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Old 8th January 2021, 05:10 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default A big and very old pira for discussion

I was able to add a pira to the collection, it's a rather big sword with 79 cm overall and a blade from 50,5 cm, behind the handle is the blade 9,5 mm thick.
I think to see two blade repairs, see the pictures. The blade is rather pitted, sadly. Ferrule is from pinkish silver. The tip of the blade is thickened at the tip again, is this a common feature by pira blades?
Like usual, all comments are welcome!
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Old 8th January 2021, 05:31 PM   #2
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Cool

This thickening that you speak of Detlef is not present in the blade of my example which is almost identical to yours but a bit shorter at 27 inches overall.

Nice find; we don't see many of this form.
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Old 8th January 2021, 05:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
This thickening that you speak of Detlef is not present in the blade of my example which is almost identical to yours but a bit shorter at 27 inches overall.

Nice find; we don't see many of this form.


Thank you Rick! The thickening at the blades tip is one of the reasons to let me think that the blade is very old, it would be great to know how it is by other examples.
That we don't see many of them is the reason that they are so expensive! This are rare swords, we can be happy to own such a sword!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th January 2021, 07:06 PM   #4
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Hi Detlef, I think we have similar pieces. Mine has a blade length of 51.5cm, and 78cm overall. The tip is also thickened at the tip. Spine thickness at the base is 0.8cm. I'm not sure what the ferrule material is, but it has engravings. Posting a pic comparing it with a younger pira.
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Old 8th January 2021, 07:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix
Hi Detlef, I think we have similar pieces. Mine has a blade length of 51.5cm, and 78cm overall. The tip is also thickened at the tip. Spine thickness at the base is 0.8cm. I'm not sure what the ferrule material is, but it has engravings. Posting a pic comparing it with a younger pira.


Hi Xas, yes, they are indeed very similar, from measurements and from the appearance also. The thickened tip gives the blade an extra strengthening where it's needed. Nice blade condition, I am a little bit jealous!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th January 2021, 08:36 PM   #6
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Hello Detlef,

Congrats, that certainly is a nice example! I'd be very interested to see how this blade looks after etching (that will also help to analyze those 2 areas that you think may be repairs). I don't think the pitting distracts very much - it's certainly a good blade!

I have a really similar piece (with suasa ferrule) that is also thinner where the blade is wider and again thicker where narrowing towards the tip. I believe this is mainly due to forging a billet of relatively even thickness to different widths, something that can be seen with many SEA blades. I'm not convinced the thinness of the wide part has any important functional reason; one possibility would be to increase cutting ability near the sweet spot.

We certainly need more details from a wide variety of this traditional gasah/pira style. Since dating is difficult to begin with, establishing a reliable timeline might prove very tough.

Could you add more dimensions for your blade, please? Will also try this weekend.

Regards,
Kai

Last edited by kai : 9th January 2021 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 8th January 2021, 09:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Congrats, that certainly is a nice example! I'd be very interested to see how this blade looks after etching (that will also help to analyze those 2 areas that you think may be repairs). I don't think the pitting distracts very much - it's certainly a good blade!


Hello Kai,
Thank you! I'll work a little bit more at the blade before I try an etch. Will post some pics where the two areas are better visible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
I have a really similar piece (with suasa ferrule) that is also thinner where the blade is wider and again thicker where narrowing towards the tip. I believe this is mainly due to forging a billet of relatively even thickness to different widths, something that can be seen with many SEA blades. I'm not convinced the thinness of the wide part has an important functional reason; one possibility would be to increase cutting ability near the sweet spot.


I think that the thickened tip area gives the blade some more weight to the tip and strengthening to a possible weak area. Just my guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
We certainly need more details from a wide variety of this traditional gasah/pira style. Since dating is difficult to begin with, establishing a reliable timeline might prove very tough.


Indeed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Could you add more dimensions for your blade, please? Will also try this weekend.


Will try it tomorrow!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 8th January 2021, 09:46 PM   #8
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Here the picture.
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Old 9th January 2021, 08:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Hello Detlef,

... I'm not convinced the thinness of the wide part has an important functional reason; one possibility would be to increase cutting ability near the sweet spot.

...


I concurr, it's just adding weight to the tip to increase the cutting impact of the working area, much like the adding of a 'yelman' to the newer model shown in the thread.
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Old 9th January 2021, 11:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
I concurr, it's just adding weight to the tip to increase the cutting impact of the working area, much like the adding of a 'yelman' to the newer model shown in the thread.


Hello Wayne,

Yes, this will be the reason, it's logically. Second point will be the strengthing of a weak point IMVHO.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 9th January 2021, 04:55 PM   #11
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Hello all,

Is there anyone truly qualified to give some details on the actual use of the traditional gasah, especially moves commonly utilized during fighting?

IMNSHO, we need to get some genuine input before being able to reasonably discuss form & function.

As a guesstimate from handling, I'd suggest that the blade is optimized for cutting; poking with the tip is feasible though. In a way, it kinda resembles a barung with extended reach - possibly leaning more towards slashing than chopping compared to typical barung (however, the vast diversity of barung blades does not really allow for sweeping generalisations either).

Regards,
Kai
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Old 9th January 2021, 05:05 PM   #12
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Hello Detlef,

Quote:
Second point will be the strengthing of a weak point IMVHO.

