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Old 6th February 2021, 12:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 147
Default Sulphur staining a keris Bugis

This post is to show the results of staining using a sulphur, salt and rice water slurry on a keris lurus Bugis.

I had attempted this in 2018, the year I acquired it, though I abandoned mission after less than 24 hours because I was a bit more precious about this item than I am now. You can see the results in post #27 here.

Now this keris has become somewhat of a learning vehicle for staining.
I had tried realgar and it did absolutely nothing so I wanted to try sulphur again but this time for a full 7 days.

I am quite happy with the result. It is a little patchy in some areas but I expected this to happen and controlled for it as best as I could. I would definitely try this again with another blade if I needed to stain it, and in absence of good warangan.


* Sulphur, pulverised. Generic off eBay.
* Table salt.
* Rice water - collected off the first rinse of a pot of jasmine rice I was making.

Tools used
* Plant pot tray
* Tooth brush
* Tile grout brush with plastic bristles
* Dish detergent
* Lime juice (the cheap reconstituted stuff in the bottle)

1. Clean the blade until it's white clean. Dry.
2. Mix roughly equal amounts of sulfur and salt in a container long enough to lie the blade in
3. Add enough rice water to make a slurry. Whisk.
4. Submerge blade in slurry for a couple of minutes. Work in slurry with a toothbrush.
5. Remove from slurry and let excess drip back into the container.
6. Place in a length of cling wrap. Apply a little more slurry to the surfaces. Enough to coat the blade, but don't soak it. Wrap the blade.
7. Check every 24h. It should have turned quite black by now. Reapply slurry to any areas that look abit more exposed to air (where it is less black).
8. Remove after 7 days.
9. Wash blade under cold running water with detergent and scrub off as much stain as you can. Depending on the integrity of your blade you may need a harder brush than a tooth brush. At this point I used the tile grout brush.
10. At this point there will likely be patchiness in the staining. I evened out and clarified the results by using cheap lime juice and scrubbing even more. This took around half an hour.
11. Dry using lint free cloth and hair dryer.


(A) Before the staining

(B) The salt and sulphur in a plant pot tray. Roughly equal amounts.

(C) The consistency of the slurry after adding rice water. Sulfur seems to want to stay powder dry and it does not dissolve well. This slightly improved over the days.

(D) After 24 hrs. Jet black thick ink-like substance. Some areas were a little more exposed so I reapplied the slurry using a tooth brush. From this point on there are no more reapplications.

(E) After roughly 4 days. A rust-coloured residue developed. I have not reapplied anymore since after day 2.

(F) Results after scrubbing (see 9-11 in the Method). As you can see in F2 and F3 there are tinges of surface rust starting to appear due to being exposed too long to air without an oil to protect it. I spent too long between drying and applying WD40.

* Do as much of this outside if you can. And wear gloves and old clothes. Unless you want your house and self to smell like the sweet aromas of the most intense farts produced from a diet consisting of only eggs, beans and processed food.

*I suspect that bathing the blade in the slurry does pretty much nothing other than darken the blade slightly. If you want to save on ingredients and mess, then skip this step and just make enough slurry to apply to the blade.

*I have issues with using the right tenses when writing. Sorry if this makes things confusing.
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Last edited by jagabuwana; 6th February 2021 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 6th February 2021, 01:46 AM   #2
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
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Looks pretty OK to me.
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Old 6th February 2021, 01:49 AM   #3
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,846

I did this method years ago. A lot of years.

My memory is that it went onto the blade like a paste and when I took it out of the plastic, some of the sulphur & stuff stuck to it, which then needed to be gently removed with water and a brush.
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Old 6th February 2021, 02:21 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Nova Scotia
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Nice result and very nicely presented. Thanks!
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Old 6th February 2021, 09:09 AM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Very interesting, thanks! The "sweet" smell of rotten eggs and the black colour of the blade are indicating the production of hydrogen sulphide and iron sulphide on the blade respectively.
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Old 7th February 2021, 10:46 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 147

Thank you everyone

Jean - thanks for sharing that. Now I am curious as to whether this would work without the salt and/or the starchy water.

Alan - yes that was my experience too. The staining stuff was pretty sticky and caked onto the blade.

I would be interested to do the same thing on a blade that is less grainy and porous as this one. But at the moment I don't have an appropriate candidate.
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