Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Keris 'washing' in the US (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16424)

CharlesS 22nd November 2012 12:38 PM

Keris 'washing' in the US
 
Do any of you members know if anyone in the US does proper keris washing of old faded out blades for commission?

Thanks for any info.

David 22nd November 2012 04:22 PM

I do my own Charles, but i don't really feel qualified to make a business of it. I have had results both good and mediocre in the past. They always look better than when i started, but i can't say my results are consistent enough (nor would i want) to make a business of it. Have you considered having a go at it yourself. :shrug: :)

A. G. Maisey 22nd November 2012 08:05 PM

David, blade staining results are almost invariably mixed, no matter who does the job.

I routinely have blades stained in Solo. I've tried a number of different people and paid various sums to have the job done. From all people except a man who charges as much to stain a blade as the price of a decent keris, I return more than 50% to have done again, the second time around I return about a third, from this one third of 50% there are still usually 2 or 3 blades that are less than acceptable.

The work of the the very expensive m'ranggi is much better, but there is still the occasional blade that needs to be done twice or even three times.

I have on occasion spent two or three days in attempts to get a perfect finish. I mean two or three days working at it consistently, using a very hands on method.

The big barrier in having blades done anywhere in the west is that if somebody charges for the actual time spent to get a decent job, the cost becomes prohibitive. The fastest I can stain a blade, assuming it is in pretty fair condition to start with, is about two hours. That's a fast, easy job. If I need to clean it, that's about 20 minutes per day for about 5 to 7 days = a minimum of one hour twenty minutes. If the blade is difficult to stain there is no telling how long it can take.

I've done the occasional blade for other people as a favour, but if you charge for it the job becomes a no-win situation. Even if you only charge $10 an hour the cost of staining the blade is probably going to be more than the person paid for the keris.

I think your advice to Charles is correct:- have a go at doing it yourself.

There's another factor in this that probably deserves a comment too, and that is relevant to expectation. Most people these days who have a keris interest are used to seeing perfectly stained, beautiful black and white blades, and they think that this is the only correct way for a keris to appear. This is a recent and an unrealistic expectation.

In Jawa there are many m'ranggi's who will not try to clean a neglected blade thoroughly at the first staining, they will expect that the full cleaning process to bring the blade back to perfect presentation should be stretched over several years and a number of stainings.

Similarly, many people do not keep their keris in a state of perfect stain. If I acquire a keris for my personal collection and it is acquired with its old, original stain, I try to preserve that stain, I do not re-stain the blade simply because it is a little bit faded. In fact, I have keris in my personal collection that have not had the blade stained in at least 100 years --- keris that I inherited, and a couple I bought which had provenance. I feel that if the blade is free of rust, or even mostly free of rust, and the pattern is visible, that is possibly sufficient.

A simple wash with dishwashing detergent and a soft toothbrush under warm running water, then a pat dry and good drench with WD40, followed by oiling with whatever oil you prefer will invariably make a blade look 100% better.

pakana 5th December 2012 07:42 AM

So Alan,I guess it is safe for the blade to use WD 40. A blade of mine has minor rust and dirt, due to excessive oiling I guess. Can I use WD 40 without damaging the blade?

Thanks in advance


George

A. G. Maisey 5th December 2012 08:34 AM

Yes, but I suggest that you follow the procedure as I have outlined it:-

A simple wash with dishwashing detergent and a soft toothbrush under warm running water, then a pat dry and good drench with WD40, followed by oiling with whatever oil you prefer will invariably make a blade look 100% better.


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