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Old 22nd August 2006, 01:49 AM   #1
Abravefan11
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Default Help with Sword ID

I was given this sword over 20 years ago by my father and know nothing about it. Where it came from? How old it is? Etc.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If it would help to have a better picture of a particular part of the sword I would be happy to provide one.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 03:07 AM   #2
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Default Thai darb

Welcome bravefan.

Your father passed on a Thai sword called a darb. It is of relatively recent (second half of 20th C) manufacture. You can find a lot of information about these swords using the forum's search engine. Type in Thai darb and you will find some similar examples as well as older forms and some very elaborate ones.

You will find a lot of info about your sword here also: http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001291.html

Ian.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 03:21 AM   #3
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So more than likely this sword was brought back from Southern Asia to the states by a G.I.? Does this mean it has little value?
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Old 22nd August 2006, 01:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abravefan11
So more than likely this sword was brought back from Southern Asia to the states by a G.I.? Does this mean it has little value?


I cannot add to anything Ian said about the description. As to value, appaisals are not done on this forum. That being said if it was given to you by your father 20 years ago that alone should add some personal value to it. Particularly if he passed on any stories of how and where it came into his possession. Did your father serve the country in Nam perhaps ? As often discussed here there are many ways to value a sword. If you are simply interested in the monetary value look on ebay for many similar swords. If you do this for a while you can weed out the values that are off base and get a feeling for the true price it would sell for.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhysMichael
I cannot add to anything Ian said about the description. As to value, appaisals are not done on this forum. That being said if it was given to you by your father 20 years ago that alone should add some personal value to it. Particularly if he passed on any stories of how and where it came into his possession. Did your father serve the country in Nam perhaps ? As often discussed here there are many ways to value a sword. If you are simply interested in the monetary value look on ebay for many similar swords. If you do this for a while you can weed out the values that are off base and get a feeling for the true price it would sell for.


I apologoze if I was missunderstood. I wasn't looking for a specific value, nor do I have any intentions of selling it. I simply was looking for any information I could get pertaining to where it may have come from and how old it was.

My father gave me the sword for my 14 birthday. For that reason alone I have no plans to sell it. He didn't serve in the military and never gave me any background on how the sword came into his possesion.

I guess a better way of presenting what I was trying to ask is this:

From what Ian has written in this post and others on this site there seems to have been many of this Thia type of sword manufactured with the sole intent of selling them as souviners to the G.I.'s from the mid 60's to early 70's. Were there any better quality swords made at that time that are similar and if so, what is something to look for? Or with my sword matching a lot of the descriptions Ian has given, is it more than likely maunfactured just as a souviner.

Again I'm not trying to put a dollar amount on it. Just trying to get a good idea of it's history.

Again thanks for the help given and any that may follow.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 01:47 PM   #6
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A brave fan
many of these swords are made for the trourist market. Some are not even hardened. But quality swords are still made for use in this region of the world. Its hard to say from a picture which this is ( a tourist sword or a use sword ) Some questions to ask yourself as you look at it:
How tight is the handle to the blade ?
What condition and quality are the wrappings on the handle?
Is the copper at the throat and pommel thick or thin ?
Lastly the thai smiths do have a technique to use a file or cut a nail to demonstrate a hardened well made blade but you may not be comfortable with either of these.

There are several people on this forum who may be able to give you much more information on these swords ( Ian is certainly one of them ) There are also some people who represent companies that make contemporary blades. Hopefully they can add much more to this

I hope this helps
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Old 22nd August 2006, 08:00 PM   #7
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There is a "middle" path, one could say, between pure tourist and a use blade, which is a martial arts blade. This could well be a daab made for use in the Thai martial art muay thai. Swordmaking is still very much a live tradition in Thailand, though there has been an unfortunate tendency to abandon tradition sword-making techniques for newer ones (such as stock removal). Most of the daab in the style of yours that I have seen are made by modern techniques, but whether strictly for tourist trade or for martial arts I cannot say. They certainly have the proper balance for use. Here is an article written by Antonio Cejunior about a visit he made to Aranyik, the sword-making center of Thailand: http://www.arscives.com/bladesign/visit.aranyik.htm
If you want information on daab generally, and pictures of other examples, try the Dha Research Index. Mostly pictures, actually.

Perhaps one of our Thai members can give some insight about where this style comes from (Aranyik is in the south, and there are other sword-making centers in the north, such as Chiang Mai).
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Old 23rd August 2006, 12:24 PM   #8
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Is this an ellipse mark?

This mark could be related to either Aranyik (central Thailand) or LumPang (Northern Thailand) 's product.

However, the pointy tip on the scabbard 's usually associate with modern Dahb from central Thailand. Also, the rattan works on the scabbard 's are not very neat. It 's likely to be a tourist type from Aranyik. Narrow/untaper spine (2/8" or less) will confirm this. A popular souviner from Ayuthaya (or Bangkok) though
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Old 23rd August 2006, 03:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PUFF
Is this an ellipse mark?


