Hey there Daniel! Thanks for reaching out.
Hi there - since I couldn't find these answers anywhere I thought I'd make a post so that it can help others.
1. What's the difference / advantages / disadvantages of the different bolster materials? Steel / brass / copper / white metal.... and what is "white metal"?
2. How do you measure the handle? Is it from the butt to the where the bolster starts, or from the butt to where the bolster ends and blade begins?
3. My other kukris have a peaked ridge running down the spine - I notice most Kailash blades do not have this. What is the benefit of the ridged spine? Is it possible to get a ridged spine on say a Mutiny?
I'm planning a Mutiny with a micarta handle... still deciding the other options!
has done a great job with his answers- I'll add a bit more detail.
We'll be updating out options info page with hardware and handle size info soon so this information will be more readily available.
1: Our steel plate bolsters are made out of the same 5160 as our blades. For the sheet bolsters as seen on traditional khukuris and buttcaps they're made of regular steel sheet. This is the most resistant to scratching, denting and bending but can rust over time if not taken care of. This can be done when cleaning and taking care of the blade in much the same way.It can bea cid washed for a dark look or can gain a patina over time.
Brass and copper are very similar. Both slightly weaker than steel but with the advantage of not being susceptible to damaging corrosion. Brass is a bit tougher than copper and while it does oxidise it does so in a less extreme manner-f unctionally it is superior. It's a bit less exciting than copper though which provides a warmer pinkish golden tone even when polished and has a broader range of oxides and patinas that can form with different levels of exposure. From pink through to black or bluish green.
White metal is a term for a large range of silver coloured alloys that contain zinc and pewter. it's highly formable and takes a fantastic polish that doesn't tarnish much over time. It's the same metal found in silverware platters and the like. It is however not as strong as our other metals and is usually chosen for display, martial arts or non workhorse blades. With this said we use a thicker gauge of white metal than other houses so our hardware is more resistant to bending and dinting- be aware that on a working blade it will aquire small dints and scratches more easily and will require upkeep to polish.
2: Our handles are measured in a straight line from the centre of the front of the bolster where it meets the blade to the centre of the rear of the pommel. As a result blade length plus handle length pretty much equals overall length. For a traditional khukuri this bolster is usable as grip if needed. This goes some way to explain the large handle measurements on our website- many users are used to seeing grip lengths of 3.5" in folding knives etc rather than the whole handle as is the norm with sword and larger blades. The average western male hand will be able to fit all three handle sizes, the 4.25" small very snugly, the 4.75" medium with a nice fit and a bit of wiggle and the 5.25" in a looser way with room to adjust grips forward and back.
3: All of our traditional blades feature the pentagonal/house roof/ridged spine as standard. It may be that the spines are thinner or our finish a little smoother so the edges don't stand out so much looking at them in photos.
It's an ornamental feature really and doesn't add or detract from the usability of the blade. For some customs we have made sharp flat spines for use with a firesteel or rounded smooth spines for those that do a lot of skinning and handle the spines frequently.
Hope that helps!
Feel free to reach out if you're in need of any further guidance.