Sharpening and Maintaining a Kukri

A kukri is one fine knife, great to look at and with hundreds of years of history behind it. So, if you own a kukri, it makes sense to keep the knife at its best for as long as possible. The following are some of the ways to sharpen and maintain a kukri.


"Chakmak" is a small knife that usually comes with the kukri and is used as a sharpener. To sharpen the kukri, rest its tip on a wooden surface using one hand on the handle. With the other hand, drag the chakmak from the tip to the notch applying some force. Repeat the process on the other side. Ensure you maintain a certain rhythm to the action.

Honing steel

Honing steel works the same way as the chakmak.  Ensure that the kukri rests on a wooden surface, start at the tip and work the steel up to the top. Compared to the chakmak, less pressure is required on the blade.


With a sharpening stone or puck, different techniques are required for the concave and end sections of the blade. For the concave section of the kukri, rub the stone back and forward along either side of the blade keeping a consistent angle. If it’s a puck, use the smaller, angled surface. For the end section of the kukri use the flat surface of the stone or puck, rubbing the blade in a circular motion. One advantage with them is that they are better for sharpening blades that are blunt.

Sharpening a blunt kukri

Some kukris are delivered unsharpened. In such cases, use a fine to medium metal file on the kukri. Sharpen the blade by rubbing the metal file back and forward. Ensure a steeper angle on the concave section of the kukri and a lesser angle on the heavier end. If you feel the kukri has gained some sharpness use a chakmak, honing steel, or a stone or puck to complete the job.

Protecting the blade

  • Do not keep the blade wet for too long, especially if you have a traditional kukri, as they are typically not made from stainless steel and can rust.
  • Clean the blade using kerosene or turpentine and a cloth to help remove rust.
  • After cleaning, apply machine oil to the blade; this is especially important in humid areas.
  • Ensure the sheath is free of dirt as that could harm the blade.

If you like these knives then you will enjoy Atlanta Cutlery’s stunning collection of kukris. Take a look at them and let us know what you think.

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