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Old 18th July 2007, 06:14 PM   #1
spiral
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Default Tibetan style bladed kukri.

A little whats usualy termed as Chainpuri or Limbu villager style kukri turned up today , That a fellow forumite was kind enough to point out to me recently, after it caught his eye as different from the norm.

So after a quick hefting & glancing at the blade in sunlight I decided to do a quick & dirty 10 second bleach spray, a 5 second wipe of lemon juice & a quick rinse rinse in boiling water just to see what i had, it revealed this rather course but lovely blade.















I am sure the handle {cast zinc probably from old batteries & toothpaste tubes.} & the steel bolster are replacments, . Clearly this was a well used kukri at some time in its past, the spine has been well beaten for splitting firewood but luckily someone still liked it enough a few decades ago to re handle it so its life could continue.

I am rather left wondering the age of the blade... When did the Tibetans &/or Nepalis stop doing this style of lamination?

Spiral
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Old 18th July 2007, 06:55 PM   #2
Lew
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What I find interesting is that the laminations are only found in th foward area of the blade they do not extend down the rest of the blade?

Lew
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Old 18th July 2007, 07:12 PM   #3
spiral
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Yes thats right Lew, it seemed unusual to me as well & leaves me wondering the reasons why?


Perhaps they only had thin bar stock so had to laminate to get full depth of belly?

Or perhaps it was done to be purely decorative? I dont know.

I have been told old bright steel Knitting pins were often used as one of the laminate materials in such work? But how accurate that is I dont know but it would be a source of thin rods of good high carbon steel, I would think.

Spiral

Last edited by spiral : 18th July 2007 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 18th July 2007, 08:06 PM   #4
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Neat! It went to the right guy!
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Old 19th July 2007, 02:05 PM   #5
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I see just a hint of darker color at the base of the blade (unless its just a stain on the lighter steel. Perhaps the pattern comes from the middle layer being thicker than the others (the thickness of the base, in other words)?
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Old 19th July 2007, 03:12 PM   #6
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What a fascinating knife. I have been looking at allot of Tibetan pattern welding, but I have never seen a kukri with hairpin folding before. There are a couple of unusual things that the smith did to adapt a technique for long straight blades to this knife. Either the hairpin rods were placed backwards pointing away from the tip, or it is a rare double-ended pattern. To me it looks it bit more like the former. At the tip it looks like the rods thin out and come together without really joining. It would take a very close look at the tip to know for sure. Then around the hairpin rods is the typical frame of high carbon steel. What I see at the base of the blade is the last rod of darker iron extending down into the base of the blade and probably forming the tang. This would give the tang good shock absorbing properties. Then the high carbon frame that extends around the entire blade also surrounds the darker rod that extends to the handle. To add thickness to the blade at the base, the bright steel frame partially covers the central darker portion.

You did a great job with a very quick etch, but the color looks a bit unusual. Is it really as green/yellow as it appears in the photo? Would nitric acid make a more traditional dark and light pattern? It is not an area I am experienced in.
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Old 19th July 2007, 03:49 PM   #7
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Thanks Bill! Your a Gentleman.

I agree Mark/Josh well spotted I think your correct, theres is another portion of well mixed laminates in the waist.

I think It is double hairpin Josh but the unfortuanatly the 2 central laminations are broken & blunt near the point, the rest more outer ones although thin do meet although they also seem more amalgamated into the bright steel as well, perhaps due to the extra forging to get the final distal taper?

I guess the more central laminations are at a much more accute angle so are harder to join proerly?

The hairpins did come up very brassy in colour, I will do a more carefull etch another time perhaps, I think the sole reason the 30 second shallow etch showed up was due to whater iron or steel was used for the hairpins. I would love to know what it was. Only time Ive seen the intial degreasing look like a full etch!

I have got another much larger hairpin laminated kukri that I found a few years ago so there must be a few of them out there.

Iam not particularily expierieced at etching, Ive never used nitric acid, usualy just fruit juices & vinigar as i belive that what the Nepalis/Tibetans would most likely of used?

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Old 19th July 2007, 04:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral

...Iam not particularily expierieced at etching, Ive never used nitric acid, usualy just fruit juices & vinigar as i belive that what the Nepalis/Tibetans would most likely of used?

Spiral


That is something I would also like to know. I have used vinegar, and the colors came out right, but the pattern was much more subdued than on antiques.
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Old 19th July 2007, 06:17 PM   #9
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Josh your obviously a serious affcentionado of this "Tibetan" type blade work do you have any book or online sources to reccomend ? {i have read the Lee Jones informative pages.} And do you/have you find any/many references to kukri in Tibet?

As well as age I am wondering if Tibetan smiths made kukris or if some apparently Tibetan work might in fact also be eastern Nepali? {Perhaps Limbu.} It appears the Naga in Assam possibly used the same techniques unless they stole/traded the steel.

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Old 20th July 2007, 02:26 PM   #10
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Well the best general source on Tibetan blades is LaRocca's "Warriors of the Himalayas" the catalogue of the Met's exhibition of the same name. There is also the paper by Phuntsho Rapten "Patag-the symbol of heroes" which has fascinating cultural info on Bhutanese swords, but I checked it and there is nothing on etching. I have been looking at Google books for 19th C. stuff on China and Tibet, but it is mostly background with little information on swords.

As for kukri, this one came as a complete surprise to me. It was a blade type I had not even thought about in relation to Tibet, and so I have seen very few pictures of them. I tend to focus more on the Tibetan Chinese border area. The whole Tibetan thing started for me as a sideline to my interest in Chinese swords.

I have a couple of pieces in my collection of Chinese swords with Tibetan folding, so seeing the same thing at the Western border of Tibet would not surprise me. My suspicion is that Tibetan smiths, who were renowned for their ironwork, made pieces in the styles of bordering regions. What I would love to know is whether the smiths set up shop in the border areas, or whether they just exported stuff. I suspect that in many cases the smiths exported themselves, and used Tibetan techniques to produce blades in the style of the region they were living in, with the exception of blades actually made in Tibet for export. Usually what I take to be export blades are completely Tibetan in form, but with another region's fittings. On the other hand blades that I see in the style of a bordering region with Tibetan style folding I take to have been made in the border region by a Tibetan smith. I don't know how one could be sure though. It just seems like a reasonable explanation for what I see.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 09:15 AM   #11
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Thanks for the book reference & sharing your thoughts on the possibilitys Josh.

Its appreciated.

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