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Old 26th December 2011, 11:31 PM   #1
Azman
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Default Need Help to Identify Pamor and Tangguh

Dear friends and colleagues,

I have recently taken a keris from Bali at [name edited] collection. He told me that this keris is from old 17th century Madura steel and aged is over 200 years. I was attracted to the design of the keris which is claimed to have pamor bulu ayam.

I'm not sure of the authenticity as I'm not a keris expert so when I got home I did some research but unfortunately I really cannot find any similarity in terms of the keris design. The closet I could see is either Ron Pakis of Belarak Ngirid but still there are subtle differences when I compare the pamor design. Besides that I also cannot tell the age of this keris as there is really no guide on how to tell the tangguh. I've attached the pictures of my keris and I would appreciate if you can help to share your view on this.

The other thing that I need advise on is that my keris ganja came loose when it was accidentally dropped at the airport. I'm thinking of repairing this by doing a bit of braze welding but I'm not sure whether this is recommended. Can you also help to advise on what can I do to fix this ganja to the blade.

Thank you kindly for your help and advise.

Sincerely, Azman
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Old 27th December 2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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You own this keris ?
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Old 27th December 2011, 06:31 PM   #3
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That is a very interesting keris you have there. PLEASE do NOT weld the gonjo in place.
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Old 27th December 2011, 06:35 PM   #4
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Just a few tips for good ID photos. Shoot directly above the blade so that the images do not distort the perspective. Shoot in well lit open shade without flash. Show a shot of the entire blade.
I am also interested to know if you actually own this blade. You say the you have "taken" it from Bali.
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Old 27th December 2011, 08:01 PM   #5
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There are a few methods for fixing the gonjo to the blade, and none involve brazing or welding. Do this and you will have ruined the blade.

The most frequently encountered method in Javanese, Balinese & Madura blades is to use a "key" in a keyway. This is very small pin that is driven into a tapered slot that has been cut in the hole in the gonjo that accepts the tang.

Another method is to fit the gonjo to the tang with a very neat press fit, and then using a punch and hammer, tighten that fit.

A popular method used on restored, altered, repaired and new blades since about 1960 -1970 is to use either super glue or two part epoxy resin, or plastic steel.

Looking at this blade, I believe that close inspection will reveal traces of super glue. Unless you want a time consuming job, re-fixing this gonjo with a one of the adhesives I have mentioned might be the best way to go.

As David has recommended, we need photos taken at 90 degrees to the blade in open shade and without a flash. One full length photo, and one close up of the bottom (widest ) third of the blade. Photos of the scabbard and hilt might also be of use.
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Old 27th December 2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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Nice hilt, coromandel?
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Old 27th December 2011, 10:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivoke
Nice hilt, coromandel?

From what i can see the hilt appears to be a fairly contemporary version of the gerantim style of hilt, similar in form to the brass one you recently posted on your 17 luk Bali/Lombok keris.
Who or what is "coromandel"?
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Old 28th December 2011, 01:21 AM   #8
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Hello Rick, Yes, I own this keris.I bought it from a keris collector in Bali whose name I cannot mention here. He has huge collections and have exhibit his keris at Vredeburg - Yogyakarta in 2005.

What happened was that my tour guide took me to his house to look for keris as I have expressed interest to him earlier. The moment I step my feet into this old room which was full of kerises of various size and design, my eye was caught by this bare blade which was laying on a bench. The pamor design was most unique and I immediately felt a sense of connection with it. However, the keris owner said I can only own it if the measurement of the blade matches my measurement on my thumb width. He then took a piece of coconut leave and make the measurement from the center line of the blade length one side to the other and make another measurement at the mid length width of the blade. He then wrapped the coconut leave to the the exact measured width of the blade. It was wrapped 13 times. He then asked me to used the edge of my thumb of my right and left hand and sequentially lay over each other over the entire length of the blade. Surprisingly it counted 13 times as well. I was skeptic and tried on another 7 luk blade and it counted 11 times. The Kris collector told me that 13 count is a better count to keep. Me being me, which is full of skeptic, didn't really pay much attention to this. Really, it was the design that attracts me a lot. The blade collector said that this blade was very rare and old and the price is a bit high. I didn't really think twice as I know deep in my heart I like it so much. So I bought it.

