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Old 22nd October 2020, 08:59 AM   #1
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Default Janggelan Hilt

It has been quiet so I thought I would post this very worn keris and see what the group has to say. It was in very bad condition so I have been using it to learn about restoration of keris. I know very little about the blade. The hilt I believe to be a well carved and deeply cracked Jangelan hilt made of a black horn. Is the motif at the base of the hilt considered to be a tumpal even though it is a rounded shape? At the top on each side there a design that reminds me of a scorpion. I do not know if the selut (angkup randu) and mendak are original to the hilt or if the blade belongs to the hilt assembly.

The wrangka is ladrang style made of timoho wood. Thanks to the holes in the wrangka it can be seen the color goes through the piece and was not painted on. There is a "74" written in ink on the back of the gandar. It was dry and cracked through in several places. The larger splits were filled with wood glue and clamped. The incomplete splits were shored up with cyanoacrylate.

The hilt and wrangka were treated with many coats of raw linseed. the blade was rubbed with a mixture of mineral oil and sandalwood. The hilt cracks did not close up but seem to have stabilized.

Should the blade undergo a vinegar soak and a complete clean or is it more correct for it to be left as is? Any other thoughts, comments, or insights would be appreciated.

I will load the most current photos first.
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Old 22nd October 2020, 09:07 AM   #2
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Default Before and during the repairs.

Before pictures. The glue up. And a picture of the "74."
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Old 22nd October 2020, 10:55 PM   #3
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Not a real bad keris IP, and totally capable of a satisfactory restoration.

It seems you have already attacked the restoration of the scabbard so read what I will write as advice for future projects.

The best adhesive to use on keris scabbards is 5 minute epoxy. Where it is necessary to clamp a glue job old nylon stockings work very well, cords and similar tend to bruise the timber. PVA glues should be avoided, the residue is not friendly to ferric material. Where a glued joint cannot be made invisible, make it a visible natural feature of the wood by tinting with artists colour powder, burnt umber will satisfy most requirements.

Where it has been necessary to carry out extensive repairs involving glued joints, an oil finish is not a good idea, over time the oil penetrates the wood and weakens the joint. A good finish is Danish oil or similar, which dries into a polymer, the glossy finish can be dulled down by careful use of 0000 steel wool. I used to have a lot of liking for hand rubbed oil finishes, I learnt how to do a London oil finish for rifle stocks when I was still a little kid. For firearms used in the foggy Scottish Highlands I reckon a hand rubbed oil finish would probably be the very best finish you could use, especially when that 12G is out every day, but for nearly everything else there are much better finishes available now. One big problem with a hand rubbed oil finish for a keris scabbard is that it has a tendency to generate mildew, not nice if you oil something, put it away safely, take it out 6 months later and you're faced with mildew.

Holes like the one in the side of this gandar can be remedied by building up with layers of paper-thin wood --- best material is slivers of bamboo --- and tinted epoxy resin. An easier fix, and the one most used in Jawa is to fit a pendok. A very large number of really sexy looking dress keris have absolutely appalling gandars under those gem studded pendoks --- the ordinary everyday kerises in constant use are even worse.

The hilt:- are you sure it is horn? This type of hilt when black is usually one of the ebonys, and ebony can be pretty susceptible to cracking. It is probably not repairable, but judicious long term application of hand-rubbed medicinal paraffin can assist in preventing it from getting worse.

The motif I can see which looks like a sort of bow cannot be classified as a tumpal motif.

The selut is not angkup randu, it is just a selut, not at all unusual in this type of hilt, the mendak is angkup randu, and because it is without any ornamentation it can be classified as "Angkup Randhu Polos", angkup randhu translates as "unopened bud of kapok", "polos" means "plain, unadorned".

The photos are not good enough nor large enough for me to be too certain about the blade, but on what I can see, it looks pretty OK, certainly worth a careful cleaning, as has often been detailed in this Forum.
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Old 23rd October 2020, 02:42 AM   #4
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While somewhat similar in shape, i am not sure that this hilt form you show can be classified as Janggelan. Maybe others have a different opinion.
Here is an excellent thread to show collections of janggelan hilts.
http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14425
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Old 23rd October 2020, 04:36 AM   #5
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David, 40 or 50 years ago I think I might have agreed with you that this hilt form is not really a janggelan, but then, I would not have had any other Indonesian name to to give it. However, in recent years it seems to me that most people do currently refer to this form as janggelan, and again, I do not know another name for it. Personally I'm happy enough to go with the flow on this one.
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Old 23rd October 2020, 07:04 AM   #6
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Alan and David thank you for your time and input

