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Old 11th December 2014, 03:06 PM   #1
Spunjer
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Question Twistcore Padsumbalin?

Twistcores are still somewhat a mystery to me. in raw form, do they come as rods, then twisted??? i've seen some blades in which one side was twisted while the other side is not.
keep dreaming about this padsumbalin last night so i got up early and decided to clean it. it was covered with red rust; nothing major, pretty much just dusting all around. after scrubbing with 0000 steelwool, the patterns popped up. i run some hot water, and the patterns became more evident. believe it or not, no acid was used to etch this blade; just hot water, then neutralized with paper towel. mineral oil was then applied. that's it.
anyway, on one side i noticed that there was this chain-like pattern on the blade. it's just on one side. would this be a remnant twistcore rod that was added when the blade was made? or is it even something that could be considered as twistcore? on one of the close-up please notice the flaws on some of the patterns. would love to hear the comments of some of the more knowledgeable smiths here. thank you in advance...
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Last edited by Spunjer : 11th December 2014 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 11th December 2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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admin:
oops, posted on the wrong page...
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Old 11th December 2014, 04:33 PM   #3
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Hello Ron,

Very nice padsumbalin! If already stained earlier, it is not unusual for the pattern to reestablish itself after gentle cleaning, especially if just a little "dust" of surface rust got removed. Quite common to see with warangan treated pieces when soaked - in this case I'd guess that some former owner used ferric chloride.

This is certainly not twistcore. I do see the limited irregularities which (IMHO) seem to have been introduced inadvertantly during the forging process - maybe Alan can comment on the most probable cause?

The laminations run more or less parallel to the main body of this blade (pamor mlumah in Indonesian) while in twistcore the orientation of the laminations are (basically) vertical to the steel core of a blade (pamor miring).

Twistcore for keris is produced by twisting each half of welded rods (i. e. stacks of contrasting iron alloys) in opposing directions; bent them over making sure to match the pattern/twists and bring the whole into rectangular form again; place one to several (often two) of these bars next to each other (optionally add bar(s) with other pamor, especially with only a single row of twistcore) plus an outer layer of iron for protection); sandwich onto a central piece of steel and add another layer with the same number of bars (inversed direction of twists) to the other side (again plus an outer layer of iron for protection); carefully assemble into a tight package, reweld, and forge into final size/form without distorting the laminations too much (most of the length, width, and thickness is already determined when preparing the package prior to rewelding); remove forge scale and move on to scroll work (thereby exposing the twistcore layer of each side of the blade). There appear to be minor modifications to this advanced forging process but the general principle has been applied by many cultures.

Regards,
Kai

Last edited by kai : 11th December 2014 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Simplified but hopefully improved description of the forging process...
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Old 11th December 2014, 04:40 PM   #4
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I'll switch this over to Ethno for you Ron.
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Old 11th December 2014, 05:28 PM   #5
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thanks David!

i exaggerated the lighting (Photoshop) a little bit to emphasize the patterns; it's not as dark as it is. you're right Kai, in that it was probably etched before, since prior to removing the rust, the pattern were descernable. then i saw the chain-like pattern on one side after scrubbing the blade.
thanks for clarifying the lamination process! hopefully Alan can chime in on this. would love to hear his comment...
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Old 11th December 2014, 09:55 PM   #6
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Default twist-core padsumbalin

Ron: While I don't think it could really be called a twist-core as such, it sure is a rare and interesting pattern. Maybe you should give the blade a polish and a re-etch. Would really like to see what might appear. Maybe some type of unknown Moro pattern no one has seen yet????.....Dave.
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Old 11th December 2014, 10:27 PM   #7
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I'd respectfully disagree with Dave on a further etch; but you know what they say about opinions .
Ron, do you think the twine wrap is original to the piece ?
I ask because there would be tremendous pressure on that area with contact with bone .
I remember my example (now sold) had 3 iron rings to support the tang end of the blade .
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Old 11th December 2014, 11:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Ron, do you think the twine wrap is original to the piece ?

