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Old 2nd July 2009, 05:50 AM   #1
harimauhk
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Default Staining keris with Chinese warangan

Selamat pagi all,

Bought a new keris in Jakarta a few months ago (my first) and decided to carefully sharpen it up. I know you're not supposed to do that with a keris, but being a student of Minangkabau silat and a knife aficionado of sorts, I thought it would be a good idea to give the keris a cutting edge.

I managed to scrape off a tiny amount of the black stain and decided to try and maranggi the keris again using Thai limes and red warangan, but my results have been far from satisfactory. I used a toothbrush and applied coat after coat of the mixture over the last week, and all I got was a brown liquid residue, reminiscent of rust. I also tried to slap some onto a Valiantco tumbuk lada, and it has turned grey, but the forging marks are clearly apparent. Earlier today I tried scrubbing the warangan into the keris repeatedly after washing it, and it removed the brown residue and also turned the keris more grey than the paintbrush method had.

I was hoping someone could give me some advice onto how to turn this keris back to the beautiful black it once was. Should I just keep scrubbing the warangan in? If I stop, the wilah starts to turn brown. I've read through every thread on here with any mention of warangan and arsenic, but I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I'm a little worried this keris may be composed entirely of nickel!
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Old 2nd July 2009, 07:24 AM   #2
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Here are some pictures of the keris and the tumbuk lada. Hopefully this one isn't a keris-like object like the Batak souvenir I picked up...
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Old 2nd July 2009, 02:30 PM   #3
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Well first of all the obvious...you shouldn't have done that.
Keris rarely have a "cutting edge". It is a stabbing weapon, not a slasher. Sharpen a keris in this way just isn't done.
I think that you might want to try to get a hold of some lab grade arsenic trioxide if you can find it. I think you will get better results. Also, how did you prep the blade before applying the warangan? Did you clean the whole blade back to "white" before proceeding?
I doubt that your keris is all nickel for many reasons, but mostly because you report that it was once black so iron must be present.
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Old 2nd July 2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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Hi David, and thanks for the response. Yes, I know you're never supposed to sharpen a keris, but some do have sharp edges, right? I keep mine by the door in a blawong and I wanted to know it would actually be usable if I ever had to pick it up, since I'm not really interested in weapons that can't be used in real life.

The lab grade As2O3 might be a little harder to locate than realgar, but I'll see what I can do. Maybe I should just get it restained on my next trip to Indonesia--It's only US $200 roundtrip from Hong Kong on Garuda.

I thoroughly cleaned the blade with lime juice and detergent before drying it thoroughly with a hair dryer, and it was a clear white except for a few patches which would not give up the stain on them (and I can't figure out why). Is it possible this keris was stained with something else besides warangan? The seller got back to me and said it was done with 'black warangan,' which doesn't tell me much. It is possible to turn nickel black with other substances and even heat treating, correct? The ganja does appear to have been made in a sandwich so I'm guessing the wilah is too...