I did ask him what was the origin of the blade. He said, this blade was sold to him by a Balinese villager who was desperate for cash as He had lost some betting. He told me the blade was actually kept hanging in a bamboo stem to protect it from wear and tear. He also told me to take this and try to keep it and if I don't want to keep it anymore I can pass it back to him and he is willing to pay back the price that I paid. To him this keris has protective power for the owner but I'm not really sure of this claim but at the same time since i don't know much on keris, I do not want to contest it.

Hi David, thanks for your advise. I'll try to take another photo as suggested later. It's night time now and hence, I cannot get good natural lighting without flash.

Thanks for the advise AG. Actually, you are spot on on the super glue. I tried doing that but it does not seem to hold well. So I decided to clean it up and just press fit it. I have welded this blade yet as I don't want to inflict any damage to it.

I have never heard coromandel too. What is it?

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Old 28th December 2011, 04:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azman
I have never heard coromandel too. What is it?

Well, i think it is better known as Calamander, but i believe ivoke was referring to the wood of your hilt.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calamander_wood
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Old 28th December 2011, 06:18 AM   #10
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Super glue will not fill a gap, the mating surfaces need to be a perfect fit. If super glue won't do the job, two part epoxy or plastic steel will. The surfaces need to be very clean before use, acetone is useful for this.

From the small amount of the hilt I can see, my guess is that we're looking at makassar ebony, this is a very popular wood used for carving in Bali.
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Old 28th December 2011, 06:55 AM   #11
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Sorry about the coromandel, i will use more words next time.

About measuring a keris, here's something but i am not the autor.


The Balinese usually use a piece of busung, young coconut leaf, to measure the blade and width of a kris. The busung is first cut to match the entire length of the blade, then folded in half. This determines the half-way point in the blade's length. Then the busung is folded, accordion-like, each fold the width of the blade at the middle point - a length called lumbang rai. The nature of the kris is determined from the number of these lumbang rai, essentially, the ratio of length to width:
10 rai: Kala ngamah awak ("Kala eats his body") - If this kris is used the owner will damage himself.
11 rai: Durga masiyung ("Durga is with a bird") - Ownership of this kris will mean bad things for the owner and his family, and these will persist over a long time.
12 rai: Lara muwuh ("Poverty and grief will increase") - Bad things will result from possession of this kris, especially illness.
13 rai: Bima kosa krana - The person who owns this kris will be steadily peaceful and will be lucky in his trade. Soldiers will live a long time if they use this kris.
14 rai: Darmawangsa - This kris is good for a person who gives traditional medicine to others. It is good for a person who prays a lot. The owner will be given all that he asks for by people as well as God.
15 rai: Arjuna sakti ("Arjuna is powerful") - The magical power of this kris allows the owner to see his enemies even when they make themselves invisible. The kris can be owned by Ksatriya people (warrior or ruling caste). The kris is good for sellers. One who owns this kris will have many friends. Women will love him. Everything he does will be successful. He will have constant good luck.
16 rai: Suksama angel- The owner will find unhappiness all of his life. Magical powers will harm the owner.
17 rai: Naga-samparna - This kris is good to use for help. The owner can get help easily when he asks for it. It is also good for those who give traditional medicine to others.
18 rai: Sesangkap- purna- This kris is very useful for keeping in the house. The owner will be liked by friends and family. This kris should not be taken on a trip, nor should it be taken on a boat.
19 rai: Durga katamu ("Meeting Durga") - This kris is bad for traveling. It is best to keep the kris in the house because then there will be no problems. It could be used for evil purposes too, if it is taken outside the house. It will then make enemies.

This system seems to favor kris that are generally long with respect to width - all less than 13 times as long as they are wide at the middle have quite unfavorable properties.

