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Old 31st January 2019, 07:52 PM   #1
kai
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Question Filipino blade - what do I have here?

Hello forumites!

This piece got me stumped:

Blade with single bevel on the right hand side (left side flat except for a tiny bit of edge wear) - not with a broad chisel grind as in most Visayan blades though; full tang construction consistent with Luzon (influence).

The horn hilt nicely carved with silver ferrule and silver pommel cap (both octagonal); tang peened over a brass disk; copper pin visible on both sides near ferrule (possibly securing the blade?).

I seem to remember blades of similar profile being attributed to Bicol...

Thanks for any comments/pointers!

Regards,
Kai
--
Specs:
sword length 564 mm (22.2")

blade length 421 mm (16.6")
max. blade width 39.3 mm (1.55"); at base max. 30.2 mm and min. 25.8 mm (1.19"/1.02")
blade thickness: at base 5.85 mm (0.23"); 1/3rd 3.9 mm (0.15"); 2/3rd 3.3 mm (0.13")

weight 504 g (1 lb 1.8 oz)

POB 90 mm (= 331 mm from tip)
--
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Last edited by kai : 1st February 2019 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 31st January 2019, 08:08 PM   #2
kai
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Question Possibly related?

Here is a thread with another old piece with similar blade - different hilt though...
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?p=237387

Regards,
Kai
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Old 31st January 2019, 08:13 PM   #3
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P.S.: Note the maker's mark(?) at the base of the blade (right hand side)!
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Old 2nd February 2019, 04:05 PM   #4
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Beautiful blade! Do you know age aproximatelly? Thanks
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Old 2nd February 2019, 04:33 PM   #5
Battara
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I would put the blade as Tagalog, though some might argue that it is Ilokano.
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Old 2nd February 2019, 05:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I would put the blade as Tagalog, though some might argue that it is Ilokano.


The sheath will be the deciding factor =)
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Old 2nd February 2019, 06:03 PM   #7
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The sheath will be the deciding factor =)


The very few examples that I have seen (with this edge profile) that have still had what was said to be an original sheath the sheath on every example was made from very nicely tooled leather. I imagine that if Kai had been fortunate enough to have the original he would have already posted photos of it along with the bolo. Here is another example with the same edge profile and through tang, but that is about as far as any similarity between the two goes. Please excuse the paint on the hilt as these photos are from the auction and were taken before I had a chance to do any cleaning.

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Old 2nd February 2019, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix
The sheath will be the deciding factor =)

Unfortunately, no scabbard extant...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd February 2019, 01:23 AM   #9
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Thanks Carlos!

Quote:
Beautiful blade!

I hope so...


Quote:
Do you know age aproximatelly?

Certainly not my forte; however, going by the hilt's carving, materials, and craftsmanship, I'd estimate it around the turn of the 20th century, possibly even 19th c.

I believe there is a tendency to underestimate the age of Luzon blades with monosteel blades.

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Kai
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Old 3rd February 2019, 05:48 PM   #10
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Thumbs up From: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpost.php?p=237398&postcount=5

Bringing over the info kindly provided in the other thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by xasterix
Your blade profile is what is called "dahong buho" or "dinahong buho", common among several towns in the province of Laguna, Luzon. As for the hilt, that's a curious style, and echoes antique iterations of 'tabak' and 'dahong palay/dinahong palay'. I'm guessing yours was made in Laguna as well.
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Old 3rd February 2019, 07:31 PM   #11
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Because of the overall styling and degree of craftsmanship shown (not only in the hilts carving) I would agree with your dating this piece to the end of the 19th century to early 20th century. Also as I forgot to mention earlier, the copper pin you ask about is most likely for decorative purposes only and that originally each individual flower both near the ferrule and butt cap would have held one.

Best,
Robert
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Old 3rd February 2019, 09:33 PM   #12
kai
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Hello Robert,

Quote:
Because of the overall styling and degree of craftsmanship shown (not only in the hilts carving) I would agree with your dating this piece to the end of the 19th century to early 20th century.

Thanks for chiming in! I've been slow to respond to the comments...

BTW, have you come across any similar "maker's mark" on Luzon blades?


Quote:
Also as I forgot to mention earlier, the copper pin you ask about is most likely for decorative purposes only and that originally each individual flower both near the ferrule and butt cap would have held one.

Yup, I also forgot to mention this possibility - thanks for reminding me!

It certainly would look neat and be more in line with the horn hilts decorated with pins of silver/etc.; a copper pin may also be too soft to really secure a blade...

It just seemed odd to me that only these 2 pins survived though. Maybe I should get a x-ray done to put that idea to rest...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd February 2019, 09:49 PM   #13
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It would seem a bit redundant to have a single soft copper pin go through the tang (weakening it by drilling) when it already extends completely through the hilt and butt plate and is then peened to secure the blade. With this piece sporting silver fittings you might have the pin checked to see if it isn't a low grade gold alloy instead of copper. This might also explain why most of them are now missing.

Best,
Robert
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Old 3rd February 2019, 09:57 PM   #14
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Hello xasterix!

Quote:
Hi Kai! Yes definitely related. Your blade profile is what is called "dahong buho" or "dinahong buho", common among several towns in the province of Laguna, Luzon.

Thanks a lot for your info!


Quote:
As for the hilt, that's a curious style, and echoes antique iterations of 'tabak' and 'dahong palay/dinahong palay'. I'm guessing yours was made in Laguna as well.

