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Author Topic:   Meteoric Iron
M ELEY
Senior Member
posted 08-11-2002 23:47     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know that the vast majority of Indonesian pieces are not made of meteorite iron, but as is well documented, there were certain pieces that were. Is there any way possible to determine if a weapon is made of "extraterrestrial" metal or not???

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john
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posted 08-12-2002 02:20     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a subject I've been interested to know more. A forumite who earlier was mentoring me has given me a clue.

Quote

Meteorite pamor has a distinct feel, whereas nickel pamor and pamor from various other materials has a smooth feel, sometimes a greasy feel, sometimes a rough feel. Meteorite pamor has a sort of SHARP, PRICKLY feel. It feels totally different to any of the other pamors. It is very difficult, maybe impossible to pick it from just looking, but if you know how it should feel, you can most times tell.

unquote.

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justin
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posted 08-12-2002 09:24     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MELEY:I believe that I read somewhere that the meteorite iron is actually an alloy of sorts containing iron,like 4%Nickel and actually a little titanium.So if you were to take a sample of a blade,it could be tested for a similar compisition through spectral anaylasis,but you could even use a whole blade and just clean the spot where it was burned.Although I personally would not want to do this to one of my keris,it is just a suggestion.

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M ELEY
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posted 08-12-2002 09:45     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks,John & Justin. I find the idea of meteoric metal used in a spiritual dagger of legend to be fascinating. One could write a good scifi story about a kriss possessed of alien intelligence--one that really can "fly around at night" unless under lock & key.

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M ELEY
Senior Member
posted 08-12-2002 09:51     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Justin,one other thing you brought up about the blade containing titanium...does anyone know how the contents of meteoric iron would affect the pamor of the blade as opposed to traditional earthly alloy? Would the metal from the meteor be used pure,or would the smith add other metal to strengthen it,purify the pamor,etc?? Do you know,John?

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justin
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posted 08-12-2002 10:27     Click Here to See the Profile for justin   Click Here to Email justin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess it depends on how it corrodes,I think titanium is fairly corrosion resistant but I am getting out of my league,I specialize in aluminum and know a little about steel.But if it is corrosion resistant thaen when etched it would stay nice and bright.No i personally dont think that the smith would add anything to the meteorite iron,I have read of empus using '7 different metals' I am fairly certain these would all be iron but from different locations,possibly having trace amounts of other elements depending on which location they came from.

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john
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posted 08-13-2002 05:52     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, like you, I too am interested to know more, including the interest to see examples of authentic meteoric pamored kerises. Are there any examples in any books, anyone?

I understand, a couple of modern time meteoric pamored kerises have been successfully welded in Solo. Perhaps there’s possibility some more meteoric pamored kerises could still be made, especially so if those who have had the experience of successfully welding meteorite pass their knowledge on…and assuming suitable meteorite samples are not impossible (or too costly) to obtain? Also begs another question, how different/similar are the compositions of different meteorites say between meteorites from different parts of the world and/or from different times, if anyone knows?

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 08-13-2002 09:09     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim Hrisoulas, if I recall correctly, has done some meteoric blades in his career. He is a Master smith.
http://www.atar.com/index6.html
I have not searched his site for info on the subject. Perhaps one of our curious members could shoot him an email about it.

I believe meteors vary quite a bit in their individual makeup. Since they arrive here from outer space I would imagine that the country of origin and age are irrelevant as their impacting the Earth is a random event.

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Rick
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posted 08-18-2002 08:36     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gentlemen:

I am honored to present to you the comments of Dr. James Hrisoulas on meteoric material, its components, and words about the forging process.

Part 1

Iron meteorites are characterized by the presence of two nickel-iron
substances: kamacite and taenite. These, combined with minor amounts of
nonmetallic and sulfide minerals, form the three basic types of Fe/Ni
meteorites. Depending upon the percentage of nickel/iron, these are:
hexahedrites (4-6% Ni) octahedrites (6-12% Ni) ataxites (12+% Ni) .

