia... or that our Globe was flat... and it took a lot more than a bunch of bladesmiths to change things :)

 

 

@ Dan

I have to admit, 16 blades, "tested" are Reason enough to call a method "inadequat" :)...

And honestly, it's anything else but consistent...

 

 

daniel

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I've often thought with a little practice it could make an interesting quench line. :)

 

I doubt that's why they did it though... Only we would think of something as ridicules as that! :D

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Dan

I have to admit, 16 blades, "tested" are Reason enough to call a method "inadequat" ...

And honestly, it's anything else but consistent...

 

 

Daniel

 

 

****************

 

Dan

Agreed But I sitll love em. I just won't use them. I still cannot figure out why the older ones were made better then the newer ones. You would think they would be trying harder. You certainly cannot use tooling ro training or some such as an excuse. Heck I guess its like the rest of the world with general workanship and craftsmaship going down hill. Why should they be any different.

 

The one I have from the early 1800's is still the best, the best gooves cut, the best geometry, The fit and finish, the best handle fit of any Kukri I have seen-even the best grade of horn. Oh Well

I am using the handle shape as a template for a newer one. I have some great water buffallo horn with white heart/core for beautiful grain.

 

 

*****************

 

I've often thought with a little practice it could make an interesting quench line.

 

I doubt that's why they did it though... Only we would think of something as ridicules as that!

 

*****************

Tai

 

I don't know about the quench line. I have etched them and they suck...all over the place and where you do see it- it is a bland almost striaght line. It is very Nioi not Nie so they were controlling the grain-enlargement.

Anyway, I have tried it and it was just ridiculous. Either that or I just suck. :blink:

But I am willing to bet the method itself is just a bust all-together.

You will have more fun with the roll or dip, interupted quench in water or oil. That way you can make multiple hamon. Of course the best is still with applied clay and ashi and yo and sunagashi.

 

 

Cheers

Dan

Edited by Dan

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I think the Japanese type clay hamons have become so cliche, that just about any thing would be better.

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I think the Japanese type clay hamons have become so cliche, that just about any thing would be better.

23678[/snapback]

 

 

 

***************************

CLICHE?.....mummmble mumble

 

Hmmmm...

I guess its a point of view. In my humble opinion they aren't cliche-the poorly made Americanized versions of them are what is cliche. As well as the roll -in-oil multiple hamon 52100 quenches becoming popular. B) Great knives though they may be-they just look kind of hokey to me. But when I quench my own work in oil- I feel the same about my own stuff.

 

In the big picture- those of us who have been smithing for a while have lived to see the day where random Damascus was rare, then twisting, then mosiac, then the outrageous stuff, and now........ random damascus is cliche as well.

 

Gee..........are we seeing the avent of a hote-couture in knife making? :D

If so I want to be the first to say........

 

"This season, the discerning smith has their eye on balancing the figure of the form with the wearer. In this selection we see Jimmy gracefully making his way down the runway with a new, bold statement, of the classic form. Here we are presented with the daring lines of the edge married with the graceful curve of Mr. Fikes cheeks!...........The sheath playing off the hip lines, challenging the viewer with a sense of oneness to the whole composition.

A bobbing, bouncing, looseness. Evoking a sense of carefree freedom." A new day for knife wearers everywhere! :D

 

And with your Work Tai....

"Here the eye is captured by the movement of the form, at once subtle, yet making a powerful suggestion of its original native form. In all we are asked and indeed challenged by the artists to place the work in time or place." Was he on acid? Did he get caught in time by Raquel Welch in a an animal skin bikini? Or did the cave man truly have 5160? :unsure:

 

If only you looked good in an animal skin bikini :D

 

 

 

Overall I think the Japanese style-if we try to get it right is very challenging and discerning to the educated eye. But, it was and will remain a personal taste. Heck, I find turkish damascus and anything with a ground-in or stamped repeated pattern to be boring and cliche. Not my taste, but most everyone else loves it!