Mr. Maisey thanks for the tips I will put them into my arsenal. Attached to this reply are better quality photos of the blade I hope. I grew up in a temperate area that was said to remind the highlanders of their home so I guess that may be the reason I was taught rubbed oil finishes originally. I remember the mildew that guns would get if they weren't taken out of the cabinets and cleaned regularly. Now I live in an area that has a climate close to the Gibson desert of Australia, except maybe its slightly drier and a colder winter here. When I build a display as continue the home remodel I have been planning to include humidor like features.
The hilt being horn was speculation on how the inside looked when I originally disassembled it. The inside has a lighter washed out look that went away with rehydration. Originally I thought it was ebony and will defer to your expertise on the subject. I have been following the instructions of an old thread and diligently applying raw linseed to the hilt (and everything else i own due to the dryness here) Will the paraffin work more effectively?

David thanks for the clarification. I identified the hilt using old threads.
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Old 23rd October 2020, 09:05 AM   #7
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Don't defer to anything IP, test the hilt:- use a very thin panel pin --- a lot of people use a needle, I don't because what you will do will ruin a needle, a panel pin costs next to nothing and you can throw it away. Grip the head of the panel pin with pliers and heat to point to red, stick that red hot pin into a hidden part of the hilt , maybe inside the tang hole, is the smell like burnt hair or like burnt wood?

As to what oil you use, I used to use linseed boiled and unboiled, for lots of things, these days I use it less. For horn I like medicinal paraffin. Other things are good too, like lanolin or lanolin based leather conditioners, but paraffin is cheap, easy to get, easy to use, works well.

Yeah, spend time on the blade, it is worth it.
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Old 24th October 2020, 08:56 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=David]While somewhat similar in shape, i am not sure that this hilt form you show can be classified as Janggelan. Maybe others have a different opinion.

According to several authors, a janggelan hilt is described as having the shape of a pine cone or corn cob, so I would not classify this one as janggelan type but just floral, but it is only my opinion.
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Old 24th October 2020, 12:26 PM   #9
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You're right Jean, "janggelan" does mean "like a corn cob", but it also means "like the bones in a horse's tail bone" , yes, I know that a horse's tail is all long hair, but that hair grows from flesh supported by a tail bone, not unlike a human tail bone.

The reason that in East Jawa these rather tubular hilts are called janggelan is because of the texture of the hilt, both a corn cob and the bones from a horse's tail bone display grooves and channels, sometimes quite close in appearance to a corn cob after it has been stripped of seeds, sometimes with deep relief that we can see reflected in some of the carving found on these tubular janggelans.

In fact, there is not just a single type of janggelan, for example, those roughly triangular shaped Madura bird hilts are also janggelan hilts, they call them "Janggelan Bangau" in East Jawa, "bangau" is a kind of egret. All these variations have names, but I don't know them all.

I did not get this name "janggelan" from any book, it is the name that a m'ranggi in Solo whom I knew very well gave them, and also a Solo tukang jejeran used the same name for them, and people in Malang & Surabaya whom I have bought from also used this name.

I do not know any other name for this hilt style.

There is a very good book on hilts that was written by a gentleman whose name I have forgotten, his second name is Wiryadi I think. This man is from East Jawa and my memory is that he was introduced to keris collecting by his father in law, a Mr. Gondomono, who was very famous keris collector. This Mr. Gondomono, I believe, is the same Mr. Gondomono whom I met in Malang many years ago, I think he was a tailor(?) and I believe he had a special interest in Madura keris.

Anyway, this book written by Mr. Wiryadi might be worth looking at, because I'm pretty sure it extends the name "janggelan" to hilts other than the well known corn cob style. I've lent my copy to friend and cannot check it myself at the moment.

I actually do not have a carved-in-stone opinion on the correct name for this type of hilt, but until I do develop such an opinion, I think I'll follow the lead of the numerous people whom I have met who know more than I do on this particular subject.
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Old 24th October 2020, 03:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Anyway, this book written by Mr. Wiryadi might be worth looking at, because I'm pretty sure it extends the name "janggelan" to hilts other than the well known corn cob style. I've lent my copy to friend and cannot check it myself at the moment.


Thank you Alan, I don't know this hilt book, but if you have the references of the publisher, please advise. I admit that my references are mostly Western authors and they tend to copy each other.
Regards
PS: I found the book: "The beauty of kris hilt", from the collection of Aswin Wiryadi, and written by Toni Junus. I may have seen some pics of it and was not convinced to buy it, any other opinion?

