The Mystery of Sarb Loh and highest quality contemporary blade steels
There likely is little doubt, that 300+ years ago when the 10th Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh’s presence graced the earth and he led Sikhs and others into necessary battle, that Sarb Loh was the preferred blade material for kirpans and possibly swords that might have seen duty in the protection of oneself and others. I expect those kirpans and swords made from Sarb Loh would have had good edge-holding and toughness/ductility characteristics, when properly hardened and tempered.
In over 40 years as a professional knife, sword and kirpan maker I've had numerous inquiries along the lines of: 'Do you offer Sarb Loh in your kirpans’? and if not ‘Why don't you use it for your blade steel? This is what Guru Gobind Singh preferred and told us to use.’
The facts are, through modem technologies today, we have far more uniform options for sharpness, toughness and especially rust resistance in contemporary blade steels. Through industrial and technological developments in metallurgy over the last 100 years, there are a wealth of choices in the marketplace for exceptional cutlery steels. We utilize a number of those in our manufacturing and what we offer through our kirpans at Khalsa Raj.
Even if we could find Sarb Loh being made somewhere in the world today, I'm not sure we'd offer it because of other readily available excellent choices.
Fortunately today, it might only be a very rare circumstance when we have to rely on our kirpan, to protect ourself and/or others. And from our viewpoint, if we are going to carry kirpans as Sikhs and Khalsas, shouldn’t those Kirpans be something that can serve the purpose well, for which they are intended? To protect ourselves and others?
Few kirpans that I’ve handled in numerous trips to India reveal to me the excellence which we endeavor to put into our ‘Artisan Kirpans’. Most kirpans from India I have seen and handled are not sharp, nor are their blade steels chosen for edge holding and toughness qualities. So I ask you - what practical good will those Kirpans be if God and Guru happen to place you in a situation where your capacity as a Saint-soldier is requested/required?
We also believe that kirpans should represent the highest standards of excellence in craftsmanship in their fit, finish and appearance. To fabricate these kirpans we searched and found a very respected manufacturer who happens to be in quite high-demand. The kirpans are entirely handmade to precise tolerances, using the choicest materials available. All of this so that you can feel proud to own and wear your Kirpan, whether on top of your clothing or underneath it.
After introducing large kirpans in 2008, which many worldwide enjoy as their dress kirpan we introduced compact kirpans which can be worn all day comfortably under one’s clothing. Then a few years ago we introduced medium-sized kirpans. We offer several colors and materials and have a choice in gatras/kirpan straps, one of which comes with each kirpan. We have three colors, black and gray, white and gray and dark blue and gray. Most are adjustable in length and have a few black and white straps in non-adjustable length. (We'll not replenish our non-adjustable straps anytime soon).