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Old 8th January 2018, 08:57 PM   #1
Green
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Default an old keris tok chu..but is it from the master?

There are plenty of keris claimed to be tok chu or tok chu style around and one can easily commission to make copies of tok chu style blades of various sizes over here in Kelantan.

I just bought this keris which looks quite old to me with badly damaged portion on one side . The workmanship did not look too refined to my untrained eyes but do show tok chu characteristics. I'm wondering if this came from the old master himself or just a copy made around his time? the handle is a mix and match and did not come with the blade.
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Old 9th January 2018, 12:23 AM   #2
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Green, this link may or may not help you with your question.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=tokchu
I am not at all convinced that anyone can really answer your question though. However, considering that you don't find the level of quality to be particularly high on this keris you may have answered your own question.
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Old 9th January 2018, 12:56 AM   #3
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Default Real Tok Chu - Less Magnetic

I have heard some old stories of the Genuine Tok Chu being less magnetic compared to other kerises

I am not sure how true is this story?

Maybe you can use a magnet to test your tok chu compared to other kerises?

Of cause, being made of some kind of steel, it would still be magnetic, but its level of magnetism would be similar to stainless steel, which is less magnetic than conventional high carbon steel.

Maybe try to use the old lodestone magnet, rather than the modern magnet.
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Old 9th January 2018, 04:14 AM   #4
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Thanks David for the link. Since I now know both Che gu Nasir and Ahmad Zhaini who are both well respected malay/patani keris experts... i may show this keris to them for their opinion. My guess is it is a tok chu style keris made for common people may be early 20th century....

Alexish;

that's the first time I heard about magnetic charateristics to identify tok chu keris. Do you know where idea this come from?
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Old 9th January 2018, 07:38 AM   #5
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Alexish;

that's the first time I heard about magnetic charateristics to identify tok chu keris. Do you know where idea this come from?[/QUOTE]

I actually got this idea from a keris dealer in Singapore (I don't want to name him). We were discussing about Tok Chu keris together with some other collectors/customers, and one of them brought up the subject of magnetism. Then we tried to test some old Tok Chu keris and other kerises with a compass. It appeared that the old Tok Chu kerises had less magnetsim compared to other kerises. Why don't you test and tell me the result?
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Old 9th January 2018, 03:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
Alexish;
that's the first time I heard about magnetic charateristics to identify tok chu keris. Do you know where idea this come from?


Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
I actually got this idea from a keris dealer in Singapore (I don't want to name him). We were discussing about Tok Chu keris together with some other collectors/customers, and one of them brought up the subject of magnetism. Then we tried to test some old Tok Chu keris and other kerises with a compass. It appeared that the old Tok Chu kerises had less magnetsim compared to other kerises. Why don't you test and tell me the result?

Many old keris i have collected over the years have displayed weak magnetic fields when brought near a compass. Then i touch them to a powerful magnet and their magnetic fields are instantly revitalized and strong again. I have some serious doubts that this method would be conclusive to determining whether a blade was actually made by Tok Chu or not.
Green, from the looks of your blade i would image it is either quite a bit older than early 20th century or it was intentionally aged. But the wear looks genuine. I'm not sure that actual age will confirm it to be definitely made by Tok Chu either. With the stories of Tok Chu we are dealing a lot with myth and legend. I am sure there are truths that stand behind the legend, but i am afraid that getting to them at this point in time can be quite difficult. The best thing you can probably do is ask yourself, does this look like the work of a renown and legendary keris master. Compare it to accepted Tok Chu keris of a similar form and make your own judgement. Though i would be curious what your keris ahli friends have to say on the matter.

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Old 9th January 2018, 06:43 PM   #7
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One aspect of blades that most seem to identify as Tok Chu aside from the wide girth of the blade is deeply carved features. That is not to say that your keris is not of the Tok Chu style, but given the level of erosion to the blade it is difficult to determine how it may have looked when new. Here are a couple of examples that i found on the internet. I seriously doubt either of these can be attributed to the legendary smith, but these seem to epitomize the form as i know it.
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Old 9th January 2018, 10:23 PM   #8
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I actually got this idea from a keris dealer in Singapore (I don't want to name him). We were discussing about Tok Chu keris together with some other collectors/customers, and one of them brought up the subject of magnetism. Then we tried to test some old Tok Chu keris and other kerises with a compass. It appeared that the old Tok Chu kerises had less magnetsim compared to other kerises. Why don't you test and tell me the result?
Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Many old keris i have collected over the years have displayed weak magnetic fields when brought near a compass. Then i touch them to a powerful magnet and their magnetic fields are instantly revitalized and strong again. I have some serious doubts that this method would be conclusive to determining whether a blade was actually made by Tok Chu or not.
Green, from the looks of your blade i would image it is either quite a bit older than early 20th century or it was intentionally aged. But the wear looks genuine. I'm not sure that actual age will confirm it to be definitely made by Tok Chu either. With the stories of Tok Chu we are dealing a lot with myth and legend. I am sure there are truths that stand behind the legend, but i am afraid that getting to them at this point in time can be quite difficult. The best thing you can probably do is ask yourself, does this look like the work of a renown and legendary keris master. Compare it to accepted Tok Chu keris of a similar form and make your own judgement. Though i would be curious what your keris ahli friends have to say on the matter.