Last edited by Jean : 24th October 2020 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 24th October 2020, 09:08 PM   #11
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I suppose it could have been written by Toni Junus, I do not have it at the moment and I cannot recall all the details, if in fact I ever read them.

However, it does have the Wiriyadi name on the cover, if Junus wrote the text my guess is that Wiryadi supplied the hilts from his own collection, along with notes, and then Junus turned it into text, he probably would have needed to do some on-the-ground research too I reckon.

It is a very well produced book, high quality photography and printing, I think it is in English and BI --- I really cannot recall what language it is written in, I've perused this book, but have not read it in detail and made notes. If the binding was done in Indonesia it is likely to become loose (ie, "shaken") pretty quickly.

There are not an enormous number of hilts shown in this book, but what hilts are shown are very good examples.

I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anybody with an interest in the subject.

I cannot supply publisher's detail at the moment because I do not have the book at hand at the moment, I'll see if I can get those details later today.

EDIT

Jean, the book details as requested:-

"Persona Hulu Keris/The Beauty of Kris Hilt"
From the collection of Aswin Wirjadi
Parallel text:- Bahasa Indonesia/English
Publisher:- PT Indonesia Kebanggaanku,Gedung Caraka,
Jln. Nangka - TB, Simatupang Kav.7, Jakarta 12530
ISBN 978-979-25-2533-5

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 25th October 2020 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Book Details
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Old 25th October 2020, 03:04 PM   #12
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Thank you Alan, and it seems that I may have had a wrong impression about this book ("picture book") when it was published....
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Old 25th October 2020, 08:37 PM   #13
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Yeah, not just a picture book Jean, it is reasonably heavy on text, but as I said, I haven't read it yet, I've flicked through it a couple of times though, and I feel it might be worth reading, which I will do when I have nothing else to do.
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:13 PM   #14
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I hope this post finds all our forum members well.

So I have been reading Tammens' first book and as always a different source has led to enlightenment and confusion. On page 148 there is a picture of a very similar hilt labeled Nunggak Semi Java. When I searched it in the Forum it seemed to often be used to refer to Planar style hilts. Is Nunggak a generic term for a Javanese hilt or is there a more specific meaning?

The second question is for our more gifted linguists who read Dutch and have read Tammens. Is the English translation parallel to the Dutch or a synopsis that leaves out many details?

Thanks for anyone who can help my candle shine under a bushel.
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Old 11th January 2021, 03:14 PM   #15
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The kris books from Ir Tammens (PBUH) are a highly reputed reference source especially in the NL but not exempt from mistakes or confusions as nobody is perfect.
AFAIK Nunggak Semi or Tunggak Semi means "sprouting tree trunk" or "stump with a new sprout" and depicts the standard planar hilts from Central Java or East Java indeed.
Yes, the Dutch translation into English is correct in this case.
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Old 11th January 2021, 08:22 PM   #16
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I'm going to disagree with you Jean, and this disagreement is one that will put me in disagreement with many people.

Firstly, there is the name itself of this hilt.
It is variously rendered as "nunggak semi" and "tunggak semi". In Javanese "nunggak semi" means to have the same title as one's father and grandfather, the second meaning is to be stuck in one place, not to move forward, for example, a middle manager who made department head at 30, and retired from the same position at 55.

"Tunggak semi" means a tree stump with a new shoot; "tunggak" is "tree stump".

Now, in 1755 when Central Jawa was partitioned by the Dutch, agreement was reached between two divisions of the House of Mataram that each kraton would adopt a dress style that differed from the other. The mainline and original House of Mataram was located in the area of Solo at the Karaton Surakarta Hadiningrat, the new division of the House of Mataram that had been created by the Dutch overlords was located about 40 miles away, a few miles from the old site of the Karaton of the Second Kingdom of Mataram which had been at the village of Kota Gede.

This new location for the new kraton was named Ngayogyakarta (Ngayogyokerto), it was so named as a Javanese reference to the name "Ayodhya", the birth place of Rama, of Ramayana fame. This name was too difficult for the Dutch so they shortened it to Yogyakarta, which became Jogjakarta after Indonesian adoption of the English based spelling system to replace the Dutch based system, in 1972. Presently Jogjakarta gets abbreviated to "Jogja", most Javanese still refer to Jogja as Ngayogyakarta and abbreviate this to "Yogyo".

