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Old 24th August 2020, 03:27 PM   #1
xasterix
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Default Modern pira

Greetings everyone. Just sharing this newly-made pira from Ungkaya, Basilan. It's a difficult area to access even for the Yakan living in Isabela City. It was very much worth all the trouble though, as I believe it's the best modern pira sample I've ever seen and wielded. It's proof that the modern-day Bangsamoro pandays still have fire left in their beliies.

I also welcome the sharing of similar-looking modern or vintage pira by other forum members, as I'm curious what other samples Basilan has produced throughout the years.
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Old 24th August 2020, 03:36 PM   #2
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Purdy! Mongo Likes!
(What is a Mongo? Define Mongo )
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Old 24th August 2020, 04:22 PM   #3
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I am also collecting recently made swords and daggers, and if they are traditionally made and ethnografically correct, are at least as precious as their antique counterparts... at least to me.

By buying newly made pieces we directly help keeping the traditions and skills alive.
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Old 24th August 2020, 04:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
I am also collecting recently made swords and daggers, and if they are traditionally made and ethnografically correct, are at least as precious as their antique counterparts... at least to me.

By buying newly made pieces we directly help keeping the traditions and skills alive.


I agree!
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Old 24th August 2020, 04:32 PM   #5
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@kronckew thanks for the Mongo likes!

@mariusgmioc many thanks for expressing this view. Your view resonates with me and my friends' advocacy, that is - to keep traditional blades alive throughout generations. To preserve the process and render a cultural artifact to be as ethnographically correct as possible.
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Old 24th August 2020, 04:49 PM   #6
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Do you know how the hilt/blade are attached in this example? Are there pins hidden under the wrapping? Or is it purely a traditional resin or modern epoxy resin that holds the hilt in place? Xasterix If I remember correctly you perform cut tests with many blades, how do traditional methods of blade attachment work under repeated stress? Very nice looking blade by the way. I like the grain of the wood used as well! The foible reminds me of a saber's yelman or the shape of some older patterns of Mexican machete.
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Old 24th August 2020, 05:06 PM   #7
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The UK prohibits the import of curved bladed knives/swords with blades over 50 cm. long.

There is an exemption available to collectors/martial arts members that they are OK if made by traditional means. I ordered two swords from Ron Kosakowski at Traditional Filipino Weapons a few years back. after buying the Visayan Barong above from him. One in a later batch had a slightly curved blade a few inches over the 50 cm. mark. Ron followed all the rules and had made it known on the customs form the sword was 'traditionally made' and thus exempt from the silly rule (silly in that a straight blade would have been allowed, no problem).

The UK Border Force Confiscated them anyway. Apparently, if one of a batch doesn't meet their arbitrary requirements, the whole shipment is forfeit.

With Ron's help and with photos & videos of TFW's blades actually being forged, along with some documentation from Ron, the UKBF grudgingly allowed the shipment into the UK to me. Some of TFW's items are somewhat loose in the interpretation of the appearance of the forms he has made by the traditional smiths he uses. He's got a bit better since our dance with the UKBF. The whole brouhaha took around 6 months of emails and surface mails, back and forth, before I received my goodies.

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Old 24th August 2020, 05:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party
Do you know how the hilt/blade are attached in this example? Are there pins hidden under the wrapping? Or is it purely a traditional resin or modern epoxy resin that holds the hilt in place? Xasterix If I remember correctly you perform cut tests with many blades, how do traditional methods of blade attachment work under repeated stress? Very nice looking blade by the way. I like the grain of the wood used as well! The foible reminds me of a saber's yelman or the shape of some older patterns of Mexican machete.


Hullo, thanks for the kind words - there are no pins hidden under the wrapping. In place of traditional resin, epoxy is used to secure the blade to the hilt- this is the case with most modern Bangsamoro blades I've wielded.

For modern blades, both the traditional (heat-inserted or resin) and epoxy adhesive have performed well under successive strikes. The only hilts that have loosened after my usual test belong to old blades with traditional adhesive; I reset both with epoxy and they've been fine ever since.

I try to strike a balance between cultural accuracy and modern - world functionality. Not a practice for everyone, but it's fun!
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Old 24th August 2020, 05:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
The UK prohibits the import of curved bladed knives/swords over 50 cm. long.