BTW, any comments on the keris guys? I believe it is pamur tiban, but I'm probably wrong...I'm such a newbie to the world of keris, but I'm learning a lot from reading threads here.
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Old 2nd July 2009, 03:22 PM   #5
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Here's what it looked like new:
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Old 2nd July 2009, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
Hi David, and thanks for the response. Yes, I know you're never supposed to sharpen a keris, but some do have sharp edges, right? I keep mine by the door in a blawong and I wanted to know it would actually be usable if I ever had to pick it up, since I'm not really interested in weapons that can't be used in real life.
I have never handled a Jawa keris that was edge sharp. I do have one Bali keris that is somewhat edge sharp, but hardly razor sharp. Again, keris, even ones that are used for fighting, are stabbing weapons. You don't slash with the edges so there is no need for it to be sharp there. If used properly i think that your keris could, indeed, be used effectively.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
The lab grade As2O3 might be a little harder to locate than realgar, but I'll see what I can do. Maybe I should just get it restained on my next trip to Indonesia--It's only US $200 roundtrip from Hong Kong on Garuda.
I am envious of your close location. Given that it would prbably be easier to have it done by a professional and the job will no doubt look better. Staining keris is never easy even under the best of circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
I thoroughly cleaned the blade with lime juice and detergent before drying it thoroughly with a hair dryer, and it was a clear white except for a few patches which would not give up the stain on them (and I can't figure out why). Is it possible this keris was stained with something else besides warangan? The seller got back to me and said it was done with 'black warangan,' which doesn't tell me much. It is possible to turn nickel black with other substances and even heat treating, correct? The ganja does appear to have been made in a sandwich so I'm guessing the wilah is too...
I would soak it in pineapple juice for a few days. Also, you can work the blade with some #0000 steel wool to help remove any residual stain. I doubt it was stained with anything other than warangan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
BTW, any comments on the keris guys? I believe it is pamur tiban, but I'm probably wrong...I'm such a newbie to the world of keris, but I'm learning a lot from reading threads here.
The keris is fairly recent (late 20th-early 21st C) 13 luk naga keris. The work isn't the worst i've seen, but it is far from quality work. I like the design of the pendok.
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Old 2nd July 2009, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
Hi David, and thanks for the response. Yes, I know you're never supposed to sharpen a keris, but some do have sharp edges, right? I keep mine by the door in a blawong and I wanted to know it would actually be usable if I ever had to pick it up, since I'm not really interested in weapons that can't be used in real life.
Often, repeated warangan treatments can make the blade edge quite jagged .
Your keris is new work most likely; not really meant for fighting ..
Get a new warangan job in Indo for the naga .

"Usable ?"
This would be more up your alley then .
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Old 3rd July 2009, 01:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I have never handled a Jawa keris that was edge sharp. I do have one Bali keris that is somewhat edge sharp, but hardly razor sharp. Again, keris, even ones that are used for fighting, are stabbing weapons. You don't slash with the edges so there is no need for it to be sharp there. If used properly i think that your keris could, indeed, be used effectively.
Thanks again David! Yes, I know keris are used to stab, but I wanted to give myself a little edge, so to speak I won't sharpen any of my others--I'll reserve that for the newer spring steel blades I've picked up (karambits badik, golok, pisau, etc).


Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I am envious of your close location. Given that it would prbably be easier to have it done by a professional and the job will no doubt look better. Staining keris is never easy even under the best of circumstances.
I do feel fortunate living here. Indonesians are soon going to be the largest minority group in Hong Kong, and a (lady) friend of mine from Jakarta is moving here in a week. This keris was made in Surabaya, and I know the owner of the forge and he's invited me to come visit, so perhaps I'll head to Surabaya and then to Bali...

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
I would soak it in pineapple juice for a few days. Also, you can work the blade with some #0000 steel wool to help remove any residual stain. I doubt it was stained with anything other than warangan.
As much as I want to get this keris looking right, taking steel wool to it is a little scary to me This was the first keris I bought and it supposedly has octahedrite muonionalusta (meteorite) in the pamur, but I'm skeptical, even if I was issued with a 'certificate' for the meteorite used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David
The keris is fairly recent (late 20th-early 21st C) 13 luk naga keris. The work isn't the worst i've seen, but it is far from quality work. I like the design of the pendok.
Thanks for the input! Yes, from what I've seen on here, this keris is far from being the most refined, and the naga theme seems to be extremely popular on new keris. I do like the pendok myself, and the sheath is cendana jawa, so it smells great.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 01:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Often, repeated warangan treatments can make the blade edge quite jagged .
Your keris is new work most likely; not really meant for fighting ..
Get a new warangan job in Indo for the naga .

"Usable ?"
This would be more up your alley then .
Hi Rick! Thanks for weighing in. Yes, I realize the jagged edge on keris comes from warangan. I have a rencong aceh with a jagged (and sharp) edge from warangan, which was a major selling point for me. It is one of the few rencong I've seen with pamur (not that I've seen that many).

