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Old 01-13-2009, 03:34 PM
McJoeDonald McJoeDonald is offline
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Thumbs up Review of the Cold Steel SK-5 Gurkha Kukri

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So far, the CS SK-5 Gurkha Kukri has been a fantastic companion. It chops, it splits, it carves, it stabs and pierces deeply. It comes with a great edge, and it keeps a great edge. I've used mine regularly with little more than the occasional touch up to the edge, I haven't had to actually re-sharpen the knife in the year that I've owned it.

Aesthetics: The knife is 17" from tip to tail, 5/16" at the spine (which tapers after the curve down to the point), with a wedge-shaped blade, and a v-shaped edge grind.
It has a kraton handle, which can be described as a hard rubber or soft plastic, durable, grips well when wet, and has proven to be comfortable so far. The black coating has held up well. I'll be posting pics and hopefully videos of the knife in action at a later date.

Steel: SK-5 (I'm no expert) is a high carbon tool steel. It's similar to that used in hardened cutting tools, such as chisels and wood carving knives. It is a tad on the brittle side as compared to say 1055, but with the shape of the blade it seems it would take a really stupid mistake to ever make this a factor. I've split countless logs (batoning) chipped tinder, carved spears, notched traps, drilled fire boards, hammered tent stakes, cleared trails and lanes and so far the only noticeable wear on the edge is where it caught a couple grains of sand while splitting a 4" ash log (you can feel it with a finger nail, still cant really see it). For as much hardwood as this knife has been through, I am amazed. I've never seen an edge on any knife last this long after so much hard use, except for my high quality bee-keeping hive knife.

The kukri shape of the blade definitely adds to its utility. I do not exaggerate when I say this knife chops like a good hatchet. There's one less tool you need to carry. The downward angled, weight-forward design makes it bite deep, and the V-shaped grind on the blade makes it spit chunks like an axe. Have yet to get it stuck.
The narrow part of the blade (nearer to the handle) makes carving tools a breeze. You have good leverage when choking your hand up nearer to the edge, and the weight of the blade makes taking small consistent shavings an easy task. This is one area where a heavier knife shines, as you are able to make more controlled (and resoundingly safer) strokes with less effort. Let the weight of the blade do the work. I've found a lighter knife for carving tools to be dangerous and much more fatiguing.

Advantages: When in the wilderness, every calorie counts. Every drop of sweat counts. Every drop of blood really counts. Having a little weight in your blade will save you effort in the long run, even though it's more to carry. That's why I like a bigger knife... fewer blisters, you don't have to swing as hard. You don't have to push the knife to carve, you gently swing it. And more weight = more steel, and usually that means stronger. It's worth the extra carry weight to me to have it easier when its work time.

Quality:The knife comes with a 5 year Warranty. Judging from what I've seen I don't think I'll need it. The handle would probably be the only thing I'd expect to wear out. It is made of Japanese steel (great stuff) in China (eh, didn't know it when I bought it, glad I didn't though) but so far it has far exceeded my expectations.
The sheath is decent, 2 pieces of molded kydex style plastic, suspended vertically on a nylon web loop. The halves are riveted together, kind of a negative in my mind, as I like to be able to take the sheath apart. It secures on the bulge near the business end of the grip by snapping around it. There is a hole in the sheath tip to allow for water drainage. There are many places to attach a leg-lashing to keep it in place. I like to lash the sheath to a pack with the 2" wide holes running along its sides. It also hangs low enough to wear it on a belt on your hip while also wearing a backpack padded belt (mine is a Kelty external frame) and still have easy access to it.

Drawbacks: The only other negatives I can see to the knife are the fact that you need to keep the edge oiled (animal tallow would work for this), and the fact that it is a tag big for gutting and skinning smaller animals, but does well at this task, with care, on whitetail (and I assume larger) deer or animals. This would be a reason to carry a smaller, more suited knife for fine tasks, besides the the fact that you should always have a backup anyway. I like the Tom Brown Tracker T2 by Topps for this purpose. I'll be reviewing it at a later date.

Overall: I'd give this knife a 9 out of 10, loosing a point for the potential long term durability issues of the handle, and limited utility on small game. I plan on ordering a couple extra handles from cold steel, I understand they are hammered on, so it should be a simple task to replace the handle once the worn one is removed.

This is my favorite knife to date. The price is reasonable (i've found them for less than $80) the steel is quality with a good ring to it. It is hard and sharp, and in my opinion, just the right size.

Tune in to future posts for reviews on the Tom Brown Tracker, Kershaw Outcast, and maybe one of the Fallkniven VG-10 laminated blades.

Thanks for reading, feel free to ask questions. I'm not an expert, I'm just sharing what works for me
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:08 PM
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Paradox Paradox is offline
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Nice review joemac,
one thing about a proper khukri is that it will come with a small sharpening thing and a small utility blade that will do the skinning jobs the big blade might struggle with. They have proper names which I just cant remember.
The Nepalese sell some pretty looking khukris on the net but its hard to find a source you can trust.

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Old 01-14-2009, 02:56 PM
McJoeDonald McJoeDonald is offline
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Yeah I like they sell some beautiful traditional kukris, though I've just been in the mindset that I need a tool made of steel that was formulated to cut wood. I'm just not sure enough of the steel used in Nepal to trust it in a survival situation.

Second, wet leather/wood sheaths arent the most effective way of preventing corrosion on a carbon steel blade imo

but I've heard nothing but good things about them other than my own concerns. If some one can get an idea of the metallurgic values of nepalese steel and heat treatment process, please let me know

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Old 09-03-2016, 04:39 AM
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slotted slotted is offline
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"That's why I like a bigger knife."

Me too, well stated.

Great read, thanks heaps.

The more i read about cold steel, the more i want one.

The folding kukri is on the to get list, fgoten its name now, Chops got one i think.
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:51 AM
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joes joes is offline
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Kitchen knife > Google Miyabi 5000 MCD

Last edited by Mels thinkingitover; 09-11-2016 at 12:00 PM.. Reason: remove quoted post
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:54 AM
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Mattsn Mattsn is offline
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I just bought one about a month ago. It was during my over spending spree I had on knives. I hadn't used it yet to try it out, thanks for doing all my test work for me. Lol
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