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Old 18th March 2020, 05:47 AM   #31
jagabuwana
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I hear that, Alan. I did not intend for my note to be a discouragement to try others, only to share my experience with citric acid.

Not sure if I'm glad I made the mistake, but I'm glad I learned from it.

I have a tendency to be quite conservative and unwilling to try other things after I make a regrettable mistake, so thank you for the reminder to keep trying other stuff I come across.

~~~

Apolaki, I've seen black stains like those when I was cleaning my Tuban-style pamor sanak keris - especially what is seen on the cleaner side of the blade. I just put it back in the cleaning solution (vinegar) and took it out to brush with a soft toothbrush more often. Eventually it came good. It's still quite clean.
I wouldn't worry too much, as Alan said just try to clean it again because there is rust on it.
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Old 18th March 2020, 06:19 AM   #32
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One of these days Jaga, I'm going to try Coca-Cola on a keris --- and a few other things.

There are some particularly nasty concoctions that some people in Jawa use make blades look old. Some of these devil's brews can eat a keris over night.

It is, I believe, meritorious to try different things, but it is even more so to try them slowly, gently and with care.
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Old 18th March 2020, 10:56 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apolaki
The black stain has spread throughout the blade, it is like infected the blade.


Ouch, I can clearly see the coronavirus effect indeed, beware!
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Old 18th March 2020, 11:12 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagabuwana
A word to the wise:

A great regret of mine is opting to use citric acid as opposed to regular white cooking vinegar, on one of my old blades.

It was the first time for me cleaning any blade.

Firstly I put too much citric acid in and it flaked some of the steel off the blade.
It was already in quite a fragile state due to its purported age, and the concentration of citric acid was far too harsh.

For this reason I will always opt to use cooking vinegar and father time.


My personal experience is quite different from yours Jaga, probably because your blade was in too poor condition for being treated.
I tested citric acid at 10% concentration (100 g of pure citric acid powder diluted in one liter of water) in controlled conditions (regular checking) and it worked quite well without attacking the metal itself, but not better than pure vinegar. I also tested oxalic acid (used for de-rusting bolts) in similar conditions and it also worked correctly. Vinegar (acetic aid), citric acid, and oxalic acid are weak organic acids with a PH of about 3 in solution so they can safely be used with ferric metals.
By the way and as a ex-chemical engineer, I would not use citric acid and sodium bicarbonate together as the bicarbonate neutralizes the acidity of the citric acid!
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Old 18th March 2020, 12:14 PM   #35
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Yes Jean, I would have thought that bicarb and lemon juice together would have reduced the acidity, but Marco used it, and apparently it worked. Maybe it was just the bicarb and brushing that produced the result, bicarb just by itself is a powerful cleaner.

What effect do you think sulphur and salt together might have on ferric material?
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Old 18th March 2020, 01:59 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

What effect do you think sulphur and salt together might have on ferric material?


I know that it is used Alan but I don't understand how it works as both products are basically stable and inert
However I would propose the following chemical raction chain (just my assumption, no guarantee whatsoever): the salt (NaCl) may slightly react with the metal and produce ferric or ferrous chloride (Fe Cl3 or FeCl2, highly reactive and slightly acidic) and the sulphur may react with it and produce black iron sulphide (FeS) giving the "warangan" effect on the blade.
Regards
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Old 18th March 2020, 02:38 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
Ouch, I can clearly see the coronavirus effect indeed, beware!

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Old 18th March 2020, 08:18 PM   #38
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Actually Jean, sulphur and salt has an erosive effect.

I once saw a keris blade taken from a bath of sulphur and salt, it had been in the bath for about a week and had been forgotten. More than 50% of the blade had been eaten.

Why?

The sulphur and salt was mixed with water so it was a slurry, but these two things are opposites.

I do not understand.