That's a lovely keris. Bugis or Sumatran, right?
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Old 3rd July 2009, 01:36 AM   #10
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Bugis, correct .
Welcome aboard ..
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Old 3rd July 2009, 01:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Bugis, correct .
Welcome aboard ..
Thanks Rick! I'm happy to be here!
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Old 3rd July 2009, 03:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
As much as I want to get this keris looking right, taking steel wool to it is a little scary to me This was the first keris I bought and it supposedly has octahedrite muonionalusta (meteorite) in the pamur, but I'm skeptical, even if I was issued with a 'certificate' for the meteorite used.
#0000 steel wool is very fine stuff and is not likely to scratch the surface of a keris blade. Truth be told, your blade could use a bit more finishing. It show quite a bite of file markings that would have been worked out of finer keris. I think you are right to be skeptical about the meteorite, but even if it was used the fine steel wool will not hurt it.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 06:14 AM   #13
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David, 0000 steel wool is really being a bit cautious. In Jawa we use coconut husk and pot cleaner called abu gosok, which is pretty coarse ashes. Here I use 00 steel wool and powder sink cleaner like Bon Ami, or Ajax.

It is important to allow the arsenic to settle before you apply the lime juice, and you only use very, very little juice, just sufficient to make the blade damp, certainly not wet. Then repetition again and again until the colour starts to come up, rinse off, dry, and repeat as many times as is necessary to darken the ferric material. Most people tend to make the blade too black when they are new at this game.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 07:19 AM   #14
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Hi David and Alan,

Yes, there are definite file marks on this keris. I'll try and locate some 00 or 000 steel wool, but IMO it's going to be tough to find here. Coconut husk would be significantly easier to locate (go figure). How about high grit sandpaper?

I believe I was using far too much juice (I was really trying to get the wilah soaking). I'll have to use less on my next attempt. One more thing gentlemen--is it really necessary to age the warangan and juice mixture? Mine is only about a week old.

Jay
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Old 6th July 2009, 06:05 AM   #15
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Default Regarding resharpening keris blades

I do understand that keris blades are never resharpened after they were finished by the empu/pandai. Is this merely because keris -- as stabbing weapons -- do not require sharp cutting edges, or might there be some mystical/esoterical reasons behind this as well?

Regards,

Heinz
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Old 6th July 2009, 07:48 AM   #16
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I most definitely would not use sandpaper of any type.

If you can get coconut husk, use that.

For the brush on method you only use a very small amount of lime juice, maybe an egg cup full and a tiny quantity of arsenic, maybe enough to cover a fingernail.You let it stand for maybe half hour or so, just long enough to let any floating particles go to the bottom.

There is a complete set of instructions on how to do the job buried here somewhere. I wrote it, but I've got no idea where it is. That spells it out fully.
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Old 6th July 2009, 09:49 AM   #17
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Hallo,

the name of that thread is "pamor identity, help". You can use the search function - pamor identity - the first thread in the list.
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Old 6th July 2009, 01:37 PM   #18
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This is the thread Gustav speaks of:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...pamor+identity
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Old 7th July 2009, 07:51 AM   #19
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Cheers gents, I have read through that thread before. I'll be making up a fresh batch of lime + warangan and I'll get myself a coconut to scrub the keris with before I apply it.

Pak Maisey, do you think bottled Berri lime juice (from Oz) would be alright to use? Terima kasih!
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Old 9th July 2009, 02:34 AM   #20
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No, most definitely not.

You need freshly squeezed juice from tahitian limes (jeruk nipis) , and you must strain it to get rid of the solids.

You do not "make up a batch".

You make the suspension immediately before use, you let it stand till the floating bits or arsenic settle, maybe half an hour, and you use it straight away. You only make a very small amount, maybe the juice of 3 or 4 limes, and a pinch of arsenic.
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Old 9th July 2009, 05:10 AM   #21
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OK, thanks Alan. The Tahitian limes are going to be impossible to find locally--should have asked my friend to bring me some from Jakarta, but it's too late now. I suppose I'll hold off on trying to mranggi the keris until my next trip to Indonesia--might just be easier to have it done for me there though.

I didn't strain the solids out of the juice the first time, and I used far more than a pinch of warangan. Perhaps Thai limes aren't acidic enough...
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Old 9th July 2009, 05:41 AM   #22
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Tahitian limes, does not mean limes from Tahiti.

Its what we know them as in Australia:- ordinary green limes that will go a just little bit yellow when over ripe, smaller than a lemon, greenish flesh.The limes that any self respecting bar tender will use. Your limes are probably the same as my limes.The thing is that you must not use lemons. I've tried lemons a number of times and they always made it too dark and I could not control the stain.
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Old 25th July 2009, 02:50 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Tahitian limes, does not mean limes from Tahiti.

