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Old 17th May 2007, 06:15 PM   #1
Tatyana Dianova
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Default Arsenic or realgar for Keris etching?

I want to etch a couple of Keris. I can buy in eBay at Minerals:
- sterling arsenic (a dark grey mineral)
- or realgar (arsenic+sulphur, white cristal)
What is better for etching?
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Old 17th May 2007, 07:47 PM   #2
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Hi Tatyana. I use lab grade arsenic trioxide, but i know that it isn't an easy substance to come by. The nice thing about it though is that it is always the same so you can get more controlled results. I have never used realgar, but i have heard from members here who have that you want the pink stuff. But the white stuff might work just as well.
I don't know anything at all about "sterling arsenic" so you might want to stay away from it.
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Old 18th May 2007, 11:55 AM   #3
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Is starling arsenic :metallic arsenic?
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Old 19th May 2007, 11:20 AM   #4
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It seems to be a clean arsenic.
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Old 19th May 2007, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
It seems to be a clean arsenic.


I don't understand what you mean by "clean".
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Old 19th May 2007, 04:13 PM   #6
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Tatyana is this mineral heavy or light? Hard or soft?
If it is heavy and hard, pay attention don't put fire near the mineral: his vapour is dangerous (poison: smell like garlic)
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Old 19th May 2007, 04:41 PM   #7
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I don't have bought any of these minerals yet, so I can't tell. I just have seen some so called "gediegen arsen", what translates like "sterling arsenic" on German eBay. On pictures it lookes like dark grey mineral, maybe similar to earth. Sometimes it have inclusions of silver in it. It is a local mineral from Ore Mountains in Saxony. Alas, I haven't saved any pictures, and at the moment there is none of it offered...
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Old 19th May 2007, 05:21 PM   #8
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Tatyana, if you are using realgar, always use the red or deep oranges with some yellow ones. The less the yellow, the better. the deeper the red and orange, the better. Purple is the best, but it's hard to find. The good one should shows crystalline structure, and easy to pulverize using the pestle and mortar. As Marcokeris already warn, it would quickly transfered to a poisonous arsenic gas if you burn it. Never try the white or gray, or pure yellow. Pulverize and mix it with the lime juice, and let it rest for at least a night before use. During use, the the solution's color may change to a brownish color. The older the solution, the deeper the color. Do not throw away the old solution. It's a 'babon warangan', or 'mother solution'. If you use the brushing technique, you should mix the babon with some new one. Immersion technique use a deep brown, almost black solution. Finding the right solution is part of the art. Keep away the solution from oil, copper alloy and soap. Just put some rusty nail and let it rest for a night to make an old solution from the new one, quickly.

Happy marangi, and beware of it's health hazard.
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Old 5th June 2007, 09:45 PM   #9
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Default "gediegen arsen"

"gediegen arsen" is german for metalic arsenic ,gediegen means pure some metals are found this way for instance gold silver or copper.
Hope this helps ,enjoy F.
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Old 10th August 2009, 06:57 AM   #10
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Did you use the "sterling arsenic" to stain your Bali blade?

GANJAWULUNG
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Old 10th August 2009, 07:33 AM   #11
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I still have the "sterling arsenic" hidden in the dark corner, but I haven't tried it yet. Really I do not have a good working place to use it safely... The Bali blade was stained on Bali: Mr. Michael Wahle from Bali-Artshop in Germany has brought it on Bali and gave to (-I believe-) Mr. Ketut Karang for staining and sheath making...
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Old 10th August 2009, 08:23 AM   #12
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hello Tatyana

when you buy warangan its have to look like the warangan one the picteurs
you can buy many warangan but you can not use every warangan to clean your keris some even don`t work

regards semar
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Old 10th August 2009, 10:23 AM   #13
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Over more than 30 years I have purchased and used traditional warangan in Solo.

It has never looked like any of the examples I've seen photos of here.

The warangan that has been available in Solo over the last couple of years has been very inconsistent in producing satisfactory results.

Since the early 1960's, and predating my use of Javanese warangan I have used laboratory grade arsenic tri-oxide. This has invariably produced very satisfactory and very consistent results.