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Old 19th March 2020, 12:03 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
I know that it is used Alan but I don't understand how it works as both products are basically stable and inert
However I would propose the following chemical raction chain (just my assumption, no guarantee whatsoever): the salt (NaCl) may slightly react with the metal and produce ferric or ferrous chloride (Fe Cl3 or FeCl2, highly reactive and slightly acidic) and the sulphur may react with it and produce black iron sulphide (FeS) giving the "warangan" effect on the blade.
Regards


Yes I have attempted a stain using salt, rice water (i.e. the water that becomes cloudy after you rinse and soak rice in it) and sulphur, based off some info in previous posts on this forum.

Brushed it into a blade, covered it in cling/saran wrap. In a day it turned as black as squid ink. I freaked out after a bout a day or two thinking it would damage the blade, but it looked promising. I think had I left it, it would have done a better job.

Jean, what do you think the role of rice water (effectively starch) is in this method?

Last edited by jagabuwana : 19th March 2020 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 19th March 2020, 09:11 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagabuwana

Jean, what do you think the role of rice water (effectively starch) is in this method?


I don't know Jaga, probably no chemical effect but getting a more homogeneous slurry? The black colour of the blade seems to indicate the presence of iron sulphide.
And I would say that sulphur and salt have an corrosive effect (chemical wear) rather than erosive (mechanical wear)?
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Old 19th March 2020, 01:30 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagabuwana
Yes I have attempted a stain using salt, rice water (i.e. the water that becomes cloudy after you rinse and soak rice in it) and sulphur, based off some info in previous posts on this forum.

Brushed it into a blade, covered it in cling/saran wrap. In a day it turned as black as squid ink. I freaked out after a bout a day or two thinking it would damage the blade, but it looked promising. I think had I left it, it would have done a better job.

Any photos of this Jaga?
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Old 19th March 2020, 05:15 PM   #42
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[QUOTE=Jean, what do you think the role of rice water (effectively starch) is in this method?[/QUOTE]

Rice contains arsenic at a relatively high level compared to most other foods.
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Old 19th March 2020, 06:20 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Rice contains arsenic at a relatively high level compared to most other foods.


Not sufficient to give any waragan effect IMO or all rice eaters would die in horrible circumstances as arsenic accumulates inside the body
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Old 19th March 2020, 10:03 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Any photos of this Jaga?


Here you go.

It's since been cleaned down to a bare white blade because I wasn't happy with it. But it was a promising result.

When I try it again I'll leave it for longer.

Recipe:

Rice water - I soaked 1 part jasmine rice in 2 parts water, and agitated it so that it became cloudy. I ended up with around half a cup.

Salt - I used regular cooking salt. Don't remember how much. Maybe half a teaspoon.

Sulphur - In the form of yellow powder off ebay. I think I used 2 teaspoons.
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Old 20th March 2020, 09:11 AM   #45
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My own appreciation: Quite good cleaning results, some faint traces of rust visible on the sorsoran and ganja, about equivalent of what I get with vinegar but with slightly better pamor contrast.
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Old 21st March 2020, 06:35 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
My own appreciation: Quite good cleaning results, some faint traces of rust visible on the sorsoran and ganja, about equivalent of what I get with vinegar but with slightly better pamor contrast.


For me, it didn't go nearly as dark just using vinegar. Though if I could retain the slight contrasts that vinegar gives the blade, I would. I quite like it.

Last edited by jagabuwana : 21st March 2020 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 21st March 2020, 07:20 AM   #47
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I reckon that for the type of material it is, it is a pretty good job.

Long time since I used the rice water method, but I'm pretty certain that my rice water was produced by boiling rice in too much water, then draining the water off. Also, I left the blade in the slurry of sulphur + salt + rice water for (I think) about a week, it was wrapped in plastic, the original recipe called for wrapping in a palm leaf.

The sulphur would have been bought in a hardware or garden supplier, the salt would have been from the kitchen.

This was the result.

Incidentally, this blade was stained more than 60 years ago, it has been maintained by infrequent oiling during that time, and for the last +/- 50 years by oiling + a plastic sleeve.
