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Old 12th March 2021, 03:42 AM   #1
surgi-sharp
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Default Keris handle

One of my keris has a loose handle. Is this a common thing?
I think the ring with stones under the handle can come off too.
As you can tell I don't know much about them yet.
Don't know how to post pictures.
Thanks
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Old 13th March 2021, 12:45 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Surgi.
ALL of your keris would ideally have "loose" handles and yes, your should be able to easily remove both the hilt and the hilt ring from your keris. The hilt is generally held in place with a bit of cloth (or string or even sometimes hair) wrapped around the tang (pesi) to form a pressure fit. The hilt should be held firmly in place, bit if there is too much unnecessary play in the the hilt you can tighten it up by wrapping a bit more cloth around the pesi.
Here is a link that should help you with posting photos. If you have any difficulty after reading it be sure to let us know.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13631
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Old 30th March 2021, 02:30 PM   #3
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I'm glad you took the time to register here and ask for information. And there's a lot of valuable information available at this forum.

Many others have simply assumed that if anything is loose, it means that something is wrong with the assembly. They've then gone ahead and "fixed it"...with plenty of epoxy... Epoxy basically ruins the entire assembly. In any case, the hilt and ring can probably never be removed again without completely destroying them.

Keris hilts and the rings are not permanently attached; this is so that they can be adjusted, removed for cleaning, swapped out for different ones, upgraded, replaced if they get damaged, etc.
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Old 30th March 2021, 07:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey the Finn
I'm glad you took the time to register here and ask for information. And there's a lot of valuable information available at this forum.

Many others have simply assumed that if anything is loose, it means that something is wrong with the assembly. They've then gone ahead and "fixed it"...with plenty of epoxy... Epoxy basically ruins the entire assembly. In any case, the hilt and ring can probably never be removed again without completely destroying them.

Keris hilts and the rings are not permanently attached; this is so that they can be adjusted, removed for cleaning, swapped out for different ones, upgraded, replaced if they get damaged, etc.
Yes and no to Mickey's response here.
Firstly sometimes keris handles do get fixed fast to the blade in a traditional manner. Usually when that is done a natural resin such as damar was used. Fortunately damar will release fairly easily by gently heating the blade. The resin softens and the pesi (tang) can then be removed and remaining resin can be cleaned out of the pesi hole in the hilt.
The same thing can be done if epoxy has been used, but removal will be more difficult. However i would not assume that the entire assembly has been ruined just because epoxy has been used. It will just take more time and patience. What will destroy your ensemble's dress is if you try to rush the process and force the hilt off.
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Old 6th April 2021, 10:18 AM   #5
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Rushing is not a thing I do. I have a keris, as well as a tombak which have remained inside their respective warangka and tutup since I acquired them several years ago. Neither one shows any obvious indications of epoxy having been used. The day may come when I feel confident enough to attempt the extrication methods which have been suggested to me at this forum.

During my pre-teen years I started work at a machine shop. The boss had pasted (or stapled, or tacked) to one of the walls in his office "Ten Rules You Can Live By". A Google search for these Ten Rules will yield a variety of results, but what I saw in that man's office is the best rendering of these "Ten Rules" that I know. [This was before the advent of the World Wide Web made it possible for anyone and everyone to put their personal spin on anything and everything]. I remember the printout (more likely a photocopy back in those days) read "If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone". "If you don't know how to fix it, find someone who does". "If it's not yours, don't take it". "If you borrow it, put it back". "If you break it, fix it", etc. The maxims on that piece of paper have been sound guidance for me to this day, in my personal life as well as my career.

That boss of mine had another photocopy tacked to his office wall which read, "I enjoy sex more than you enjoy smoking, but you don't see me f^(k!ng in your office".