Sure, even a slashing blade needs enough stability behind the edge near the tip since long distance cuts are likely being delivered with the tip of the blade.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 9th January 2021, 05:35 PM   #13
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Hello Wayne,

Quote:
I concurr, it's just adding weight to the tip to increase the cutting impact of the working area, much like the adding of a 'yelman' to the newer model shown in the thread.

I was trying to say that there doesn't seem to be any "added weight" with the traditional blades: I'd posit that the amount of metal behind the edge stays fairly constant (until for the very tip area, obviously).

Consider the bladesmith starting the final forging work with a billet of even width and thickness - probably quite close to the intended proportions at the future base of the blade. Then one starts to widen the blade by gradually forging out the edge: The wider the blade is forged, the thinner it gets; after the widest section, the back of the blade gets/stays thicker because the width is decreasing again. Only after the thickness is finally decreasing towards the very tip (and the width also being reduced towards the point, is there considerably less metal behind the edge...

If one were to (transversally) cut the blade into even slices (say, 10mm), each of them would weight (almost) the same if my observations are correct. It is possible that there is a bit of distal taper (actually quite inevitable if the bladesmith progresses from base towards the tip during forging) - often this seems to get overestimated though, especially when concentrating on the thickness along the back of a blade. The side profile can lead one astray as well. It really is important to see any blade as 3-dimensional object!

Regards,
Kai

Last edited by kai : 10th January 2021 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 9th January 2021, 09:34 PM   #14
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Default dimensions

Here some data for my example:

weight 634 g

707 mm total length
450 mm blade length
264 mm hilt length (89.2 mm grip length including 33.75 mm ferrule)

102 mm point of balance (from ferrule)

303 mm from upper base to bump at back of blade
154 mm from bump to tip

thickness at base of blade
back: 9.8 mm
"edge": 8.0 mm
width: 20.1 mm

thickness - 151.5 mm from base
back: 3.75 mm
39mm from edge: 3.4 mm
30mm from edge: 3.1 mm
20mm from edge: 2.5 mm
10mm from edge: 2.0 mm
width: 47.3 mm

thickness - 303 mm from base (bump at back of blade)
back: 1.9 mm
10mm from back: 2.1 mm
20mm from back: 2.3 mm
[concave surface]
39mm from edge: 2.2 mm
30mm from edge: 2.0 mm
20mm from edge: 1.85 mm
10mm from edge: 1.5 mm
width: 68.5 mm

thickness - 77 mm from tip
back: 2.75 mm
max near back: 3.15 mm
30mm from edge: 3.1 mm
20mm from edge: 2.9 mm
10mm from edge: 2.1 mm
width: 38.8 mm

blade thickness - 44 mm from tip (local maximum)
back: 3.2 mm
max near back: 3.45 mm
20mm from edge: 3.4 mm
10mm from edge: 2.4 mm
blade width: 25.3 mm
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Old 10th January 2021, 03:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Here some data for my example:

weight 634 g

707 mm total length
450 mm blade length
264 mm hilt length (89.2 mm grip length including 33.75 mm ferrule)

102 mm point of balance (from ferrule)

303 mm from upper base to bump at back of blade
154 mm from bump to tip

thickness at base of blade
back: 9.8 mm
"edge": 8.0 mm
width: 20.1 mm

thickness - 151.5 mm from base
back: 3.75 mm
39mm from edge: 3.4 mm
30mm from edge: 3.1 mm
20mm from edge: 2.5 mm
10mm from edge: 2.0 mm
width: 47.3 mm

thickness - 303 mm from base (bump at back of blade)
back: 1.9 mm
10mm from back: 2.1 mm
20mm from back: 2.3 mm
[concave surface]
39mm from edge: 2.2 mm
30mm from edge: 2.0 mm
20mm from edge: 1.85 mm
10mm from edge: 1.5 mm
width: 68.5 mm

thickness - 77 mm from tip
back: 2.75 mm
max near back: 3.15 mm
30mm from edge: 3.1 mm
20mm from edge: 2.9 mm
10mm from edge: 2.1 mm
width: 38.8 mm

blade thickness - 44 mm from tip (local maximum)
back: 3.2 mm
max near back: 3.45 mm
20mm from edge: 3.4 mm
10mm from edge: 2.4 mm
blade width: 25.3 mm


Hello Kai,

Fine that we have such detailed measurements from your example but a picture or two would be very useful also!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 10th January 2021, 03:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hello Kai,

Fine that we have such detailed measurements from your example but a picture or two would be very useful also!

Regards,
Detlef


I second Detlef's motion =)
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Old 10th January 2021, 03:52 PM   #17
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Here some more measurements from the pira in question, not so detailed but useful I guess.

Length overall: 790 mm
Blade length: 509 mm
Handle length: 280 mm
Length along spine from handle (base) until bump: 369 mm
Length bump until tip: 140 mm

Spine thickness:
Base: 10 mm
240 mm from base: 3 mm
Bump: 2,2 mm
approx. middle bump-tip: 3,3 mm
Tip: 1,7 mm

False edge behind handle: 8,8 mm

Weight: 750 gram

Point of balance is surprisingly at the same point as by the pira Kai own.

Last edited by Sajen : 11th January 2021 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:51 PM   #18
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Thumbs up

Thanks, Detlef!

Maybe the other forumites could also add data for their pieces, please?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:54 PM   #19
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Cool

BTW, I'll try to take pics of my example - too busy this week though...
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