But at least the magnetic compass method may confirm whether the keris is genuinely old or artificially aged.

Last edited by David : 9th January 2018 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 9th January 2018, 10:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
But at least the magnetic compass method may confirm whether the keris is genuinely old or artificially aged.

Not really. There is nothing that confirms that newly made keris have a greater magnetic field than older keris. I always charge my new keris by touching them to a powerful magnet regardless of their age. I don't believe anyone has done study that shows that keris begin life with a stronger magnetic charge and lose it over time.
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Old 10th January 2018, 12:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Not really. There is nothing that confirms that newly made keris have a greater magnetic field than older keris. I always charge my new keris by touching them to a powerful magnet regardless of their age. I don't believe anyone has done study that shows that keris begin life with a stronger magnetic charge and lose it over time.


What is the reason that you charge your new keris with a powerful magnet. Is there a mystical reason, or does it help to preserve the blade?
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Old 10th January 2018, 02:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexish
What is the reason that you charge your new keris with a powerful magnet. Is there a mystical reason, or does it help to preserve the blade?

If i told you i'd have to kill you.
But seriously, my reasons are purely personal. If they are mystical it is my own mystique, nit something derived from any arcane script or knowledge. As far as i know it serves no practical purpose such as blade preservation, but then, you never know.
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Old 10th January 2018, 03:13 AM   #12
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Polar alignment.
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Old 10th January 2018, 05:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
Thanks David for the link. Since I now know both Che gu Nasir and Ahmad Zhaini who are both well respected malay/patani keris experts... i may show this keris to them for their opinion. My guess is it is a tok chu style keris made for common people may be early 20th century....


Hi Green and everyone here in this forum. I'm Shieh from Malaysia, newly admitted member. I look forward to learn from and share with my fellow Keris enthusiasts here (it'll be more of the former rather than the latter I'm afraid).

Green, the Che'gu Nasir you mentioned is the Silat and weapons master from Kota Bharu?
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Old 10th January 2018, 01:54 PM   #14
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Hello gentlemen,

While I didn't do any study on the magnetic properties of the keris, I want to highlight that ANY ferous object has some degree of magnetism as it is directly generated by Earth's own magnetic field. You can test this by aproaching steel spoons, scisors, knives, watches, etc. to a compass.

Moreover, most mechanical processing mechanisms, whether through plastic deformation or throgh chip removing, produce additional magnetization of the ferrous materials.

Last, but not least, the magnetic properties of a metal are greatly influenced by its composition and crystalline structure.

So I do not believe that magnetic properties of a keris can be considered as an indicator of age or quality, unless they are scientifically assesed.
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Old 10th January 2018, 03:28 PM   #15
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Yes Marius, of course all iron is magnetic, but it can still exhibit a weak magnetic field (polarization). So many keris that i have personally handled only move the compass needle just slightly when approaching a compass. Being magnetic and being magnetized are two different things though. By applying a powerful magnet to the keris the blade is magnetized and now has a strong active north/south polarization. The blade become a magnet itself (it can now pick up a steel pin for instance).
Only Alexish made the suggestion that this might be used to judge the age of the blade, an idea he got from a dealer in Singapore. Dealers say a lot of things. I think most of us agree that this is unlikely.
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Old 10th January 2018, 06:32 PM   #16
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Smile Iron

Quite handy on a Binnacle.
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Old 10th January 2018, 07:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Quite handy on a Binnacle.

OK Rick, i'll bite...
What on Earth is THAT!
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Old 10th January 2018, 09:34 PM   #18
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Wink

Flyovers...

The Binnacle holds the compass on a ship.
The two iron balls help to keep it properly 'tuned' so to speak.
The red one is on the left or port side of the vessel; green is on the starboard or right side as are the running lights on said vessel.

My Old Man used to give me a lot of grief about it when I was a kid because channel bouys are marked the same way and if you make a mistake woe be upon you..

