Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kerambits




People who have read my techno-thriller and science fiction books know I'm a fan of the the SE Asian knife design called kerambit. (Spelled different ways, and also called other things in Malay: Korambit, kerampit, karambit, and so on.)

Used to be, you couldn't find them for love nor money in the U.S., but they've gotten more popular, and there are more folks making them. There are several commercial folders, and some custom knifemakers doing fixed-blade versions.

A few: Mushtaq & Chuck, Stephen Renico, Shiva Ki.

I have a small collection of these knives. The ones pictured above are by Shiva Ki, based on a design I did in conjunction with Steve Rollert. The leather is by Chas Clements, designed to hold the pair together, and includes a belt loop -- hard to see on the picture -- for carry on the left side.

They are small, the cutting edge under two inches. These are 250 layers of laminated damascus, and legal to carry where sheathed knives are allowed. The traditional Indonesian models tend to be larger and sharp on both concave and convex edges (these are sharped only on the inner curve). Lot of places frown on daggers, which is usually read as double-edged. They are slashers and hooks rather than stabbers.

In our version of pentjak silat, any of the djurus you can do barehanded, you can also do with a pair of these in-hand with no or very small alterations of the forms, which pretty much shows that the art is knife-based and not, as some wags would have it, a monkey-like mud-throwing style ...

6 comments:

Stephen Renico said...

Steve,

Thanks for mentioning me.

I've wondered how Shiva Ki knives are. His website and knife designs fascinate me, and I'd give my front teeth to know what his sharpening secrets are.

Unfortunately, his knives are way out of my price range.

Steve Perry said...

Yep, he's out of my range, too. I had a nice chunk of money come in when I was working on the techno-thrillers and managed to do a one-time purchase. His stuff is outstanding, and because he's a martial artist, he understands how fighting blades need to be built.

Shiva does a lot of work for military troops and serious martial artists. He's been at it for thirty or forty years. When he started, he was one of a handful who were doing hammer-folded steel.

Jacques L David said...

Well, mister Perry, at the risk of sounding contrary I have looked and looked at the pair of Kerambits posted and I am having a hard time seeing the cable patterning. It looks more like straight layers or a minimal Jacobs Ladder. Cable Patterns are more snake like in appearance because of the multiple wire braid nature of the cable. Is there something I am missing? Is there a technique in cable pattern welding that gets rid of the scale-ish nature within the process? In case you haven't figured it out I am a bladesmith. Started around '94and the first pattern-welded piece I made was from cable. So, again, I am not trying upset anyone here, I am just wondering if there is something I am missing. Oh, Yes, we have shared e-mails before. Now, I am starting a pair of pattern welded Kerambits tomorrow, I know the afore mentioned question of the cableness of the post images is not the best way to start a potential bartering interaction buuuuuuuut, when I get these puppies done would you be interested in a traaaaade? I'd like to send pics of the process and the finished pieces if your amenable. You are my Favorite author as of this moment. I have just read both the Musashi Flex and The 97th Step three consecutive times in the last few months. I can't stop. Addicted I guess. Thanx for your literary contributions yet again! Peace out.

Steve Perry said...

Actually, I am informed by Master Ki himself that the blades are "250 layers of laminated damascus." Dunno where I got the previous information.

Jacques L David said...

Niiiice, I feel vindicated! So, I started that set of Kerambits, who knows how long ago, but life interrupted (as per usual). I ended up going back to school and after six years achieved a Masters in Fine Art (sculpture). I am still going to finish this pair of Cable Kerambits for you its just a little later than I had expected. Might even get them done within the next couple of weeks. I am still mesmerized by your writing!!! I read your books over and over!!! I really do thank you for your literary contributions!!!

Steve Perry said...

Congratulations on the degree. And don't hurry on my account -- I know how life gets in the way of such projects.