Here are examples of these results:-
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Old 10th August 2009, 11:36 AM   #14
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this warangan that i show you
comes from a friend of my from surabaya
mij friend cleaning the keris for a living
and i think whem you cleaning the keris everyday
you know wich warangan works the best

regards semar
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Old 10th August 2009, 02:17 PM   #15
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Semar, I have not purchased warangan in Surabaya.

Please re-read what I wrote so that you will understand clearly what I am saying.

I will repeat my message in the most simple terms possible in order that there can be no misunderstanding:-

1)--- the warangan that I have purchased in Solo, and have used, over a 30 year period does not look like the photos of warangan shown in this thread.

2)--- the warangan currently available in Solo is unreliable in producing satisfactory results.

3)--- since at least 1962 I have stained keris with laboratory quality arsenic trioxide; the results I am able to obtain with this are consistent, and in most cases I get a superior result to that which I am accustomed to seeing from professional blade stainers in Indonesia.

One thing I did not say in my previous post is that I pay to have approximately 100 blades stained during each 12 month period; I normally have to return half of these blades to the tukang because they are unsatisfactory; of the half I return I normally have to return about 15 or 20 blades a second time; of those blades I usually have five or so blades to stain myself. I use laboratory quality arsenic trioxide on these failed blades, and my staining is always successful.
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Old 10th August 2009, 04:24 PM   #16
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oke I understand sorry bud my engels is not verry good and thats te reson
that I somtimes not understand whats say in the mail

regards semar
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Old 10th August 2009, 09:44 PM   #17
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Yes Semar, it can be difficult to understand clearly if you are struggling with a language other than your own.

I was not casting any aspersions upon your comments, simply recounting my own experience.
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Old 11th August 2009, 02:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
I still have the "sterling arsenic" hidden in the dark corner, but I haven't tried it yet. Really I do not have a good working place to use it safely... The Bali blade was stained on Bali: Mr. Michael Wahle from Bali-Artshop in Germany has brought it on Bali and gave to (-I believe-) Mr. Ketut Karang for staining and sheath making...

Staining is such an "art". I don't even stain my kerises by myself, although I have "warangan jadi" (ready to use warangan) and I can stain kerises by myself. You need at least all day long, non-stop free time to stain your kerises. Not including cleaning first your blade from rust with coconut's water for couple of days, and then your blades need to be processed with 'mutih' -- brushed and brushed, again and again with 'jeruk nipis' (lime juice) mixed with cream-soap (sorry, I have difficulty in explaining the process). Anyway, staining is not that simple -- just soak the blade into the ready-to-use-warangan... Usually I clean my self the keris blades, and then 'mutih' the kerises. But then, I gave the further process of 'mewarangi' to the specialist.

There are a couple of 'ahli warangan' or keris staining specialists in Jakarta, and of course in Solo, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Madura, Bali...

Quote:
Originally Posted by semar
this warangan that i show you
comes from a friend of my from surabaya
mij friend cleaning the keris for a living
and i think whem you cleaning the keris everyday
you know wich warangan works the best

Yes, usually I bought warangan (more precise, 'chinese' warangan) from Surabayanese friends too. In Solo, people used to buy at a special shop, traditional herb shop such as Akar Sari in Coyudan, not far from Karaton Solo but not as good quality as 'chinese' warangan from Surabaya and Jakarta. I have example of two kinds of warangan. People said, the 'yellowish' one is better...

GANJAWULUNG
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Old 11th August 2009, 03:25 AM   #19
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The biggest supplier of warangan in Solo is a "Shop With No Name" --- but everybody knows it as "Toko Vera", in Pasar Gede , one street west of the market. This shop wholesales to other shops in Solo and also sells retail.

Unless somebody is buying outside of Solo and bringing the stuff into Solo themselves, they will be getting their supplies from Toko Vera.

For a long, long time Toko Vera had drums of warangan that was very good stuff, and back a few years, it was not really all that expensive, however, the old stuff eventually ran out, and the only new stuff they could get was from India. As I have already remarked, this new stuff is not very reliable --- sometimes you can get an acceptable job from it, but other times you cannot --- and it is not cheap.
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Old 11th August 2009, 09:28 PM   #20
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I have heard that now days in Jaw also Selenium is used. Because of shortage/price of arsenic. Anny one ever hear about it? If it works must be one of it oxides. Haven't figured it out witch one. Sugestions, please?

