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Old 1st November 2022, 12:21 PM   #1
SidJ
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Default Warangan query

Hello
I have a query on traditional warangan application I hope you can help with. I can get quite a strong colour appear when brushing on the solution but when I rinse it under water the dark colour simply washes away and the blade is left bright silver again. Does anyone know why this is the case and why the colour does not stick and what I could do to address the problem? It is incredibly frustrating to say the least to experience elation at seeing pamor but then for crushing disappointment as it washes away under tap water! I am using an entirely traditional recipe and technique.
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Old 1st November 2022, 01:06 PM   #2
kai
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Please describe exactly what you do including any preparatory steps - otherwise it's next to impossible to comment!

Having said that, I guess you're utilizing realgar since you mention traditional recipes (of which there many). Quality of realgar does vary widely though!

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Kai
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Old 1st November 2022, 02:33 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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What Kai has said is true Sid, realgar varies widely, precisely the reason that I use laboratory quality white arsenic.

However, that said, staining a blade can be a very repetitive process.

This keris is one I made, it took me two full days to get this stain on it, it was done in Sydney, in Summer, partially in shade, partially in full sun.
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Old 1st November 2022, 03:36 PM   #4
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Thanks both
I think the realgar works as it makes the blade go black. My question is it normal for all the black to simply wash off after say 5 applications of warangan and revert to s silver state?
Should I be rinsing the blade after 2 or 3 applications by way of a brush and letting each get to a sticky state? Or should I keep applying coat after coat?
I dont have access to lab arsenic or it would be my first choice.
What about ferric or Nital? Can these be used? If not why not? Same principle I would have thought. Not sure if arsenic is an essential ingredient.
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Old 1st November 2022, 06:20 PM   #5
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I agree with Alan that sometimes staining requires a repetitive process to get the desired results. It is also my understanding that conditions of weather and temperature can have an effect on the process.
Is arsenic an "essential" ingredient? Not to see changes in the blade and raise the pamor. Certainly other methods to reveal pamor will work. However, i believe ti achieve what might be called the "proper" colour, arsenic is necessary.
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Old 1st November 2022, 09:41 PM   #6
A. G. Maisey
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Sid, it is a bit difficult to say what is "normal" & what is not, there are far too many variables, in my experience arsenic is necessary to make the ferric material turn black and leave the nickel as silver.

If all we want to do is to read the pamor, I think a vinegar stain is as good as anything, in some cases, maybe preferable to anything else.

Ferric chloride and hydrochloric (muriatic) acid both work to permit us to read a pattern but they do not give a nice deep blue-black.

Nital I've never tried.

The job does take repetition, and the blade must be back to clean white before beginning.

There is an additional step that is used sometimes by some people, but I am not prepared to put that up for all the world to see.

The actual number of times you need to apply the warangan varies, but it needs to be rubbed into the blade repeatedly until the point where the blade is very sticky, the amount of warangan solution that you put on the brush does not wet the blade, you use an old, worn soft toothbrush and you use it just damp, not dripping wet, work it back & forth on the blade repeatedly, test stickyness of the blade with a finger tip, when the blade adheres solidly to your finger tip, rinse, pat dry with a lint free cloth, dry both sides in the sun, then repeat --- five times or fifty times or 50 thousand times --- eventually you will have something that looks like it should.

Think of the whole process as a form of active meditation.

Incidentally, the first blade I ever stained when I was a kid was done with sulphur, salt & rice water, blade covered in a wet paste of this stuff, wrapped in sandwich wrap, left for a week, the result was more or less OK.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 1st November 2022 at 09:53 PM. Reason: afterthought
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Old 2nd November 2022, 10:42 PM   #7
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Apologies Sid, I have to insist: Please describe exactly what you do! (Including any preparatory steps and ingredients utilized.)

There is just too much which can go wrong for us to guess. As you experience, a bit of staining just doesn't cut it.

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Kai
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Old 6th November 2022, 02:36 AM   #8
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Hi Kai
I followed the exact steps Alan has outlined above after degreasing the blade and washing it with vinegar.
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Old 6th November 2022, 07:11 AM   #9
A. G. Maisey
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Sid, if you are doing exactly what is in my instructions, and you're not getting a stain, it might be because:-

1) you are not repeating the process enough times --- often staining is not a quick job, even with lab quality arsenic I put aside a full half day to complete the job, sometimes it might only take an hour or so, but other times it can take more than a day

2) weather conditions are unfavorable

3) the realgar is no good.
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Old 7th November 2022, 05:10 PM   #10
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Hi Alan
Thanks for your advice on the variables at play. Is there any way of working out if the realgar is good or not?
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Old 7th November 2022, 07:57 PM   #11
A. G. Maisey
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Yeah Sid, if correct process is used in staining a blade, and the blade does not stain, then the realgar is no good.

However, in your case this test has not yet been applied.

You wrote:-

"--- My question is it normal for all the black to simply wash off after say 5 applications of warangan and revert to s silver state?---"


5 applications?

are you working inside or outside?

pretty cold in UK at the moment

you need to work outside, you need a blue sky, you need no rain or heavy cloud, you need around +25C

you rinse gently, you pat dry, you follow up with sun dry

you work the warangan suspension in until the blade is REALLY sticky, your finger tips stick to it

5 applications until blade is sticky is not nearly enough, when I do it, I do not count how many applications of warangan until sticky, I just keep doing it until the colour takes, that can be several hours or more.

staining a blade can take bulk time
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