Bone-handled, post-WW2 ‘take-home’ kukri

During/shortly after WW2 there was a brisk trade in souvenir (‘take-home’) kukris for sale to (particularly) Britsh and US servicemen as a memento of their ‘time in foreign parts’. These were generally wallhangers rather than users, and construction standards were often basic. My latest kukri falls into the 1940s ‘take-home’ category but is interesting for a couple of reasons.

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What I have is a bone-handled kukri with a 30cm, decorated blade in a box scabbard. The scabbard is the first thing you notice – rather than being leather-covered wood (often pine), it is a bare wooden scabbard (possibly teak?) with crude fittings at the mouth and toe.

Post-war bone-handled kukri, sheath

Post-war bone-handled kukri, sheath

The brass surround at the mouth probably had a belt hanger at some point, but that is now missing; the brass chape (the metal cover at the toe) is crude in the extreme with large blobs of solder.

Post-war bone-handled kukri, sheath

Post-war bone-handled kukri, sheath

It’s so bad that it has to be a later addition/repair (sic) – in fact, on consideration, the scabbard is a later Western attempt, not a botched Nepalese/Indian original. The only light relief is the inclusion of a number of ‘jewels’ (!) in the brass. The ‘fit’ of the blade within the scabbard is very loose and the kukri drops out as soon as the scabbard is tilted.

Post-war bone-handled kukri, sheath

Post-war bone-handled kukri, sheath

For a decorative kukri, a reasonable amount of trouble was taken over the blade, and its single broad fuller is very cleanly forged/ground. I have other, better quality ‘working’ kukris with quite lumpy blades, whereas this blade has a single small hump.

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, blade decoration

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, blade decoration

Towards the spine, on both sides of the blade, is an area of (brass inlaid?) decoration which adds interest. The blade as no working edge, and there is no point in trying to sharpen it; there is an area where the ‘edge’ has been peened over at the tip and removing that damage is all that I shall do.

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, blade decoration

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, blade decoration

The handle is of bone and has an interesting double brass butt cap. This is double in the sense that there are effectively two caps, the outer cap being decorated with a punched pattern (I think the technical term is repoussé) of dots in a 4-leaf clover-type pattern around a larger, central dot where you can see the peened over end of the rat tail tang. It’s an attractive butt cap and far better than a badly-implemented lion’s head.

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, decorated butt cap

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, decorated butt cap

The bone handle has split lengthways at some point and has been rustically repaired with a white adhesive material. The repair doesn’t look particularly recent, and I don’t know what the repair medium is. Handle length is 4.5″ and fits my medium-sized hand very comfortably.

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, handle repair

Post-WW2 bone-handled kukri, handle repair

I have seen a selection of ‘take-home’ kukris in the past, mostly lion’s heads, and not been tempted to buy any one of them. This present kukri isn’t the most distinguished member of my collection, but it’s a bit of fun.

Dimensions:
A Belly: 4.5cm
B Blade, straight line: 30cm
C Drop: 8.2cm
D OAL, straight: 41cm
E Handle length: 11.5cm
F Width at ricasso: 5mm
G Width at belly: 4mm
H Blade, over curve: 32cm
W Weight: 465g, 1lb 3/8oz

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About Nigel

Retired law firm project manager based in Jersey, British Channel Islands. When he isn't shooting clay pigeons, he's polishing his collection of kukris or digging his vegetable patch.
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