And about the arsenic. Like Alan said, Di Arsenic tri Oxide (As2O3) works best, since it is the most agresive...lethal too. 100mg in your body will kill you, when taken oraly, dont know about in to blood stream.. probaly much lower.

than you have Realgar, red to orange AsS, easly bought in mineral shops. The mor red the beter, is what people say.. i got a big chump here of maybe 300Gr red to orange colour.. it works. Just when you make the bath ready.. pulverise the realgar realy good, i use a farmacy mortar to grind. A big hammer does the job too . and piut the stuff in lime juice. I never put it on a filter.. let the fiber rot.. good for the acid value (PH). En my best tip.. let it stand for atleast a year... other wise it wont work properly... limjuce i white/yellowisch... i should become dark red to black sollution... you will know when you see it when its ready.

The pinkisch mineral, i have seen it. But never used it my self.. And dont know if its a mixture of compounds, or a seperate mineral, cant find anny info about it.

And finaly orpigment a other arsenic mineral yellow colour! As2S3. Never used it my self.. but hear diffent story's about it. The person that learned me.. never want to have it.. since it's not working...other people say otherwise..

reagrds Michel

Ps sterling arsenic is metal arsenic, of non use for us! just looks pretty for mineral collectors. But it wont react. You can make trioxide of it.. but it dangerous.. so i wont tell you more about this
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Old 12th August 2009, 07:18 AM   #21
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Very interesting information indeed... I think I have to sell the piece of 'sterling arsenic' since I am not a mineral collector
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Old 12th August 2009, 03:22 PM   #22
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Well, as i read through this post i notice a bit of conflicting information here. I am not going to get into a this is "wrong" and this is "right" argument because firstly that's subjective (some people really get results in ways that others don't i suppose) and secondly it's just plain counter-productive. But i will give my own advice and reasoning for how i do it and why i don't follow some of this other advice.
Lab grade arsenic tri-oxide does work best and it is the only method that will provide consistent results. This is because a gram of As2O3 is always the same exact strength each and every time, without any added impurities that might exist in all the various forms of realgar. The only disadvantage that i can see is that it is not always easy to obtain, but i managed to get a hold of some after only a few well placed phone calls, so don't give up if you want to try this. And yes, Michel, it would be in it's most potent form and therefore more deadly. My advice would be, don't stick it in you mouth and definitely don't shoot it in your veins and chances are good that you will be just fine.
Actually, i would have far more fear about grinding it up in a mortar & pestle, or even worse smashing it with a hammer with pieces flying everywhere as this is more likely to make particles airborne and therefore breathable. If you are grinding this stuff up i would strongly recommend that you wear a surgical mask.
Michel, if you really need to let your solution rest for an entire year before using i see this as another advantage to using As2O3. I usually let mine settle over night and it's good to go. And i am not sure that i can see how letting the pulp rot adds to your acid PH or if that is even necessary if it does.
For those who what to use realgar i wish we could come to some agreement as to what color is best, because we are all over the map here. I have heard that purple is best, red is best, pink is best, orange is best and yellow is best. Well, only one can be best. If i were planning on using the mineral form i would be very confused right now.
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Old 12th August 2009, 05:55 PM   #23
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Gents

For my sins I was once an aspiring Geologist. It was a long time ago but one thing about minerals sticks clearly in my mind. They differ in composition and colour a lot. If the relative amounts of arsenic to trace elements is important for the etch to work there is no saying that this will always be the same colour. Often other trace elements will alter the colour, sometimes a lot.
The result of this is that a good "etching " realgar may be red in one mine but may be yellow in another.

Regards
Roy
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Old 12th August 2009, 06:01 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royston
Gents

For my sins I was once an aspiring Geologist. It was a long time ago but one thing about minerals sticks clearly in my mind. They differ in composition and colour a lot. If the relative amounts of arsenic to trace elements is important for the etch to work there is no saying that this will always be the same colour. Often other trace elements will alter the colour, sometimes a lot.
The result of this is that a good "etching " realgar may be red in one mine but may be yellow in another.

