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Micarta Handle on Khukuri

Discussion in 'Kailash Blades' started by Kailash Blades, Sep 27, 2019.

  1. Kailash Blades

    Kailash Blades KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    88
    Nov 21, 2015
    As some of you may know we've been working on developing our own micarta handles for some time now. Micarta is very rarely seen in Nepal despite it's obvious advantages. Traditional handle materials are prone to shrinking or cracking and are far from weatherproof. It also offers better grip wet or dry. Why isn't micarta seen more in Nepal?
    The answer is a bureaucratic one. Foreign materials are slapped with a massive import tax to incentivise local manufacturing within the country, however no local manufacturing or materials have been available to stand in as a replacement. This has made the use of micarta prohibitively expensive, adding almost $100usd to the cost of a blade.

    Not content to let this stop us from putting out the best knives we can, we started making our own. As the first micarta manufacturers in Nepal it's been a challenging process, but it's given us the ability to produce some really unique handle materials. All of our micarta is made using locally made textiles, upcycling scrap fabric whenever possible. We began by making slabs much like you'd see in the west, even layers of the same coloured fabric, impregnated with resin and pressed. The end result looks and feels a little closer to terotuf and has similar advantages of being more robust and grippier, if less polishable. We'd then pin these slabs down as normal and then shape them up nicely.

    [​IMG]

    This works just fine for full tang blades but what about all our traditional blades that are rat tail? We can't simply burn a tang into micarta like we can with wood and horn. Frame tang desings would also require tooling and precision in tangmaking that are very foreign to the processes we use in Nepal. As a result on our hidden and rat tail tang blades the fabric and resin is wrapped and layered directly around the tang for each blade for a truly perfect fit. We do a slightly wider tang than we would usually to match the harder use that these blades will end up receiving, but the end result is a balance that's very traditional but with a look, durability and performance that's very new. We've also developed techniques so we cn still use the traditional fittings, giving a true hybrid blade that maintains a lot of the original charm.

    [​IMG]

    In terms of pricing, we're still figuring these out, but they're available currently through custom request on any blade we make. Once we've got our processes figured out and a good idea of what these cost we'll be making them a standard option available through the website as they're already proving to be massively popular. We're sure that other companies will start up making these at some point, but remember who did it first and how many barriers we had to knock down to make it happen.
    Take care,
    Andrew

    [​IMG]
     
    Patrice, RayseM, uraninite and 4 others like this.
  2. madcap_magician

    madcap_magician Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    Very innovative! Welcome to Bladeforums!
     
    Kailash Blades likes this.
  3. Kailash Blades

    Kailash Blades KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    88
    Nov 21, 2015
    Thanks a bunch mate! Glad to be here
     
  4. uraninite

    uraninite Basic Member Basic Member

    34
    Aug 21, 2019
    Considering the intense traditionalism of Nepal, whats are the craftsmen s thoughts to working with such a new material?
     
    Kailash Blades likes this.
  5. Kailash Blades

    Kailash Blades KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    88
    Nov 21, 2015
    Opinions are differing from person to person.Some people are very keen to learn new techniques and see how it opens up new blade possibilities, markets and can solve a lot of problems with the blades that are being put out currently. With that said though there's definitely a bit of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" going on with the kind of advantages it gives seen as unnecessary. In reality though, there are a lot of problems with traditonal nepalese handle materials and they're used to having a certain amount of rejected blades and having someone higher in management handle warranty issues for them when there's a breakage or fit issue. Just because these issues are accepted as normal doesn't mean they can't be improved on.
    All in all though it balances out. Those who are keen to learn new skills can handle the load for everyone while also getting extra higher paid work. Those who don't can keep pumping away at traditional blades which there'll always be a massive market for. No stresses.
     
    uraninite likes this.

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