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Bura and Kumar pen knives side-by-side

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by joeraz, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. joeraz

    joeraz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2016
    Had opportunity comparing pen knives by Bura and Kuma side by side:
    Spec-wise almost exact duplicates, both 12 3/8in oal and just under 11oz. Both blades identical 1.19in at narrowest to 1.99in at widest. The only obvious difference is Kumar’s has more significant angle at shoulder of spine.

    Won’t compare finish as Kumar’s has been my “user” for about 6 months and Bura’s is an unpolished villager. I enjoy admiring the mirror polish and intricate art pieces too, but there is an enduring beauty about a tool well crafted for honest work. That is one aspect which slightly surprised and pleased me holding Bura's pen knife. He was royal kami to the King, yet this blade has a simple unpretentious village finish overlying subtly engineered detail.

    The Bura's spine is slightly wider than my Kumar pen yet both weigh almost identical.
    Blade tapers from spine to beginning of bevel:
    in front of cho: Bura 0.30in to 0.17, Kumar 0.21 to 0.19
    shoulder to belly: Bura 0.26 to 0.13, Kuma 0.20 to 0.16
    near tip: Bura 0.18 to 0.13, Kumar 0.18 to 0.17

    On close examination the Bura's taper from spine to bevel appears faintly concave (like extremely shallow fullers) to get the weight and balance where he wanted. To be fair I checked the Kumar’s with a straight edge and lo and behold, found the same detail though barely perceptible. Here you can see the bevel down to cutting edge, Bura's on left, Kumar's on right:
    20161215_153551.jpg 20161215_153617.jpg

    When held horizontally both feel comparable and the balance points are very close. When held with spine vertical ('cocked') the Kumar is noticeably more “tip-heavy” as if anxious to pull the blade forward wanting to chop. The Bura feels more “neutral” in this position, quite lively and dynamic like a dancing cobra poised to strike, until you direct it’s motion. Once the Bura’s tip moves a couple inches forward you feel the energy shift and accelerate blade toward the target.

    Pen knife is my all time favorite HI blade style. For me pen blade geometry is ideal all purpose use, and 12in big enough for bushcraft while still realistic size to belt-carry for hiking, etc. Here's the Kumar in sheath I scrounged together:

    Since these pen knives are so similar in size and weight the only real difference is the kami and it was interesting experiencing the craft and energy of each blade. It was a true joy handling these pieces from two masters!
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  2. scrappy


    Jul 7, 2007
    Great looking blades
    Thanks for sharing the detail. I think I sold all my bura made blades but he sure did great work.
  3. stwm


    May 6, 2016
    Fantastic details on fantastic blades. Thanks for the in-depth study of a fantastic HI model. I really look forward to getting some hands-on time with a Pen Knife. The 15"-er intrigues me as well.

    Your "rig" with the sheath and paracord is very nice!!
  4. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I had a Bura PK for years that was stolen by an ex-employeek. I loved that knife.

    However, if I'm honest with myself a 13-14" version by Kumar would check off all the boxes for me. It would be a great hiking knife that could process most camp chores with ease.
  5. joeraz

    joeraz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2016
    Thanks Scrappy & Will!
    Steely, sorry for your theft, shame on ex-employee!!

    My KLVUK is about 15.5in 17oz, use pretty much same tasks as pen knife. For me those extra few inches get awkward carrying on belt in rough terrain. Then I'm on the smaller side so someone of larger build may not find as cumbersome. Also, not sure if it's the extra length or more pointy profile, but the camp sheeple seem to roll eyes more when the KLVUK comes out ;)
  6. leebrewer

    leebrewer Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    How true. I had a Bura PK I used to play with about the fire all the time until my daughter saw me using it as a spatula. She decided it was going to be hers from then on. At least I get to see it every once in a great while. But I do miss the versatility of this one.
  7. Bawanna

    Bawanna Moderator Moderator

    Dec 19, 2012
    I'd heard the spatula story before too and I've since slipped a few pancakes with mine as well.
    It actually works quite well. Great knife. I'm gonna hug mine (carefully of course) when I get home. Haven't held it in days.
  8. Shavru


    Feb 20, 2014
    Go! Go NOW!! You know you need to spend some time with your blade wall as you both must be experiencing withdrawals by now :D

    Joeraz, Thanks for a great comparison write up. I don't think people who haven't held one understand quite the subtle brilliance of Bura's shaping. The significant but almost imperceptible touches. On the other hand Kumar is certainly no slouch either and his blades are easily some of my favorites. But it is only when side by side like this that small details show why Bura was the Royal Kami.
  9. joeraz

    joeraz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2016
    Thanks Shavru! Yes it was quite a blessing to hold these side by side. Had to look very very closely figuring out how Bura achieved such superb balance. I like many Kumar features also - Kumar's handle feels more natural to me, and even with thicker blade profile Kumar got edge every bit as sharp as Bura. Couldn't think of an appropriate analogy when writing original review but it came to me that holding the cocked Kumar feels powerful like a warhorse tensing to charge.
  10. joeraz

    joeraz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2016
    Also read about pancake flipping and other spatulating with pen knives in HI lore. Glad hearing from someone with that actual experience - thanks for sharing your story Lee.
  11. mPisi


    Oct 12, 2001
    Bura Pen Knives eh, they are fantastic. This one was etched and buttcap worked by old forumite Ferrous Wheel.
  12. joeraz

    joeraz Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2016
    Very nice!!
  13. leebrewer

    leebrewer Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    Right on

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