It's all sound advice, and [to me] just common sense and/or basic courtesy.
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Old 14th April 2021, 06:33 PM   #6
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I can add one more item to your old boss' list Mickey.
"If you want something done and you don't know how to do it, FIGURE IT OUT!" LOL! Letting stuff sit around with unresolved problems, hoping someone wiser will come along to fix them rarely works out well.
Surgi, removing stuck hilts from their blades is not rocket science. But your problem seems to be just the opposite, a hilt that is too loose, so that is not your issue. If you want to tighten it up a little follow my advice above. Just be aware that wood and metal expand and contract over time, so don't add too much material to the pesi (tang) or it might crack your hilt if things expand over time.
I find it amazing Mickey, that rather than learn how to remove those keris and tombak you own from their respective wrongko and tutup, you would rather just let them linger, stuck inside their cases. Are you not even interested in knowing what these blades look like? It is quite possible they are rusting away in there and sore in need of maintenance. You can send them to me if you don't really want them. LOL!
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Old 15th April 2021, 10:47 PM   #7
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Removing a stuck blade from its scabbard.

Over all the time I have been involved with keris and other items of tosanaji from SE Asia, I have never encountered a blade that could not be extracted from its scabbard.

Yes, I've come across a few pretty sticky ones, and the method that I have found most effective is simply brute force:-

use a bench vice with alloy jaw liners so you do not mark the tang, clamp the tang into the vice horizontally, grip the atasan (top part of the wrongko) with both hands, using short, sudden bursts of force pull the scabbard away from the blade.

Using this method I have never damaged a scabbard nor a blade, and I have never failed to get a stuck blade away from its scabbard.

I once saw Empu Pauzan Pusposukadgo remove a keris blade from a scabbard simply by talking to it and tapping the sides of the gandar on the edge of a stone step. He used very little force. I had already tried to remove this keris from the wrongko, but being in Solo I did not have a vice with alloy jaw liners, so I intended to use Pauzan's vice with wooden liners. Pauzan was sitting on the edge of step drinking coffee and relaxing, I asked if I could use his vice, he said yeah, OK, but give me a look at it, I handed him the keris, he spoke to it, tapped the gandar on the edge of the step he was sitting on a couple of times, then just gently lifted the keris away from its scabbard.

I've got a mate lives in Alberta. He has encountered a few stuck keris, and what he does is this:-

wrap the entire keris in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer, if possible remove the hilt, leave it for a few hours or overnight; it normally removes easily after this cold treatment.

I am not recommending this method, I've never tried it, but my mate swears by it.

I've got a real good story about a stuck tombak, but I do not want to put it up on a public Forum for the world to read because anybody who does not know me personally would be inclined to think I should be given residence in a home for the mentally ill.
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Old 8th May 2021, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
I find it amazing Mickey, that rather than learn how to remove those keris and tombak you own from their respective wrongko and tutup, you would rather just let them linger, stuck inside their cases. Are you not even interested in knowing what these blades look like? It is quite possible they are rusting away in there and sore in need of maintenance.
David, that's not what I said, and that's not what I meant. You need to pay attention to the words that I used, and to what I actually said, instead of a "loosy-goosy" extrapolation of what you think I meant by the words that I used. I get the impression that you're just shooting from the hip to try to add even a little bit of injury to insult by suggesting that I'm lazy, ignorant, and not genuinely interested in tosan aji because of my callous disregard for the care and maintenance of my collection. I'm not going to hold any of this against you, however. I'm not even going to take offense at your failure to apologize to me for your presumptuousness. Instead, I'm going to take it for granted that you'd just been dipping into the ouzo too deeply again, and when you were back in your right mind, you were so mortified by your own dreck that you hoped the entire episode would become nothing more than an embarrassing memory.

I'm glad you and I can have this kind of open and honest discussion, and point out the character flaws and shortcomings in each other's blind spots.

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
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Old 9th May 2021, 03:38 AM   #9
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Actually Mickey, i understood quite clearly what you said and what you meant. I happen to disagreed with your advice to surgi and felt obligated to express my own opinion. As for your admission that you have left blades unexamined and uncared for in their sheaths for several years, i am not sure how else i can possibly understand that. Your words are your words. And i did not think making a joke about you sending them along to me would trigger you. If you felt i was being "loose goosey" with you i apologize. But please don't make the mistake of thinking this venue is the appropriate place to start a pissing match.
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Old 9th May 2021, 09:48 AM   #10
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Wink Pissing match