It sure is a really nice carving work with the prominent flowers (possibly even enhanced by copper inlay)! Looks like old-style craftsmanship to me; most likely antique, isn't it?

Any other examples that resemble this style, anyone?

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd February 2019, 10:04 PM   #15
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For comparison, I'm adding a regular Luzon blade from possibly the same period; the hilt is the same type as in Robert's example while the blade has a symmetrical bevel (i. e. no chisel grind). [Please excuse the poor pic quality. I traded it with a forumite a long time ago.]

BTW, this common plain hilt type always seems to have 7 facets (which is also reflected in the ferrule).

The ornately-carved hilt has an octagonal ferrule as well as pommel plate though; also the neighboring flowers number 8.

Regards,
Kai
--
Specs:
Length: 492 mm (19.4")
Blade length: 334 mm (13.15")
Blade max. width: 46 mm (1.81")
Blade max. thickness: 8 mm (5/16")
Hilt: 160 mm (6.3")
weight: 598 g
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Last edited by kai : 3rd February 2019 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Adding specs...
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Old 3rd February 2019, 10:28 PM   #16
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Hello Robert,

Quote:
It would seem a bit redundant to have a single soft copper pin go through the tang (weakening it by drilling) when it already extends completely through the hilt and butt plate and is then peened to secure the blade.

Yeah, I agree that wouldn't make sense with a peened tang.


Quote:
With this piece sporting silver fittings you might have the pin checked to see if it isn't a low grade gold alloy instead of copper. This might also explain why most of them are now missing.

Thanks for the good idea - might well be red gold or decent suasa: No tarnishing visible with them while the silver retains quite some old tarnish...

I'll report back when I manage to obtain sound results!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 3rd February 2019, 10:42 PM   #17
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The final fitting the tang extends through before being peened looks a bit yellow in your photos as well, so you might want to have it checked at the same time as the pins.
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Old 3rd February 2019, 11:25 PM   #18
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Yes, will do, Robert!

Not keeping my breath though since this seems like a rather weird place for a soft metal. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 4th February 2019, 09:51 AM   #19
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Hi Kai,

Just to throw another possibility into the mix. Chisel-edged blades were also made in Batangas, according to information provided a decade or more ago by our friend Zelbone. Finely carved horn hilts were also seen from there in the late 19th and early 20th C. Batangas is not far from Laguna de Pays, so I think that general area south of Manila is where your knife originated.

I think you have a Tagalog knife with some Visayan influence in the blade, and Batangas is an area where that overlap can occur.

Ian.
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Old 7th February 2019, 01:55 AM   #20
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Ian I wondered about that influence myself.
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Old 9th February 2019, 05:20 AM   #21
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The 'peened tang' could be just a nail used to hold the pommel piece on, as is done on many khukuri. An x-ray would confirm or deny the tang type.

More cheaply, you might get some info by using a strong super-magnet, running it along the grip to feel if it 'pulls' all the way along.

I also note that a small circular hole thru the tang along the neutral axis does not significantly weaken the blade. The neutral axis is a line where the blade & tang under load is under compressive loading above, and tensile loading below. On the line, there is essentially zero loading. It runs along the centre line on a normal rectangular section.

Last edited by kronckew : 9th February 2019 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 10th February 2019, 02:01 AM   #22
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Default Check for Continuity

Hi kai,
Before resorting to an x-ray as kronckew suggested, you might want to check for continuity first. Attach a wire lead to the blade and to one of the poles of a D cell. Attach another lead to the other D cell pole and to the suspected tang. Then touch the blade and the suspected tang with a circuit tester. If the circuit tester doesn't light, there is no continuity and you don't have to go any further. If there is continuity, then the piece on the pommel is either the tang or it is a metal pin that is in contact with the tang so an x-ray would then be necessary to determine which is which.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 10th February 2019, 03:10 AM   #23
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I have had the opportunity on several occasions to remove the style of hilt shown in the original photos to make repairs. On every one of these the tang extended completely through the hilt before being peened. I have yet to see a single hilt of this exact style that had a hidden tang combined with a butt plate held in place with a separate fastener. There was one occasion though where I found that the tang had rusted completely through and the hilt was being held in place by a combination of rust buildup on the tang and shrinkage of the hilt material.


Best,
Robert
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Old 10th February 2019, 04:21 AM   #24
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Agree with Robert. I have only seen full tang hilts that were peined over the plate.

Ian
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Old 10th February 2019, 04:09 PM   #25
kai
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Thanks all - I apologize for not responding earlier!

I agree that this is quite unlikely to be anything else but a full tang.

Unless the tang is fully corroded, this will be easy to check with Rob's suggestion; simple electric testers are now very cheap and will come in handy for similar tests, including the pins at the side.

Also strong magnets as suggested by Wayne come in handy for a variety of purposes.

I'll report back when I find a bit of time for a testing session!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 11th February 2019, 09:55 PM   #26
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Default My Circuit Is Incorrect

Hi Kai,

I knew it after I posted so I double checked myself online. My circuit instructions are incorrect (it has been a long while since I built a homemade continuity tester). The battery has to be connected to the two continuity tester probe wires, not the blade and the suspected tang. As you suggested, testers with built in batteries are relatively cheap and it would probably be best to just buy one. If you want to go the homemade way, I found four u-tube videos showing how.

Sincerely,
RobT
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