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Old 20th January 2020, 03:02 PM   #1
Anthony G.
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Default New method of making

The video link to youtube shown that a Balinese craftsman make a keris bilah using hammer in a mechanical structure (i do not know what it is called).

https://youtu.be/I9hchOnYets


Modern method of making? I saw mainland China sword smiths and Europeans using this kind of pouch hammer which is more productive.
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Old 20th January 2020, 04:56 PM   #2
thomas hauschild
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If your question is about the power hammer..this seems to be a so called Tire-hammer. There are several ideas around the world to build a hammer driven by electrical motor. They have all in common to use scrap-material for the frame and the weight for the hammer.

It was more interesting that this smith uses a can of thin material to put something in . I think metorite chips ? You can use nickel from the outer case of nickel-cadmium-batteries for bright layers in pamor. Together with the chips it will be possible to create some bright layers starting with 5 layers as seen and fold it to the number of layers you want. Thin layers of nickel tends to move into the iron and creates an alloy. After folding into e.g. 100 layers these nickel layers will normaly unvisible due to the thickness but you will see it after etching due to the fact that the nickel will alloy the iron to a thicker layer with a higher percentage of nickel content.

Best Thomas
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Old 20th January 2020, 10:25 PM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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Anthony, as Thomas has said, power hammers of various types are common. I was always going to build myself an "oliver":-

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/518265869590443461/

but it was just another thing that I never got around to. In fact, for blade smithing, I never really found any difficulty in handling anything I needed to do with hand hammers, 2lb, 4lb, 12lb. A power hammer is undoubtedly faster, but I feel that perhaps there might be more satisfaction in using a hand hammer.

If you have a striker, or better yet, a couple of strikers, both with 12lb hammers, there is absolutely no difficulty in handling pretty big material. You can't talk to a power hammer.

The materials that are being put into the little metal container are supposedly:-

mas = gold, perak = silver, tembaga = copper, kuningan = brass, timah putih = tin, timah hitam = lead, pamor meteorotik = meteoritic pamor

this is what somebody is reciting in the first scene where the materials are put into the little container.

A bit further along the smith inserts another couple of pieces of material in between the folds, and these are supposedly :-

1) besi = iron,

2) "satu set patrun" = "one set pattern" = "a pattern set" = the material he made by putting all those little bits of various metals into the container then welding.

3) nekel = nickel

4) pamor meteoritik = meteoritic pamor

I have used the word "supposedly" because the materials he put into that little round container at the very beginning are simply unbelievable. I think this is just showmanship and B/S.

Somewhere during that film I think I heard the word "perunggu" too, and this is also totally unbelievable.

The man working is clearly an experienced smith, the material he is using is clean, the welding temperatures are correct, but I do not believe one word of the materials used --- and a few other things too.


Towards the end the smith refers to the number of layers of pamor, I forget exactly what he said, but something like thousands of layers.

A lot of pamor layers, or damascus layers, sounds really impressive, and obviously raises prices. We need to understand what all those layers actually mean.

The normal number of nominal layers for pamor made in the Solo style is 128, but this does not mean 128 welds, pamor layers increase geometrically, for example:- one weld = one layer, two welds = two layers, three welds = four layers, four welds = 8 layers, five welds = sixteen layers, six welds = thirty two layers > 7 = 64, 8 = 128. Incidentally, 8 is a very good number, it is the number of the Naga in the Candra Sengkala, so 8 welds starts you off on the right foot for powerful keris before you do anything else.

So 8 welds produces 128 layers of pamor.

So when a smith , or anybody else, talks about "thousands of layers", that does not mean "thousands of welds". Work it out for yourself, it is much quicker if you start with a stack of, say, five or six pieces of nickel sandwiched between pieces of iron or mild steel:-

1 weld = 6 layers, 2 welds = 12 layers, 3 welds = 24 layers --- and so on. Doesn't take long to get up to thousands of layers.


Thomas
You have commented that:-

" Thin layers of nickel tends to move into the iron and creates an alloy."

