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Old 18th May 2020, 08:32 AM   #1
tanaruz
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Default LUMAD BAGOBO BOLO

My dear friends,

I've recently acquired this piece. It is a bolo kampilan from a lumad tribe in Mindanao. There's no handle; the blade was rusted and some issues on the scabbard.

But it is an old piece and I would like to have it restored.

1) is this a Bagobo bolo? without the handle, my only reference would be the scabbard's style (which is somewhat similar to a Bagobo bolo I have) and the cloth (scabbard's mouth).

2) issues: I soaked it overnight on white vinegar and in the morning, most of the rust just melted away- except for some areas on the blade (blackened areas) I was trying to distinguish if these spots are pitted areas, and yes, there's little pitting. But why is it the rust won't go away? what's best to remove this? would sanding help?

3) what handle design would fit this lovely piece have when it was pristine?

4) I have noticed that the tang is a bit short?

Thank you in advance and be safe

Yves
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Old 18th May 2020, 07:01 PM   #2
Sajen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanaruz
I've recently acquired this piece. It is a bolo kampilan from a lumad tribe in Mindanao. There's no handle; the blade was rusted and some issues on the scabbard.

But it is an old piece and I would like to have it restored.

1) is this a Bagobo bolo? without the handle, my only reference would be the scabbard's style (which is somewhat similar to a Bagobo bolo I have) and the cloth (scabbard's mouth).


Hello Yves,
I would say yes, it's a Bagobo bolo/kampilan. See attached pictures taken from other threads, not my ones.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanaruz
2) issues: I soaked it overnight on white vinegar and in the morning, most of the rust just melted away- except for some areas on the blade (blackened areas) I was trying to distinguish if these spots are pitted areas, and yes, there's little pitting. But why is it the rust won't go away? what's best to remove this? would sanding help?


It simple need a longer soak, there you will have later pitting I guess. When you sand it you will need to sand the complete blade, a time consuming undertaking, most of the time worth the effort.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tanaruz
3) what handle design would fit this lovely piece have when it was pristine?


Look again to the attached pictures, there will be other examples in older threads. But most Bagobo swords I've seen with such a scabbard have had handles like the shown examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanaruz
4) I have noticed that the tang is a bit short?


Indeed! But can't say something about this, never before I've seen a Bagobo sword without handle. Look the tang broken? A close-up?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 18th May 2020, 07:41 PM   #3
Marbel
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Default A vote for Blaan

Hello,
As noted, very hard to tell without the hilt. However here's a vote for Blaan.

Thank you,
Craig
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Old 18th May 2020, 08:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marbel
As noted, very hard to tell without the hilt. However here's a vote for Blaan.


Hello Craig,

I know that you collect Lumad blades and guess that you are better informed as I am, would you call the three above shown examples also Blaan swords?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 18th May 2020, 09:14 PM   #5
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Hello Detlef,
I would actually think of the pieces you've shown as Blaan. That being said, I think it's important to recognize that the sword itself and the scabbard are two different things and often have very different origins. One might also add the hilt as a seperate consideration as well. Due to trade, battles, repairs, inter-marriage, etc. these three elements of any piece might take on a mix-match appearance. The Tboli, Blaan and Bagobo (more knowledgable collectors may also include the Kalagan,Tagakaolo and others) all interacted and still do. The Tboli and Blaan very closely, similarly the Blaan and Bagobo. Each have very distinct and identifiable elements to their weapons and scabbards, however each often carry a blend as well. I have relatively little knowledge of the blades themselves and certainly many of these were Moro in origin. The hilts and scabbards offer more clues to me and these old photos, taken and notated in situ can offer unique insights. I think we're all relatively confident when we see a 'true' Bagobo piece with its specific hilt, scabbard and blade design. A distinct Tboli hilt and scabbard is hard to miss as well. For me, the distinctness of the Blaan is found in the scabbard and the elegant yet simple hilt.

I continue to look forward to learning more from my own research but especially from those who read this board and who have much more knowledge and experience than I do.
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Old 19th May 2020, 06:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marbel
Hello Detlef,
I would actually think of the pieces you've shown as Blaan. That being said, I think it's important to recognize that the sword itself and the scabbard are two different things and often have very different origins. One might also add the hilt as a seperate consideration as well. Due to trade, battles, repairs, inter-marriage, etc. these three elements of any piece might take on a mix-match appearance. The Tboli, Blaan and Bagobo (more knowledgable collectors may also include the Kalagan,Tagakaolo and others) all interacted and still do. The Tboli and Blaan very closely, similarly the Blaan and Bagobo. Each have very distinct and identifiable elements to their weapons and scabbards, however each often carry a blend as well. I have relatively little knowledge of the blades themselves and certainly many of these were Moro in origin. The hilts and scabbards offer more clues to me and these old photos, taken and notated in situ can offer unique insights. I think we're all relatively confident when we see a 'true' Bagobo piece with its specific hilt, scabbard and blade design. A distinct Tboli hilt and scabbard is hard to miss as well. For me, the distinctness of the Blaan is found in the scabbard and the elegant yet simple hilt.

