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 iron, silver overlaid hilt. Its associated scabbard features fine quillwork.


Thought to have been presented by the Royal House of Nepal.


The scabbard carved as to closely mimic a tooled leather scabbard.


Its scabbard with 12 pockets, with 10 of the items remaining.


Signed: Ricky Milnes, India 44, Burma 44, Ramree 45.


An exceptionally large example with a desirable three fullered blade.