Quote:
Originally Posted by PUFF
It 's likely to be a tourist type from Aranyik. Narrow/untaper spine (2/8" or less) will confirm this. A popular souviner from Ayuthaya (or Bangkok) though


Excuse my ignorance, but I'm not sure what you're telling me to look for in reference to the spine. If you don't mind if you could give me a little more explination.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 03:25 PM   #10
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I believe Puff is describing a relatively thin blade which does not taper in thickness from the hilt to the tip.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 03:52 PM   #11
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The spine definitely tapers. It's much thicker at the handle and tapers to the tip.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 04:33 PM   #12
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Puff,

Can you tell us anything about the markings we see on the spines of these swords? Any significance to the brass/copper/silver inset slugs?

Thanks,
Andrew
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Old 23rd August 2006, 08:37 PM   #13
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Yeah, that is the "turtle" mark, sort of poorly struck. Some other examples:


Puff, Dan has reported that Lung Som calls the lower one the "bitter melon seed," but it occured to me that he might have been referring only to the rosettes on either side of the turtle, which I have also seen by themselves. Do you know if the "bitter melon seed" the same as the little turtle, or is it the rosettes? Lung Som said that the mark on the lower blade was used by two collaborating smiths, one from Aranyik and the other from Chiang Mai. which made me think that the turtle represented the Aranyik smith, and the two rosettes, the "bitter melon seeds," represented the Chiang Mai smith.

Abravefan, about the spine, a typical dha/daab is quite thick at the base (as much as a 1/2 inch), and will taper dramatically in the first 1/3 or so of the blade down to about 2/3 or 3/4 of that, then more gradually taper to a very thin width at the tip. The best way I can describe this "double taper" is that if you hold the blade up, spine towards you, it looks sort of like the Eiffel Tower.

One modern technique of making daab is to cut out the shape from sheet steel, and refine the shape by stock removal. This results in a less dramatic, or sometimes very little, distal taper, with the blade being a fairly uniform width and tapering nearer the tip (like swords from many other parts of the world, actually). The dramatic taper of the daab blade moves the point of balance very close to the grip, 2-3 inches or less. If the point of balance of your daab is further out, closer to the middle of the blade, this also indicates less distal taper.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 09:21 PM   #14
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This is one of the same construction from WW2, the scabbard is rather different. If you are a film buff then you can see the same version is worn by the beautiful Thai lady porters in the film "Bridge over the river Kwai"
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Old 24th August 2006, 08:02 AM   #15
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Bitter melon/cucumber seed 's ovel/elipse shape (bottom-right of the first pic).
The name 's interchangable with the turtle mark.
The mark was used by both LumPang and Aranyik guilds.

The round mark is called Dok Keaw (Orange Jessamine, flower). It 's not found in Aranyik 's product. Mostly related with LumPang guild.

Currently, there are hypothesis for marks on the spine. The first one is helping a calculation or strategy note. Another one which 's come from more reliable source is that spine marks are blade registration. The marks can be transfer to a paper or cloth with a piece of charcoal and a copy will be kept by town/city officer.

The slug, however, is related with spiritual believe. The most reliable one is that the copper material has a warding power against evil or person's spiritual protection. Some smiths point out the metal keep rust away. But the hypothesis 's less solid sice it 's scientificly not true.

Both marks and slugs may serve their purpose in the old time. But in this modern time, although the marks and slugs are traditional preserved, but its real purpose has been forgotten and they are purely used as a decoration.
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Old 24th August 2006, 03:13 PM   #16
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PUFF:

Thanks so much again for the useful information. Registration marks make sense and the old idea about the slugs is one I had not heard previously. It is interesting that we see these marks on edged weapons other than Darb. I have a small axe/chopper that is probably 100+ years old with similar markings. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=605

Ian


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Old 24th August 2006, 09:48 PM   #17
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I'd like to thank everyone that contributed to this thread and helped me. You have been a big help and I really appreciate it.
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Old 26th August 2006, 05:33 AM   #18
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Default Brass Guard

One other item of note on your sword and others of the like can be found at the guard. There is a thin brass plate nailed into the stock of the handle and in every version I have seen there is no pitch under that plate securing the blade to handle. I've been told that means it was never made for true fighting as the pitch not only secures the blade but acts almost as a shock absorber.

Dan
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Old 28th August 2006, 01:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilked aka Khun Deng
One other item of note on your sword and others of the like can be found at the guard. There is a thin brass plate nailed into the stock of the handle and in every version I have seen there is no pitch under that plate securing the blade to handle. I've been told that means it was never made for true fighting as the pitch not only secures the blade but acts almost as a shock absorber.

Dan


I know what you're talking about in reference to the thin brass plate nailed into the stock of the handle. I'm not sure what you mean by "pitch."

