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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
David
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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
Mickey the Finn
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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 9th May 2021, 09:29 PM   #7
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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   #8
A. G. Maisey
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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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