Language: Nepali
Source: A 1931 dictionary


Cakmak (चक्मक्) is the Nepali word for a small knife-shaped fire and sharpening steel that was traditionally carried in the scabbard of a khukurī.1

Cakmak typically follow a similar construction as their parent khukurī, with wood, horn, bone, silver or ivory hilts and a metal bolster. For easy recognition when sheathed, the back of the hilt is often grooved or ribbed, in contrast to the smoother backs of the typical karda.

The blades are usually shaped like a straight knife, but sometimes also shaped like a khukurī profile. Contrary to the karda, blades on cakmak are typically dull.


karda and cakmak

Left: Five cakmak, right: Five karda.
Notice the subtle differences at the pommel side and the absence of an edge bevel on the cakmak.


Pommel ends of cakmak

The worked pommel ends of cakmak.

Sheathed karda and cakmak

The decoration helps differentiate them from the smooth-pommeled karda when sheathed.


Kukri scabbard

Silver hilted karda and cakmak in the scabbard of a kothimora khukurī.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.


Other items typically stored in the khukurī scabbard alongside the main knife are:

Khisā (खिसा); a small purse for carrying tinder, called jhulo (झुलो), literally meaning "fiber".
Karda (कर्द); a small utility knife.


Further study

For a complete overview of khukurī terminology, see my article: A Nepalese khukurī glossary.


1. Sir Ralph Lilley Turner; A comparative and etymological dictionary of the Nepali language. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1931.

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With a very fine Nepalese blade, but kard-like hilt and scabbard.


Early type with very shallow notch in the blade and little flare in the pommel.


20th century military khukurī with many different tools in its back pocket.


Simple piece with a beautiful blade profile.


Very large presentation kukri from the Sundarijal Arsenal in Nepal.


An understated, elegant khukuri of substantial proportions with fine layered blade.