There is an exemption available to collectors/martial arts members that they are OK if made by traditional means. I ordered two swords from Ron Kosakowski at Traditional Filipino Weapons a few years back. after buying the Visayan Barong above from him. One in a later batch had a slightly curved blade a few inches over the 50 cm. mark. Ron followed all the rules and had made it known on the customs form the sword was 'traditionally made' and thus exempt from the silly rule (silly in that a straight blade would have been allowed, no problem).

The UK Border Force Confiscated them anyway. Apparently, if one of a batch doesn't meet their arbitrary requirements, the whole shipment is forfeit.

With Ron's help and with photos & videos of TFW's blades actually being forged, along with some documentation from Ron, the UKBF grudgingly allowed the shipment into the UK to me. Some of TFW's items are somewhat loose in the interpretation of the appearance of the forms he has made by the traditional smiths he uses. He's got a bit better since our dance with the UKBF. The whole brouhaha took around 6 months of emails and surface mails, back and forth, before I received my goodies.


Thanks for supporting the work of Filipino pandays sir. Although I have to admit, me and my friends don't get along well with TFW- we view the outfit as more of a custom blade producer, because, as you mentioned - the designs are inaccurate. There's also the case of the blades defying ethnographic accuracy- all of his pieces are made in North Luzon, and only by one ethnolinguistic group. This totally ignores the unique blademaking practices and other cultural stuff that is preserved by different regional pandays faithfully sticking to their respective regions ' trad blades. But perhaps the worst slurs are the mislabeled or fantasy-stuff history / origin stated by his products.

Sorry for the rant. But I really hope you come across the legit trad blades-- I can vouch that the real thing does perform well and look good!
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Old 24th August 2020, 06:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix
...

Sorry for the rant. But I really hope you come across the legit trad blades-- I can vouch that the real thing does perform well and look good!


Sadly, It's hard to find the modern but traditionally made stuff online any more.
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Old 24th August 2020, 07:38 PM   #11
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Here is my very similar pira purchased by myself in the market in Zamboanga City in the early to mid 1970s. The scabbard has been wrapped with black plastic electrical tape - so much like what I would have done in that time - but in this case it came to me like that, loosely over-wrapped with the strip of cloth. It did not strike me as being really old, maybe about a decade (though it now looks much the same after I have had it at least 45 years!), but it did have some evidence of use and work staining and light bleaching of the handle and scabbard even when it was new to me. It was and remains incredibly sharp and feels great in the hand. I have always regarded it as being more of a practical everyday working tool than weapon. (I remember harvesting some backyard bananas with it.)
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Old 24th August 2020, 08:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix
Thanks for supporting the work of Filipino pandays sir. Although I have to admit, me and my friends don't get along well with TFW- we view the outfit as more of a custom blade producer, because, as you mentioned - the designs are inaccurate. There's also the case of the blades defying ethnographic accuracy- all of his pieces are made in North Luzon, and only by one ethnolinguistic group. This totally ignores the unique blademaking practices and other cultural stuff that is preserved by different regional pandays faithfully sticking to their respective regions ' trad blades. But perhaps the worst slurs are the mislabeled or fantasy-stuff history / origin stated by his products.

Sorry for the rant. But I really hope you come across the legit trad blades-- I can vouch that the real thing does perform well and look good!


I know a few people in the American FMA community that just LOVE TFW swords. I've handled a couple, and yeah, they seem good quality, but they really just don't look right, and in the hand, they don't feel like the originals.

Have fun,
Leif
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Old 24th August 2020, 09:06 PM   #13
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A couple makers of khukris by traditional methods:

https://kailashblades.com/traditional/

https://www.thekhukurihouse.com/

No personal experience, but people of my acquaintance are happy with their blades.
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Old 24th August 2020, 11:37 PM   #14
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@kronckew

There are some trad blade makers nowadays who do shipping from PH to US! Hope the admins don't mind, but you can check the FB page of Ilocano Traditional Blades. Just go for their traditional designs (and not the rambo / custom ones). I can vouch for those guys, as I helped them build up their brand. Their bulong pagay and bulong unas blade iterations are particularly good.

@Lee

That's a gorgeous pira. And I'm glad it's aged gracefully and served you well! May I request for a close-up pic of the scabbard throat? I rarely get to see the throat part having that much detail nowadays.

