Taking Care of Your Kukri Knife

Kukri, the mid-length uniquely curved knife, is the pride and icon of Nepal. Kukri or Khukuri came into limelight after the Nepal War of 1814-15, with the formation of British Gorkha Army. Typically carried in a leather case, having a walnut wooden grip and traditionally with two small knives, a kukri knife is one of the most celebrated and featured knives of the world. Originally used to clear wooded areas, kukri knives are now used as effective camping and hunting tools owing to their curved design. Kukri can be used to chop, cut, smash or slash just about anything. Looking at its vast range of applications, you should have at least one in your collection. But it is also important to take proper care of your kukri in order to keep it functional for years to help you in your outdoor adventures.

How to Unsheathe Your Kukri?

You should be careful while unsheathing your kukri. Don’t surround the scabbard with your fingers while taking out the knife. Sometimes the blade may come out from the sheath and cause injury to your hand. Hold the upper rim of the scabbard in your palm and fingers and then slowly draw the blade out. Even while drawing the blade in, you should do it slowly and push it back making a curve.

unsheathing kukri


  • Lubricate the blade of kukri all the time. The blade is made from high-carbon and can catch rust if not oiled properly.
  • Ensure about not leaving fingerprints on the blade. If it is required to touch the blade, you should clean the fingerprints with some oil or petrol.
  • If the blade catches rust, clean it off with a fine sandpaper or sandstone. Clean the dirt with some oil or petrol and wipe with a clean cloth. Apply oil after that.
  • For the leather sheath of the kukri, you should make use of shoe polish. For the brass fittings use brass polish and for silver fittings, use silver polish.
  • Chak-mak or a blunt knife is used for sharpening. However, using file to sharpen the blade is more recommended.
  • If you are going to store your kukri for a longer period, take its blade out of the sheath to prevent collection of moisture within the sheath. Use mink oil or some other suitable leather product to treat the scabbard. This will keep the leather in condition and protected from moisture.
  • Maintaining an appropriate edge will increase the durability of your blade. Razor edges are not appropriate for heavy chopping, just like “axe” edge is not appropriate for shaving.

Chak-mak and Karda

Every kukri features 2 small knives with it. One is the chak-mak which is blunt and is used as a flint tool for sharpening the blade. The traditional technique for sharpening a kukri is using the chak-mak against its edge back and forth. The other knife is karda, which is used for skinning purposes.

chak-mak and karda


Kukri is a dangerous weapon and you must remember it well. Keep it away from stones and metallic surfaces. Don’t expose the scabbard to the sun for a longer time because heating may shrink it and thus make it difficult to insert the blade.

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