Now the most common of these would be the Octahedrites, and these, when
properly etched exhibit the well known Widmanstatten pattern* (that everyone
goes gaw-gaw over...).
http://www.meteorlab.com/METEORLAB2001dev/widpatrn.htm
This unique crystal structure/pattern is the result of
the combination of the two nickel-iron minerals kamacite and taenite being
present in approximately equal amounts.

Now that we have the bare bones basics out of the way I can get into the nuts
and bolts. There was no way that any "ancient" smith/empu or anyone could
know just from looking at any given fragment of Fe/Ni material exactly what
they got ahold of. Now one must realize that the majority of Fe production at
this time was more or less hit or miss when it came to "quality" and even
then, that was speculative at best. Grading bloom iron was done by eye,
experience and sometime "voo-doo metallurgy"..otherwise known as a blind
guess, Now with experience and consistent methods in smelting a smith could
get pretty good at separating the good from the not so great and go from
there. I am NOT saying that the material was "bad," but it all depended upon
the abilities and the skill of the smith involved, This is where the
legendary smiths got started...Ones that had the "eye" and the "feel" to make
decent iron, to make decent steel and to make the best whatever. Anyway,
back on track.

So you give a smith a chunk of meteorite, they think it is iron, they get it
hot, smash it with a hammer and it crumbles to bits. It'll happen 9 times out
of 10 this way. You need top "flatten it gently" and then sheath it in a
good quality iron and weld it back, very similar to refining wrought iron
bloom. This will help drive out all the "crud" and impurities as well as
getting the grain structure refined and allowing it to weld back to itself
without the red short effect (this is what the crumbling is commonly called).
Now it is not unusual to have to add additional native Fe during this
refinement as you loose to scale, oxidation and weld material loss between 3
to 7% of the volume every time a weld is made. The amount of loss varies with
the skill and the working habits of the smith.

Note: the following is for a "one piece laminate blade", not one with a
centre core of higher C content steel:

So you have the stuff "refined" and then you go onto the lamination... Now,
since there is very little C content, this will have to be welded to a higher
C content material, and from what I could find from doing examinations of
blade shards, it must of been between 0.80 and 1.25% C material. as the C
content in the laminate was at the norm, between 0.40/45% and 0.60/70% C..
(Usually 0.40%+ C is required to harden...this does vary a bit...)

Now Ni does not form carbides, but the Ni content is not high enough to form
a C barrier to C migration, so by the time the Fe/Ni material is refined,
whatever C content was in the native Fe would be more or less homogenous
throughout that material, and depending upon where the piece was positioned
in the fire, additional C may have been introduced to the material or removed
from it...


For a three piece (Two laminate with one high carbon center section) blade
the following was usually the way it was done:

When the Fe/Ni is welded and laminated back unto itself, whatever C content
that was in the native steel that was introduced into the mix would now be
well distributed into the blade... This is why a lot of the traditionally
made Keris have a higher C content center steel section within the laminate,
as by the time the blade's outer "skin" (the patterned section) had a
somewhat lower C content than would be optimal for hardening.

Now this is all in very general terms here, and there are exceptions....
---------------------------------------------
I believe there will be a second part to follow.

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 08-18-2002).]

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M ELEY
Senior Member
posted 08-18-2002 10:46     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW! RICH,WELL DONE! THIS COMPREHENSIVE REPORT REALLY PUTS INTO PERSPECTIVE JUST HOW COMPLICATED IT MUST HAVE BEEN TO PRODUCE A METEORIC BLADE. THIS MUST ALSO BE WHY THEY ARE SO VERY RARE. I WAS ORIGINALLY ASKING BECAUSE I MENTIONED METEORIC KRIS BLADES TO THE CURATOR OF A RIPLEY'S(BELIEVE IT OR NOT) MUSEUM WHO HAD A SIGN OUT FRONT ASKING PATRONS FOR INTERESTING ITEMS OR INFORMATION. HE WAS IMPRESSED WITH THE WHOLE STORY OF THE KRIS,IT'S ARSENIC-ETCHING, IT'S SPIRITUAL ESSENCE,ETC.(HE'D PROBABLY LOVE HALF THE CONVERSATIONS & ODD WEAPONS INFO FROM THIS SITE). THANKS AGAIN,AND LOOKING FORWARD TO PART 2...

