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Old 15th January 2018, 06:43 PM   #1
CharlesS
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Default Lovely Old Barung With Twistcore

I bought this barung two weeks again because I liked the profile of the blade. At that time it was just a gray blade with absolutely no hint of pattern welding....I just liked the long elegant blade.

Imagine my surprise when I began to clean it up and etch it!!! I was amazed. It is only the 3rd twistcore barung I have seen. I have intentionally "over" etched it to highlight the complex twisting. Note one side is more complete and obvious than the other. I even wondered if it was a "failed" twistcore, but I don't think so. Note also that false edge has been tempered as well as the bottom edge. You can see that the blade has seen some sort of action(looks more like work than war!) if you look at the worn spot in the center of the edge.

Generally, I have associated these long, lighter, and elegant blades with later post-1930 barungs. This one, however, has forced me to rethink that. I believe this is a 19th-century blade or very early 20th century at the latest.

Comments and opinions welcomed.

Dimensions:
Overall length: 28.25in.
Blade length: 17in.
Blade's widest point:2.25in.
Blade's thickness at the hilt: .25in.
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Old 15th January 2018, 07:27 PM   #2
Ian
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Hi Charles:

I'm not surprised. A long silver punto and an elegant kakatua often suggest an accompanying blade of quality. The scabbard looks complete too and of the older flat style. Great find.

I agree with you that longer slim blades have been around for some time and are not necessarily post-1930. I've seen several of these that are likely 19th C.

Ian.
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Old 15th January 2018, 08:42 PM   #3
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What a beauty!

Congratulations for this great find!

But I would wipe off some of the etching and leave just some hint of the pattern... if the blade were mine... but it isn't...
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Old 15th January 2018, 08:53 PM   #4
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Agree with Ian and Marius, great piece!
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Old 15th January 2018, 08:54 PM   #5
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Stunning!
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Old 15th January 2018, 09:31 PM   #6
CharlesS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
But I would wipe off some of the etching and leave just some hint of the pattern... if the blade were mine... but it isn't...



Marius,

I couldn't agree more. I don't think this is the original or "natural" state of the barung. I did this dark etch ONLY for the sake of photography and showing the complex twisting on this site. I will eventually tone it down to a more natural look just as you suggested.
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Old 15th January 2018, 10:09 PM   #7
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Default the "natural" look

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Marius,

I couldn't agree more. I don't think this is the original or "natural" state of the barung. I did this dark etch ONLY for the sake of photography and showing the complex twisting on this site. I will eventually tone it down to a more natural look just as you suggested.


Robert Cato, in his book Moro Swords (1996), states:
"Blades that are still found in the Philippines are often dusky in appearance, not bright. They frequently exhibit some form of patterning on the surface of the blade. Acidic chemical agents such as various indigenous citrus fruits, were used on the blade right after completion, and in later cleaning. These substances darkened the overall surface of the blade, while at the same time, highlighting the layers of various metals within it." (p 20)

Robert had done field research for this book in the southern Philippines and I was fortunate to have been able to discuss this with him. When he eventually sold his collection I had the chance to look at a few pieces that did retain at least a modicum of the original patina and were not sandpapered bright like so many on the market today. The patterns appear in shades of brown to gray-black. This is consistent with what I have experienced when trying some plant-based etchants, which however are more difficult to get a consistent effect with than the method you used on your barong, which turned out beautifully from a metallographical standpoint.
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Old 15th January 2018, 11:03 PM   #8
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Absolutely right Phillip.

Also I have been informed in the past that long slender blades are call sipput barongs. This great example seems to be a variant of this type.
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Old 16th January 2018, 09:55 AM   #9
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What etchant did you use?

Regards,

Marius
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Old 16th January 2018, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
What etchant did you use?


Ferric Chloride, and a heavier than usual dose. I will eventually re-etch it or wipe it down with oil and 0000 steel wool to lighten up the darkness of the current etch just a bit.
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Old 16th January 2018, 03:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Ferric Chloride, and a heavier than usual dose. I will eventually re-etch it or wipe it down with oil and 0000 steel wool to lighten up the darkness of the current etch just a bit.


Thank you for the reply!

0000 steel wool might still be too harsh. I would use cotton swabs with Picreator's Pre-Lim or just cotton swabs with some Renaissance wax.
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Old 16th January 2018, 07:29 PM   #12
Aslan Paladin
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Congratulations, that is one fantastic barong. I hope to get one like that eventually.
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Old 16th January 2018, 07:39 PM   #13
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Nice blade indeed. But I believe, this is not a twistcore, it is thin layer of twisted metal on each side. This would explain the unusual wild look of the twisted layer. The twisted bar was forged into two thin layers.
My suggestion for a final treatment, just polish the blade a while with soft kitchen-paper and Ballistol or another oil of your choice.