Is this something I can see without taking the handle apart? If not how would I go about disassembling it?
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Old 28th August 2006, 02:37 PM   #20
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Pitch would be a vegetable resin used to glue the blade into the handle. What Dan is referring to is that these kind of daab are often just pressure fit into the handle, without the pitch/resin to glue it in. It makes the blade even more likely to "fly off the handle" as the sword ages and the wood of the handle shrinks. I do have one sword that is simply pressure fit and is clearly a "user," though. It was said to be from Laos, but its hard to tell. In Burma, at least according to Ferrars & Ferrars, the dha blade was pressure fit, rather than pinned, so that it would not vibrate as much, and could be pounded back in when it became loose (this last seems a bit circular in reasoning, since it wouldn't tend to come loose if it were pinned in the first place). This doesn't exclude the use of glue, though. Plus I sometimes question the accuracy of what Ferrars & Ferrars wrote.

In Higham, The Archeology of Mainland Southeast Asia: "Yen has noted that the Canarium and Madhuca [butternut] are exploited by the local Shan for their resins and guns, substances valuable in hafting composite weapons and coating pottery vessels to improve their water retention." P. 53.
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Old 28th August 2006, 03:56 PM   #21
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IMHO here say and facts are rather confused about these swords. Having a tang through the handle and peened over, the blade is not going anywhere and the notion that this example is not for use is a little wide of the mark.
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Old 28th August 2006, 04:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
IMHO here say and facts are rather confused about these swords. Having a tang through the handle and peened over, the blade is not going anywhere and the notion that this example is not for use is a little wide of the mark.



Tangs that extend completely through the handle are exceedingly rare in these swords, Tim. The feature you show is probably not a tang. Even if it is, it is unlikely to be a solid tang, more likely to be a "rat-tail" which are inherently unstable and prone to breakage at weld points.

Either way, having handled dozens of substantially similar swords (and cut with several), I can only tell you I personally wouldn't want to "use" one of these for anything other than decoration.
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Old 28th August 2006, 05:25 PM   #23
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Hmmm. One could say that about a great many ethno weapons. How many people have you cut with one? I would not want to be faced with a man wielding one in my village
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Old 28th August 2006, 09:01 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
Hmmm. One could say that about a great many ethno weapons. How many people have you cut with one? I would not want to be faced with a man wielding one in my village


lol. I understand what you're saying, Tim. Yes: even a poorly made "wall hanger" can hurt, kill or maim someone. Even a pencil can kill.

Maybe we need to define "use"? To me a "user" darb is a weapon with a hardened blade and a handle fixation method sufficient to withstand repeated swings, cuts, blocks and impacts without failing.
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Old 28th August 2006, 09:24 PM   #25
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Yes we could be talking about two very different weapons. One a specialist, a knight? in some kind of bonded service. The other like my example, really no wall hanger, just a cheaper village weapon. The blade is far from soft and the balance is good. Not every village is going to have a princely guard. Playing with these things out of context might not always add to the sum of knowledge .
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Old 28th August 2006, 11:12 PM   #26
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I'd just want something that wouldn't leave me holding an empty handle in mid-battle.
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Old 29th August 2006, 10:25 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
:
understand what you're saying, Tim. Yes: even a poorly made "wall hanger" can hurt, kill or maim someone. Even a pencil can kill.
Maybe we need to define "use"? To me a "user" darb is a weapon with a hardened blade and a handle fixation method sufficient to withstand repeated swings, cuts, blocks and impacts without failing.


I look at it the same way, Andrew
Of course the others could be used as a weapon or tool but not repeatedly so. I can take a piece of aluminum and grind an edge on it and it would cut a couple of times before denting enough to dull but still that would not be what I would call a use sword.
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Old 31st August 2006, 05:15 AM   #28
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The through/peened tang is definitly Aranyik's product. The blade was mainly made as a tourist piece. But I think there 's a harden line on it. And it 's thickness/taper 's somewhat better than a typical steel sheat piece.

I understand Tim's point. Although the blade may not stand abusive used like battlefield or Krabi-Krabong practice like this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QieY...related&search=

but the blade is more than enough for household use such as killing a snake, drive foxes, dogs or cats away from hen house or even hold against unwelcome [night] visitor.

I would like to regard this piece as a modern, household blade. Although in this modern age of guns, a sharpen blade with reasonable construct could be handy in a right situation.
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Old 31st August 2006, 05:24 PM   #29
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Obviously I favour Puffs opinion. This would also explain why the lady porters in the film "Bridge over the river Kwai" were portrayed carrying such swords. I am not completely silly when handling weapons having spent over a decade fencing under an ex European champion. I know these are not old grand weapons. I just do not see them as made for the tourist market, the work on the scabbard is really quite fine. I show the whole thing with a "tourist" knife.
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Old 31st August 2006, 06:03 PM   #30
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I found this picture of another flying blade. I hope he will not mind.

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