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Old 28th April 2021, 03:15 PM   #1
DhaDha
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Default Bunti wood

Hello. What is recommended to clean and care for Bunti (Banati) wood? Are there any things that help or hinder the grain appearance? Linseed oil? Boiled/raw?
Thank you!
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Old 28th April 2021, 03:44 PM   #2
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Does the wood already have a finish on it?
A picture of the piece you want to work on would be helpful.
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Old 28th April 2021, 08:53 PM   #3
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Here's the hilt. I gave it a little rub with some Mineral Oil and was surprised how quickly the grain changed. So I thought I would pause in case Mineral Oil has long term effects that are less desirable.
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Old 28th April 2021, 09:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Does the wood already have a finish on it?
A picture of the piece you want to work on would be helpful.
Another question. I've always thought these "shiny" hilts were polished. Do the have a finish of some kind? Pictured is the next one in line for cleaning. I'm curious if the hilt and scabbard would get the same care. Thank you again.
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Last edited by DhaDha; 28th April 2021 at 09:03 PM. Reason: my spelling is terrible
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Old 28th April 2021, 09:29 PM   #5
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Possibly shellac; it comes from India /S.E.Asia.
Possibly Tung oil; it also is from the same area.
Looking at your first handle it appears to me that it was dull from age rather than dirt. The second Barung looks like it has a nice patina from what I can see in your pictures; were it me I'd leave it alone and just polish the silver. the scabbard I would also just leave alone; I doubt it was highly polished, but there is only so much you can tell without the sword in the hand.
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Old 28th April 2021, 09:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for that. Much appreciated.
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Old 29th April 2021, 12:55 AM   #7
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2 neat barung - if you ever decide to part with the second one...

If not cared well for, the wood usually needs some nourishment; this enhances the chatoyancy and also helps to prevent (or ameliorate) any cracks.

Utilizing vegetal oils high in unsaturated fatty acids will result in a very thin (if used correctly) surface layer which may help to stabilize/protect. However, in humid climates mould is likely to grow if not handled regularly. Raw linseed oil penetrates best, especially when warm (rubbing by hand is sufficient but usually needs to be repeated over a longer period till saturation). Mineral oils have their own pros and cons.

I have never seen antique hilts from bunti exhibiting signs of any genuine resin finish; most are crafted from very dense burl that probably don't need any burnishing. A high polish with a fine abrasive is probably all that was needed in addition to some nourishment of the wood to bring out the chatoyancy.

The wood selected for scabbards (often Narra) is usually even more prone to cracking and, in this case, seems to need some feeding, too. It's usually not as highly polished though.

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Old 29th April 2021, 01:14 PM   #8
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DhaDha,

Two very nice barung, both with some age (probably late 19th C). I would say the one with the larger kakatua is the older of the two. As barung age and have been handled a lot, the banati wood becomes darker from contact with oil and sweat from the hands mixed with dirt. The wood takes on a dark burnished appearance, as both of yours have. I think this is a desirable feature and an indication of authentic age/use. For that reason I would do no more than a light rubbing with a slightly damp cotton cloth to remove any surface dirt on the wood. Mineral oil is fine if you want to feed dry wood--it is less viscous than linseed oil and any excess can be removed more readily. Then rub it dry with a soft cotton cloth. That should give a nice sheen to the surface. If you want a shinier finish on the wood, Renaissance Wax gives a nice result.

I agree with Rick that the silver needs a polish.
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Old 29th April 2021, 01:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai View Post
Mineral oils have their own pros and cons.
Care to elaborate?
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