So, the new Kraton at Ngayogyakarta was indeed a "NEW SHOOT" from the "OLD STUMP" of Surakarta, and the name adopted for the new hilt style chosen by the Ngayogyakarta Kraton was "Tunggak Semi":- "a new shoot on an old stump".

Amongst keris people in Solo during the 1970's through to about year 2000, it was deemed to be somewhat insulting to refer to a Surakarta planar hilt as a "Tunggak Semi" hilt.

However, I note that at the present time our learned new generation applies the name "Tunggak Semi" to all planar hilts, no matter the form or the point of origin.

From the perspective of Surakarta tradition, this is not only wrong, but can be regarded as insulting.

In spite of recent events, the Surakarta line is still the original line of the House of Mataram.

EDIT

Oh yes, nearly forgot.

The hilt shown in Foto 18 of Tammens, is a North Coast Janggelan, it is also found in East Jawa and Madura.

It is most definitely not "nunggak" semi, nor is it tunggak semi, nor is it planar.

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Old 12th January 2021, 12:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
The kris books from Ir Tammens (PBUH) are a highly reputed reference source especially in the NL but not exempt from mistakes or confusions as nobody is perfect.

Yes, the Dutch translation into English is correct in this case.
Regards


Jean, no insult towards Tammens' scholarship was intended. I just noticed that the Dutch seemed to contain more text and that he seemed to reference previously mentioned anecdotes I couldn't find. It made me wonder what I was missing. Thank you for answering and putting my mind at ease. No more FOMO.

Alan, thanks as always for a thoughtful explanation. I learn a lot from your and Jean's discussions. I had hoped I had found a neat answer to the inadequacies of the jangallan name, and then with a bit of searching the forum my hopes were dashed.

In late northern hemisphere spring or whenever the next big shutdown happens I should get a chance to give the op blade a good cleaning and possibly a stain to see what it really look like, as recommended earlier.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party
Jean, no insult towards Tammens' scholarship was intended.


Of course I also did not intend to insult Tammens's work, I consider him as a great Western master and pioneer for kris collectors
And my reply applied to the translation of the hilt description only, not the other texts.
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Old 12th January 2021, 12:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
I'm going to disagree with you Jean, and this disagreement is one that will put me in disagreement with many people.

Firstly, there is the name itself of this hilt.
It is variously rendered as "nunggak semi" and "tunggak semi". In Javanese "nunggak semi" means to have the same title as one's father and grandfather, the second meaning is to be stuck in one place, not to move forward, for example, a middle manager who made department head at 30, and retired from the same position at 55.

"Tunggak semi" means a tree stump with a new shoot; "tunggak" is "tree stump".



Thank you for the clarification Alan (you already mentioned it to me earlier), as I said nobody is perfect, but what matters is that the identification of the hilt in question was not correct.
Regards
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Old 12th January 2021, 08:36 PM   #20
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Yes Jean, I did touch on this area previously, but just so I can understand that we're both on the same page:-

1) the name Tunggak Semi must only be used for planar hilts of the Jogjakarta style, it should not be used for Surakarta hilts nor for hilts from any other location other than Jogjakarta.

2) if the Jogjakarta planar style of hilt is named as "Nunggak Semi", this is quite incorrect, it should be named as "Tunggak Semi".

3) Tammens made a mistake, probably just a typo and probably because he did not run his text through sufficient drafts & copy checks. It is an obvious & indisputable misnaming, it is no big deal. But Tammens compounded his error of mixing up names by rendering the Javanese name of a Jogjakarta hilt in an incorrect form. I don't really care that he mixed the names up, that's just lack of care, weariness, or a blank spot. The picture tells the story and the mixup and it is obvious. I don't care.
But I do care very much about this repeated and repeating widespread error in the naming of the Jogjakarta style of planar hilt. The correct name means something and carries a very clear message, use the incorrect name and that message is at the very least, diluted.

Points 1) & 2) above were my areas of disagreement, and in this disagreement I am reasonably certain that many people will disagree with me.

Be that as it may, my attitudes in this matter were formed 40 years ago by a number of old men who lived in Surakarta. If I'm wrong, they were wrong, & frankly I very much doubt that they were.

To some people living in Surakarta during the 1980's to apply the term "Tunggak Semi" to a Surakarta hilt was insulting, and in the case of one gentleman whom I knew quite well, it was sufficient to cause him to fly into a temper tantrum, foam at the corners of his mouth and all.

To this man (& others) calling a Surakarta hilt "Tunggak Semi" was tantamount to inferring that Surakarta was the junior branch of the House of Mataram, or at the very least, it was on an equal footing with Jogjakarta, when in their hearts these men knew that Jogjakarta was an artificial creation of the hated Dutch, and was to be only tolerated at best.

