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Old 26th January 2008, 09:20 PM   #1
Raden Usman Djogja
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Default Titanium Keris

dear Kerislovers,

My friend commission keris to Mpu Sungkowo (son of Mpu Djeno). Nothing special with his order but the pamor material. He brought plat of pure titanium for pamor material instead of nickel or meteorite.

Till now, there is still a problem in making a "saton" (titanium and iron are blended/forged together. I dont know exactly what the problem is. However, my friend said that the iron has melted far earlier than the titanium.

He asked me to forward what I mentioned above to vikingsword in where keris experts all over the world hanging up. Who knows you have advices how to solve that forging process.

I dont know why my friend wants to use titanium. And I dont know either why Mpu Sungkowo accepted his order. What I know, now, is both of them are in confusion.

warm salam,

OeS
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Old 26th January 2008, 10:28 PM   #2
fearn
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Hi Raden,

I'm not a smith, but a quick check of Wikipedia revealed the following information:

--Pure iron melts at 1538 deg. C
--Pure titanium melts at 1668 deg. C

That 90 deg. C difference in melting point difference is undoubtedly causing problems when trying to weld the two metals.

Another problem (found by web-searching) is that there are some issues with welding titanium, but apparently titanium can be welded to stainless steel (link)


One answer may be to do some research on alloys. Then, create (or buy) a titanium alloy that has a melting point similar to that of an available steel alloy, and make the blade using materials that have similar thermal properties. I have no idea how tough such a blade would be. My guess is that it might be pretty soft.

Another possibility is to treat the keris as a piece of titanium jewelry, and not use steel at all. Titanium an be colored a variety of blue and purple shades through anodization, and such coloring can be done in fairly complex patterns, as searches on titanium jewelry on the web show. While it would be a "fake pamor," it might be simpler to shape the keris blade out of the titanium, then employ a titanium artist with the appropriate anodizing equipment to draw the pamor on. Obviously, such a blade wouldn't be a genuine pamored keris, but it could be gorgeous, depending on the skills of the artists involved.

My 0.0002 cents,

F
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Old 26th January 2008, 10:58 PM   #3
Richard Furrer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raden Usman Djogja
dear Kerislovers,

My friend commission keris to Mpu Sungkowo (son of Mpu Djeno). Nothing special with his order but the pamor material. He brought plat of pure titanium for pamor material instead of nickel or meteorite.

Till now, there is still a problem in making a "saton" (titanium and iron are blended/forged together. I dont know exactly what the problem is. However, my friend said that the iron has melted far earlier than the titanium.

He asked me to forward what I mentioned above to vikingsword in where keris experts all over the world hanging up. Who knows you have advices how to solve that forging process.

I dont know why my friend wants to use titanium. And I dont know either why Mpu Sungkowo accepted his order. What I know, now, is both of them are in confusion.

warm salam,

OeS


The issue here is choice of materials for the technique involved. Keris pamor is made by "Solid-phase welding" in which the two materials are forced into contact and share electrons and eventually some of the atoms from each material diffuse or move across the weld zone and strengthen the bond. It relies on flux to clean the surface of oxide and prevent new oxide from forming. Titanium has a particularly stable oxide film.

Typically the welding of titanium is done with various modern techniques involving electricity and shielding gases. If the Empu is using traditional techniques he will NEVER be able to bond the Ti/Iron mix...at least not enough of it to make a keris. If he were able to get more than 1/4 of an inch to bond I would be impressed.

I suggest using nickel or nickel bearing steel as it is used for a reason.

Also when titanium and steel is bonded the carbon in the steel will cause major issues with strength in the titanium as the carbon migrates across the interface and contaminates the titanium.

I have welded a bit of titanium, did some last month, but what I used was not traditional in any sense.

Ric Furrer
Sturgeon Bay, WI
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Old 26th January 2008, 11:14 PM   #4
A. G. Maisey
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Well, we live and we learn, don't we?

I'm sure Sungkowo has learnt something from this, as has the person who placed the order.

Titanium + iron + traditional forge = no result. ever. simply can't be done.
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Old 27th January 2008, 12:10 AM   #5
Raden Usman Djogja
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dear ALan, Fearn and Richard,

I am goint to email my friend to read this thread. Then, he must decide what he will do.

Thank you for this valuable info.


warm salam,
Oes
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Old 27th January 2008, 04:22 AM   #6
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Dear Richard and A.G.,

I'm glad you two spoke up!

My other question, for the keris collectors, is about the alternate course of action: forming the keris blade out of solid titanium, then anodizing the surface to simulate a pamor. How would you evaluate it? Assuming it could be done, would the result be a "keris-shaped object," or just an exotic keris, much like that brass-bladed specimen that showed up some time ago?

I'm not convinced that a solid titanium keris could be created at a traditional forge, through carving and/or simple forging (titanium is pretty tough to work with, and I have no idea what the anodizing rig looks like or costs), but I am curious as to whether this is even a viable alternative, or whether the titanium keris is just a bad idea.

F
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Old 27th January 2008, 05:31 AM   #7
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I've never worked with titanium, Fearn, but I have a mate who is a jeweller and fine art metal craftsman who has worked with it, and another mate who is a custom knife maker who has worked with it. Both reckon it is a swine of material to work with.

As far as I am concerned, any keris made of titanium just would not qualify as a keris. The whole "magic" of the keris is tied into the mystic smith and the reforging of souls. Once you move away from a traditional forge and the rebirth of iron, then you've lost the plot.

You could undoubtedly create a keris-like work of art from titanium, but it would not be a keris.
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Old 28th January 2008, 03:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Well, we live and we learn, don't we?

I'm sure Sungkowo has learnt something from this, as has the person who placed the order.

Titanium + iron + traditional forge = no result. ever. simply can't be done.


This remind me of pamor munggul. Most books descibed this occurance due to the presence of titanium or other impurities in the pamor material.
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Old 28th January 2008, 06:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsteel
This remind me of pamor munggul. Most books descibed this occurance due to the presence of titanium or other impurities in the pamor material.
I've read likewise, from my understanding, the type that was explained refers to a small lumpy piece of material, possibly or probably embedded into the piece... some discovered it when the blade was worn down after years of ritual cleansing...

Off-topic a little... I've seen some simbang kurung, which looked like having a titanium-like inserts, but I cannot be sure whether it is or was it other form of metal. Is there any inserts of this nature ever found to be made of titanium?
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Old 28th January 2008, 02:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alam Shah
I've read likewise, from my understanding, the type that was explained refers to a small lumpy piece of material, possibly or probably embedded into the piece... some discovered it when the blade was worn down after years of ritual cleansing...

Off-topic a little... I've seen some simbang kurung, which looked like having a titanium-like inserts, but I cannot be sure whether it is or was it other form of metal. Is there any inserts of this nature ever found to be made of titanium?


Hello,
Unless the structure in question has been chemically tested I do not think we can say what it is.
As for naturally occurring titanium...in some form of oxide yes, but it does not really look like "titanium" in that form. The reason titanium is expensive is not due to its rarity, but the costs of purifying it from the oxide form......many white paints are titanium oxide and therefor inexpensive...pure titanium is not inexpensive.
Some iron ores contain titanium oxide and this may or may not remain in the smelted material...I know one smith in New Zealand who is working on removing the TiO which is in the ore he smelts for knives...it is not a good thing in the long run.

Ric
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Old 27th January 2008, 02:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for the insight, Alan.

I suppose it's just as well that we don't see more keris-shaped objects (KSOs, dare I say?) on this list.

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