Twine or rattan?

Quote:
I ask because there would be tremendous pressure on that area with contact with bone .
I remember my example (now sold) had 3 iron rings to support the tang end of the blade .

Rattan can be very strong. I'm with Rick though and always feel a bit uneasy with anything but strong iron rings as ferrule(s) for these beasts!

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Kai
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Old 12th December 2014, 12:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
I do see the limited irregularities which (IMHO) seem to have been introduced inadvertantly during the forging process

I should rephrase my comment above: The single lamination layer with the row of blotches shows enough regularity (as well as plenty of cold shuts not visible throughout the other layers) to assume that it was introduced on purpose by the bladesmith. However, it doesn't appear to be such a strikingly visible pattern that I'd be convinced that this was intended to be a showy lamination pattern. If anything it bears limited semblance with the blotchy pamor seen in some barung; however, the latter is usually pretty much irregular.

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Kai
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Old 12th December 2014, 02:07 PM   #10
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i've enclosed close ups of the handle wrap. based on the grime build up, it looks like it's been there for awhile. it feels sturdy as it is, but then again, there could be metal bands underneath the twine. also, it's relatively light, weighing at two pounds. the ricasso is 1/4"...
the lamination is definitely an enigma. i'm with you Dave, in that i've never seen this pattern before. i think it's too complex to be accidental, my 2 cents anyway..
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Old 12th December 2014, 03:56 PM   #11
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Ron,

Another gorgeous blade! I am wondering though if both the hilt and cording is not later to the blade, though not necessarily anything like new.

The quality of the blade just doesn't match up to the rest. I would expect a much more delicately carved hilt and a better stabilizing ferrule/s than cording. I wonder if the blade was simply remounted at a later date, perhaps early to mid 20th century. Just a thought...surely we will never know.

Is the unusual cording lacquered??...looks to be in the pics.
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Old 12th December 2014, 04:33 PM   #12
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Ron:

This blade looks like a typical piled rod construction with the central strip having an odd pattern. Whether that pattern was intentional or accidental is hard to say and there is no way of knowing where that particular segment may have come from. It could have been recycled from another blade. The sharpened edges do not seem to have been hardened or inserted, so the blade looks like a fairly straight forward construction made from several rods or strips forged together.

The previous etch certainly looks like a ferric chloride effect. The only reason for re-etching it IMO would be if you plan to use a different etchant, but I doubt that it would display anything new.

Very nice example of a padsumbalin panabas. I agree with Rick about the hemp wrap--would like to see something sturdier to keep the handle attached to the blade during use. Two pounds is on the light side for a panabas. How long is the blade?

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Old 12th December 2014, 05:31 PM   #13
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Another thought; it could be pinned through both blade and handle beneath the wrap .
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Old 13th December 2014, 04:46 PM   #14
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Charles, the wrap is not lacquered. i reckon hand oil from all the years?
Ian, good point on the remnant from another blade. the simplicity of this particular padsumbalin would make sense, considering how everything was put together using the most basic materials. regarding the weight, that's about right. the other padsumbalins i have weighs about the same. on the other hand, i have a couple of five pounders which is typical of the type A panabas (the ones associated with beheadings).
Rick, that would be pretty unique if it's pinned. i've only seen this once on a moro weapon: a gigantic kris brought back by Webb Hayes. it has a three inch wide blade.
i could honestly say that i would feel confident using this beast for test cutting. not only is it sharp, the blade is that secure...
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Old 14th December 2014, 03:08 PM   #15
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Nice Panabas. I like the busy pattern, the section of the Chain-like pattern slightly resembles the Chinese horse tooth pattern.

It could be that the union of blade and handle is original, perhaps (as Cato stated in his book), the owner spent all his money on the blade. Just a thought.
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Old 14th December 2014, 04:00 PM   #16
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Congrats for this nice find, it's indeed a very nice blade and a good panabas!
Still look for a panabas for my own collection, so when you not happy with it send it to me!

Regards,
Detlef
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