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Old 26th June 2018, 04:42 PM   #1
Anthony G.
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Default Balinese keris bilah color

Hi

I got this Balinese keris months ago and it looks like this 'green'. I can said that I itchy hand and test something on it and eventually the bilah turns metal (silver) color.

Can vinegar brings back the original color form? I try to use artificial vinegar but it does not works that well. Maybe I do the wrong way.

Also, I cannot find any answers on the net. Any idea why some Balinese keris bilah color are black and some are this color of mine?

Thanks
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Old 26th June 2018, 06:57 PM   #2
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony G.
Hi

I got this Balinese keris months ago and it looks like this 'green'. I can said that I itchy hand and test something on it and eventually the bilah turns metal (silver) color.

Can vinegar brings back the original color form? I try to use artificial vinegar but it does not works that well. Maybe I do the wrong way.

Also, I cannot find any answers on the net. Any idea why some Balinese keris bilah color are black and some are this color of mine?

Thanks

Anthony, it is difficult for me to see how green your blade appears from your photo. I do see a green tinge, but also know that color balance in digital photography can at times not portray true colors when you want them.
I must say that i had no idea what you mean by "artificial vinegar" so i googled it. Both seem to be acetic acid, but from different sources. I don't know what effect that might have on color though. To be safe you might want to stick to natural vinegar.
The reason your blade is not "black" is because the last stain has worn off over the years. This does not mean that it cannot be stained to a near black appearance if you clear and re-stain the blade. But a vinegar bath by itself will not restore a rich, dark color to the iron in your blade. For that you must use warangan (arsenic and lime juice) after the cleaning.
Staining Bali blades and getting something close to an original Bali treatment can be difficult even when you have warangan. Bali blades were also re-polished in the process so they generally don't have the rougher, more topographical surface that you find on properly maintained Javanese blades. That is why if i have an old Bali blade that has some decent remainder of original stain left on it i generally do not try to re-stain them as i would rather preserved that original stain. I can't really tell much from your one photo here, but it does not look like a significant amount of that original Bali stain is still there. So this might be a blade that you want to clean. But be aware that the vinegar alone will not really help produce a strong contrast with the pamor of your blade though it may still leave the pamor visible.
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Old 26th June 2018, 09:09 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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Anthony, I suggest that you mechanically re-polish ensure the re-polished blade is clean and free from grease, then try your vinegar bath, but only for a few hours at a time, you do not want to run any risk of creating a rough surface.

It is as David has said, it really needs to be correctly restained, and these days, that is not all that easy to get done for a Bali blade.
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Old 27th June 2018, 01:59 AM   #4
Anthony G.
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Thanks. I think I have to leave it as it is as for now because I have no experience in acid etching etc.

Please see detailed photo of the bilah color.
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Last edited by Anthony G. : 27th June 2018 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 27th June 2018, 11:15 AM   #5
kai
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Hello Anthony,

Quote:
Please see detailed photo of the bilah color.

Yes, it is a bit out of stain. Still, the pamor is visible and there is no urgent need for major restoration unless you prefer it.

I'd avoid using vinegar unless you're going for a full clean/re-stain. Vinegar tends to remove remnants of warangan and you end up with a "white" blade. If so, re-polish the blade as Alan suggests since longer exposure will dull the Balinese polish. After the blade is clean, rub on the warangan/lime juice.

If you thoroughly degrease a blade that shows remnants of warangan, and then soak the blade in lime juice (or fresh pineapple juice), the warangan often gets reactivated and the blade can come out with a stronger stain than it went in. As suggested by Alan, you want to monitor the process very closely as to avoid loosing the polish! I haven't tried the rubbing approach with such a blade - likely to be quite tedious, I guess.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 27th June 2018, 11:24 AM   #6
kai
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Hello David,

Quote:
I must say that i had no idea what you mean by "artificial vinegar" so i googled it. Both seem to be acetic acid, but from different sources. I don't know what effect that might have on color though. To be safe you might want to stick to natural vinegar.

Industrial acetic acid is perfectly fine (if you make sure the concentration is suitable - vinegar usually has around 5%). While the source (natural fermentation of alcohol vs. chemical factory) does not matter for cleaning, any kitchen vinegar with organic residues from the whole fermentation process (preferred for the added flavour) may complicate things.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 27th June 2018, 02:54 PM   #7
Seerp Visser
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Anthony,
Using the etchant or during etching, be very careful that in no way your etchant comes in contact with copper. This will immediately give a green shine on any piece of material you use the etchant on afterwards.
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Old 27th June 2018, 03:09 PM   #8
Anthony G.
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thank you all.
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