@Rafngard

Halloo Leif, I can't blame the fans of TFW...most of them simply haven't had the chance to compare the legit trad blades yet. I think everyone, at one point, got curious with TFW's offerings. It's sad that he didn't get his act right.

@Bob A

I checked out the sites- lots of good-looking blades. I have zero khukuri / kuri knowledge, but those look good, with some using trad-looking materials. Thanks for these (I'll refer to the sites if ever I plan on getting any khukris).
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Old 25th August 2020, 07:54 AM   #15
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Hello Xas,

Thanks for showing! That's certainly way above average quality.

BTW, did you have any chance to compare the feel of these "modern pira" with genuine old-style pira from the 19th. century?

Has anybody looked into the emergence/evolution of these modern pira?

Regards,
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Old 25th August 2020, 10:32 AM   #16
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Hi Xas,

I really like that new pira. Very handsome piece.

Here's one of mine from WWII era. Somewhat slimmer than many examples of this style.

Ian.


.
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Old 25th August 2020, 12:29 PM   #17
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It will be a few days before I will be able to organize fresh pictures. The scabbard mouth is very plain, except for the profile and the hilt extends up to about a centimetre into a recess. The edges are reinforced with aluminum edges.

I notice a similar profile in the mouth of the scabbard in Ian's example (as well as some nice carving). I notice that the shaping of the hilt and the 'ricasso' of the blade are also very similar between Ian's splendid example and mine.
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Old 25th August 2020, 12:30 PM   #18
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Ian, that's a really nice one. A proper sword.
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Old 25th August 2020, 02:26 PM   #19
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Lee, your example is very similar to mine, although your blade is a bit wider. The ricasso and hilt are almost identical on the two swords, and the scabbards have the same profile. Is it possible that yours is also WWII vintage? I know these swords were used as weapons against the Japanese during WWII.


Wayne, thanks for the kind words.
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Old 25th August 2020, 02:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi Xas,

I really like that new pira. Very handsome piece.

Here's one of mine from WWII era. Somewhat slimmer than many examples of this style.

Ian.


.


This pira breaks my heart. Haha kidding, I hope to get to meet it someday still. Really handsome blade.
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Old 25th August 2020, 04:51 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Is it possible that yours is also WWII vintage?
It was certainly not new in the mid 1970s when I acquired it and it has not added much appearance of further aging, so it surely could be older than my guess. Perhaps, if not very likely, the black electrical tape wrapping of the scabbard replaced an original traditional wrapping more like yours.
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Old 25th August 2020, 11:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
It was certainly not new in the mid 1970s when I acquired it and it has not added much appearance of further aging, so it surely could be older than my guess. Perhaps, if not very likely, the black electrical tape wrapping of the scabbard replaced an original traditional wrapping more like yours.
Quite possible. I have another (provenanced) WWII-era piece that had the scabbard wrapped in black electrical tape.

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Old 26th August 2020, 07:48 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Quite possible. I have another (provenanced) WWII-era piece that had the scabbard wrapped in black electrical tape.


Are we talking shiny black plastic electrical insulation tape or the sticky black friction tape we wrapped baseball bat grips with?
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Old 26th August 2020, 04:20 PM   #24
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Shiny!
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Old 26th August 2020, 07:30 PM   #25
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Hard to say. It had been much used. Not shiny at the time it reached me.
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Old 26th August 2020, 08:13 PM   #26
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I've regretted using the shiny plastic tape on anything i've used it on & left it for more than a few months. it tends to get gooey, come loose and leaves yuck behind that is a PITA to get off.
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Old 26th August 2020, 09:29 PM   #27
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At least the shiny black plastic electrical tape has held up well, but I know what you are talking about and having found it this way I have no plans to disturb it.

The pira (without scabbard) weighs about a pound (457 grams); the blade is 18.25 inches long and has a maximum breadth of 1.88 inches.

The octagonal hilt indexes very well in the hand. Note that the wood is slightly lighter where it is covered by the scabbard (in contrast to my defective memory of this as sun bleaching rather than darkening in my first post in this thread).
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Old 26th August 2020, 11:12 PM   #28
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Hi again Lee, hope you don't mind, I superimposed my pira to yours. It's amazing how similar they are despite 40+ year gap.
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