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Old 9th October 2014, 03:24 AM   #1
Shakethetrees
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Default Barong again!

Here are a few images of a barong that I pulled out, showing it before any cleaning was done.

I will add more pictures of the work I did in the last few days.

Any comments, pro or con are welcome.

Also, if anyone can recommend a book or two to ease my transition from a kris and barong novice to someone who can at least write using the correct terminology would be appreciated!
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Old 9th October 2014, 03:36 AM   #2
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Here's an update after hours of work!

The blade is more or less clean, small dings and chips were polished out, old glue residue removed.

The scabbard appears to be made of golden teak. Once I find some I will update this post again.

Please, as usual, comments and suggestions are welcome.

The terminal of the scabbard is missing, as well as the grip covering. I taped up and out of the way some handmade string that I don't think was external wrapping, but, again, I'm no expert!

Any guidance here is most appreciated!
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Old 9th October 2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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A NICE PROJECT. I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH RESTORATION YOU PLAN ON BUT SOME ELMERS WOOD GLUE AND A CLAMP TO CLOSE THAT CRACK AT THE SCABBARD TOP WILL ALLOW YOU TO PUT THE LARGE MOTHER OF PEARL SECTION BACK IN PLACE. THE MISSING SCABBARD TIP LIKELY HAD MOTHER OF PEARL AS WELL AND THERE MAY HAVE BEEN A METAL FERRULE NOW MISSING THAT COVERED THE BLADE TANG. IF YOU REPLACE THE TIP PERHAPS A REFINISH ON THE SCABBARD WOULD BE NECESSARY BUT IF ITS NOT REPLACED YOU CAN REFINISH OR LEAVE THE SCABBARD AS IS DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU LIKE BEST. ONE WAY TO DO IT IS A PARTIAL RESTORE OF THE SCABBARD, RE- FINISH THE FRONT OF THE SCABBARD TO ITS ORIGINAL LOOK BUT LEAVE THE BACK AND SIDES AS THEY NOW ARE SHOWING THE OLD PATINA AND DIRT.
HERE ARE TWO EXAMPLES OF BARONGS WITH MOP PANELS SHOWING THE TIP. PLEASE PARDON MY USE OF THE PICTURES IF THEY ARE SOMEONE ELSE' S PICTURE I CANNOT KEEP TRACK OF WHERE OR WHEN I GET THE PICTURES. PERHAPS SOMEONE CAN SUPPLY INFO ON THE PROPER DESIGN TO MATCH THE OLD MOP OR A SUGGESTION OF WHERE YOU COULD ORDER A PROPER PIECE MADE. THEY STILL DO THE MOP WORK IN THE PHILIPPINES AND MOLUCCAS. GOOD LUCK
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Last edited by VANDOO : 9th October 2014 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 9th October 2014, 05:15 PM   #4
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Hello Shakethetrees,

very good cleaning job of the blade, ready for etching. I think that this barong is much later as the other one, 1930 or later but a very nice one. From which material is the remaining ferrule? I think there is missing a second and maybe a third one. I would let work them in the same manner new, replace the missing wrapping and attach the handle firmly again in correct manner, clean carefully the wooden pommel without removing the patina and oil it with linseed oil. The scabbard don't show a nice patination so I would clean it carefully with steel wool to show the potentially nice grain of the wood. Glue the split in up and reattach the mother of pearl piece in the way it was originally. Restauration of the finish of the scabbard will be a great concern, there was once most probable as well attached a MOP piece, personally I would let it like this.
The best reference book about Moro blades is "Moro Swords" from Robert Cato, difficult to get and somewhat expensive but with good luck you will find an example.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 9th October 2014, 10:56 PM   #5
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STT,
i'm not sure how confident you are in regards to removing the handle, but if you search this "Barong restoration suggestion...", it will give you a step by step process on how to work on it. i can't add the direct link on this here post due to my current location.
as far as removing the handle, it is fairly easy. i normally use a heat gun (rated at 750 deg) and would aim it blade, about three to four inches away from the handle. just make sure you don't aim it at one place, rather doing it a sweeping motion. what you're doing is heating the blade enough so it will soften the "gal-gal", a native tree resin used by the locals. you can then either push it in to set it, or remove it if you like. if you do pull it out and decide to work on it, i would suggest pitch as an adhesive to replace the native resin. hope this helps...
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Old 10th October 2014, 06:05 AM   #6
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STT, I totally agree with Spunjers recommendations on how to remove and reset the hilt and what to use as a replacement adhesive. The only thing I might add is that from what I can see in your photos it looks like the reason the blade has moved forward is because the wooden hilt has over the years shrank quite a bit causing the forward movement of the blade. If this is the case, to refit the blade back to its original position you might have to enlarge the tang socket a little so the tang will fit properly again. Hopefully though when heated it will just (with a little pressure) pop back into place with no problems at all.