The second system determines the suitability of a kris for its owner by measuring its length in units of the owner's thumbwidth. One begins by placing his right thumb across the blade against the hilt, and then lays his left thumb against that, picks up his right and lays that against the left, working his way up the blade in this manner. He then counts the total number of thumb widths, if the last does not quite fit at the tip it is counted anyway. This total is then divided by seven. The remainder of the division becomes the key to the kris's characteristics. Suppose it takes 17 thumbwidths to reach the tip. Seventeen can be divided by seven twice, with a remainder of three. This "three'" is then used in the table below:

1 The kris is satriya; good to be used by one of the Ksatriya caste
2 The kris is ratna candra-masurya; good for sellers of anything
3 The kris is wanara cinara-cara; good for use by subordinates of the king
4 The kris is kala-mertyu (the spirit who takes your soul when you die); the kris is bad for Ksatriya caste people because it can cause them to harm themselves
5 The kris is Arjuna-pasupati, the kris of a soldier; if the person is robbed, others will help him.
6 The kris is kepaten twan, very bad; not good for use by anyone
7 The kris is dhar1naWallgsa; good for use by high priests

The final method is to do roughly the same thing as with the thumbs, except using the width across four fingers, close to the palm. Alternate right and left hands, starting with the right as with the thumbs.At the tip, some fingers will fit on the blade, and some will not. The fingers then serve as the remainder. Only the number of fingers remaining on the blade is significant. The characteristics of the kris are as follows:

1 This kris is sang akarya, which means "good behavior"; the owner will be followed by many people
2 This kris is kalamertiyu, meaning that it is for a person who is a good judge; the owner will have many friends and people will like him; the owner can read the character of others very easily
3 This kris is kalajana, it represents anger; if the owner uses it when asking something from someone, bad things will occur
4 This kris is nagawiraksa, meaning that it is good for people who like to fight, such as Ksatriyas; the owner will be brave in war
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Old 29th December 2011, 11:27 AM   #12
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From the small amount of the hilt I can see, my guess is that we're looking at makassar ebony, this is a very popular wood used for carving in Bali.[/QUOTE]

IMHO, MAKASSAR EBONY is also know as COROMANDEL or:
DIOSPYROS-CELEBICA


Like Mr.Maisey already mentioned, many woodcarving from Bali are of this type of wood.
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Old 29th December 2011, 05:37 PM   #13
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Ganesha.

Disturber of disturbances.
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Old 29th December 2011, 10:37 PM   #14
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Default Pamor & Tanguh

Ivoke,

Thank you so much for spending time in explaining the Javanese/Balinese folklore of keris interpretation. I valued that a lot. There are various literatures on the interpretation of keris. For professional collectors like yourself, do you think these are merely folklore/believe or there are some actual truth to this. I'm sure you can browse Utube and you would find some of the keris can stand on the edge of the blade perfectly fine without support. is there a scientific reason for this being the center of gravity is perfectly balance. I find this amazing as I would have though that the hilt is off set to the centerline/neutral axis of the keris but yet the keris can still stand straight.

AG/David,

I've tried to take photos as you have recommended and hope this is acceptable. I would appreciate if you could elaborate and share your views on the pamor, empu/dapur and tanguh of this keris.

What type of steel is this? Is it poisonous?

Thank you for your views and Happy New Year to all.
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Old 30th December 2011, 06:06 AM   #15
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I have never seen, in my life , a keris stand alone without a help
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Old 30th December 2011, 07:44 AM   #16
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Thank you

But i think i can not be considered as a professional collector, i cant even count luk's

And concerning the text,i didnt write it myself, i compiled it a while ago, because i'm in the process of making my own keris.

I am married into a Ksatrya family now for over 25 years and they do believe that some keris have powers, but standing a keris on his point or peksi is not so difficult, you can do that with most keris, if you know the trick.

Why i was curiuos about the wood of your hilt, a relative of my said a while ago that its now illegal to harvest coromandel in Bali.

ivo
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Old 30th December 2011, 10:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
I have never seen, in my life , a keris stand alone without a help


Hello Marco, you can check this in YouTube. Just type 'keris berdiri' which is a Malay phrase for standing keris. It's quite unique.

