These Khuks Just Keep Getting Better and Better...

Oct 25, 2004
I spent a few hours on Sunday inflicting additional pain and misery on the blackberries with the assistance of the Kobra.

That description I got of surface softening during heat treatment (thanks Dean and others) wouldn't have been believed by me if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I now believe it's true. It seems that every time one of my khuks spends some time in the field, comes home and gets touched up with chakma/hones/cardboard strop, it winds up even better than the last time. I'm seeing this the most with the Kobra as it's seen the most use.

The first time it went out, it came back with minor dings, a few small spots of rolled edges, and one good section of blade that had been turned out to a fiercesome depth but not rolled. Some enthusiastic chakma work, a bit of time with the file and some honing had brought it back to fighting trim. The time after that, only a touch of the file and hones were required and it would shave in spots with effort. (It scratched a bit though.) Maybe too sharp for machete work but I figured that I'd try it out.

The last outing was fairly interesting. There were only a few ground strikes while processing the petrified woody ground cover of blackberries from years past but at one point I encountered a small tree - 3-4" or so. Remembering my landlady's instructions, I made plans to remove it. My first thought was to slog back to the house to grab an AK but I decided to see what the Kobra wanted.

"Cut it down," it said. "I won't break a sweat on that." I proceeded to attack it. Two swings later it went down. I removed some low branches from other trees and a good amount of "wooden" blackberry stalks besides that. At the end of the evolution, I found that there were no visible dings, dents, rolls, etc. The chakma told me there were a few invisible dings; I was able to iron them out without any real trouble. It ended almost as sharp as it started. I touched it up on the hones and it is now honestly shaving sharp along its entire length.

The edge has truly gotten better with use. I can't wait to see how far it'll go.

I've learned four valuable lessons here:

1. While the Kobra isn't designed for field work, it handles it like a champ.
2. The knowledge base on this forum is incredible.
3. I've got to start using my other khuks more often. :)
4. A "user patina" is a perfectly attractive finish to me.

On a related note, I'm done for the time being with oiling the handle on the Cherokee Rose. I broke out the Dremel to form a new tip on it. Praise be to the Khukuri Gods, it turned out far better than I expected it to and I doubt that anyone would notice that the tip had been ground down without a side-by-side comparison. (As a bonus, most of the pitting is gone now too.) I kept a cup of water handy for cooling purposes and it never really got warm, let alone hot. I cold blued the 16.5" AK recently and was very pleased with the appearance; I'm considering the same for the Rose. It has a shaving edge along its entire length and will hopefully see some hard use over the next few days to prove its worth. My money's on the Rose passing with flying colors - Bura hasn't let me down yet - but the proof is in the pudding. After that, I'll have to do something about that sheath...

Again, my thanks to the usual suspects - UB, Yangdu, the kamis and (in the case of the Rose, for the handle if nothing else...and there are other noteworthy things) Yvsa.
:) Not to dispute all things metallurgical, but I think there is something else going on here as well. I believe that at least part of what you have observed in the "changing" of the kobra is actually a change in you. I think that you have become more attuned to the blade, developed better control, greater concentration, and in general embraced the blade and made it more a part of you and you of it.

Either way...congrats on finding harmony with it. The kobra is the one blade that *I* have never been able to bond with.
I think if you cut enough stuff with these things, and get into sharpening them yourself, eventually you get to where you have your own personal edge on them that maximizes the efficiency based on how hard and what angle you swing it and the kind of stuff you cut.
You may very well be right Nasty.

I say the blade is taking a better edge but what it really might be is me learning how to sharpen a 25" blade. (On a Sharpmaker, no less, but I sharpened the Napoleon Sword on it too.) It's not my favorite khuk but it sees the most use - trees must be felled occasionally but there is always brush and briars to clear out, at the home and at the Camp.

For whatever reason, that edge is lasting forever nowadays. It speaks more softly than any of my other HI blades. (With the exception of the Rose - we are not on speaking terms yet, as awed as I am by it.) When it talks, rare as that is, it's only a whisper. But it does talk, if only when spoken to. The AK's (including the Bowie) want to destroy things. Constantly. The Kobra only wants to work. The Napoleon Sword refuses to slash or chop. (It thrusts with enthusiasm but doesn't want to do anything else.) The Rose doesn't seem to want to do anything at all as of yet but I want to do things with it. Maybe it needs to be awakened?

My other khuks - and the AK Bowie, and the sword - liked me just fine from the start. I haven't offered blood to any of them yet. If and when I start, it'll be with the Rose. The Kobra is quiet but content. Better the blackberries than me...I'm fragile. :)

Regardless, I love the Kobra at least as much as the others. It as a soul (like the others) and a personality (like the others). It is, without a doubt, the best handheld brushbuster myself and my coworkers have ever handled, even if it was designed as a weapon from the first. And that was before. Now? The same, but it's even sharper. ;)

This thing ought to be called the HI Machete. :) Napoleon loves to trim hedges...
Thanks, Satori. I think most of us have come to a relationship with our khuks that isn't easily explained.

The rose that I have is demanding a good bit more work than I want to lavish on it before it'll talk with me. It's being a primadonna, but I have high expectations for it.
Satori said:
It seems that every time one of my khuks spends some time in the field, comes home and gets touched up with chakma/hones/cardboard strop, it winds up even better than the last time..
Ignore the disbelievers ................. :D

Another factor that contributes
is work hardening from heavy steeling.
Whenever you move metal you get some work hardening.
If you push a wave or dent to realign the edge,
you get work hardening;
more hardening where the metal moves the most.
So in practice you are selectively hardening the 'soft' spots.
Firmly steeling the whole original aligned edge
does some -minor- work hardening of the whole outer edge;
but it can add up to a small degree.

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Satori, I don't have a Kobra but you're making me reconsider. I did see one once that was very Malla-like... Kobra doesn't have a flat spine though, does it? I'm very happy with my Kumar Malla- a beauty with a flare in the wood grain. *ahem* It's name is "Mala Mala Chica" which means in Spanish "Bad, Bad Girl." One of those ironic reversal things- bad girls being the best- ummm, I guess. Those stupid talking khukuris- they have such a dumb sense of humor.

Glad you're still digging the kobra, Satori:) I've always had a fondness for them. I have no idea why. I'm not a martial artist. I'm not one of those guys that thinks he will someday need to use his mighty blades to split an intruder in twain. I just really like the kobra. Not being as big of a brute as you are, i prefer the the 20.5"er, but all of your talk in the last few weeks about the big ol' 25"er made me dig mine out of the closet. It had a few dings and some rust spots on it, but a little filework and some sanding brought it back to a wicked edge with a satin finish. I had forgotten how dang heavy it was. 320z is no slouch! If these were indeed designed to be a weapon, then i would want nothing less than chainmail (but would per. platemail) if i had to face one. Thanks for your report. It helped me catch up with an old friend;)