I am no longer working, but I did carry on blade smithing work as a side job between 1980 and about 2000. During this period I made a lot of mechanical damascus, mechanical damascus with nickel inclusion, and straight-out pamor.

I sold completed damascus & nickel damascus blade blanks to other makers, I sold billets of both kinds of damascus, as well as billets of pamor to other makers. I made completed Western style and Indo-Persian style blades and I made keris blades.

When I used nickel, it was always very pure commercially produced nickel, probably from Germany. Before welding the nickel with the iron or mild steel I would invariable forge it as thin as possible, the objective being to "be able to read a newspaper through it" (not really, but to the point where it could not be forged any thinner).

I never encountered the result of the nickel forming an alloy with the iron or mild steel.

A couple of times I made some pamor material that I intended to have the appearance of old-style pamor. I used material that I knew to be hot short, I did not clean it before using it, I welded the nickel in from the first fold, then ran it through the cleaning, which would have been something in excess of 7 folds/welds to the point where there were no sparks at weld heat.

What happens with hot short material when you take it to weld heat is that it breaks up like cottage cheese under the hammer, so you need to take the first few welds very gently. Now, under these conditions one would think that the nickel might in fact become an alloy with the iron, but that was not the case, what happened was the lines of nickel still remained, but became very thin and fractured. I cannot understand how it is possible for nickel to disappear into the iron/mild steel.
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Old 21st January 2020, 03:25 AM   #4
Anthony G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas hauschild
If your question is about the power hammer..this seems to be a so called Tire-hammer. There are several ideas around the world to build a hammer driven by electrical motor. They have all in common to use scrap-material for the frame and the weight for the hammer.

It was more interesting that this smith uses a can of thin material to put something in . I think metorite chips ? You can use nickel from the outer case of nickel-cadmium-batteries for bright layers in pamor. Together with the chips it will be possible to create some bright layers starting with 5 layers as seen and fold it to the number of layers you want. Thin layers of nickel tends to move into the iron and creates an alloy. After folding into e.g. 100 layers these nickel layers will normaly unvisible due to the thickness but you will see it after etching due to the fact that the nickel will alloy the iron to a thicker layer with a higher percentage of nickel content.

Best Thomas


Good info, I always ponder why he puts 'things' into that thin can. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 21st January 2020, 03:46 AM   #5
A. G. Maisey
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Using an envelope --- ie, the "thin can" --- is an accepted way of welding a lot of small bits and pieces into one piece of material. I've never used it, I dislike it because I feel it detracts from the integrity of the material. Some people like it because it makes the welding of small pieces of material easier.

The thing I cannot accept in this video is the supposed bits and pieces of stuff he intends to weld together. This pure bulldust.

Lead???!!!

Come on, pull the other one.
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Old 21st January 2020, 07:02 AM   #6
Anthony G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Anthony, as Thomas has said, power hammers of various types are common. I was always going to build myself an "oliver":-

https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/518265869590443461/

but it was just another thing that I never got around to. In fact, for blade smithing, I never really found any difficulty in handling anything I needed to do with hand hammers, 2lb, 4lb, 12lb. A power hammer is undoubtedly faster, but I feel that perhaps there might be more satisfaction in using a hand hammer.

If you have a striker, or better yet, a couple of strikers, both with 12lb hammers, there is absolutely no difficulty in handling pretty big material. You can't talk to a power hammer.

The materials that are being put into the little metal container are supposedly:-

mas = gold, perak = silver, tembaga = copper, kuningan = brass, timah putih = tin, timah hitam = lead, pamor meteorotik = meteoritic pamor

this is what somebody is reciting in the first scene where the materials are put into the little container.

A bit further along the smith inserts another couple of pieces of material in between the folds, and these are supposedly :-

1) besi = iron,

2) "satu set patrun" = "one set pattern" = "a pattern set" = the material he made by putting all those little bits of various metals into the container then welding.

3) nekel = nickel

4) pamor meteoritik = meteoritic pamor

I have used the word "supposedly" because the materials he put into that little round container at the very beginning are simply unbelievable. I think this is just showmanship and B/S.

