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Old 26th September 2013, 01:32 AM   #1
JamesKelly
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Default Damaged sheath

Got a new keris recently. I like the blade, shown on a post a few days ago. But, the sheath was damaged. Seller gave something of a refund in compensation.

But now, how does an American repair, or have repaired, such a sheath (gandar?warangka??)? Is the wood, Timåhå, Latin - Kleinhovia Hospita, I think, available outside of Indonesia>

Are there members here who will do such repairs for a fee, using the appropriate Indonesian wood?
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Old 26th September 2013, 03:57 AM   #2
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A Madura style pendok might be a better alternative than a repair to the gandar .
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Old 26th September 2013, 04:38 AM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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A repair to this gandar is simply not economically nor aesthetically viable.

A pendok could be a valid solution, as Rick suggests.

Did the seller make any suggestions for making this damage good?

Since he is a professional, he should have, and he is the person whom you should approach first.

Something like this is an unfortunate experience for somebody with a newly awakened interest in the keris.
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Old 26th September 2013, 05:54 AM   #4
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This looks like tamarind wood to me, but I might be wrong.
Do you have all the broken pieces? If you do, you can put everything back together with super glue, fill any void with (preferably dark color wood) saw dust+super glue, sand and refinish to match. You can touch up the hilt imperfections with the same method as well. Alternatively you can strip the rest of the finishing by hand sanding and refinish as desired. If I were you I would finish it in this direction: buff with fine steel wool -> mix of spar varnish and paste wax.
Please remember: non drying oil and wood combination equal problem
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Old 26th September 2013, 06:33 AM   #5
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I believe that James has already established that he does not have the missing pieces, otherwise he would not have mentioned the need for matching wood.

I recognise that super-glue --- Alteco --- is an extremely popular adhesive in Indonesia, but it really is perhaps the very worst adhesive that can be used for any quality repair work. A fast set two part resin adhesive is far superior in virtually every application. My biggest objection to any of the super glues, and to Alteco in particular is that they are not a permanent repair. Over time they lose strength and eventually they come loose. I think of this failure as "drying out", but its probably not that, its probably some long term chemical reaction.

In any case, to replace these missing sections of wood with either the original, or with new wood would be a total waste of time, as the inevitable penetration of the material with oil would prevent satisfactory adhesion now, and certain dislodgement in the future.

The use of a traditional adhesive (jabung) would not be particularly satisfactory as these adhesives need a broad surface to bind to and lack the necessary strength to bind narrow surfaces. Varnish + wax is one such adhesive, wax + damar is another. Essentially the various combinations of varnish/wax/ damar etc are hot mix glues that need a fair bit of practice to master the use of.

If the blade does not reach the broken section of the gandar, it would be possible to insert an inlay into the gandar and attach new material to that with jabung, or to simply shorten the gandar, but both of these solutions are makeshift options and totally unsatisfactory.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 26th September 2013 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 26th September 2013, 02:50 PM   #6
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I'm agree that in terms of repair quality super glue method that I described isn't the best available method, it is more a DIY option that I proposed because the broken section is on the dark spots. I think patching the missing part with Macassar ebony or even rosewood may work if done properly (I think both are widely available in the US). As for adhesion issue, cleaning the oil with paint thinner may work (no guarantee).
The best option is indeed to replace the gandar.
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Old 26th September 2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments. I will have to think about this a while.

My wood background and viewpoint, comes from antique firearms, and seeing Dad repair 19th century furniture. For antiques the normal protocol, in my view, would be to repair with a good water base wood glue, or old-fashioned hide glue, so that in future years the item could be reworked if necessary.

I need to look at my problem a little closer & in more detail. I have a bit of Macassar ebony & rosewood in my shop, purchased recently when I thought I might bet back into miniature arms making. At one time I made a couple of 1/3 scale working percussion & flintlock Kentucky rifles. Hah! The craftsmanship of my 30's seems to have diminished a bit from disuse over the last two score years.

No, I do not have the pieces. I believe the thing was smashed when it was packed, as the blade was jammed into the sheath. No pieces other than that very small tip were in the packing. The package had no damage on the outside. Considering how it was packed I am not inclined to go back to that source for any future buys. So far various antique guns shipped to me from American dealers, along with knives from one Canadian antique weapons dealer and a Sikh in England, have arrived well packed & intact.

I appreciate the suggestions. Never would I have been aware of the wood being saturated with oil, as the manner in which kerises are treated is quite new to me. Great-great Uncle James Kelly's Civil War saber, 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, was just hung on the wall. Reminds me I need to clean it a bit with bronze wool & microcrystalline wax.

I will move slowly on the keris repair.
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