I was given a kukri by a good friend i made in Iraq recently. Its a bit rusty and had its fair share of wear and tear but would love to bring it back to its former glory. Can anyone tell me what are the best ways to polish the leather and shine and sharpen the blade??
Take it and get it hollow ground again. Then use a fine stone to keep the edge.

To polish it use Solvol Autosol and cardboard to take bad marks, rust and scratches off. Then use more Autosol and a soft cloth.

Loads of work with lots of Kiwi and soft dusters!!!!

Edit to say that I will bow to the superior experience of any Gurkha soldier who knows better ways to do the job! :wink:
Depends what you want it for. Should you wish to use it as a utility knife remove the rust with any commercial rust removing product sharpen the blade using a sharpening stone or, better yet have your armourer do it, then keep it lightly oiled. If it's going to be purely ornamental why not have the blade electro plated (saves a lot of work with the solvol autosol, chain mail glove, cardboard etc.) brasso the pommel then paint the horn handle with black gloss modeling paint.
Dont have the blade plated. I am a metal finisher and if someone asked me to do that I would be very reluctant,in fact the last few times iI have flatly refused.It spoils the thing.
A better way is to find a GOOD commercial polisher and have him polish the blade,then all it needs is a wipe of oil or WD40 every so often to keep the rust at bay.
I wouldnt paint the handle either. Horn can be polished with a greaseless plastics polishing compound,and if your polisher is any good he`ll do it at the same time as hes re-doing the blade. To keep it looking good,wax furniture polish is good
:D If you really want a nice one and this does not hold any particular sentimental value why not buy a knew one.It will probably cost less than having the blade professionally polished. Just pop Kukri into Google and a number of companies in India are making them for the Gurka rgts these are sold in the uk and are normally arround £30.00. Or befriend a Gurka and see if he can get you one from his pri just athought. The only really valuable Kukri that I am aware of were made for a short time in WW2 by Wilkison sword for the Gurkas. They did not make many and had a small WS stamped into the blade. Also of interest is the fact they are normally locally made from retired rail track ie carbon steel and as such tend to rust. Good luck
I would charge about £50 to refurb an old khukri,judging by how long it took me to do the last one. I do enjoy refurbing antiques though .
By the feel of the steel whilst im polishing it,and from what I know of Indian knife manufacture I think its more likely to have been made from old lorry springs,as they are a better quality steel,avaiable in roughly the right thickness. It is a high carbon steel though and does rust,especially if the blade is wet with tree sap,etc. Holds a lovely edge ,and is fairly easy to keep sharp.
If you are buying a new one,stay away from aisian stainless steel,its all crap.
Old man Puttees has one which he "acquired" in India in 1944. IIRC it has a WD stamp on it. It definitely DOES NOT have a hollow ground blade, though the cross-section of the blade has three separate angles. These are the bulk of the blade, which is tapered; a broad taper nearing the cutting edge; and a sharpened edge. It shows signs of having been roughly made - the blood runnel is not straight and looks as though it had been formed with a hacksaw blade.

The handle is made from wood with brass(?) end plates fixed to each end of the tang of the blade.

The sheath is made from two wooden halves, bound with thin leather (goatskin?) and has two smaller sheaths attached to it, each containing a smaller kukri, about 3" blade length. The handles of these may be made of bone dyed black.

The kukri itself looks like this one, though the sheath is different:

If you obtained yours from an Iraqi, then it could possibly be of WW2 vintage. Alternatively, it could be a copy. It could be worth finding out its history before you mess about with it so that you know what former glory it should be restored to.
A lot of khukris are made by basically the village blacksmith to their normal village patterns,and so vary a bit. Mine was similarily acquired by my great uncle in Burma,and is quite a roughly made blade with a black horn handle. He used it for clearing brush on his allotment,and I use it for splitting kindling. Its a tough blade,and holds an edge well
When Im restoring swords etc for work i try to do a sympathetic job. I dont like "making it shiny"
Hi Salford. Interesting information.
I was presented with a standard issue though 'bulled up' kukri by members of 1/2 GR years ago and over the years and in various parts of the world used it as a utility knife - everything from chopping wood to gutting and scaling fish! I recommended electro-plating the blade as I was under the impression it could not be brought back to its former (v.shiny) glory by any other means. Since I now wish to resurrect the kukri for display purposes only how would electro-plating detract from the effect and would a good metal polisher manage to attain the same shine?
One piece of advice.
When you do get the piece back the way you want it - don't use furniture polish, try to get hold of some microcrystalline wax (the best known brand is "Renaissance Wax" and can be found in many museum shops*), it is purer, non-reactive and especially formulated for the job. It can be used on the metalwork too.


*Or on e-Bay
Electroplate is only as good as the polishing underneath. The steel of a knife blade takes a good shine,and looks much better and more original than say chrome plating. The difficulty is of course finding a good polisher,and as with everything else you get what you pay for. If you were in England Id either recommend a good polisher,or sort it out myself,but as you are in the USA,I would check the ads in classic car restoration mags.
Your knife probably wasnt plated in the first place.
In my opinion,chroming the knife makes it look tacky,like a fake. When im restoring anything I try to go for as original as finish as possible,because it looks better,and is more satisfying for me
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