Hi Invoke, can you share the trick to do this? It's mind boggling.

Happy New Year,
Azman
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Old 30th December 2011, 11:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azman

I would appreciate if you could elaborate and share your views on the pamor, empu/dapur and tanguh of this keris.

What type of steel is this? Is it poisonous?


Hello,
The pamor looks in Blarak Ngirid style, the blade is very short as compared to the hilt and sheath (Madurese blade with Balinese fittings). I will let others comment about its estimated dapur and age because I don't know.
Regarding the poisonous steel legend, this may be because the blade is treated with arsenic oxide for enhancing the pamor contrast but of course it fully disappears after rinsing the blade.
Best regards
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Old 30th December 2011, 01:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivoke
Thank you

But i think i can not be considered as a professional collector, i cant even count luk's

And concerning the text,i didnt write it myself, i compiled it a while ago, because i'm in the process of making my own keris.

I am married into a Ksatrya family now for over 25 years and they do believe that some keris have powers, but standing a keris on his point or peksi is not so difficult, you can do that with most keris, if you know the trick.

Why i was curiuos about the wood of your hilt, a relative of my said a while ago that its now illegal to harvest coromandel in Bali.

ivo



Oh, by tricks is really very very easy
.....About the wood another new balinese example
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Old 30th December 2011, 04:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcokeris
Oh, by tricks is really very very easy

Just curious...what "trick", other than patience and balance, do you believe is being employed here?
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Old 30th December 2011, 04:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Just curious...what "trick", other than patience and balance, do you believe is being employed here?

Of course... "tricks (IMO) are: patiente, balance and try to increase the bearing surface of the blade...of course.
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Old 30th December 2011, 06:33 PM   #22
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the carpet, try it on a sheet of glas, much more difficult.
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Old 30th December 2011, 09:24 PM   #23
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Marco,

If it is a trick, then this act should also be possible for any other forms of dagger like weapons. It would be interesting to make this comparison.

David,

I know...it's amazing ins't it. This is where science and mystic converge. I cannot understand how could this happen as it defies the law of physics. With an offset to neutral axis, the CG remains perfectly balance. Once the CG is perfectly balance, it will stand. This can be proven by the coke can trick. This is achieved by adjusting the water content in the coke can to a perfect half volume of the can. You can try this too. Now if this happen to the keris than it's either sheer luck or the empu is so brilliant to forge and hammer the steel in a perfectly balance CG. May be possible in those days...

Thank you Jean,

I kind of suspected this to be blarak ngirid pattern but they don't really look alike. I suppose each one is unique based on the condition and empu that did the work.

Any chance to get the views on my earlier questions on empu and tangguh

Cheers, Azman
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Last edited by Azman : 30th December 2011 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 30th December 2011, 11:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azman
Any chance to get the views on my earlier questions on empu and tangguh

Cheers, Azman


From some pictures ?
Very doubtful .
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Old 31st December 2011, 03:03 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azman
Any chance to get the views on my earlier questions on empu and tangguh

A relatively small number of keris in collections were made by empus. The majority would be village made piece. Even if a keris can be verified as an empu creation, being able to identify the empu who made it would be extremely difficult without some sort of provenance.
Tangguh is a practice which is probably best not being applied to non-keraton keris though in today's world people attempt to apply it to any old keris. Attempting to accurately assess tangguh, even on a keris to which the practice is applicable, is tenuous at best when solely determined by a few internet images. Many of the points required to assess tangguh require having the keris in hand.
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Old 31st December 2011, 04:16 AM   #26
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Very nicely put David.

I will not comment on Azman's keris, because I do not have it in my hand, and my opinions formed from the photos could well be incorrect.

