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Old 29th September 2018, 04:49 PM   #1
Roland_M
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Default Keris-Yogya nice wood Waranka

Dear Members of the Forum and Anonymous Readers,

A couple of years I was waiting for a oppurtunity to buy a typical antique Java-Keris with a straight blade, a silver Pendok, Waranka and Hulu made from dark wood.
Finally I found 100% exactly what I was looking for.
It is a Yogyakarta style Keris with a 32cm long, thin and slender blade, with a width of only 16mm at its widest point.
I guess it is finely forged Pamor Wos Wutah.
The silver Boenlon-Pendok is nicely engraved, the well carved Waranka is made from the most beautiful wood in my collection.
Waranka and Hulu were covered with a thick layer of modern lacquer. It took a while to remove it and the result is breathtaking.
This wood is incredibly beautiful in my eyes, depending on the angle of light (last two pictures), dark brown stripes appear or disappear.
The color of the wood reaches from chocolate brown under roomlight conditions to a fantastic red-brown in the sun, shortly before the sunset is the best time to make pictures of it.

The mask(?)-carvings in the Hulu are well made and very deep carved. It was difficult to reach the bottom of the carvings during the cleaning with a tooth-pick!
I wonder, what type of tool did they used for that tiny carvings? I can only say, that it was a tool, finer than a tooth-pick!

I have one question. I am looking for a source of the wood of the Waranka. I need just a little bit of this wood for the new grips of my Colt 1911.
I found nothing in the internet and so I would be very happy, if anyone can tell me a source, where I can buy such wood.
Hopefully it is not extinct or banned from trading.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and please give me some comments.


Best wishes,
Roland
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Old 29th September 2018, 04:50 PM   #2
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some impressions
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Old 30th September 2018, 01:40 AM   #3
A. G. Maisey
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Roland, there are several timbers that can look like the example of which you have posted images.

The effect of grain being influenced by shifting light is called "chatoyancy", ie, like a cat's eye, in English, and "nginden" in Javanese.

Trembalu is the wood that would first come to mind, but trembalu is normally a lot more subtle than this, a wood that has seen a lot of recent use is akasia, and more recent again is "trembalu jawa", which is a trade name, I do not know the correct name for it.

The actual colour you see in the wrongko you have is probably the result of rubbing oil and a natural stain made from red berries into the wood before it was finished with shellac. Trembalu is naturally lighter than your material seems to be, as is trembalu jawa, akasia is often very similar in grain, but more towards yellow.

I cannot suggest a source. Virtually all the woods that were traditionally used for keris dress are almost impossible to obtain these days, new types of wood appear in the market constantly, but to get any of the old traditional woods it is normally a matter of placing an order and waiting. During the last 20-25 years I have waited anything up to 5 years to get a piece of burl teak suitable for a ladrangan wrongko.
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Old 1st October 2018, 11:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Roland, there are several timbers that can look like the example of which you have posted images.

The effect of grain being influenced by shifting light is called "chatoyancy", ie, like a cat's eye, in English, and "nginden" in Javanese.

Trembalu is the wood that would first come to mind, but trembalu is normally a lot more subtle than this, a wood that has seen a lot of recent use is akasia, and more recent again is "trembalu jawa", which is a trade name, I do not know the correct name for it.

The actual colour you see in the wrongko you have is probably the result of rubbing oil and a natural stain made from red berries into the wood before it was finished with shellac. Trembalu is naturally lighter than your material seems to be, as is trembalu jawa, akasia is often very similar in grain, but more towards yellow.

I cannot suggest a source. Virtually all the woods that were traditionally used for keris dress are almost impossible to obtain these days, new types of wood appear in the market constantly, but to get any of the old traditional woods it is normally a matter of placing an order and waiting. During the last 20-25 years I have waited anything up to 5 years to get a piece of burl teak suitable for a ladrangan wrongko.


Hello Alan,

thank you very much for your words and the information about Trembalu Jawa wood. I think i have to look now for another type of wood.
Shellac provides a very beautiful finish on wood, if it is well done, which is not too simple. But on my Waranka was a nasty and poorly painted modern lacquer. I prefer a natural finish with oil and wax, since it brings out more of the structure of the wood, while shellac makes everything flat and even, but this is just my personal taste.

Best wishes,
Roland
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Old 1st October 2018, 01:52 PM   #5
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The most usual finish on a quality Javanese wrongko is french polish, which is one of the ways in which shellac can be applied. Another popular finish is to burnish the wood with bone or ivory.

A very good finish for people who are not professional polishers to use is one of the oil finishes, Danish Oil or similar. This requires almost no specialist skill, it enhances grain, and can be rubbed back with 0000 steel wool and then waxed to provide a very good imitation of a worn, quality, original finish. Gun stock finishes like Birchwood Casey Tru-oil can provide a similar finish, possibly a bit better and easier to apply.

Roland, it seems to me that the quality you like in that wrongko wood is its chatoyancy. There are a lot of chatoyant woods available, and it would surprise me if you could not source something suitable from a specialist supplier in your part of the world. You could start by looking for pau marfin, bubinga, fiddle back maple, sapele --- lots of stuff around, it will most likely be quarter sawn. Maybe just doing a Google search for "chatoyant wood" will give you some results. Knife makers supplies and musical instrument supplies and makers are often a good source of quality woods.
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Old 1st October 2018, 02:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey

Roland, it seems to me that the quality you like in that wrongko wood is its chatoyancy. There are a lot of chatoyant woods available, and it would surprise me if you could not source something suitable from a specialist supplier in your part of the world. You could start by looking for pau marfin, bubinga, fiddle back maple, sapele --- lots of stuff around, it will most likely be quarter sawn. Maybe just doing a Google search for "chatoyant wood" will give you some results. Knife makers supplies and musical instrument supplies and makers are often a good source of quality woods.



Hello Alan,

thank you for your advise! The term "Chatoyant Wood" is a great step forward for me!
Oh and I like everything on my Waranka, the carving including its imperfections, the structure and color, the silky gloss of the wood, simply everything.
And to me it seems, that no one shares my admiration for this Keris, so this wonderful little artwork (in my eyes) was perhaps made especially for me and my perception.


Roland
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Old 1st October 2018, 02:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Oh and I like everything on my Waranka, the carving including its imperfections, the structure and color, the silky gloss of the wood, simply everything.
And to me it seems, that no one shares my admiration for this Keris, so this wonderful little artwork (in my eyes) was perhaps made especially for me and my perception.

Well, i have found that is the way it goes with keris. We are drawn to certain pieces for reasons beyond quality and craft. Your blade does not particularly stand out to me, but for you it is a "little artwork" and that is what is ultimately important.
I will, however, share you admiration of this wrongko. The wood grain is absolutely beautiful to my eye. Really lovely. I will second Alan's comments on Birchwood Casey Try-Oil. I have used it myself and it is really easy and produces a really nice finish. I simply applied a few coats (taking it down a bit with 0000 steel wool each time. I finally finish like the would really pop the grain even more.
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Old 1st October 2018, 08:22 PM   #8
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Hello Roland,
Trembalo Jawa is Cassia Javanica L. but your highly chatoyant warangka seems to be made from rarer trembalo Aceh wood (a different species).
See an old warangka iras from Yogyakarta made from the same wood as yours I think.
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