Roland
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Old 16th January 2018, 07:45 PM   #14
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Just lovely!
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Old 16th January 2018, 10:22 PM   #15
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Yowza! congrats, buddy!! i know sooner or later, you'll snag one, lol
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Nice blade indeed. But I believe, this is not a twistcore, it is thin layer of twisted metal on each side. This would explain the unusual wild look of the twisted layer. The twisted bar was forged into two thin layers.Roland



Roland, I have wondered this exact same thing myself, but keep getting consistent feedback that it is Moro twistcore.....
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Old 17th January 2018, 04:36 AM   #17
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My congratulation on a most beautiful addition to your collection.

Best,
Robert
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Old 17th January 2018, 05:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland_M
Nice blade indeed. But I believe, this is not a twistcore, it is thin layer of twisted metal on each side. This would explain the unusual wild look of the twisted layer. The twisted bar was forged into two thin layers.


Roland


I agree. The pattern on each side does reveal a twisted structure, but to be twist-CORE, this structure would have to go the entire thickness of the blade, with the edges being "stack"-welded to the cutting and dorsal sides. In this case, the core is what protrudes as the cutting- and back-edges and is laminated in sandwich fashion between the twist-pattern layers on each face.

There are Moro keris blades that show all the signs of being a twist-core construction, the format bearing considerable similarity, in principle, to sword-blades of Anglo-Saxon and Nordic Europe during the early Middle Ages.
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:10 PM   #19
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Hello Roland,

Quote:
I believe, this is not a twistcore, it is thin layer of twisted metal on each side. This would explain the unusual wild look of the twisted layer. The twisted bar was forged into two thin layers.

Thanks for chiming in! I was also trying to figure out how this pattern got forged.

I was considering a complex stacked construction instead of twistcore - kinda like the blotchy pattern sometimes seen with barung blades but crafted with the intend to obtain a regular "fishbone" pattern.

However, the margins of the pattern do seem to support your notion that this twistcore got flattened a lot and sandwiched onto the central steel layer; this certainly explains the distortions but still is a real feat to forge with only a traditional workplace!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:27 PM   #20
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Hello Phil,

Quote:
I agree. The pattern on each side does reveal a twisted structure, but to be twist-CORE, this structure would have to go the entire thickness of the blade, with the edges being "stack"-welded to the cutting and dorsal sides. In this case, the core is what protrudes as the cutting- and back-edges and is laminated in sandwich fashion between the twist-pattern layers on each face.

There are Moro keris blades that show all the signs of being a twist-core construction, the format bearing considerable similarity, in principle, to sword-blades of Anglo-Saxon and Nordic Europe during the early Middle Ages.

The origin of the word twistcore may be based on a solid piece of "twist" - however, I don't think the definition needs to be that strict! Otherwise, there would be no twistcore barrels!

The most important features seem to be:
1. forged from twisted bars
2. exposure of the core of the "twist" by removal of the surface.

If anything, symmetrically applying the forged twisted bars to a sandwich construction needs even more skill IMVHO...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:54 PM   #21
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There are two twisted bars on each side. The blade as end product is much to wide and long for the size of these bars - so while forging out in the length and width the control over the appearance of twisted pattern was lost. We see it the best towards the tip of the blade - always the trickiest place to control the pattern.

Normally there would be more bars on such a blade, like on ex-Gavin's Barong (or yataghans)

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...wistcore+barong

and/or the bars would have been kept narrow

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...wistcore+barong

The smith simply wasn't experienced well enough to work with twisted bars and didn't know the relation between the size of the bars before the forging process (let alone some tricks like increasing the amplitude of the twists) and the blade at the end of process.

That could be a hint to a slightly later date of production or/and a more "provincial" place of production.

Last edited by Gustav : 17th January 2018 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 17th January 2018, 07:08 PM   #22
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Gustav,

Thanks for your very interesting observations. You seem to have some experience with twist core techniques. Do you forge your own blades?

Ian
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Old 18th January 2018, 09:15 PM   #23
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Ian,

no, just had some interesting conversations with a person who does forging with a focus on pattern welding.

Actually one can understand a lot about different appearances of twistcore and other patterns just using plasticine of two different colours.

Gustav
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