Kailash FAQ's

Kailash Blades

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Nov 21, 2015
Our website has just about all the information you'd need on it, but even with that there's a few questions we get extremely often. I'll put up a few here and if we haven't got your answer and it's not on the website, then feel free to start up a new thread or get in contact through the form on our website here https://kailashblades.com/contact/

How much will a custom knife cost me?
How long's a piece of string?
Some guidelines:

If you're looking for a stock blade to have some lettering stamped, just put in an order and send an email about it after and we'll do that at no extra cost.

For it to have words or logos electrochemically engraved into it you'll need us to send you out a custom invoice for your order with an added $15-$30 usd depending on complexity.
Small changes like adding serrations, a choil, a back edge or altering the spine thickness by itself is an additional $20, but when lumped in with another larger change the price is $10 usd.

A custom sheath designed to carry a ferrorod or companion knife (of our making) would be an additional $25 for western leather or kydex.
The addition of a Karda and Chakmak is $10 usd and the adding of a metal cap to a traditonal sheath is $5usd.

Moderate changes like going to a multi material handle, adding a fuller, adding bolsters etc and you can be looking at $30usd for the change in isolation or $15 when done with other larger changes.

Anything outside of this pretty much requires the blade to get full custom pricing as it requires me to draw up a pattern sketch for the guys. Simpler examples include putting one blade onto another handle, shortening or lengthening a blade, integrating a guard. More complicated full customs generally include original handle and/or blade designs, particularly involved sheathwork etc. For blades like this we start with a similarly labour intensive stock blade, add a base cost of $30 for a knife or $50 for a sword then add on cost for length, complexity and features as we go.
Customs can start at teeny khukuri objects for under $100 all the way up to videogame replica blades, longswords and giant cleavers for $400-$700usd.

What steel do we use?
All of our blades are made from 5160 spring steel salvaged from leaf springs. It's a tough, high carbon steel which is tough, easy to sharpen and which holds an edge pretty well. It's not stainless but has slightly better corrosion resistance compared to 1080-1090 etc. It's a great steel for large choppers, swords and hard use fixed blades. We don't have access to any other steels and if you were to send us out some stock, unfortunately we wouldn't be able to make you a blade out of it.

What heat treatment do we use?
Our heat treat involves three normalisation cycles prior to hardening, which relieves the internal stresses of the blade from forging (as well as it's previous life as a leaf spring) and decreases grain size, all of which adds sharpenability and reduces likelihood of blade failure.
This is followed by an edge quench in an oil bath, with subtle hardening of the blade body and high hardening of the edge portion, the entire way through. The knife is then brought down from this high hardness by being brought up to 220c and left to soak for three hours.
The resulting knife only loses a small amount of overall hardness, but gains a huge amount of toughness and edge stability.

What rockwell do your blades get to?

Final rockwell on our blades sit at about 54-56 for our larger blades and 56-58 for smaller fixed blades. Though due to each blade being made by individual craftsmen there can be some fluctuation here.
More info on steel and processes here: https://kailashblades.com/modern/

What kind of grind should I get for my knife?
This very much depends on what you're planning to use it for and what kind of warranty you'd like your blade to be covered under.
In short:
Standard grind is a great tough option for woodworking blades and general hard working blades.
Performance grind is leaner and meaner and is great for martial arts blades, or outdoors blades that are used with a bit more care.
Heavy Duty grind is very tough and great for people who plan to treat their knives extremely badly.
More info here: https://kailashblades.com/warranty-and-factory-seconds/

How long will an order take to get to me?
After receiving payment until arrival should be about 6-7 weeks. Initially there's about a 2 week wait while we're getting previous orders done, then we can start forging and will keep you updated with process photos. Making the blade and the sheath should take about 3 weeks and then there'll be a wait of 5-10 days shipping depending on the competency of your local postal service. If your blade is exceptionally large, you can expect about a weeks delay in the initial forging and if it has engraving, casting or etching as part of custom work expect an added delay of 1-2 weeks.

How much will shipping cost to get to me?
Depends how big the order is and where you live. If you fill your cart up on the website and go to check out it will calculate shipping fo you based on your address. All of our blades ship with tracking through DHL. In general shipping from Nepal is pretty expensive because of the small amount of mail entering and leaving the country, so expect to pay between $30 and $50 on most orders. Shipping becomes a lot more manageable when shipping a few blades at once so if you have any friends who are interested, try and work something out!

I'm looking for an update or some photos on my order?
Send an email straight through to operations@kailashblades.com and they'll be able to give you specifics, updates, timelines and even photos or videos if you ask nicely. Asking through social media isn't much good as I handle that and I"m not too plugged in to the day to day flow of the workshop.

Is a rat tail strong enough?

In short- we think so. While rat tails have a poor reputation in the west, that's also because they've been poorly made in the west. Our tangs are annealed and have rounded shoulders and taper from thick to thin, all of which helps to distribute stresses and shock from chopping. We don't make a distinction between full tang or rat tail in our warranty and of the hundreds of rat tail tangs we've made, only one has failed and it was replaced at no cost immediately. Full tangs are definitely stronger though and if you plan to be exceedingly rough while prying or batoning then it might be a wiser choice in the long term.
More info here: https://kailashblades.com/options-info/

Do you have any other handle materials like exotic woods or stabilised materials?
In short, if it's not on our website here then we probably don't have it. https://kailashblades.com/options-info/
However we can sometimes get a few different things for customs. Examples include bamboo shoot, goat/buffalo bone, camphor wood, nepalese padauk.
Currently we don't have any stabilised materials aside from micarta and we'll update here and the website if that changes.

Can you make me something out of Damascus?
For the timebeing no, but we'll update this and the website if that changes.

If I send you out a handle material can you work with it?
Absolutely, but it'll probably end up costing a bit more than you might imagine. With the cost of shipping as well as Nepalese import tarrifs you'll be looking at aproximately an additional $60usd over the ones we offer.

I want this knife from a certain manufacturer but it costs too much! Can you guys make me it for cheaper?
Nope! We don't make replicas or versions of any non historical designs, it hurts the original designer, our reputation and the industry as a whole. We're happy to take inspiration from a design but the final result will always be filtered through Andrew's design sensibilities and will be a pretty different blade, especially if he get the impression you're looking for an imitation blade.

Do you guys forge anything else apart from blades? Can I get you to forge a spear, warhammer or axe?
Not currently no. We can do the blades of spears without issues but we're quite limited in how refined our spear sockets are. We'll update this and the website should this situation change.

What's that funny little cutout in front of the handle about?
Nobody really knows. It's been in khukuris in some form or another since day one but nobody has ever really pinpointed a functional purpose. It's definitely not a blood drip, it doesn't open bottles and you can't use it as an iron sight before you throw your knife like a boomerang. We know a guy who thinks it distributes stresses from chopping on rat tail blades but until we see some FEA simulations we're not on board. It's often said that it represents a cows hoof or lingam/yoni, all of which are sacred hindu symbols, but there are also a huge variety of designs historically from pagodas to ringed cutouts and curls.
While what it originally was intended to do or represent is more or less lost to time, what it currently represents is something very particular to Nepalese society. It's an example of a tradition for traditions sake- one which has been maintained by generations of blacksmiths for hundreds of years.

Take care,
Andrew and the Team at Kailash Blades
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