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VANDOO
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posted 08-18-2002 13:02     Click Here to See the Profile for VANDOO   Click Here to Email VANDOO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
VERY INTERESTING, AND HERE I THOUGHT YOU JUST MELTED THE METEOR AND POURED OUT A BLADE . I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT SOME OF THE METEORITES FOR SALE ON EBAY AND HAVE LEARNED SOME INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT THEIR COMPOSITION. WORKING SOME OF THEM COULD BE STINKY IF NOT HARMFUL, IT IS INTERESTING THAT THE CARBON EVIDENTLY GETS BURNED UP IN ATMOSPHERE BUT THE SULFER DOES NOT. ONE OTHER POSSIBILITY FOR MAKEING A METEOR BLADE WOULD BE SIMPLY TO CUT A SLAB AND SHAPE IT WITH GRINDERS AND FILES ECT. I HAVE A SMALL BLADE MADE THAT WAY THAT SHOWS THE WINDSTRATEN PATTERN VERY WELL. THE REGION OF THE EARTH WHERE A METOR WAS FOUND WOULD NOT HAVE MUCH TO DO WITH ITS COMPOSITION EXCEPT WHERE IT WAS CONTAMINATED OVER A LONG PERIOD BY THE MINERALS IN THE SOIL. I WONDER IF ANY NEW ELEMENTS HAVE BEEN FOUND IN METEORS AS THEY MAY HAVE COME FROM OTHER SOLAR SYSTEMS AND PERHAPS FARTHER. WHICH IS WHY THEY ARE SO FACINATING AS THEY ARE ALIEN TO OUR EARTH AND COME FROM WHO KNOWS WHERE.

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nechesh
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posted 08-18-2002 17:23     Click Here to See the Profile for nechesh   Click Here to Email nechesh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not that it makes them any less fantastic, but i believe most scientists agree that meteorites come from the debris left by comets which are themselves a relatively local ( i.e. within our solar system ) phenomenon. Therefore, i don't think they are likely to contain any new elements not already known to us. But then, you never know.

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john
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posted 08-19-2002 01:42     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Rick for taking the trouble in disseminating and also looking forward to part 2 of this fascinating subject. I have had some brief preliminary information outside the forum from Wong Desa several months ago and it seems then that it's complicated/different to weld a meteorite blade...Only if he could take some time out of his extremely busy schedule and throw some further light...

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Antiques
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posted 08-19-2002 09:48     Click Here to See the Profile for Antiques   Click Here to Email Antiques     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just bought the book Arms and Jewellery of the Indian Mughuls, Lahor 1947, written by Abdul Aziz.
In the book he tells about Shah Jahangir, and about a falling meteorit. The meteorit fell around 10 April 1621 close to a village called Jalandhar. The meteorit was dug up and presented to Shah Jahangir:

I ordered Master (Ustad) Daud to make a sword, a dagger and a knife out of it, and bring them to me. He represented that it would not stand below the hammer, and fell too pieces. I told him in that case to mix it with other iron and make use of it. As I had told him, he mixed three parts of lightening-iron and one of other iron, and having made two swords, one dagger, and one knife, brought them to me. From the mixing of other iron he had brought out its quality (watering). According to the manner of the excellent swords of Yaman and [the swords of] the South, it could be bent, and became straight again. I ordered him to test it in my presence. It cut very well, equal to true swords. I called one the Shamshir-I-qati (keen sword) and the other Barq-sirisht (lightening-natured).

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Adni Aljunied
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posted 08-19-2002 10:30     Click Here to See the Profile for Adni Aljunied   Click Here to Email Adni Aljunied     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry for not getting involved earlier, but this subject is very interesting indeed.