Somewhere during that film I think I heard the word "perunggu" too, and this is also totally unbelievable.

The man working is clearly an experienced smith, the material he is using is clean, the welding temperatures are correct, but I do not believe one word of the materials used --- and a few other things too.


Towards the end the smith refers to the number of layers of pamor, I forget exactly what he said, but something like thousands of layers.

A lot of pamor layers, or damascus layers, sounds really impressive, and obviously raises prices. We need to understand what all those layers actually mean.

The normal number of nominal layers for pamor made in the Solo style is 128, but this does not mean 128 welds, pamor layers increase geometrically, for example:- one weld = one layer, two welds = two layers, three welds = four layers, four welds = 8 layers, five welds = sixteen layers, six welds = thirty two layers > 7 = 64, 8 = 128. Incidentally, 8 is a very good number, it is the number of the Naga in the Candra Sengkala, so 8 welds starts you off on the right foot for powerful keris before you do anything else.

So 8 welds produces 128 layers of pamor.

So when a smith , or anybody else, talks about "thousands of layers", that does not mean "thousands of welds". Work it out for yourself, it is much quicker if you start with a stack of, say, five or six pieces of nickel sandwiched between pieces of iron or mild steel:-

1 weld = 6 layers, 2 welds = 12 layers, 3 welds = 24 layers --- and so on. Doesn't take long to get up to thousands of layers.


Thomas
You have commented that:-

" Thin layers of nickel tends to move into the iron and creates an alloy."

I am no longer working, but I did carry on blade smithing work as a side job between 1980 and about 2000. During this period I made a lot of mechanical damascus, mechanical damascus with nickel inclusion, and straight-out pamor.

I sold completed damascus & nickel damascus blade blanks to other makers, I sold billets of both kinds of damascus, as well as billets of pamor to other makers. I made completed Western style and Indo-Persian style blades and I made keris blades.

When I used nickel, it was always very pure commercially produced nickel, probably from Germany. Before welding the nickel with the iron or mild steel I would invariable forge it as thin as possible, the objective being to "be able to read a newspaper through it" (not really, but to the point where it could not be forged any thinner).

I never encountered the result of the nickel forming an alloy with the iron or mild steel.

A couple of times I made some pamor material that I intended to have the appearance of old-style pamor. I used material that I knew to be hot short, I did not clean it before using it, I welded the nickel in from the first fold, then ran it through the cleaning, which would have been something in excess of 7 folds/welds to the point where there were no sparks at weld heat.

What happens with hot short material when you take it to weld heat is that it breaks up like cottage cheese under the hammer, so you need to take the first few welds very gently. Now, under these conditions one would think that the nickel might in fact become an alloy with the iron, but that was not the case, what happened was the lines of nickel still remained, but became very thin and fractured. I cannot understand how it is possible for nickel to disappear into the iron/mild steel.



Dear Alan

Thanks so much for this detailed explanation. A good source for me to write inside my keris diary. However certain part I am lost and will re-organised my thoughts and seek your advice again.

Cheers
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Old 21st January 2020, 09:51 PM   #7
thomas hauschild
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A.G.

Maybe the looking of exposed nickellayers is more a feeling or a suggestion for me than a fact. I have also used often pure nickel for damascus ( outer layers with nickel, but with a hard core as an edge ) starting with 20 layers 2 mm carbon steel and 20 ( 19 of course ) of 0,1 mm nickel the first result was allways „thick black layers and thin white layers“. After doubling to a result of 40 black + 40 white the black looks like half thickness but the whites „seems“ to have the same thickness as before or seems to have a higher presence and the hole billet becomes now more white than before. After folding to 160 and then to 320 layers the layers of the nickel becomes more and more present and looks now as they have the same thickness as the black steel. I saw some microscope pictures and yes indeed the nickel was really thin and you saw thick carbon steel layers. Visual the nickel looks more present and wider than they realy are. I made a billet with above 2000 layers and it etched with no more optical visible layers it stays against acid like a 1% Nickelsteel. Under microscope the layers and a strong border between steel and nickel was clearly visible. To that time I had a good source to make some microscope investigations but I lost this source too early ( I worked in a plant for forged shafts for electrical power plants) I wanted to take a more detailed look weather there were really movement of nickel into the steel or if the nickel layer just looking wider than they are because the black steel was washed away by the acid. After your comment and thinking about I’m now interested again and I think the washout effect was the reason for the effects that I saw and you’re right.

