Just recently I took advantage of the terrible weather to go on a camping trip and decided to try out a cheap kukri I'd bought a couple months ago just for laughs.
The kukri in question is a Deepeeka brand I got as a throw-in from Kult of Athena. If you check their website, you'll often see these things run under $20 and mine was literally $9. This wasn't a blind leap of faith, I'm familiar with their work and they exclusively use EN-45 steel for their steel knives and swords. I believe it's sourced from scrapped car coil springs and it has qualities that make it difficult to work with. To err on the side of caution, it's often heat treated to be slightly softer than you'd want for a sword or a smaller cutting blade but this practice makes it great for a woods chopper you might use for shelter building, fire wood processing, and other such heavy tasks. The other caveat is that Deepeeka is based in India which faces an export issue of not being able to send out sharpened blades, they come blunt as all get up. With this knowledge in mind, I made the order.
Well worth it for a fantastic woods chore knife. I spent about an hour reprofiling the edge by hand using a series of files, stones, and finally sand paper. It wasn't buttery smooth to work with which was a good sign but clearly wasn't reaching up in the 60s Rockwell hardness range. Again, I see this as a plus. Makers who try to cater to the people who think a relatively thin chopper like that needs to be super hard and razor sharp can be found on forums everywhere with people complaining about snapped blades.
It worked just as well as any of my more expensive knives. Totally fine. The handle was rough and looked like it was formed by a grade schooler which needs corrected if you want it to look respectable, but it functioned as I would expect any of my knives to.
For anyone looking for a kukri on a tight budget, I'd say you wouldn't be throwing your money away. Biggest things to keep in mind, don't expect the karda and chakmak to be worth a shit because they're also going to be the same exact steel which isn't suitable for them (too soft) and make sure it's a solid full tang with strong rivet. Don't go for push tangs or weird pommel pieces - being a cheaper build these will be likely to fall off or otherwise inconvenience you out in the field. Also, obviously, you will need to put in work on the blade. When I say they come in dull, they're literally duller than a butter knife. Still, amazing value in my mind if you shop right.
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