This deep seated feeling of these men was made even more bitter by the status accorded to Jogjakarta in the new country of Indonesia. Quite simply they felt that insult after insult was being heaped upon them.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
David, 40 or 50 years ago I think I might have agreed with you that this hilt form is not really a janggelan, but then, I would not have had any other Indonesian name to to give it. However, in recent years it seems to me that most people do currently refer to this form as janggelan, and again, I do not know another name for it. Personally I'm happy enough to go with the flow on this one.


Not only in "Persona Hulu Keris" is this hilt style described as janggelan, also in other books like in Suhartono Rahardjos "ragam Hulu Keris" is this style described as janggelan.

I also have some hilts of this style in my collection. Like Alan I guess that the hilt from IP is from ebony, I've never seen one from horn.

I am the only one who see by this particular janggelan style a "floral face" by some of them?
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:27 PM   #22
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Yeah, it is possible to see a face in some of them, and again, yeah, other published sources do call them janggelan.

Personally, I'd like a different name for them, but I've never heard one.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean
PS: I found the book: "The beauty of kris hilt", from the collection of Aswin Wiryadi, and written by Toni Junus. I may have seen some pics of it and was not convinced to buy it, any other opinion?


I have this book, like Alan I've only read diagonal, it's bilingual, bahasa Indonesia/english, a lot of text and a very nice collection of keris hilts. Worth buying IMVHO.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party
The hilt cracks did not close up but seem to have stabilized.


I've closed cracks in hilts successfully with a long bath in linseed oil and let drying again, even ivory!
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Old 13th January 2021, 12:10 AM   #25
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Around 50 years ago I bought a Balinese carving from Makassar ebony in a shop on Queensland's Gold Coast, it is about a 5" cube. I got it cheap because it had a long crack that at its widest was about 5/16ths of an inch.

I soaked this carving in boiled linseed for an extended period, I forget how long, but I waited until the crack had closed.

That crack is still closed.
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Old 13th January 2021, 12:46 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen

I am the only one who see by this particular janggelan style a "floral face" by some of them?



YES!!! It has haunted me because I can find no reference to it. I snapped some pictures of these things a month or two ago but could not find a common thread in them that made a post i though was worthy of bringing before the group. I wanted to ask if they were ancestors related to the patra on planar hilts, Kala, or rasasaka peeping out of the forest. Though sometimes the figures remind me of arachnids.

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Old 13th January 2021, 12:50 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
I've closed cracks in hilts successfully with a long bath in linseed oil and let drying again, even ivory!


Thanks I wondered but was afraid to try a submersion. I will give it a try when I clean the blade this spring after it warms up. I also collected around a cup of pinyon pine resin to help reset some blades. My down time in the spring should be interesting if I make it that far.
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Old 13th January 2021, 02:08 AM   #28
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IP. we normally do not use any adhesive to fit a blade to a hilt, it is a pressure fit only, and has been for a very long time.

The exception is keris that might have been used as weapons, and occasionally we do come across an old blade that has been fixed to the hilt with jabung --- hard resin + wax + terracotta dust --- but very often this has been done because the pesi is residual and not sufficient to support a pressure fit.

I strongly recommend against any sort of permanent or semi permanent fixing of a hilt to a blade. Apart from anything else this will impact on value, some buyers will not buy a keris until they have seen the pesi.

The best material to use for a pressure fit is knitting wool.
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Old 13th January 2021, 04:09 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
IP. we normally do not use any adhesive to fit a blade to a hilt, it is a pressure fit only, and has been for a very long time.

The exception is keris that might have been used as weapons, and occasionally we do come across an old blade that has been fixed to the hilt with jabung --- hard resin + wax + terracotta dust --- but very often this has been done because the pesi is residual and not sufficient to support a pressure fit.

I strongly recommend against any sort of permanent or semi permanent fixing of a hilt to a blade. Apart from anything else this will impact on value, some buyers will not buy a keris until they have seen the pesi.

The best material to use for a pressure fit is knitting wool.


Sorry I should have been clearer the cutler resin is for non keris repairs.

Knitting wool for keris. I would not have thought about that. My bad writing has paid off again.
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Old 13th January 2021, 02:55 PM   #30
Jean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
I am the only one who see by this particular janggelan style a "floral face" by some of them?


No Sajen, I agree with you, and this is why some (mostly Western) people call them vegetation god... Nice collection by the way!
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