Best,
Robert
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Old 10th October 2014, 07:00 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips!

My primary concern right now is to determine exactly what the grip should look like-how many ferrules, any and what type of wrap gets laid down between the ferrules, how does the scabbard tip look, and possibly other considerations that I'm now wondering about.

The MOP work shown by Vandoo is of a much higher quality than what I think should be on mine. Once I am satisfied as to how it will look, I have no problem making and carving/engraving it myself. I do this type of work professionally on antique metalwork and weapons for thirty years.

There is no outlet on these boards for it, or I would show some stuff I've done.

My hesitancy with Philippine weapons is due to the fact that I don't know squat about them, their regional differences and similarities, etc. I've always liked them from a casual view of history, design, etc. but nothing particularly deep here. Likewise with Indonesian weapons. For whatever reason I've just never had the opportunity to make a detailed study of them.

When I need to make a part for something in my "real world" job, the outcome is based on many years of research and study of design by time periods. If i get stumped I at least know where to go to augment my knowledge and only then will I start to sculpt, mold, cut, or whatever my technique is that I need to use.

But, with a little understanding from you guys who appear to have made a real academic pursuit of what I'm just now getting into, I believe I have the experience and confidence in my abilities to understand the possibilities and limitations of materials that make me comfortable enough to tackle most of what I need to do for a good restoration.

And, as I've been at this for a long, long time, and am on the downside toward retirement, I would think a new forum category could be helpful to the collecting field at large. Just a place to go for advice, simple tricks that allow one to clean up and return to glory a tired old piece or two. Nothing really deep or complex, dangerous or risky to the piece or the operator, but good, sound advice with the idea to maintain and manage the long term health and well being of our collections. The standards of museum conservation and storage should be disseminated and taken to heart here.

Remember, we are only custodians of this stuff, and pay well for the privilege!

I look forward to posting a completed project or two in the near future, and, as always, I welcome your comments!
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Old 10th October 2014, 07:58 AM   #8
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As the scabbard on your example seems to have a raised central ridge I would say that making a new toe piece similar to the lower one shown in Vandoo's photo above would be a fair representation of how the original on yours would have looked. The mother of pearl carving would just be an extension of the simple line and floral pattern shown on the throat pieces you already have. The ferrules and what they were made of would have depended on how much the owner had to spend on dressing up the hilt. As your example has modest quality carving on the mother of pearl I doubt that the ferrules would have been very elaborate either so possibly three would suit this piece. Again, the wrap could have been made of a few different materials, but in this case I would guess that simple braided cotton fishing line might have been originally used and therefore would also serve as a proper replacement. Now, as far as your showing some of the work that you have done it would depend on what it is. We do have a section of the forum called "Ethnographic Miscellania" and depending on what it is you would like to post it might fit in there. Just read the ground rules posted at the top of the page and decide for yourself. The suggestions I posted on your barong are my own opinions and others here might not totally agree and give you other advice on how to proceed with your project.

Best,
Robert

Last edited by Robert : 10th October 2014 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 10th October 2014, 05:18 PM   #9
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A progress report: the grip has been removed and the scabbard throat repaired and the original MOP plaque remounted.

I used hide glue after a quick soak in hot water to elasticize the split. The clamp remained in place for about 24 hours. During the clamping, I blasted the A/C down to 65 degrees which lowered the humidity. This pulled any latent moisture from the wood and glue allowing it to dry thoroughly.

The plaque was trial fitted after a cleanup of the joint, glue applied and pressed in carefully.

Next I pulled the grip by carefully with a straight acetylene torch held a distance from the blade. As soon as the resin started to bubble, it was no problem loosening the blade and drawing it out.

An examination of the grip revealed that the string wrapping appears to be made of plant fiber, two strands wound together to the left. Two of these strands were then wound together to the right. This gives a loose, interwoven feel to the finished string. I figure I need about 200 inches of it to do a good wrap. I guess I'll have to make it myself, as I don't think anything like it is available commercially.

The ferrule is of thin nickel or Monel, with two hand filed grooves about a sixteenth of a inch from the edges. I looking for some of this material, as today's nickel silver that is commercially available is a different alloy from that used pre WWII. I'll have to go to my junk pile and cannibalize something!

More later.
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