I had asked the famous Empu Jeno about this, and he told me briefly of the difficulty in working with meteorites, which I did not fully understand until Rick posted the lengthy explanations. The adding of Fe(iron) in order to work with metoerites, and thus making it homogeneous is also why Empu Jeno said that it is very difficult, almost impossible to tell, whether a blade contains meteorites at all, EXCEPT for one particular feature. This is also explained in Bambang Harinuksmo's enxyclopedia page 110.
It is termed pamor Munggul, which is not referring to any pamor line patterns, but appears as a pimple like feature on the blade, usually at the gandik, but can appear elsewhere. This pimple like feature happens because of the strength of the metal which is not fusing well with the less stronger metals, and is most likely titanium in content. There is no evidence of titanium being availabe from anywhere around this region, and most likely it came from meteorites.
Another sign of this pamor munggul is a crater like feature, which is actually the remains of a pamor munggul that has fallen off. This is mainly due to it not fusing properly with the other metals, and thus falling off after time.
Hope that I got the explanations correct here, for I am referring to works in Bahasa.

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Jim McDougall
EEWRS Staff
posted 08-19-2002 22:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim McDougall   Click Here to Email Jim McDougall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a fascinating topic, and certainly does add to the already alluring mystery of the keris. In going through some notes I found a reference to an article that might pertain:
"Terrestrial and Meteoric Nickel in the Indonesian Kris"
by B.Branson
Journal of the Historical
Metallurgy Society
London, Vol.21 #1
July, 1987
Possibly interlibrary loan ?

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M ELEY
Senior Member
posted 08-20-2002 07:35     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Getting better & better by the minute! I'll try to find that book,Jim. I don't suppose anyone out there happens to have any pictures of a meteoric kris they are willing to post???

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Conogre
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posted 08-24-2002 23:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Conogre   Click Here to Email Conogre     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More and more fascinating as it goes....awesome research all (I'm particularly impressed Rick...good work!).
Having been fortunate enough to see a larger meteorite come in at close quarters (it lit the night sky to almost daylight brightness) the fascination would seem entirely logical, particularly to primitive peoples, and legends/myths abound around "magical swords" with meteorites incorporated imany different cultures.

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nechesh
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posted 08-25-2002 10:50     Click Here to See the Profile for nechesh   Click Here to Email nechesh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't believe i would catigorize the people of the majapahit "primitive". They had advanced arts and metalurgy, a complex system of religion and philosophy and a strong sense of hierarchy and government. One of the major reasons for the destruction of many of these beautiful ancient cultures throughout the world is the habit of stronger more powerful cultures (i.e. those with more advanced and effective weaponry) to label the cultures they want to conquer "primitive". Of course this is always done when the "primitive" culture has something the "advanced" culture wants. Whether these people were "superstitious" or not would be a different question. Certainly myself, and no doubt many others on this forum, would love to get my hands on a "magical" blade made from meteoritic ore and i ,for one , believe in the '"magical" power of such blades. This might make me appear "superstitious" in some people's eyes, but it doesn't make me "primitive".

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john
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posted 09-01-2002 04:43     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick:
Gentlemen:

I am honored to present to you the comments of Dr. James Hrisoulas on meteoric material, its components, and words about the forging process.

Part 1

....

I believe there will be a second part to follow.



Rick, will we have the honour of a second part?

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Rick
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posted 09-03-2002 13:48     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi John, I think if Dr. Hrisoulas finds the time he will write a part two for us.
I don't feel comfortable with contacting him to request part two as I am sure he is a man with many irons in the fire pun intended.
Dr. Hrisoulas owns Salamander Armory and has written fairly extensively on the subject of forging metals.

Do a search at Barnes and Noble Booksellers; they carry his works.

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Conogre
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posted 09-03-2002 15:36     Click Here to See the Profile for Conogre   Click Here to Email Conogre     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nechesh, by primitive I meant a non-industrialized society where everything was hand-made and not assemblyline, and in no way was anything derogatory or inferior implied.
What I was poorly trying to say was that in a society based upon multiple dieties, such an occurrance ase a meteorite/fireball could readily be understood as an impressive gift from the gods.
As many members well know, I'll take primitive over "civilized" any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

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nechesh
Senior Member
posted 09-03-2002 16:46     Click Here to See the Profile for nechesh   Click Here to Email nechesh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Especially twice on Sundays! I'm not sure being a polytheists would be a factor however. There are numerous stories and legends in the Judaeo-Christian tradition based around the Godly significance of astronomical events. The star of Bethlehem for instance, or Ezekiel's wheel ( though there are those who will say UFO there ) I hate to be such a stickler about language, but in the end it really does effect the way we look at and interpret our universe. You may not mean something a certain way, but others might easily see it a different way.
BTW, let me know when you are ready for that survivalist weekend.