Regards
Roy

Thanks for the geological perspective Roy. Makes sense. Also makes realgar even less predictable if you can't really count on the color as a guide.
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Old 12th August 2009, 07:55 PM   #25
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Maybe it is a stupid question, but I would like to know if (staining or etching) of wootz blades with arsenic may bring a good result? Is there anybody who has tried it?
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Old 12th August 2009, 11:09 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
Maybe it is a stupid question, but I would like to know if (staining or etching) of wootz blades with arsenic may bring a good result? Is there anybody who has tried it?

Admittedly i don't know much about wootz, but what causes the contrast in keris blades is usually the inclusion of nickel in the pamor material which doesn't blacken like the iron does. I don't think you will get that effect with wootz.
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Old 12th August 2009, 11:12 PM   #27
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This is a recounting of something I have seen, it is most definitely not any sort of recommendation for anybody to practice.

Before I met Pak Parman ( Empu Suparman) I had already been staining blades by use of several different methods, at that time I found the most effective to be the brushing method. Pak Parman introduced me to a different method that produces by far the best results of any method I have tried. I will not give any advice here, nor in writing, on how to use this method because it is has far greater potential for danger than any other method.

However --- when I was taught this method by Pak Parman, it started from buying the warangan and grinding it up to a powder.

This grinding was done in the mortar and pestle that his wife used in the kitchen to prepare food.

Admitted, Pak Parman placed a piece of plastic bag over the grinding surfaces of both mortar and pestle, but this plastic soon broke through, and the reason he used the plastic was not to prevent contamination of the kitchen utensils, but to prevent loss of too much of the warangan --- Javanese mortars and pestles are made from a very grainy volcanic rock that has a pock marked surface which retains some of whatever is ground in it.

Pak Parman lived into his mid-seventies, and his passing was due not to the effects of arsenic, but due to the effects of an even more deadly poison:- TOBACCO.

Arsenic has two faces.

Yes, we know it as a poison, but it has been used as a medicine since ancient times.

http://molinterv.aspetjournals.org/...ent/full/5/2/60

This article is worth the read.

The length of time that warangan or arsenic needs to be allowed to stand after mixing up the suspension depends upon the method used.

For both my preferred method, and for the brushing method, ten or fifteen minutes is usually sufficient, just enough time to allow the floating droplets of powder to sink to the bottom of the fluid.

If using the soak method it is necessary to allow the powder to sit for longer in the fluid.
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Old 14th August 2009, 04:06 AM   #28
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Alan,

This method your dont wanna get in to is called Nyek?
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Old 14th August 2009, 05:58 AM   #29
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Never heard it called that, but given the meaning of nyek, that would fit.
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Old 14th August 2009, 02:15 PM   #30
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Default NYEK AND KOLOH

Quote:
Originally Posted by kulbuntet
This method your dont wanna get in to is called Nyek?

Dear Kulbuntet,
If you stain your keris like the way you paint something with warangan -- with for instance, paint brush -- then this method is called "nyek" (the "e" spelled as vocal "e" in "church", and "k" consonant as spelled as ending consonant "g"). This method of "nyek" is very popular among keris traditionalist (old people in the past) in Yogyakarta area, for staining old kerises. The result is not contrast if you compare with "soaking method"...

The other method, called as "koloh" method. Soaking the blade in "blandongan" (special place for staining kerises). Koloh method vastly used among keris people in Solo, East Java, Madura, Bali. More complicated than "nyek" method, because you must master each character of the warangan liquid. "Warangan galak" (quick reacting warangan liquid) is not good for blades with "pamor sanak" (?). But is good for blades with "pamor byor" (contrast pamor, with pamor material such as nickel -- bright type of pamor). For blades with "pamor sanak" then it is better if you use "warangan nom" (very soft warangan with very slow reacting of blackening the blade). Some staining specialist in Solo, sometimes push the blade with inner part of fingers (this practice of course, is dangerous...) to push the sanak pamor...

If you choose the "nyek" method, then you simply crushed the warangan, mixed it with "air jeruk nipis" (squeezed lime liquid), then brushed the blade with warangan. Of course, you must first "mutih" (brushed the blade with lime liquid and cream soap many time, then brush and brush with lime liquid until "white" as if it is painted with "metalic paint"...)

The "koloh" method is not that simple. The first absolute thing to do is "mutih" your blade perfectly, then soak your blade in "blandongan" with warangan fluid... It will waste your time, and you will fail, if you don't do the "mutih" process perfectly

GANJAWULUNG
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