I bought a beat up HI Uddha sword about a year back where the handle was toast. The cool part was that the blade was made by Bura, who was one of the best kamis in Nepal. He had to retire due to health problems and his blades are collector’s items now. At any rate, I decided to replace the trashed handled with black paper micarta, acid etched the blade and made a custom Kydex sheath. It has a new owner now but thought you might find it interesting.
I’ve had folks ask why we branched from AK furniture into Himalayan Imports khukuris. The answer is simple – both AKs and HI khukuris are incredibly rugged, dependable tools that may not be the most “pretty” things made but you can bet your life on them. In fact, I got into the HI khukuris after so many board members on www.akfiles.com said over and over that HI khukuris are absolutely the best available. So, in the fall of 2011, I bought my first HI khukuri – a massive Super Chiruwa Ang Khola. Then I bought another … and another … and another. They are addictive just like AKs as well!
What I found amazing is that the bladesmiths in Nepal (known as “kamis”) are working in the HI factory in very primitive conditions forging these blades from salvaged truck springs (5160 alloy) and using basic hand tools and anvils. Their methods have been handed down from grandfather, to father, to son for hundreds of years making differentially hardened, field serviceable blades. The engineering, if I dare call it that, is so amazingly cool. They figured out what worked and what didn’t by trial and error over hundreds of years. Each khukuri is unique and reflects the kami who makes it. These aren’t mass produced pretty knives rolling off a conveyor belt. Instead they are extremely functional tools with a long proven history. If you like reading about history, there are so many fascinating references on the Internet and books available!
At any rate, as I journeyed along, I noticed a lot of guys who owned AKs also owned an HI blade or were very interested in getting one. Given that we’ve been working with plastics for over three years now, it seemed like a good fit. Starting in the spring of 2013, we began planning for the custom Kydex sheaths including research into designs, materials and tooling. Over the course of the summer we made a number of test sheaths until we hit on the current type of design and how to make it. We also found out that a lot of folks, women included, didn’t just want a sheath – they wanted to get the blade from us as well to one-stop-shop. Thus, we first started making sheaths for our spare blades to sell plus we got into rehandling the khukuris using the various types of micarta that are available.