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john
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posted 09-03-2002 20:41     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Rick. Be really great should Dr Hrisoulas finds the time to write a part two on this fascinating topic.

I now understand your reluctance to trouble him.

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Fabian
Member
posted 09-04-2002 04:42     Click Here to See the Profile for Fabian   Click Here to Email Fabian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tammens wrote in his "De Kris Magic relic of old Indonesia " (part 1 page 71 ):

"...All these stories about titanium in meteorites and its alleged presence in pamor,become only then interesting,when proven in an acceptable way.
To look at the matter more closely,I have viewed the necessary analyses of all kinds of meteorites.
Analyses not only of a single case,but of meteorites from long ago till now; famous ones and less known ones and with find-spots that give us a good picture of everything space has given us through the years.

The below-mentioned results speak for themselves:
(Dana's System of Mineralogy, 7th. edition, vol 1, 1966 pag 114)
Iron with appr. 2-7% Ni, found in terrestrial material and like kamacite in meteorites.
Nickeliron with 30-75% Ni,in terrestrial material as well as in taenite in meteorites.
Structural data concerning kamacite (Buey Huerto Meteorite) and taenite (Canon Diablo Meteorite) are as follows:

KAMACITE................. TAENITE
(Ni 5.43% ).............. (Ni 30.85% )
Isometric - I............ Isometric - F
a0 2.859................. a0 3.590
d110 2.022............... d111 2.073
p111 2.476............... p110 2.538

Remark: Titanium is not mentioned!

The meteorite-iron Kamacite with its low degree of nickel is the main element of the hexahedrites and forms at the same time the main element of the octahedrites.
Kamacite is likewise the principal metal-element of the siderolites and the stone-meteorites.
At page 117 of above-mentioned work various lists with extensive information about the metal-elements of meteorites are given.
Apart from alloys of nickel and iron with a degree of Ni of 77-24%, other degrees (almost all below 1%) of cobalt,copper,phosphor,sulphur,and carbon are mentioned.

But yet again no trace of titanium!

At page 120 of above-mentioned work we find a list of data,concerning analyses of 360 iron-meteorites.The averages in percentages are as follows:

Iron 90.57 , Nickel 8.71 , Cobalt 0.69 , Copper 0.06 , Chromium 0.06 , Phosphor 0.22 , Sulphur 0.16 , Carbon 0.11 .

No trace of titanium however!

We could continue with nothing the data of other prominent works,but that does not go with the essence of this chapter.
We come to the following conclusion:

Titanium is found in stone-meteorites in such small quantities,that we can speak of traces.
In iron-meteorites this element is not even mentioned...."

[This message has been edited by Fabian (edited 09-04-2002).]

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john
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posted 09-05-2002 22:33     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Fabian, thanks for the trouble in transposing the relevant Tammens' texts here.

Perhaps our own smith Justin may in time succeeds in welding a meteor keris or sword; then I'll commission a piece.

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M ELEY
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posted 09-05-2002 23:21     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, thanks very much,Fabian for printing this. So other than the ways already discussed briefly here, there's no way to determine if a blade is of meteoric origin other than to destroy a keris and examine it's contents. Too bad, as my ancient sepang piece does have a very unusual grainy,"sharp-prickly feel" as John puts it...

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john
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posted 09-06-2002 02:00     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, if your ancient sepang piece is the one you got from Maisey, I believe he would be in a position to tell you something. I think he knows more about meteorite keris than he cares to talk about...

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M ELEY
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posted 09-06-2002 09:53     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good idea! Thanks,John. I'll ask him...

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Rick
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posted 09-06-2002 11:02     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Part Two from Dr. Hrisoulas :

First, there has been a lot of rumor surrounding the composition of Fe/Ni meteorites, and most of this mentions Ti... Now in all the Fe/Ni material I have examined, and from all the material I have seen analyzed, Ti simply is NOT present. Period.