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Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 21st March 2020 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 12:08 AM   #48
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That looks like a nice result. In the absence of warangan I'd be happy with it.

Just to clarify Alan, did it have any of the warangan stain on it prior to doing the rice water + sulphur + salt method?

I think I'll give this another go soon. All of a sudden got a lot more time on my hands with this pandemic lockdown situation. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe
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Old 23rd March 2020, 01:38 AM   #49
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I really don't remember Jaga.

I think I was only about 17 or 18 when I did this, it was the first keris I ever stained, I did not know any other way at that time. I remember broadly what I did, but no detail.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 06:50 AM   #50
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Quote:
Personally, I would encourage all beginners to try everything that they can think of and to learn by their own mistakes:- there is nothing as sobering as destroying something that cost you money, by failing to learn from the mistakes of others.

It has been, for about 23 years now, a maxim of mine (inspired by a Clint Eastwood movie, if memory serves) that, "If anything goes wrong, it'll be because of my mistake, and not anybody else's"; alternatively: "Nothing learns a lesson like my own tuition fees". The last mentioned quote is entirely my own, as far as I know. This is not to say that someone else may not have come up with it independently prior to myself and/or without my knowledge.
If anyone reading this feels like they must make a choice, I would urge such a one to heed the counsel of Mr. Maisey, for his is the voice of experience longer and broader than my own.
I'm thankful to God Almighty that He, in His Merciful Omniscience, has (thus far) protected irreplaceable antiquities and cultural artifacts from becoming the wreckage along the wayside of my educational journey.
There is often something to be gained from reading the notes of those who have taken the course before.
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Old 23rd March 2020, 07:48 AM   #51
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Thank you Mickey, that's nice.

Can I put it in my resume?
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Old 27th March 2020, 11:35 AM   #52
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Yes, you certainly may. I would be most honoured if you did so, and extremely grateful if you were to send me a copy.
Your query did inspire, not a question, but a brief moment of speculation of shorter duration than the time it will take for me to write the general outline of "how it went". I'll write it out regardless, as it's currently 04:08 Pacific Daylight Saving Time, and writing it out will enable me to reduce the time I'll otherwise spend curled up sleepless in a foetal position.
A résumé, or curriculum vitae, is generally composed by an applicant for a job. It's my belief that there exist certain "callings" from which one simply does not retire, although one might possibly cease to "work" in an official capacity in exchange for remuneration. The calling of a minister of religion might be considered one such calling. I know of one man in the legal profession, well past the age when most people in the "western world" hang up their hats, who is still "at it", although officially "semi-retired" on his law firm's webpage. I'm aware of one local teacher of mathematics who is upwards of 80 years of age, who has stated neither desire nor intention of retiring. Retirement is a luxury unavailable, if not totally unknown, to the majority of the people who labour (literally and/or figuratively) under the sun. Watched a program on T.V. a few years back (might've been CNN's "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown", and some elderly Sicilian woman, when asked if she did not want to retire, retorted, "And then what? Die"?
I do not believe that you're currently employed in any official or unofficial capacity (although that doesn't necessarily mean you no longer do "the thing you do".
Four hours ago I had no more than two "wee drams" of Ballantine's Finest (I didn't measure precisely, but the level in the mickey hasn't even gone down past the rounds of the shoulders). They haven't clouded my judgement, though they may have provided the lubrication for me to say (with no fear of exaggeration) that, in addition to having Living Legend status, you're the undisputed and undefeated heavyweight champion here. If there's any place worth your being on the payroll, it's they who'll solicit you. You've no need to go knocking.
Just an aside: I often can't quite tell if you've got your tongue planted firmly in your cheek, or whether you're being deadpan serious. It may be the fault of the communication medium, or it's possible I'm either dense or thick.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mickey
Postscript: That looks like a really good result from rice water+sulphur+salt; I believe I may try that myself, on a laminated steel knife of recent manufacture, before any keris kamardikan by Mpu Tanpa Nama. I certainly wouldn't experiment on any keris Djeno, even if I had one in need of stain.

