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Old 15th April 2011, 07:17 PM   #1
Robert
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Question Chrome On Philippine Blades Question

Hello everyone, I have run across more than one Philippine edged weapon lately which have had the blades chrome plaited and then remembered I had seen some older posts discussing this. One by Zelbone described the process as being "the vogue thing to do prior to WWII". This was from a statement he made about an item he had in the swap forum so I'm not sure if I can post a link without getting in hot water for doing it. I know that there were other discussions about this but I'm not having too much luck finding them. I would really like to hear what the experts have to say on this subject before I start removing chrome from something that I should just leave as is.

Robert
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Old 15th April 2011, 11:41 PM   #2
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This was a popular treatment against rust (and making it a shiny blade) from the the late 19th-mid 20th century. You will see this not only on some Philippines pieces, but on pick ups by Victorians (koras for example) and even US Civil War blades. These are more nickel plating rather than chrome.
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Old 16th April 2011, 12:06 AM   #3
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Here is the latest example that I ran across. I just don't want to change anything that could be original to this by mistake even though I am not fond of chrome and think it would look better without it. Here are some of the auction photos.

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Old 16th April 2011, 01:10 AM   #4
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I always take off the chrome/nickel plating. It is never original to the piece.
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Old 16th April 2011, 01:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I always take off the chrome/nickel plating. It is never original to the piece.

How do you do that Jose?
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Old 16th April 2011, 03:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
How do you do that Jose?


Yeah, how do you do that?
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Old 16th April 2011, 04:44 AM   #7
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Although chrome was used on the tips of bronze Chinese crossbows and tips found in tombs, chrome plating was not in production until the 19th century, and that being in use by the West, especially after large deposits of chrome were found in the US and then later in Turkey. Chrome by itself is not indigenous to Southeast Asia as far as I know.

As I mentioned earlier, the common practice by both Victorian and American collectors of ethnographic weaponry (and US Civil War) was to plate the blade to prevent rusting. I even know of a collector that 2 years ago took a US Civil War foot officer's sword and chromed it to get a shiny blade!
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Old 16th April 2011, 05:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Although chrome was used on the tips of bronze Chinese crossbows and tips found in tombs, chrome plating was not in production until the 19th century, and that being in use by the West, especially after large deposits of chrome were found in the US and then later in Turkey. Chrome by itself is not indigenous to Southeast Asia as far as I know.

As I mentioned earlier, the common practice by both Victorian and American collectors of ethnographic weaponry (and US Civil War) was to plate the blade to prevent rusting. I even know of a collector that 2 years ago took a US Civil War foot officer's sword and chromed it to get a shiny blade!
This is more in answer to my original question about chrome plating. What I wanted to know was if it was a common practice in the Philippines to chrome plate blades. I know it was in the U.S. at one point but, if it was a practice in the Philippines to do this I thought it would be better to leave it as is. If it was done in this country after the piece was brought here then removing the plating would be an acceptable thing to do.

Robert
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Old 16th April 2011, 03:17 PM   #9
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Leave it - its part of the sword's history...
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Old 16th April 2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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Btw, congrats on getting that for cheap! I was watching it as well...
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Old 16th April 2011, 03:59 PM   #11
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Hi Robert,

I was bidding on this as well but don't went higher because the blade was chromed. I am with Dave, keep it like this, it is still a nice sword and the chromed blade is part of the history of this sword.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 16th April 2011, 05:34 PM   #12
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To answer your question more specifically, to my knowledge it was not common practice for Filipinos or Moros to chrome plate their blades.
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Old 16th April 2011, 05:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I always take off the chrome/nickel plating. It is never original to the piece.

Jose, could you answer this question more specifically?
How do you go about doing this?
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Old 16th April 2011, 05:55 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your opinions on what should or should not be done about the chrome plating on this piece. Now that I have read the rest of the comments and found that it was not a common practice in the Philippines to do this type of plating I think that I will be removing the chrome sometime in the future.


Robert

Last edited by Robert Coleman : 16th April 2011 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 16th April 2011, 07:34 PM   #15
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I do this carefully with varying grades of sandpaper and stones. I resist using a machine sander because there are little swirls it creates.

Also difficult to tell if it is chrome or nickel plate (which adheres closer to the steel and also not used in the Philippines in general nor Indonesia).

Hopefully yours is chromed which should come off easier.
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Old 17th April 2011, 03:21 AM   #16
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Likewise I have not seen Chromed examples on Thai or Burmese swords...but I do have one example:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6349
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Old 25th April 2011, 05:35 PM   #17
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Here are a couple of pictures of this item after the chrome was removed and a light etch applied to the blade. The blade does have an inserted hardened edge but it is hard to see in the pictures as I had to take them inside, it is raining here again today. Now a light cleaning to the brass fittings and I'm done. Removing the chrome was a pain in the (insert appropriate word of your choice here) and I am very happy that I only have one more item that this needs to be done too.

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Old 25th April 2011, 05:51 PM   #18
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Hello Robert,

I have to revise my opinion in post #11, the blade looks much better than before and you have done well to decide removing the chrome.

Regards,

Detlef
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Old 25th April 2011, 08:57 PM   #19
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Hello Detlef, I'm glad that you like the results. I just wanted to try to return it to something close to what it was intended to originally look like. The etching was more to remove some of the gloss from the blade left after removing the chrome than it was to try to find any pattern in the steel. Again I am glad that you like the how it turned out.

Robert
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Old 25th April 2011, 09:20 PM   #20
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I'm glad you went ahead and removed it Robert. Looks much better...
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Old 25th April 2011, 10:21 PM   #21
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Yes looks much better I agree.......
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Old 28th April 2011, 04:37 AM   #22
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David and Jose, I am very happy that everyone so far likes the results of the chrome removal. Now that I have gone this far should I polish the brass fittings as well or leave them as they are? I have always wondered if on Philippine weapons if they would have been kept bright and shiny all the time or just cleaned as necessary to prevent rust?

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Old 28th April 2011, 05:24 AM   #23
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I'd say that with moro pieces, I would polish them if they were in need of a restoration and especially if they have precious metals on them like gold, suasa, or silver, but even then a lot of people have differing opinions about that.

In terms of visayan blades and Luzon blades though, I say leave it as-is if it's brass. I think it looks better that way, and the brass you polish will have dulled and tarnished within a short time anyways.
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Old 28th April 2011, 07:19 AM   #24
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He has some good points (get it? ). I too would leave the brass alone. More value if patina is intact.
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