A Kukri is a knife native to the region of Nepal. It’s a traditional knife, having been used for centuries in combat, and everyday activities.
If you’re a knife enthusiast, chances are, you’ve considered owning a kukri. After all, it looks somewhat exotic and badass.
But an Average Kukri Isn’t Enough?
That’s true. When buying one, a lot of blade enthusiasts opt for a Damascus Steel Kukri. Damascus steel is a beautiful look to have on any blade, whether knife or sword. The beautiful steel print makes for excellent design on any blade.
Now, we assume you want a Damascus steel kukri too. After all, an exotic weapon with a rare forge print should be awesome, right?
Well, think again…
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Damascus Steel Kukri
Damascus steel, while beautiful, is an ancient lost manufacturing technique.
You see, Damascus steel is made by forging 2 different steel alloys together. This create the wavy exotic patterns you find on a blade.
It’s been centuries since the last Damascus steel blade was made. Estimates show the last time authentic Damascus steel blades were made during between 16th and 18th centuries. This Eastern form of creating blades has died with the introduction of better crafting methods.
In essence, anyone claiming to sell you “authentic Damascus steel” is fooling you.
What About New Age Damascus Steel Kukris?
Well, in the past few decades, blade smiths have sprung up with a redesign of Damascus steel knives…
New techniques were formed in order to try and mimic the flow patterns of Damascus steel. Regardless, those techniques weren’t as authentic, and seemed more artificial.
Thus, you’re getting a technologically made Damascus Steel Kukri. But it still isn’t an authentic forge.
If anything, your Kukri’s design will look artificial.
Damascus Steel Or Folded Steel?
Kukris aside for now, let’s focus more on Damascus steel.
This term is often used in marketing to sell knives to newbies. Often, the pitch is the multiple folds of Damascus steel makes it a stronger blade…
This is absolutely wrong.
To start, “authentic Damascus steel” is a pattern weld (and not a fold weld). This involves twisting 2 metals alloys together and then hammering them to spread out impurities.
This reduces the chances of having a single catastrophic weak point in the forged blade. With a pattern weld, the weak point is thinned out across the entire blade, making it more durable
Now folded welds, differ from pattern welds. Folded welds don’t combine 2 different steel alloys together. Instead, a single large steel bar is hammered out and folded to shave off impurities.
Basically, “authentic Damascus steel” is not a folded weld, like many-many knife marketers claim.
The Practicality of Damascus Steel
Pattern and fold welds are used to weed out impurities.
Now, pattern welds are good in looks, but horrible in practice. And if you’re buying a kukri for practical use, you should avoid pattern welds…
As for fold welds, well that practice was stopped ages ago. After all, modern day steel has no impurities.
You can thank technology for that. And with a lack of impurities, why use folding techniques? Why remove impurities that aren’t there to begin with?
Now, many of those who sell folded steel today do so for cosmetics. And those blade smiths could care less about the blade quality. With folded steel (incorrectly marketed as Damascus Steel), you could actually end up with more impurities. Even worse, expect bad design that leads to grains in the blade, and air pockets.
Alright – Back to Kukri.
A Kukri is a beautiful knife. It really is. Its design is exotic and pleasing to the eye. It’s something that you should get as part of a collection. Or, you can get it to showcase martial arts moves.
Its practical uses are limited though – if welded right. A kukri, as a result of its design, has little use, being soft agriculture and showcasing self-defense.
But with so-called “Damascus Steel,” a kukri doesn’t simply work. It loses out on the little practical advantages that it has…
Soft Farming and Showcasing Martial Arts?
Well, what else are you supposed to do with an impractical knife?
If you want a practical self-defense blade, you’re better off with a machete or a dagger. The designs of those blades are more durable than that of a kukri.
A kukri, due to its odd bent, is more likely to break when swung too hard at an object.
A kukri is a slash weapon, not a cutting weapon. And speaking of cutting, many people buy blades to cut wood. And a kukri surely isn’t suitable for that job.
Again, you’re better off with a machete to chop wood. At most, a kukri can work as a mini-sickle to cut weed. And we double you need a knife for a job like that…
Then Comes the Maintenance
Kukris are hard to maintain. The design of the blade is hard to sharpen. You have to be quite careful, lest you break the edges off by accident.
In fact, sharpening is a prevalent problem when shopping online for kukris. Many manufacturers deliver their weapons blunt, expecting customers to do the sharpening.
Because kukris are more cosmetic than practical, the steel isn’t heavy duty. So it rusts fast, where you need to constantly oil your weapon.
Doesn’t sound like a fun ownership experience, right?
In Summation: Don’t Get Damascus Steel Kukris
There is no such thing as authentic Damascus steel. Anyone selling that to you is essentially fooling you…
You can still get different pattern welds though. After all, there’s nothing wrong with having a beautiful carving on your knife’s blade…
As for kukris, you’re better off with a more practical weapon. Get a sword, a dagger, a machete, or an axe for practicality.
Kukris are excellent collector’s items. And having a high maintenance-collective item isn’t fun. So when shopping for one, make sure that the steel is of high quality. You don’t want a kukri that rusts fast after purchasing. You can take a look at our top 5 kukri review article before purchasing a kukri knife.