"Typical" content of various elements are:

C: 0.05 to 0.20% Co: 0.50 to 0.72% Cu: 0.03 to 0.09% Cr: 0.04 to 0.10%

Fe: 87.3 to 92.9% Ni: 4.1 to 12.9%+ P: 0.10 to 0.30% S: 0.08 to 0.20%

Now realize that the above are average ranges for the material that I have seen doc's on and that has been otherwise examined. Ti has, as far as I know never been mentioned as far as being in a Fe/Ni material. Now in stony material, yes, but in only trace amounts.

So what causes the pamor effect? Well, the C content isn't high enough so it is the Ni content mainly. Interesting point, one of the most "common" materials nowadays for pattern welding is L-6 steel which has a Ni content of only 1.75% (AISI spec's) and that material is favoured for its contrast with simple carbon steels (like a 10XX series), and the L-6 has less than 25% of the Ni than most Fe/Ni meteorites. It is the higher Ni content, along with the grain structure that can cause welding difficulties.

Now since this material has such an elevated Ni content, a very "clean' fire must be used. Charcoal would be excellent for this purpose, as would a properly "tuned" gas furnace or a very well coked and CLEAN burning coal fire. The Ni does have a tendency to "pick up" all sorts of nasties in the atmosphere at such a high temperature, and this can (and usually is) very detrimental to the welding processes. So clean burning fuels are a requirement ... but be that as it may.

How to tell? You really can't. Well, you can't without destructive testing. Some folks believe that meteoric pamor has a "greasy" feel, some say it has a "rough" feel and some say it even feels "prickly." Outside of actually watching the smith/empu work from the raw materials, the only way is metallurgical testing for alloy composition and that is a destructive test. And even then, if you don't know what to look for, you may not be able to tell.

Now if you have a bone-fide "pre western world" contact Keris, and it shows a high contrast pamor, I would venture to say that it is probably extraterrestrial material. Simply due to the fact that Ni is present in such "large amounts."

What does this mean? Actually, nothing in terms of a weapon/tool.. As far as the extraterrestrial stuff goes, it is a "raw material"....nothing more really. It does make for a good story though (I will refrain from getting into the esoteric). BUT,,,,no matter what the "olde tyme" smith/empu used, it is still some damn fine work considering that the "art" at the time where they practiced was little more than early Iron Age technology. I have literally 100s and 100s of Keris in my collections, along with kamplian, tambok, mandao and other pieces from that part of the world and it is truly amazing when one considers that these pieces were done with little more than a fire and a couple of rocks.

All in all, there really isn't a reliable way (other than destructive testing) to say that any given piece is extraterrestrial. Not unless you actually watch the maker from start to finish.

Now there was a heated discussion amongst several metallurgists that I comverse with a while back about the extraterrestrial material in Keris and other items from that part of the world, saying that the use of Fe/Ni meteorite resulted in the ever so rough surface after several etchings. Well, these folks should know better than to say that, given the nature of hand making iron and then turning the bloom into steel. The repeated welding/forging/welding processes, coupled with the cementation of C into the iron top form blister steel, and the further stacking and then welding of the blister material into shear steel would result in a "rough" surface appearance when etched for a considerable length of time. Sometimes folks "forget" the obvious for looking at the not to obvious.

So anyway, that's all I can tell you about extraterrestrial materials as far as Pamor goes, I know it's not what you really wanted to hear but there is no "fool proof" way to tell if there is extraterrestrial material in any given piece, outside of destructive testing. And this is especially true if the smith/empu of any given piece was "worth his salt" and properly refined the meteorite before he incorporated it into the native iron. I have done literally 100s of pieces of pattern welded material with Fe/Ni meteorite in them and they all "worked differently" and well, I think that they turned out rather well, but the amount of time involved in just working the meteorite down to a usable material is considerable, and this is employing "modern" equipment such as gas furnaces and power hammers, and even then, the first few welding/drawing coursed must be done by hand or else you will have meteorite fragments flying all over at 2100 degrees F! Just being able to refine this material is amazing to me given the level of tooling and technology that these smiths/empu were working with. Well, it's just like I have said in the past, it isn't the tool that makes the art, it is the ARTIST.