Last edited by Mickey the Finn : 27th March 2020 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Postscript.
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Old 27th March 2020, 05:52 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Rice contains arsenic at a relatively high level compared to most other foods.


Wikipedia, the source of all reliable information, states, "As arsenic is a natural element in soil, water, and air, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors the levels of arsenic in foods, particularly in rice products used commonly for infant food.[20] While growing, rice plants tend to absorb arsenic more readily than other food crops, requiring expanded testing by the FDA for possible arsenic-related risks associated with rice consumption in the United States.[20] In April 2016, the FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal and other foods to minimize exposure of infants to arsenic.[20]."

Thus its seems if the key to the rice water stain process is arsenic, where the rice is grown would greatly affect the quality of the stain. So possibly the region in which this technique originated it was highly effective due to very high concentrations of arsenic in the soil. The downside is that the local population's health may have been compromised.
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Old 27th March 2020, 06:59 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Interested Party
In April 2016, the FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal and other foods to minimize exposure of infants to arsenic.[20]."


100 ppb is equivalent to 0.1 PPM (part per million) so a very very low concentration. Even if the arsenic content in the rice water is higher than in the rice itself, I doubt it very much that it could be sufficient for creating any warangan effect.
For comparison, the arsenic concentration in realgar (arsenic sulphide ore, the most commonly used chemicals for warangan treatment) amounts to several percents so thousands time more than in the rice (one percent is equivalent to 10,000 PPM)....
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Old 27th March 2020, 09:48 PM   #55
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I agree that even possibly elevated amounts of arsenic in rice are a red herring for the salt+sulphur recipe. While the salt is acting as a corrosive agent, the stain will result from reactive sulphur compounds.

Regards,
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Old 28th March 2020, 12:44 AM   #56
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Cupla thangs Mickey.

Number one:- I'm Aussie. In general, Aussies from my generation and before tend not to take very much, very seriously. I take a few things relatively seriously, but mostly the tongue is edging towards the cheek.

Number two:- retirement is a ticket to hell, and I'm in no hurry to get there. You stop work, you go rotten, then you die. Nobody can afford to retire.

Number three:- the "Living Legend" with all due apologies, I've never heard such nonsense. I started younger than most people, I've continued longer than most people, my debt to the true Legends who taught me is enormous. I'm no Legend, just lucky. Right time, right place, that's all.

As for the rice water stain, warangan works better. That one I've shown a picture of is better than a couple of others I tried later. Laboratory quality arsenic trioxide works best --- problem these days is that without the required qualification and certificate, you cannot get it.
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Old 30th March 2020, 05:26 AM   #57
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Mickey, when they finally make Keris Warung Kopi: The Movie, surely you will narrate.
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Old Yesterday, 06:11 AM   #58
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I ran across these directions today. Gardner says: "The keris blade is next laid in a trough containing boiling rice water, sulphur, and salt, for three or four days. This blackens the steel but scarcely touches the iron. It attacks the marks of the welds, which show as tiny etched lines. When this damascened pattern is clear, the blade is cleaned with lime juice."

Two things in that caught my attention. First was the adjective boiling rice water, not boiled or simply rice water. It made me think about Mickey's trick of boiling steel in hydrogen peroxide earlier in the thread. The second was that it blackens the steel and attacks the welds, the hardest parts of the blade. esp if the flux was something such as rice straw ash that would add carbon content to the weld line. BTW what is used for flux in Keris manufacture? Either Gardner's understanding of the parts was reversed or this treatment attacks areas of higher carbon content. That to me in one way or another is interesting. If he did misunderstand the pattern does that make his use of boiling invalid?

Jugabuwana, did your blade ever get its second rice water bath or did the COVID pass through and life go back to its hectic normal? I'd love to see more pictures someday!
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Old Yesterday, 10:53 AM   #59
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Welding in Jawa is traditionally done in teak charcoal, the material is not welded with a flux, no flux is necessary.

I do not know the process used in old Malaya.
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