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James B.R. (UK)
Different stages have to cross to complete a Khukuri / Kukri. A group of well skilled smiths had to hard work 14-15 steps from the beginning. When a group of maker is ready to make a Khukuri, the first select the steel and measure for required size of the Khukuri which they are going to make. Briefly explained the main stages at below.
1. Measurement of the Steel Size
Measurement of the size of the steel is important to make sure about the size and design of Khukuri that maker is going to make. They make require piece from the full steel and balance weight either that is enough. Similarly the makers has to make ready the hot coal oven with full of coal, size of hammers and other required tools.
2. Hammering the Steel
This process is most difficult where the selected metal is heated on traditional coal oven make it completely hot and red and hammered it with two big hammers by two different smiths using their full energy. The process goes continue again and again till the time the metal not gets the raw shape of Khukuri.
3. Convert the Metal in Khukuri Shape
When metal is given a base shape of Khukuri, experienced smith who is master, now start his technical job by hammering the steel by small hammer. Depend on the Khukuri design to make, slowly but with care, this process is complete with metal semi hot and more use of hammer.
4. Making the blade strong
This is technique which going to play measure role to make blade strong. Here the master smith taste the blade hardness by using homemade chemicals full in a big bowl and start his job by hammering the hot and red steel and pour it by putting in the bowl again and again. This stage play vital role to make blade stronger or harder.
5. Handle Making
The Handle of Khukuri can made from Water buffalo horn, Wild rose wood or some other materials like metals too. It is skillful work and master artist order the handle maker to start the process by selecting best raw pieces of require material. First the rosewood is cut into its required size and then it is shaped into the required size and designs according to the size of the khukuri. The design of all handles of every khukuri is almost same. The metal handle making process includes the selection of proper metal then the metal is heated and brought to its handle shape. And the buffalo horn handle making process is much similar to that of rosewood handle making process. First buffalo horn is cut into a required size then it is shaped into the required size and design of the handle according the size of the khukuri. All the handles are slightly designed for the beauty and the comforts of carrying the khukuri. Then the handles are made holes vertically in the centre so that the one end of khukuri can be inserted into the handle for the grip. And this is how the firm and comfortable handles are made. To the full piece of handle (handle style of Panawala style), measured handle two pieces for fixing them on handle grip are being make ready on the style that is ordered by master.
6. Making Kajo, Chhapri and Kothi.
Kajo ( Hilt), Chhapri ( Metal Back of handle) and Kothi (Metal Cap) are the external metals which are being use in Complete Khukuri set. Kajo and Chhapri is made for the Khukuri handle while Kothi is made to fix on the metal cap. These small but important parts are made either brass or white metal on size of required size of Khukuri on the order of Master Maker.
7. Fixing the Handle
When Khukuri and Its handle is ready, First the Khukuri kajo is fixed on its handle. Now the Khukuri is Paro (rat tail tang) all the way down to handle, fill the laha (The traditional glue of Nepal homemade of natural source). First the Laha is melt and poured into the whole of the handle and the gripping part with the khukuri is inserted into the handle. This gives a solid grip to the handle with the Khukuri. The process is little different for handle of Panawala type handle where drilling on flat parts of handle side and fixed them with handle made ready of Rosewood, horn of other metals.
8. Making smooth the Khukuri
The semi finished Khukuri now need to make them smooth. The smoothness on the blade and handle of Khukuri give better meaning of Khukuri. Different numbers of handmade grinder stones are being use to make it smooth. In the starting, the expert start making smooth by using hard grinders and rub the require parts by hard hand and change softer grinder by another apply. Process comes to end once the Khukuri is completely smooth.
9. Sharpening the Khukuri
Sharpening a semi-finished Khukuri using traditional methods is another challenging job a expert maker. After filing the khukuri blade is sharpened with a traditional way. It includes entirely hand process and handmade tools. Experts do the work very carefully and takes little bit more concentration. So it is done quite carefully and makes a quite difference. The Rough using Khukuri or Working Khukuri becomes ready till this stage.
10. Shining the Blade and Handle
Better Shining on the blade and handle give better looks on Khukuri. Shining the blade and handle is final work to make a Khukuri ready. The khukuris shined very smoothly are used specially for decorations and the khukuris shined normally are used for cutting purpose. Although, the quality and the cutting power of both extra shined and normally shined khukuris are the same, Recommended for non polished blade for daily using or rough using purpose.
11. Making Karda and Chakmak
Karda and Chakmak, the two small tools keep in the pocket of the Khukuri scabbard are traditional Khukuri tools. Karda is quite sharp and specially used for cutting small things like thread, some small things etc. and Chakmak is not sharp is used to sharp the khukuri blades. Chakmak also use to make the fire hardly rubbed it with hard stone. Both these small khukuri knives making process is same like the main khukuri blade.