Probably the reason I dress like I do.......... :blink:

 

 

Cheers

Dan

Edited by Dan

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... see what I mean! :D

 

Let's talk geometry instead. If you get good blade geometry on a piece of iron, bronze or copper, and work harden it a bit,... it will make a functional knife. However, no amount of fancy heat treating or thermal cycling is going to make a 1 inch round bar of high carbon steel cut. :D

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***************************

CLICHE?.....mummmble mumble

 

Hmmmm...

I guess its a point of view. In my humble opinion they aren't cliche-the poorly made Americanized versions of them are what is cliche. As well as the roll -in-oil multiple hamon 52100 quenches becoming popular. B)  Great knives though they may be-they just look kind of hokey to me. But when I quench my own work in oil- I feel the same about my own stuff.

 

In the big picture- those of us who have been smithing for a while have lived to see the day where random Damascus was rare, then twisting, then mosiac, then the outrageous stuff, and now........ random damascus is cliche as well.

 

Gee..........are we seeing the avent  of a hote-couture in knife making?  :D

If so I want to be the first to say........

 

"This season, the discerning smith has their eye on balancing the figure of the form with the wearer. In this selection we see Jimmy gracefully making his way down the runway with a new, bold statement, of the classic form. Here we are presented with the daring lines of the edge married with the graceful curve of Mr. Fikes cheeks!...........The sheath playing off the hip lines, challenging the viewer with a sense of oneness to the whole composition.

A bobbing, bouncing, looseness. Evoking a sense of carefree freedom." A new day for knife wearers everywhere! :D

 

And with your Work Tai....

"Here the eye is captured by the movement of the form, at once subtle, yet making a powerful suggestion of its original native form. In all we are asked and indeed challenged by the artists to place the work in time or place." Was he on acid? Did he get caught in time by Raquel Welch in a an animal skin bikini? Or did the cave man truly have 5160? :unsure:

 

If only you looked good in an animal skin bikini  :D

Overall I think the Japanese style-if we try to get it right is very challenging and discerning to the educated eye. But, it was and will remain a personal taste. Heck, I find turkish damascus and anything with a ground-in or stamped repeated pattern to be boring and cliche. But most everyone else loves it!

Probably the reason I dress like I do.......... :blink:

Cheers

Dan

23696[/snapback]

 

Want to talk cliche,... how about ritually triple normalizing?

 

I look damn good in an animal skin bikini! :D

Edited by Tai

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I might have to try this pouring quench.

 

It's so wrong,... it's right! :D

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I might have to try this pouring quench.

 

It's so wrong,... it's right! :D

23700[/snapback]

 

 

************

 

Even after I saw the crappy knives it made- I still had to experiment!! Don't know what that says about me.....not the sharpest knife in the drawer?

Even with a marginal success-the key is to then realize you have to sharpen that same edge for the life of the knife. Eventually you will get a soft(er) middle.

 

I see no way around the "Soak at temp" then full quench. Even an interrupted quench still gets a full (well ok mostly) martensite transformation (still gotta love that age-hardening or sub-zero quench extra 2 points rockwell).

 

Anyway, have fun, be whacky; I was. :unsure:

It is still no way to make a knife.

 

 

Cheers

Dan

"who is not going to picture you in a bikini!"....

My eyes, my eyes!!

Edited by Dan

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Cliche? I suppose beauty to some extent is in the eye of the beholder, but in my humble efforts to understand and control the hamon, I have discover a new appreciation for the craft.

 

It is one of the most mysterious and beguiling aspects of the work, the visual record of the heat treatment painted with crystal. Try it Tai, you might like it.

 

9776514_abfcc16b46_o.jpg

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Wow! It looks like you poured water over the edge!

 

I like the lines Don, but they do distract from the form.

 

I've tried it, but they were never as loud as yours. :)

 

When are you going to try a rainbow quench line Don? They follow the form much better.

Edited by Tai

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