Kukuris & Knives

When talking about good quality knives, most Thai people think of “Aranyik knives” that are bought from Aranyik village in Tha Reu District, Ayutthaya . Few people know the truth that Ban Aranyik is not the place that produces Aranyik knives, but it is the name of the market and the gambling house. One of the most outstanding products is “Knives”. The villagers from Ban Pai Nong and Ban Ton Pho, Nakorn Laung District 2 kilometers south of Pa Sak River, are the makers who sell knives there. Because they are so sharp and good quality, knives bought from Ban Aranyik, are called “Aranyik Knives”.

When there is a ceremony to pay respect to the Lord Buddha’s foot print, in Saraburi, around the third or fourth month of the lunar calendar, there will be a lot of people going there, so the blacksmiths will bring their knives for sale there every year. Others will sell their knives along Pa Sak River, which everyone will pass on their way to Saraburi. The Aranyik Knives are so well-known that King Rama V went there many times to see how the knives are made firsthand. Even though the gambling houses were closed in the reign of King Rama V, the villagers in Ban Pai Nong and Ban Ton Pho have continuted to make “Aranyik knives” up until today.

It is said that the ancestors of residents of the Bang Pai Nong and Ban Ton Pho were Vientians from Laos who moved to settle in Thailand during the reign of King Rama II. Most of them were blacksmiths. When they came here, they found a good location with a big swamp. Pa Sak River and the bamboo forest were the best main fuel to forge the heated iron and the bamboo could also be used as a handle for large hammers or a knives. So they settled there to have a career of forging knives and have been there ever since.

In the past, the blacksmiths were very important for the agricultural community. Besides forging many kinds of knives used in the kitchen, swords and hazking knives, they used to forge hoes, spades, ploughshares and sickles. These were the most important tools for farming, so during the ploughing season, residents around these 2 villages would come to buy or bring their tools to be repaired.

Today these 2 villages still forge the knives even though most farmers have changed from using those tools to useing modern machine instead.

Materials :

Knife blades made from strong iron. There are 4 kinds :

• iron wire (Lek Sen) or Lek Tra Ma, used for forging swords, hoes, spades and hacking knives.

• Lek Wong is a long iron used for forging thin blades with the same thickness such as table – knives, pen-knives and chopper-knives.

• Lek Khao or stainless steel, used for table-knives, slicing-knives, a knives for chopping fruits.

• Iron from vehicles and scrap iron can be transformed to make hacking knives, etc, because it is very thick, but knives from scrap iron are bad quality.

Sheaths :

They are made from 2 kinds of material : black water pipe iron of 1 inch diameter and 6 meters long, and scrap iron.

Aluminium handle :

Aluminium is used for table – knives, slicing– knives and chopping-knives.

Bamboo handles :

Bamboo is made from wild bamboo because the inner part is solid and not hollow.

Animal horn handle :

Buffalo horns are usually used to make handles for small -size knives.

Besides all of the above, other materials used include bamboo charcoal, or Mai Rauk, because it heats very fat; brass to make the kneck of the knives, coconut oil to prevent rust; lacquer to coat the handles; sand paper; and salt.

Steps in making a knife :

Step 1 : Cut iron into the needed shape and size.

Step 2 : Heat the iron with a burning red hot fire until the iron becomes red

hot.

Step 3 : Place the red hot blade on an anvil and forge or strike it with a large hammer,

called a “Paneun” by using 3 workers. Each worker will strike the heated blade very fast one by one. When the iron is cool, put it into the burning red hot fires to heat again and then strike the heated blade like this 3 times until knife is formed into the propes shape . This step is called “Ti Hun”.

Step 4 : Heat the blade one more time and put it on the

anvil. Stike it with a hammer until it is smooth. This step is called “Sam” (repeat).

Step 5 : Strike the smooth blade with a hammer to make it more smooth. This step is called

“Hai” or “Ram Rieb”.

Step 6 : Shape the smooth blade (step 5.)

Step 7 : Sharpen the blade ,“Pan”, by

grinding with a file or a flint to make it sharp.

Step 8 : Polish the sharpened blade to whiten its surface. This step is called

“Khud Khao” (whitening).

Step 9 : Mix mud and salt and put it on the blade. This is a special technique to make

knives durable. Then heat it again for the appropriate time and heat.

After heating, dip or “Chub” in the water immediately. This is also

a special technique for being strong and durable.

Step 10 : Fit an appropriate handle to each knife to look beautiful and suit the kind and size

of the knife. Then sharpen the blade some more with a soft grindstone. This is the last step.

Today, the fires used to make knives, are stoked by electricity instred of air pumps.

Pithi Wai Kru Bucha Tao

It is a ritual to pay respect to the instructors of the blacksmiths in Ban Ton Pho, Ban Pai Nong and Ban Salai, Tambon Ta Chang, Nakhon Laung District. As already mentioned above, their ancestors were Vientian from Laos and their careers were goldsmiths and blacksmiths. One thing that residents of Tambon Ta Chang still preserve as their own tradition is “Wai Khru Bucha Tao. Every house will do this at dawn of Thursday of the seventh or ninth waxing moon, around the fifth month of the lunar calendar (April-May). The purpose is to pay respect and feel grateful to their instructors and to bring them auspicious life and prevent accidents while forging knives. When the time arrives, the leader will say “Bot Chum Num Tevada”, “Wai Phra Ratanatrai”. Then he invites all instructors such as Phra I-saun, Phra Narai, Phra Phrom, Phra Wisanugam, Phra Matuli, Phra Pai, Phra Kongka, 8 hermits etc., including other instructors such as Khru Thai, Khru Lao, Khru Mon, Khru Jeen, who taught them the course of blacksmith, to receive the sacrificed offerings and to bless everyone in the ritual to be happy and prosperous. After that they put gold leaves on every tool and sprinkle the tools and everyone with sacred water.

There are many different kinds and different sizes of Aranyik Knives for sale.
ilwc.aru.ac.th/Contents/ArtCraftEng/ArtCraftEng2.htm

Thailand Custom Knives

30 years ago, a small town; Uthaithani was the center of ThaiIand handgun’s manufacturer, which there was not any control from the government. As a result, the city has transformed to be the state-of-the-art in knife producer as it is the necessary instrument for human, for example, they have used knifes for self-protection, hunting, etc in daily life for thousand years. As the time gone by, knifes have been developed to be more functional in various practices for convenience. A great valuable knife should be SHARP and easy to use. The Uthaithani’s knife maker have created sharpen and eye-catching products to attract the people’s interest in their merchandise, especially, their knife’s blade that is remarkable beauty. Also, the knife haft has been designed for users to be able to hold it firmly. All in all, it is stunning and durable. Continually developed technology have facilitated the better production that creates high quality and attractive creation. “HAND MADE.”
jdmknives.net
oldjimbo.com/Outdoors-Magazine/Thai-E-nep-and-Hmong-knives.pdf

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