Jim Hrisoulas

And there you have it!
Many thanks to Dr. Hrisoulas for his time and effort.

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Fabian
Member
posted 09-06-2002 19:04     Click Here to See the Profile for Fabian   Click Here to Email Fabian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am happy to see that Dr.Hrisoulas comes to the same conclusion about the composition of
Fe/Ni meteorites and the lack of titanium in it as Tammens did ( see my posting 09-04-2002 04:42).

According to S.Limintu in the "Ensiklopedi Budaya Nasional" (Bambang Harsrinuksmo 1988), three nuclear scholars Haryono Arumbinang MSc. , Dr. Sudyartomo Suntono and Dr. Budi Santosa (KRT Padmokusumo) employ methods which do not require destroying the material being examined.They did non-destructive testing on 8 krisses,5 spear-points ,1 sword and some pamor stones using X-ray fluorescence.
But the results contradict Tammens' and
Dr. Hrisoulas' conclusions;Nickel was hardly found instead they found titanium!
So one can question the reliability of this survey.
But the writer of this article in the "Ensiklopedi Budaya Nasional" (S.Lumintu)came to the conclusion : "It appears that nickel is generally only found with young krisses,ostensibly only used as a substitute,if the real pamor material (containing titanium) is not available" and "...This substitute metal (nickel) for the pamor material posesses some similarities with titanium.."
I guess this article by S.Lumintu started all the misunderstanding about titanium being the important element in the pamor material.

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M ELEY
Senior Member
posted 09-07-2002 00:06     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much,Rick and Dr Hrisoulas for this informative and very scientific thread! I truly think (just based on guesswork,intuition,the "prickly feel" and unusual contrast pamor)that the Prejajeran sepang keris I have might be the real deal...

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john
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posted 09-07-2002 00:42     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A real honour to have someone of Dr Hrisoulas calibre sharing knowledge here. Most interesting work Dr Hrisoulas has undertaken. Thanks, Dr Hrisoulas and Rick.

I'm off to take another look at M Eley's sepang; perhaps Mark already knew it's a meteorite keris?

[This message has been edited by john (edited 09-07-2002).]

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Fabian
Member
posted 09-07-2002 08:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Fabian   Click Here to Email Fabian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
X-ray fluorescence is a technique of chemical analysis. It has been called 'the curator's dream instrument' because measurements are non-destructive and usually the whole object can be analysed, rather than a sample removed from one:
http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/science/techniques/sr-tech-xrf.html

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Naga Sasra
Senior Member
posted 09-07-2002 21:23     Click Here to See the Profile for Naga Sasra   Click Here to Email Naga Sasra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many things have been said in this serious and extended discussion on the subject of meteoritic pamor.

Bronson, Tammens, Lumintu and others have been quoted, regretfully no one has yet touched on the truth concerning the composition of pamor in old keris blades.

Alan Maisey has gracefully authorized me to quote the following:

Quote:
In 1988 I commenced an association with Prof.Jerzy Piaskowski of
Poland. Jerzy is of advanced age,and is one of the most highly respected
historical metallurgists in the world.
I supplied him with a number of old blades and old gonjos.
These old blades and old gonjos were all classified according to tangguh by
Empu Suparman prior to being sent to Jerzy.
All the gonjos and blades subjected to testing were old .

Jerzy has carried out extensive tests on these blades and gonjos,and has
published two papers on the gonjos,and has a paper on the blades in
progress.
The tests confirm that gonjos were made in most cases from the same material
as keris blades.The exception in the gonjos tested was one gonjo made from
wootz.

The material used to make the pamor material used in keris blades was
bloomery iron.

The contrasting colours which are the distinguishing feature of pamor in the
keris tested is the result of the use of bloomery iron of differing
phosphorus and probably arsenic content.
Bloomery iron with high phosporus (and arsenic) content has a brilliant and
distinctive appearance.
The paper containing these results was published in the Bulletin of the
Metals Museum of the Japan Institute of Metals,vol. 35,2002.

Combine this with Bronson`s results(1987),and what you have,I believe,is
this:

Pamor effect in early keris was often produced by welding together bloomery
iron of different phosphorus content.

