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Old 18th August 2007, 03:30 PM   #1
tunggulametung
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Question Traditional Moro Kris Cleaning

I have a few questions here:

Traditionally, how would a Moro man clean his kris? What cleaner would they use? How would Moro kris appear traditionally, is it shiny/highly polished? If so, what sort of method and polishing agent would they use?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 18th August 2007, 06:57 PM   #2
Battara
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Well, yes they were polished but then etched with lime juice in the sun and perhaps heating the blade a little. Repeated etchings would bring out a pattern (if any) but do not do it to the point to where it eats too deeply into the blade (like Javanese keris for example). You just want the surface pattern to show.
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Old 18th August 2007, 10:34 PM   #3
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Hello Battara,

Thank you for your reply. I just re-read an article from Federico's Moro Swords (http://home.earthlink.net/~federico...risgallery.html) and find an interesting paragraph below:


After sharpening the kris was then set in the hot sun to warm the blade. After a certain amount of time the blade was ready to be etched using various acidic citrus fruits. This etch would darken the blade as well as revealing the damascene pattern created by the Panday. It is said that the darkened blade was preferred as it would not glint in the sun thereby revealing a concealed Warrior.

Mmm, I think I get the picture now...thanks!
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Old 19th August 2007, 11:16 AM   #4
D Wilke
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Default Traditional cleaning

While in Jolo, Sulu I was shown an old traditional way to clean the blades.
We hollowed out a large section of bamboo (leaving the bottom section) and filled it with what I now know to be coconut vinegar - this was procured from some family up in the hills as it's not sold in the markets. This set-up worked great and dissolved both the dirt and rust along with bringing out the lamination. This took anywhere from overnight to three days depending on the condition of the blade and the vinegar lost its efficacy after about three blades - had to dump and refill with fresh vinegar.
This left the blades with a white residue which disappeared after a quick wipe down with gun oil. It's been a year since I treated my blades there and they still look great.

Tried the same method on an old Kora when I got home using regular vinegar and a section of PVC pipe - it worked great.

The biggest problem we had was treating the gangya as it didn't fit into bamboo section, we solved this with some duct tape and the cut off top section of a plastic jug attached to the top of the bamboo.

The same old gentleman that showed us this said that they also used to use star fruit but he didn't know the right process.

Dan
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Old 19th August 2007, 04:53 PM   #5
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Hello Dan,

Thank you for sharing with us. I believe coconut vinegar will also works well for this job, we use this too here in Indonesia (but much less popular compared to 'legendary' lime juice-as how would gin&tonic be without it). I want to treat my moro kris as how they would be traditionally treated, that's why I ask the questions.

It is clear enough so far, but should anybody has different versions of method and material please be so kind to share it with us.

Cheers!
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Old 15th December 2007, 09:11 AM   #6
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Arrow Moro Kris Etching Attempt

I've cleaned this kris using the most traditional way I can imagine. Tools and ingredients are: lime juice, soil water, coconut husk, lerak fruit (sapindus rarak) and abu gosok (scrub ash). Before this I have gently use oil and soft sandpaper to remove thick rust and deep scrathes. I don't take off the hilt as I have limited knowledge with Moro kris and I'm affraid I will mess up with re-attachment. It left some dead rust but guess that's fine, at least for the momment.

I don't use detergent or baking soda, after I get the desired effect, I just scrub with lerak and abu gosok over and over and rise very very well and wipe with oil (I use modern multipurpose oil ).

Just want to share the result. I hope I'm doing right and get the closest traditional appearence possible.

I'm really a begginer with Moro kris and now I have below some questions regarding this piece:
  1. Does anybody ever seen/have similar moro kris that having grain/crystal-like effect similar to mine? I've found similar iron in older Indonesian keris (see attached sample), any comments?
  2. Does anybody seen similar roset-like stamp on the asang-asang? I've learned it is talismanic, but would this also suggest the region of origin?
  3. After reading Cato's book regarding the 'elephant mouth' shape, I believe it is Maranao by origin. I'm I right? Does the hilt also suggest the origin?
  4. The ganya seems to be relatively short, would you think it is normal or has been repaired? I like the kris they way it is, but just curious.
Thank you in advance for any comments.

Chandra
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Old 15th December 2007, 04:07 PM   #7
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This is the closest effect I have seen that is in one of my Moro kris .
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Old 15th December 2007, 07:07 PM   #8
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You have done a beautiful job sir!

Regarding the crystalline effect, I do have one gunong that has that characteristic. When you move the blade in the light, you can see sparkles in the steel. Almost like metal flake paint. It's very difficult for me to capture that in a picture, but here's the best one that I have.

Steve

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Old 16th December 2007, 11:33 AM   #9
tunggulametung
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Rick and Steve, thank you.

I see the similarities. The grain of Rick's kris was similar to the blade center of my kris and the grain on Steve's gunong was similar to the one in my kris ganya, but are composed of smaller grains. In Indonesia, as far as I know, this kind of iron is appearing in older pieces (I'm referring to Javanese pieces). I thought it was a product of local mining. It is interesting to find the similar material used in southern Philippines.

Thank you again gentleman!
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Old 16th December 2007, 11:17 PM   #10
Newsteel
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Pak tunggulametung,
You have done it very good with much careful !!!! Interesting and beautiful piece. There are some I knew would use similar method of kris cleaning using the Javanese method - warangan and such. But they make it little more mild. (To some preferences) do not want to make it shiny, rather would love to see the tempered marks and the layering patterns.
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Old 17th December 2007, 04:02 AM   #11
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Thank you newsteel,

I think perfect mood was the key factor when doing such job

I was thinking about warangan too before, as I suggest it will protect the blade better from rust. But I guess warangan was not belong to Moro pieces so I decided to give the traditional treatment and look.

When I come accross with Malay sundang then I guess I should consider the warangan instead.

Thanks again.
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Old 17th December 2007, 03:43 PM   #12
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To answer your question late, yes often there is a crystalline pattern found on many Moro pieces.
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Old 20th December 2007, 08:46 AM   #13
tunggulametung
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Thumbs up Thank you!

Thank Battara you for confirming this.

Regards,
Chandra
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