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Old 15th November 2009, 12:30 PM   #1
Tim Simmons
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Cool African keris like work?

My most favourite thing right now. After cleaning, compare it to the blade of neighbouring peoples. The Shi/Havu blade is made very much in the same way as Keris. The central ridge and edges have been ground in after forging like when people damage keris edges. This acid treatment to the blade must be deliberate as in the keris. The metal in layers is most evident at the tip. I hope the pictures are clear enough to show this. The point and random sections of blade. You can always down load them and magnify them on your own computer.
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Old 15th November 2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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More pics-
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Old 15th November 2009, 02:16 PM   #3
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Hello Tim,

great cleaning job!
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Old 16th November 2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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Hi Tim,

Do you think the patterning was voluntary and controlled or the random product of forging process?
I was actually thinking recently of etching my trumbash to see what the steel is like.

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Old 16th November 2009, 04:35 PM   #5
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I think it is most certainly random but made with intent. The blade has clearly been given the Keris like acid treatment. It is after this process that the edges and central ridge have been ground to produce bright metal.

I have a big trumash, as you might be aware of. The blade displays lines of folded forged metal but the surface is clearly smooth and closed as opposed to etching by acid. I suspect it was originally polished. I would not etch mine but a light etch is up to you, just think you might want to move it on one day. A light etch is very different to the treatment of the Shi blade and Keris blades.
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Old 16th November 2009, 09:04 PM   #6
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Tim

Most of the older African blades were made from a form wrought iron which often looks like laminated or folded steel. I think whatever you are seeing is a random pattern. The only other possiblity is shear steel imported from Europe.
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Old 17th November 2009, 03:39 PM   #7
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Hi Tim

The blade on the left...the folding marks are as a result of repeated hammering and folding of the rough iron, which was smelted locally, to remove impurities. The pattern is random and as far as I know acid etching was not a technique used by sub-saharan blacksmiths. The blade on the right looks newer, and could have been made from imported or scrap metal. Newer productions will sometimes show traces of file marks.

You may be interested in the attached extracts from the 1911 book "The Baganda", which describes their iron-working. (the Baganda are quite close to Rwanda)
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Old 18th November 2009, 05:00 AM   #8
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doesnt look like acid etched, more like wirebrushed forge scale finish. Nice pieces.
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Old 18th November 2009, 03:41 PM   #9
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I will try and show with new pics why a think of acid work. Yes I know it is random formation.
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Old 19th November 2009, 05:21 PM   #10
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No new pics as yet.

Colin what book is that text from? I have to say reads rather like something written by Colonel Bumcrack talk via his pith helmet. African smith did not know how to temper metal .
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Old 22nd November 2009, 11:35 AM   #11
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I do not know if these pictures are any better, but shown next to other examples of blade they do help illustrate what I am suggesting. perhaps not acid but a deliberate process to effect the appearance of the blade. Even more so when compared to the rough working of the throwing knife blade.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 11:47 AM   #12
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Tim

Still looks like wrought iron to me. A combination of scale and or some lamination from the wrought iron. I see no sign of acid etch either.
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Old 22nd November 2009, 05:07 PM   #13
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Still trying to show the interesting surface to this blade. I could have possibly chosen better parts to show. Along with the folding this texture is how the blade was finish all over. I have not captured it fully, it really does have the appearance of being eaten into from the forge or after forging? The bright metal one see as mentioned earlier is ground back into the blade as the final process. As you can imagine it not easy taking shots like this one handed and on a whim.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 07:45 PM   #14
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Question Not so unusual

Another example with the same {acid pitted} surface. Picture from- Manfred A Zirngibl & Alexander Kubetz, Panga na visu, Kurzwaffen, geschmiedete Kultgegenstande und Schilde aus Afrika.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 08:16 PM   #15
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Tim

I think what you are seeing is scale or maybe blistering of the surface as a byproduct of the forging process no etching is involved here.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 07:59 AM   #16
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Sorry Tim,

I have to agree with the other members. No acid etching here. It is the result of the forging work. Nothing more nothing less.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 04:20 PM   #17
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Nothing to feel sorry about. I just point out how keris like the work is. also that it is clearly a tradition.
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