I continue to look forward to learning more from my own research but especially from those who read this board and who have much more knowledge and experience than I do.
I think Craig has summed up the issues faced with identifying Lumad swords, There has been a lot of mixing of styles, and in addition to the points Craig raises one really needs to look too at the style and quality of the brass fittings, especially on the hilt; the presence of typical beads on the scabbard (a frequent indicator of Bagobo work); and the nature and designs of fabrics used on the scabbards. In regard to the latter, I think the book From the Rainbows Varied Hue, edited by Roy Hamilton, is a good reference for identifying the ikat, etc. of Moro and Lumad groups.
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Old 19th May 2020, 07:58 AM   #7
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I'd not over-clean the blade. Black rust is 'good' stable iron oxide, Fe3O4, and adds character & provenance. Red rust, Fe2O3, is the cancerous version that should be cleaned off. If any Black is loose, lightly sand or brush it off, in any case neutralize it with a baking soda solution after a vinegar etch. Then use a good oil on it, like Ballistol.
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Old 19th May 2020, 01:53 PM   #8
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Yves:

Your blade may well be T'boli based on the shape. Their tok, or more precisely kafilan, often have these shaped blades. If so, then you are in luck because the T'boli blades are generally very good and renowned for being well tempered, sharp and durable. The hilts on the swords shown in Detlef's post (#2) are most likely Tagakaolu/Kaolu or from a closely related group (e.g., Kalagan). Your incomplete scabbard is not typical of Bagobo work, and could well be B'laan (but hard to tell from the pictures).

The short tang is not necessarily broken. Close up pictures would help, but I think these relatively short tangs tend to be the norm. I've only disassembled a few Lumad hilts, so I really have no good idea of the length of their tangs.

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Old 19th May 2020, 05:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marbel
Hello Detlef,
I would actually think of the pieces you've shown as Blaan. That being said, I think it's important to recognize that the sword itself and the scabbard are two different things and often have very different origins. One might also add the hilt as a seperate consideration as well. Due to trade, battles, repairs, inter-marriage, etc. these three elements of any piece might take on a mix-match appearance. The Tboli, Blaan and Bagobo (more knowledgable collectors may also include the Kalagan,Tagakaolo and others) all interacted and still do. The Tboli and Blaan very closely, similarly the Blaan and Bagobo. Each have very distinct and identifiable elements to their weapons and scabbards, however each often carry a blend as well. I have relatively little knowledge of the blades themselves and certainly many of these were Moro in origin. The hilts and scabbards offer more clues to me and these old photos, taken and notated in situ can offer unique insights. I think we're all relatively confident when we see a 'true' Bagobo piece with its specific hilt, scabbard and blade design. A distinct Tboli hilt and scabbard is hard to miss as well. For me, the distinctness of the Blaan is found in the scabbard and the elegant yet simple hilt.

I continue to look forward to learning more from my own research but especially from those who read this board and who have much more knowledge and experience than I do.


Thank you Craig,

Like you I am still learning about Lumad blades and your remarks are a part of my learning!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 19th May 2020, 05:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
I'd not over-clean the blade. Black rust is 'good' stable iron oxide, Fe3O4, and adds character & provenance.


Hello Wayne,

I kindly disagree at this point with you, rust is oxidation and oxidation is always active. But you are correct, black corrosion is slow but still active. Therefore I would remove this rust spots. Like said, a longer bath in a vinegar solution will do the job.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 20th May 2020, 01:06 AM   #11
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I don't know Detlef, I kind of agree with Wayne. I have noticed that black oxidation is much more stable and have not had problems with it for years.

Now there is a point, however, that in order to get a proper etch for a pattern, you do have to remove the black oxidation as well.
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Old 21st May 2020, 07:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I don't know Detlef, I kind of agree with Wayne. I have noticed that black oxidation is much more stable and have not had problems with it for years.

Now there is a point, however, that in order to get a proper etch for a pattern, you do have to remove the black oxidation as well.


Hi Jose,

It's chemistry, iron oxidation is always active, like said before, black oxidation isn't very fast but still active. It's different as aluminium oxidation which built a protection against further oxidation.

A proper etch of the blade could be worthwhile.

Best regards,
Detlef
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