Matt, thanks for a good review and the many kind words.
Himalayan Imports Website
My 20" Wooden Handled Sirupati came today!
Here's a list of my impressions, because I haven't had a chance to torture-test the edge yet.
When I pulled the sheath and knife from the box, I felt breathless. Ironically, earlier today I'd handled India-made Kukhuris and this gave me a great basis for comparison. The handle and buttplate were the first things I saw, and they were well fitted and well finished. The butt of the wooden knife and the buttplate were perfectly aligned and fitted together. The brass guard between the handle in the blade is also well fitted, and I had to look for a moment to find the juncture where the brass had been joined.
The blade was narrower than I'd expected, and the spine was a bit thicker. It had "Made By KGR SN91" stamped on one side and "Made in Nepal" engraved on the other. There was some scrollwork on the blade back toward the spine, part of which is filled with brass, creating a nice contrasting effect. At the end of the scrollwork are initials engraved in the knifemaker's native language (Nepali?). I did some preliminary edge testing using my sharpening equiptment, and the edge came fairly sharp, with a very fine burr running down one side of the edge. I took just some ceramic rods, and began sharpening. Literally five strokes on each side, and the edge was hair-poppin' sharp. The spine wore much easier and grabbed the sharpeners, while the sharpeners simply slipped right off of the edge. It's hard, all right.
Some people have had poor luck with the sheaths. I got a little luckier, in the sense that the sheath was well constructed, and the frog, although a little thin, still looks thick enough to be serviceable.
The Carda and Chakma are very simple and very plain, both made of hard steel and the the knife carries a fairly dull but sharpenable edge.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this knife, mostly for the harder to describe qualities like it's speed. I've never felt a knife so thick that could be swung so fast. I ran through a few basic drills, and I can see why this knife has a reputation as "The Martial Artist's Favorite."
Another intanglible is, of course, that the knife is made by true craftsman who believe in what they're doing. I'm impressed by the practical and positive impact Uncle Bill and Pala are making in the lives of the Nepalese knifemakers. Some friends of mine were involved in human rights organizations in Sri Lanka and Bosnia, and they're criticisms of how aid was given mirrors your own. Millions of dollars spent by Americans, most of which ends up in the pockets of a few corrupt politicians.
In a way, I'm very jealous of Uncle Bill and the others at Himalayan Imports. They provide comfort and security in one country (Nepal) and enjoyment and camaraderie in another (here). How many people can we name that have had this large an impact on so many lives positively? The reason I purchased this wonderful knife was to take a small part in this.
I haven't been disappointed.
[This message has been edited by Zog (edited 02 October 1999).]
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