However, here are a couple of photos of a a blade that bears some very strong similarities to Azman's keris, and I have had this keris in my hand. It is current era Madura, last half of the 20th century, it is very strong on artistic merit, but it does not go back to the times when it could be dignified with attribution to a named empu. It can be given a tangguh: kamardikan, that is, the period following Indonesian independence.
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Old 31st December 2011, 02:08 PM   #27
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Great thanks David/AG for the excellent rationalization on empu and description of tangguh. In all honesty I don't understand the term empu. I thought it's a name given to a keris maker. From both of your explanation it looks like empu is a very special designatory to a very skillful person.

AG, your keris pamor looks very similar to mine and the blade is in perfect condition. I wonder how do you take care of this blades it looks very new and excellently preserved. I'm really worried looking at my blade as it has sign of pitting corrosion at several location of the blade. Presently, I'm using minyak cendana (a very thick scented oil) to cover the blade monthly. I have bought this from the person who sold me this keris. It's a small bottle. It'll probably last me a year at most. Can you suggest where can I buy this or is there any other alternative. I saw a write up on this from one of our members whom has suggested using conventional lubrication oil of German product that I can't remember the name right now.

Lastly, a very Happy New Year to all team members and I hope this informative site will continue thriving with knowledge of our forefathers ethnographic armament.





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Old 31st December 2011, 07:18 PM   #28
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http://silat-melayu.blogspot.com/20...tand-keris.html

how to make a keris stand up

Happy Newyear
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Old 31st December 2011, 08:22 PM   #29
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The word "empu" or "mpu" originally was simply a term of respect (in Old Javanese), roughly equivalent the modern "tuan", or "sir" in English, however, with the development of Modern Javanese, it became a title for a master of literature or an armourer, especially one attached to a karaton ( the seat of a ruler). These karaton empus also carry a title that is in accord with rank within the karaton, as distinct from profession within the karaton. In Bahasa Indonesia it carries the sense of a master craftsmen.

In Jawa it is possible for a person who is not a part of karaton hierarchy to become known as an empu, because of recognition by the common people.

A keris can be made by a pandai keris ( keris craftsman), or by a common smith , a tukang besi or pande wesi.

In Bali the makers of keris were and are members of the Pande Clan, they are not attached to the any ruler in the sense that Karaton empus in Jawa are, but they have the duty to respond to a call from the ruler of their area.

Regarding the age of the blade which I have owned, and the blade which is owned by Azman.

The blade which I have owned is perfectly finished and has not been subjected to any concentrated processing to produce the appearance of age.

Based upon what I can see the photos, I believe that the blade of Azman's keris has been subjected to processing intended to give the appearance of age.

I must emphasise that this processing is not carried out by a maker with any attempt to defraud nor to mislead, it is done because this is the appearance which is favoured by Javanese people. However, dealers in keris are not always particularly forthcoming with the true age of a keris. A recently made keris can very often be made of archaic iron, but all that means is that the iron is old, not the keris.

Azman, I believe that if you examine the pitting in your blade under magnification, you will find that there is no active rust. If you do find active rust, I suggest that you carefully remove this by picking it out of the pits with a needle.

The oil you are using is a traditional oil, but it is not necessarily the best protection, it is very probably based on coconut oil, which over time tends to leave a nasty residue on the blade.

Good quality gun oil will give you excellent protection, and this can be improved by keeping the blade out of contact with any cellulose material, such as wood.

I use plastic sleeves to store my keris.

A good mix for a scented oil is to use either light machine oil, or medicinal paraffin as a 50% base, and add sandalwood oil @ 45% and kenanga oil @ 5%. The percentages are not critical, and neither is the sandalwood and kananga oil, you can use rose oil, jasmine oil, or any other strongly scented oil that you prefer.

As to frequency of oil application. I have many blades which I have not oiled in years, and I live in a marine climate, 25 meters or so from salt water. The essence of preservation is to do it right in the first place, and it is essential to keep blades away from contact with cellulose materials --- paper, cardboard, wood etc.
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Old 1st January 2012, 02:04 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivoke
http://silat-melayu.blogspot.com/20...tand-keris.html

how to make a keris stand up

Happy Newyear



Of course... "tricks (IMO) are: patiente, balance and TRY TO INCREASE THE BEARING SURFACE OF THE BLADE.

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