Theoretically that blade doesn't belong in here, but since it is made by Himalayan Imports and by the same kami Kumar, who made several of my kukris including 20" Sirupati, 18" Kobra (which is his own design by the way), and 12" Ang Khola. Besides of the maker this bowie shares many other features with kukris and behaves like one too :) As for how AK Bowie came to being... My initial guess was that it was an idea on the HI forums at BladeForums was right. BF member Cobalt was responsible. For the record, it was Cobalt who came up with the idea of 18" AK, which is also very popular model and the most used kukri in my collection. Here's the initial sketch of AKB. As you can see the actual incarnation does differ. Overall, it was decided later that clip point version would be more appropriate, Yvsa from BF made wooden proto and finally Kamis made the actual blade as you see it today. So, it was born around October 1999. At least first shipment went by then. The design and overall the knife were so good that it is very popular today too and offered on HI online shop in special items section. IMHO totally deserved popularity for this blade.
General- Well, if you ever wondered what would bowie knife made in Nepal by master kami would look like, here is your chance to satisfy your curiosity. At 15" OAL length and 7/17 thickness, ~2.5 inch wide blade looks very impressive for the conventional fixed blade. Apart from its bowie blade geometry this knife is made as a typical kukri from Bir Gorkha. That is the steel, 5160, polish, handle material, i.e. horn, sheath, etc. Of course it is all hand made. Initial inspection revealed minor chipping on the horn handle, which was expected, since this knife came from the blem box as well. Other than that no rust, no discoloration, no deformation of the handle and no other problems were detected. IMHO terrific blade. The only improvement with it as with many Bir Gorkha kukris is to install a better handle, but that's later, read below.
Blade- Classic bowie blade geometry. In addition to those classics there is a fuller. That is the indentation on the blade, clearly visible on most of the pictures, and no it is not there to let blood flow freely as some mistakenly believe, not on this knife, no on any other knife. Anyway, usual kami markings are there as well. Interestingly Kumar put his logo on the left side, vs. usual right side, which was surprising, but then I checked the other side and found U.B. initials on the right side, where as usual kami markings are. So, U.B. stands for Uncle Bill. So, this is the new commemorative blade, in Uncle Bill's memory. In case you didn't know, Bill Martino, aka Uncle Bill, founder of Himalayan Imports. He passed away in 2005. I am sure all kukri enthusiasts will always remember him.
As for the edge, it is standard convex edge that usually comes from Bir Gorkha. Not too sharp, but useable. The edge is pretty rough too, which can be seen on this magnified picture, just remember it's 32x magnification when you look at it ;).
Handle- Usual Bir Gorkha handle. made of black horn. Can't say to comfortable, but nothing unbearable as well. I did some chopping for testing the other day, read below, and it was ok in terms of comfort and handle security for a while. I didn't chop for hours to comment on long term comfortability, but for cutting and some chopping it is ok. However I decided to upgrade the handle. Dan Koster, well known cantina member, custom knife maker and kukri enthusiast does handle modifications for kukris. I think those look beautiful. So I opted for brass guard and buttcap 1/4 thick and ironwood as handle material. I think it'll look gorgeous when it arrives. Of course I'll post pix with the new handle as well.
Chopping with AKB- Overall I was using AKB for chopping limbs and branches for around half an hour. I haven't altered the edge, so it was NIB one as you see on the macro picture linked above. Overall, I'd say it's a ferocious chopper for the bowie knife. Of course larger kukris will outchop AKB, but there are not too many knives in the world that would compete with AKB in terms of chopping. I was able to chop through branches up to 2 inches thick with 2-3 swings at most. Later examination of the edge didn't reveal any damage to it, no chips, no dents, no rolls. Although I was not expecting any damage. After all it is made out of spring steel and tampered as kukris are, in other words optimized for rough use. The mirror polish had some scuffs after chopping, that was also expected, judging from my past experience with 18"Ang Khola and 20" Sirupati, two mirror polished kukris I've used and abused in various chopping chores. in the end, I know that will mess up the blade finish for good, but hey, after all those are meant to be used, even if they look very pretty :)
Later, once I get my blade back from Dan, I'll do more testing and we'll see how it will work. Although, next time I am gonna sharpen it and give it the shaving sharp, mirror polished convex edge.
- Blade - 228.60mm(9")
- Thickness - 6.35mm
- OAL - 381.00mm(15")
- Steel - 5160 58-60HRC
- Handle - Horn
- Acquired - 09/2005 Price - 120.00$
Last updated - 09/01/11