When you leave a harbor you leave the red bouys on the left side of the vessel; returning, you leave them on the right; thus red, right, returning.

I remembered it this way: Port wine is red, both Port and Left have 4 letters.

I love Port.
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Old 10th January 2018, 10:39 PM   #19
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I love Port.

Aye Aye Capt'n...but i prefer scotch.
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Old 11th January 2018, 02:07 AM   #20
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David;

The tok chu style pics you showed in #7 are almost certainly a very recent copies of tok chu blade and made in kelantan... they are easily found on sales here and we can even commission keris makers to make to whatever size you like. they show typical tok chu archetype but some keris 'esperts' over here claim there are at least a few more tok chu style/dhapur which to me look very different from this classic type.

Shieh

Welcome to the forum!
Yes that's che Gu nasir i mean ... a silat teacher from kelantan and one of the keris experts that sometimes are asked to be keris judge in keris competitions.. A rather moody character prone to giving philosophical advice and criticisms to his students on fb postings!

I did show this blade to him in private message and his comments is rather surprising and I'm in no way able to agree or contradict him because I simply don't know enough. Here's the translation of his comment:

" I am of the opinion that it is Alang Petani. To me this keris (type) is earlier than pandai saras. Many people disagree with me but i feel that this is the early design of keris patani, kelantan and pahang."
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Old 11th January 2018, 10:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
David;

The tok chu style pics you showed in #7 are almost certainly a very recent copies of tok chu blade and made in kelantan... they are easily found on sales here and we can even commission keris makers to make to whatever size you like. they show typical tok chu archetype but some keris 'esperts' over here claim there are at least a few more tok chu style/dhapur which to me look very different from this classic type.

Shieh

Welcome to the forum!
Yes that's che Gu nasir i mean ... a silat teacher from kelantan and one of the keris experts that sometimes are asked to be keris judge in keris competitions.. A rather moody character prone to giving philosophical advice and criticisms to his students on fb postings!

I did show this blade to him in private message and his comments is rather surprising and I'm in no way able to agree or contradict him because I simply don't know enough. Here's the translation of his comment:

" I am of the opinion that it is Alang Petani. To me this keris (type) is earlier than pandai saras. Many people disagree with me but i feel that this is the early design of keris patani, kelantan and pahang."


Good evening!

I know even less to state anything here regarding Chekgu Nasir's opinion of the blade in discussion. However, it runs counter to my impression of 'Alang Patani', which to my impression, Alang blades has always been narrow in relation to its width, and possess somewhat simpler dapur. To me, CG Nasir's opinion opens up an entire path of discovery on the Tok Chu form, an interesting prospect indeed. The challenge of this is that there is almost no old/original artifacts or documentation to substantiate, apart from anecdotal sources IMVHO. I stand corrected and am keen to learn more.
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Old 11th January 2018, 06:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green
David;

The tok chu style pics you showed in #7 are almost certainly a very recent copies of tok chu blade and made in kelantan... they are easily found on sales here and we can even commission keris makers to make to whatever size you like. they show typical tok chu archetype but some keris 'esperts' over here claim there are at least a few more tok chu style/dhapur which to me look very different from this classic type.

Yes Green, i am quite aware that these are indeed NOT keris actually made by Tok Chu. I only posted them to present a some clear examples of keris that display the features that i have come to understand as the Tok Chi "style" of keris. That is exactly what we were discussing in some depth in the thread i linked for you in my very first post here. I hope you found time to read through that. It was also stated there that some people in the area consider more than one style of keris to be attributed to Tok Chu and feel it is correct to use that name for all those styles regardless of how dissimilar their forms might be. In that linked thread i argue that it seems to be a rather confusing way to categorize keris if multiple, obviously different dhapurs are given the same exact name.
That said, i will reiterate that while your keris does seem to bear some resemblance to the form i understand as Tok Chu (and therefore might very well rightfully be called Keris Tok Chu), it would be quite impossible, without some well documented provenance of lineage, to say with any certainty that this blade was actually made by Tok Chu himself. Though like yourself, i am in no position to disagree with your local expert who seems to find a completely different designation for this blade.
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Old 11th January 2018, 06:43 PM   #23
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Green, here is another link about Tok Chu keris that you might find useful.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7618
One other point i might add to you initial question. My understanding (please correct me if wrong) is that Tok Chu was producing keris sometime around the end of the 19th century, so relatively not really that long ago. Your keris shows erosion and wear that if genuine would probably place it's origin before the time of Tok Chu. If anyone has any correction to this information on the era of Tok Chu i would appreciate it. My info comes only from "word of mouth".

Last edited by David : 11th January 2018 at 08:38 PM.
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