I am relieved to witness that the Forum is not dead even if it could be used for more positive discussions!
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Old 9th May 2021, 07:38 PM   #11
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Agreed Jean. If you have any useful tips for releasing stuck sheaths or hilts that we have not already covered pleas feel free to share them. But i believe we have covered these issued pretty thoroughly in the past.
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Old 9th May 2021, 09:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Firstly sometimes keris handles do get fixed fast to the blade in a traditional manner. Usually when that is done a natural resin such as damar was used. Fortunately damar will release fairly easily by gently heating the blade. The resin softens and the pesi (tang) can then be removed and remaining resin can be cleaned out of the pesi hole in the hilt.
The same thing can be done if epoxy has been used, but removal will be more difficult. However i would not assume that the entire assembly has been ruined just because epoxy has been used. It will just take more time and patience. What will destroy your ensemble's dress is if you try to rush the process and force the hilt off.
David, or anyone with an opinion on the matter; what is a good heat source for this process, espically for dealing with epoxy? I have thought of heating sand to 325 F (160 C) in an oven and immersing the blade in this medium. Then I could locally warm the sand around the blade with a torch as the medium cools. I have 3 projects of this nature I would like to amend. One need a mendak, another a cup selut. The third the conservator just did an awful job on. Any advice is welcome as always.
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Old 9th May 2021, 11:15 PM   #13
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I believe I can claim to have something more than average experience in removing hilts from keris, pedang & other items of tosanaji.

Whatever heat source you use it is advisable to limit the application of heat to the first few inches in front of the gonjo, hilt or guard, and heat each side of the blade alternatively.

The most simple heat source is a candle, works well, leaves soot on the blade which is easily removed with mineral turpentine.

A step up from that is a small kerosene lamp, same thing with soot.

These two heat sources are what I use when I am in Jawa.

At home I use a propane torch, I clamp the hand-piece of the torch into a bench vise & I pass the blade section through the flame and hold the blade with bare hand an inch or so in front of the area I wish to heat, by doing this I can gauge when the heat is travelling too far down the blade, then I just wait a minute or so before proceeding. I use a pretty gentle flame. remember, heat will damage the hilt, I hold the hilt close down to the mendak, if I'm not careful with heat placement I get burnt, and I've had more than my fair share of burn experiences, I do not like getting burnt.

Lately I've been using a heat gun. I tried heat guns years ago and I found that the hot air spread too wide and was too difficult to control. Two years ago I bought a modern heat gun and with this I can apply the hot air pretty precisely.

As you apply the heat you keep testing the degree of hilt adhesion by firmly twisting --- or at least attempting to twist --- the hilt, you twist and pull in the one motion.

Above all else, you proceed gently & with patience, if the hilt does not free up on day one, you keep coming back to it until it does.
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Old 28th June 2021, 08:55 AM   #14
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David, I offer you my apology for the hostile and belligerent post. It was scurrilous, over the top, and totally inappropriate.
A pissing match was nowhere on my radar screen.
Mickey

Last edited by Mickey the Finn; 28th June 2021 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Clarification; additional information.
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Old 29th June 2021, 12:40 PM   #15
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No worries Mickey. It's all good.
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Old 3rd July 2021, 02:13 PM   #16
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Is Surgi still here ?
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Old 3rd July 2021, 02:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif View Post
Is Surgi still here ?
I don't know. It was the only post he ever made on any of the forums.
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Old 7th July 2021, 03:45 PM   #18
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For clarification, after wrapping a pesi with cloth or string how does avoid having the wrap from pushing up the pesi as the handle is pushed on?
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Old 7th July 2021, 04:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
For clarification, after wrapping a pesi with cloth or string how does avoid having the wrap from pushing up the pesi as the handle is pushed on?
Good question. I would say firstly by not adding too much wrapping to the pesi. It is a fine line between too much and too little sometimes. Secondly i tend to twist the handle around while pushing it onto the pesi, sort of like threading it. That seems to work for me. Others might have a different experience.
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Old 7th July 2021, 09:34 PM   #20
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You screw the hilt on, you do not push it, hilt holes are all different sizes so you might need to do the job a few times before you get it right.

You begin at the tip of the pesi and work down. It is advisable not to make the fit at the gonjo end too firm, if you make it tighter than it needs to be you can split the hilt.

If you need a bit of pressure, apply the binding so that the pressure is on the tip end of the pesi, not the gonjo end.

Often you will need to put the mendak on before you put the binding on. Knitting wool yarn is probably the best material to use for binding.
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