In later keris nickel-containing iron from Sulawesi was also used to produce
the pamor effect.

In still later keris European iron-nickel alloys were used to produce the
pamor effect.

The only keris known to have contained meteoritic material used to produce
the pamor effect are the very fine court keris which were produced using
material from the Prambanan meteor.

A number of metallurgical examinations of keris blades have been carried
out by people such as Rosehain,Piaskowski,Frankel,Tylecote,and,of
course,Bronson.
These examinations have in no instances indicated that meteoritic material
could have been used to produce the pamor effect in the keris which were
examined.

The belief in meteoritic pamor material is a fable which grew after this
material started to be used by court empus in the early 19th. century .
Unquote.

It is important that Jerzy's results be made known to all these people who think that they have a magic keris made out of meteoritic material.
This meteor fairytale is just another thing that erodes the truth and beauty of the keris.

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Conogre
Senior Member
posted 09-08-2002 01:22     Click Here to See the Profile for Conogre   Click Here to Email Conogre     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you all very much for the deep and excellent research, which is, to say the least, very enlightening.
Hopefully, without straying too far off the subject, may I ask another dumb question?
Are there any tribes or peoples that attach any religious significance to klewang/parang blades made with pamor blades of the type seen on kerises?
While I'm aware it's largely an apples and oranges sort of thing, I find it hard to believe that the beautiful patterns in some of the longknives were just incidental in comparison to some of the more common types.

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john
Senior Member
posted 09-08-2002 08:31     Click Here to See the Profile for john   Click Here to Email john     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
....the belief in meteoritic pamor material is a fable which grew after this
material started to be used by court empus in the early 19th. century. -- A. Maisey

That also about concludes on a piece I thought may be meteoritic. But there's still the X-Ray fluorescence test...in case it's a prambanan meteor court keris.

On the positive note, there are living smiths well capable of smithing meteoritic swords and who knows some of us may be custodians of new meteoritic keris/swords now or later.


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M ELEY
Senior Member
posted 09-08-2002 10:54     Click Here to See the Profile for M ELEY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh well... Still a fascinating conversation. I am still left wondering where the primary source of metal came from,then, in the early era of kriss. The original theories being from meteoric iron. I can't imagine trade would have been very widespread in those early times to have included that kind of quantity. Also,in what form would imported steel have been in in those ancient times? In ingots, raw ore or as foreign weapons re-forged as such? What does the literature say on this issue?

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Rick
EEWRS Staff
posted 09-08-2002 11:31     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just as a sidebar here; and slightly off-topic, but. Has anyone here read GUNS GERMS and Steel by Jared Diamond ?
I found it to be a useful book to say the least, and it may answer some questions about early Iron and trade between areas in the Far East.

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nechesh
Senior Member
posted 09-08-2002 11:51     Click Here to See the Profile for nechesh   Click Here to Email nechesh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Solyom writes, "Pamor bugis is also rough and sharp to the touch but of a more uniformed grey and thus less 'alive' (than pamor prambanan). Sulawesi has sizeable iron deposits with some nickel content.The Buginese seafarers of southern Sulawesi may have carried this commodity to Java, hence its name.It may also be synonymous with pamor luwu from northern Sulawesi. Pamor sanak emerges in a finished blade as a subtle amorphous pearlescence, said to derive from layering brittle and impure low-grade iron with higher-grade iron."
Van Duuren writes, "The pamor prambanan became the exclusive material for the 'sublime' kraton kerises." and that " the iron was utilized in a limited number or splendid kerises of great repute and fame." So in other words they would be very rare and ONLY in keris made specifically for high members of the court.
A dutchman named Issac Groneman apparently considered this meteoric pamor keris to be the high point of the art and all other pamor inferior. Many Europeans followed him in this belief. He imported ingots of pure nickel to be used as pamor. But it would seem that there were many fairly local sources and i would imagine that if Sulawesi has sizeable iron deposit, some of the other islands likely do as well.
What remains of the pramabanan meteorite, BTW, is still on display in the palace garden in Surakarta. It is known as Kyai Pamor, " The venerable Lord Pamor"

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