Its what we know them as in Australia:- ordinary green limes that will go a just little bit yellow when over ripe, smaller than a lemon, greenish flesh.The limes that any self respecting bar tender will use. Your limes are probably the same as my limes.The thing is that you must not use lemons. I've tried lemons a number of times and they always made it too dark and I could not control the stain.
Hi Alan,

This being Hong Kong, I can get Filipino calamansi or Thai limes, but regular limes are pretty much impossible to find. I might be able to get some at one of the fancy upscale supermarkets, however. I'll give it another go if I can find some decent (non-Thai) limes.
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Old 25th July 2009, 05:22 PM   #24
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Temperature!!!!! Of solution AND Blade!
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Old 25th July 2009, 05:32 PM   #25
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Temperature!!!!! Of solution AND Blade!
A sunny day should give enough heat .
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Old 26th July 2009, 12:06 AM   #26
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Maybe I should maranggi it up on the roof on a nice sunny day. Temperatures are usually in the high 20s/low 30s here in HK during the summer.
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Old 26th July 2009, 10:58 AM   #27
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Give it too much sun while you're actually applying the suspension, and it'll go too dark.

Ideal for the brush or pinch method is a open to skylight but not sunlight. You can use sunlight to dry after the rinses, but not while actually applying.

Temperature should be not too hot, not too cold. Too hot causes to dry too quickly, too cool causes to dry too slowly and you often finish up with a greeny-yellowy mess. 25C-30C sounds good.

Same with humidity:- too humid it dries to slowly, too dry it dries too quickly.

I've just said that direct sunlight will cause it to go too dark, but for somebody with a lot of experience, hot direct sunlight can be useful, provided you're prepared to do it again and again and again and clean off between stains. You need the experience to give it just the lightest of light touches when it is approaching excellent. Probably the best stain jobs I've ever done have been done in direct sunlight, but I honestly cannot recommend that everybody do it this way, because it is far, far too hard to control.
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Old 26th July 2009, 11:01 AM   #28
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I never knew how much of an art maranggi is. It's definitely been an experience! I used lots of warangan the first time around and it didn't work, but I was really getting the keris soaking wet with it. Would that prevent the blade from going black? The humidity here also seldom goes below 80% in summer--is that too high? I have enormous bay windows in the living room, so I should be getting just the right amount of UV exposure since the light's being filtered through glass...

Cheers Alan, I've learned so much from you!
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Old 26th July 2009, 01:49 PM   #29
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It is most definitely an art.

Its also something that no matter how much experience you have, there are no gaurantees that you might not have to clean off and re-do several times before you get the result you want.

To me, 80% does sound too high.

You do not need to get the blade dripping wet. I mix the suspension, wait till all the arsenic sinks, wait a bit longer, then just barely touch the bristles of a soft old toothbrush in the fluid, and rub it on:- blade is just barely damp.

I have never tried to do this job through glass. I don't like the idea. Might work, I don't know.But inside there is no breeze, and a little bit of breeze helps the drying process.

If the blade is really wet, it just will not go black, more likely go yellowish- brown.

You need to get the surface to go really sticky, then you apply the suspension again and keep working it into the blade until it goes sticky again. You keep on doing this till the colour darkens, then you rinse it off, and blade goes pale again, you dry it, and start the process again, and you keep on doing this until when you rinse it off, it stays black. The big trick is to judge what it will look like after you rinse and dry it, so you know when to stop. Do the job in cloudy weather and the white will not sparkle.Don't ask me why, I don't know.
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Old 26th July 2009, 07:58 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harimauhk
I never knew how much of an art maranggi is. It's definitely been an experience! I used lots of warangan the first time around and it didn't work, but I was really getting the keris soaking wet with it. Would that prevent the blade from going black? The humidity here also seldom goes below 80% in summer--is that too high? I have enormous bay windows in the living room, so I should be getting just the right amount of UV exposure since the light's being filtered through glass...

Cheers Alan, I've learned so much from you!
Not sure about Alan, but I would be concerned about fumes in an indoor setting .

Got a balcony or deck ?
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