Thanks and best regards Thomas
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Old 21st January 2020, 11:43 PM   #8
A. G. Maisey
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You have done a lot more playing around with this than I ever did Thomas. All I ever did was to make what I wanted, or needed, to make, and if the result was satisfactory, which it nearly always was, I let it go at that.

My comments relate to a finished blade, which of course is always etched & stained, and because a blade will always have angled faces, the nickel itself will always appear to be wider than it really is. If you just forge a flat faced billet, the nickel will look very thin.

My working method was very simple, I did not use stacks of material, usually just two pieces of +/- 1cm - 2cm thick ferric material with a paper thin piece of nickel between. Occasionally I used two or more of these already welded little billets to make a small stack, but working alone without a striker and without a power hammer, it was faster and easier to use small billets.
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Old 22nd January 2020, 07:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

My working method was very simple, I did not use stacks of material, usually just two pieces of +/- 1cm - 2cm thick ferric material with a paper thin piece of nickel between.


Alan, when working without a striker and without a power hammer, how many hours of work would it have taken you to get a calon from these three pieces?
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Old 22nd January 2020, 08:17 AM   #10
A. G. Maisey
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Forget the idea of "three pieces", just focus on time to make a forging from which a keris can be carved.

The bulk of time to make a keris with a plain mlumah pamor is in the carving.

Go here:-

http://www.kerisattosanaji.com/PBXIImaisey3.html

This keris was made 100% in Australia, at Wentworthville, I used a coke forge, I worked completely alone, no striker, no power hammer.

It was carved completely with manual tools, no electric tools.

It is not a mlumah pamor, I made a mlumah pamor then turned it side on so the central portion of the blade face is adeg, so there is a bit more forge time in it than if I had left it as a wos wutah.

Total working time was 16 days, at 6 and 8 hour days, say, +/- 110 to 120 manhours.

I do not recall exactly how long the forge time took, but it was probably about 3 days, give or take a bit. It is a normal, full size keris.


For comparison, this one:-

http://www.kerisattosanaji.com/PBXIImaisey2.html

was forged in Solo, working with two strikers, it took 3 days of forge work with two strikers, so 9 mandays. It was forged on charcoal, they were not 8 hour days, more like 6 hour days, or less. It is half size keris, and it is a manipulated (twisted) pamor.

I carved it in Australia, again, only manual tools, no electric tools, total working time was +/- 40 carving days + 9 mandays forging, total 49 mandays.
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Old 22nd January 2020, 09:09 AM   #11
Jean
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When you think that a full and good quality old kris is sold for about 100$ at some international auctions, I find that it is a shame for the makers, I admire them very much but most people cannot appreciate this exceptional work!
Regards

Last edited by Jean : 22nd January 2020 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 22nd January 2020, 10:33 AM   #12
A. G. Maisey
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Jean, it takes less time for a current era maker to make keris than it took me.

The first real keris I made was under the supervision of Empu Suparman. That took a total of 2 days to forge using two strikers, I did not weld this keris, a local smith was engaged for the forge work, I worked as one of his strikers, so , 3 men, 2 days = 6 man days to forge, then it took me 16 days to carve.

Empu Suparman could carve a keris using only hand tools, no electric tools, in 12 to 14 days.

At the present time every single current era maker that I know, or know of, uses electric tools, with only the finishing touches done with manual tools.

True, keris makers are not richly rewarded, but compared with, let us say, a mechanical fitter or bus driver or a village pande living and working in Central Jawa, they do not fare too badly. If they become well known and their work becomes popular, they can do very, very well indeed.
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