Keris forum moderator
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Great Midwest
I will try to answer some of your questions.
Firstly, this keris is presented in Balinese dress, but i am having trouble seeing it as a true Balinese blade. The greneng on the gonjo is cut rather poorly for a Bali keris and the gonjo itself does not look right and the sogokan do not seem to be nearly cut deep enough for Balinese standards. I believe the pamor is the standard Beras Wutah - scattered rice grain, but the blade certainly hasn't been treated in the typical Balinese manner of keeping the surface polished smooth. It is also a bit shorter than most Balinese keris of this era. I suppose that a Lombok origin is possible and i have seen Lombok keris in this particular sheath kekandikan style before, but i really can't be sure. I am inclined to think the blade may have a Maduran origin. Despite the obvious wear on this blade it appears more contemporary to my eye than older.
If you are concerned about "over dressing" this blade i personally would not seek any new components for this ensemble. The pelet timoho wood that is used is considered quite desirable and frankly this keris blade is fairly mediocre as Bali style blades go and does not require fancier dress. As for the handle, it isn't really mediocre per se, it is a very common Balinese bondalan form and i see no reason to change it. That it does not fit well in your hand should not make it unsuitable.
If this were mine i would cleanly repair the now broken sheath, clean up the uwer (mendak is a Javanese term) and re-stain if possible after fully cleaning the blade. A re-stain with warangan will do wonders for making theirs blade more attractive IMHO.
All that said, i would not consider this a "bad" first keris. I think most of us probably faired far worse on our first outing. What is always most important about any keris is that you like it. And just a warning...they are addictive! LOL!