Sunday, December 30, 2007

How to turn a Gurkha Khukri into a camp knife

For Christmas I received a Gurkha Khukri - these can be had from BUDK for around $18.99.

The handle is wood, and it came with two pathetic little skinning(?) knives and a cheap goatskin sheath. Pretty rough diamonds as is, but the knife is a solid base for a very useful camp/field knife project. The blade is nearly 1/4" thick carbon steel and the interior curve gives the knife some awesome chopping power. It also has a full-length tang which is great for strength. Because it's so inexpensive I also don't feel too bad about potentially screwing it up on a custom project.

The biggest drawback as it comes is the handle - very uncomfortable. As a result that is the first thing to go.

Here is the wood I am going to use for the new handle. It is rubberwood. It is a very dense, hard, tight-grained wood which should be perfect for a knife handle. This block is part of a coffee table leg set which needed shortening in our house.

First I cut the block down the center to form the two scales for the handle using a coping saw. The cut is not perfect, but the scales will be flipped inside out and shaped and sanded on the cut side, so there is no problem.

Then I mounted the knife (sword??) in my vise with a rag to prevent scratching. I drilled out the rivets with a 1/4" cobalt drill from one side.

There is some sort of cheap red/brown epoxy filler stabilizing the scales and filling in any imperfections in the handle. I got a chisel in there and pried them off fairly easily.

The pommel is more difficult to remove. I used a screwdriver and worked it back and forth until it was loose and popped off. Took some coaxing and time.

As you can see the tang will require reshaping. I intend to give it a more graceful shape.

More later...

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