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Old 29th March 2022, 01:57 PM   #1
xasterix
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Default Iranun panabas for comment

Would like to get feedback/comments (and posts of similar samples, if possible) on a double-edged panabas that matches the illustration and features attributed by Warren (2002) to 1840s Iranun weapons. The hilt measures 11in, the blade 20in; it's 31in overall.

The blade is thin and light. Half of the blade (approximately where the spine filework begins) is highly flexible and really sharp. It reminds me of the blades of pre-1900 kampilans. The spine that started tapering near the filework ends very thin (it's thinner than shown in my picture because the perspective is bent a little to the side; the actual spine is even thinner).

This will surely bend if it cuts through hard targets. It's definitely not made to hit any type of armor, nor accomplish any utility task. In contrast, early 1900s-preWW2 samples (the hockey stick-like ones) are tanky, hefty, and have non-flexible blades.

There are signs of later-era repairs and modifications (pins, aluminum bolsters, and silver inlay in the blade holes). The aluminum bolsters are covering up cracks on the wooden hilt. The pins seem to go all the way through the tang.

The blade is laminated, I just haven't been able to etch it properly yet. TIA for your thoughts.
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Old 29th March 2022, 04:38 PM   #2
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I see what you mean by thin Xas.
If we look at the Iranun kampilan it too had a very thin blade but it seemed to work in practice for them at least against unarmored people.
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Old 29th March 2022, 08:18 PM   #3
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I see what you mean by thin Xas.
If we look at the Iranun kampilan it too had a very thin blade but it seemed to work in practice for them at least against unarmored people.
Agreed Rick, both the Iranun kampilan and panabas would deliver deep flesh wounds, probably even crippling injury if struck on certain fleshy body parts. In my tests it can possibly cleave through bone, but the weapon would surely get bent or even chipped as a result.

The nice thing about these flexible blades is that they can be bent back. I'm sure there's a limit as to how many times they can be straightened again though.
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Old 30th March 2022, 12:30 AM   #4
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I'm confused though - why so thin?
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Old 30th March 2022, 12:49 AM   #5
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I'm confused though - why so thin?
IMHO the reasons for the thin blade are the following:

1. With the right heat treatment, thin blades can become flexible yet retain a hardened edge.

2. Thin blades are light to carry, and nimble when used.

3. Thin blades can easily be sharpened (as compared to thicker blades) to have a 20-30 degree edge angle, allowing them to become super-sharp.

4. Thin and flexible blades are much less likely to chip or crack during battle, since they aren't brittle. Even though they may bend, they can be straightened up again.

5. It's easier to integrate an upper edge to a thin blade. As an additional note- the "teeth" filework on the spine are also very sharp!

I believe the purpose of this panabas type is not to cleave (although it can, under a skilled wielder). It's a very efficient slicer due to the blade build. The same goes for kampilan with thin and flexible blades, notably the Iranun ones.

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Old 30th March 2022, 08:38 AM   #6
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It does seem to have a lot of distal taper. Cool sword!
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Old 30th March 2022, 01:34 PM   #7
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Hi Xas,

That's the thinnest blade I have seen on a panabas, with most having heavy blades with not nearly as much distal taper. The notion of the brass dots representing a count of "victims" is an often repeated fantasy IMHO. I have not seen anything from a reputable source to support this idea.
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Old 30th March 2022, 02:11 PM   #8
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That is a very interesting panabas! I have seen very large panabas made out of sheet metal meant only as status symbols or tourist items, however, I don't believe that to be the case with your item since the spine is so thick at the base and it tapers so thinly at the tip.
The blade reminds me of the Sir Walter Scott story "Talisman," where Richard the Lionhearted met Saladin in a fictitious meeting; King Richard cut an iron bar in half to prove his prowess, whereas Saladin to everyone's horror cut a pillow in half.
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Old 30th March 2022, 04:29 PM   #9
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Hi Xas,

That's the thinnest blade I have seen on a panabas, with most having heavy blades with not nearly as much distal taper. The notion of the brass dots representing a count of "victims" is an often repeated fantasy IMHO. I have not seen anything from a reputable source to support this idea.
This panabas type is new for me as well- I'm surprised that a panabas can actually have a flexible blade like a kampilan's. I agree that the brass or silver dots don't represent victims. It's been mentioned somewhere in the forum- and confirmed by a friend from Mindanao- that the brass or silver dots have esoteric meaning, and not a kill-count number.
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Old 30th March 2022, 04:29 PM   #10
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It does seem to have a lot of distal taper. Cool sword!
Thanks! I try to be careful with it, as it's not a tanky beast like my other panabas.
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Old 30th March 2022, 04:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
That is a very interesting panabas! I have seen very large panabas made out of sheet metal meant only as status symbols or tourist items, however, I don't believe that to be the case with your item since the spine is so thick at the base and it tapers so thinly at the tip.
The blade reminds me of the Sir Walter Scott story "Talisman," where Richard the Lionhearted met Saladin in a fictitious meeting; King Richard cut an iron bar in half to prove his prowess, whereas Saladin to everyone's horror cut a pillow in half.
Thanks very much for the kind words and that story- I'll be sure to check that out!
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Old 30th March 2022, 06:38 PM   #12
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Thanks very much for the kind words and that story- I'll be sure to check that out!

The talisman is one of my all-time favourites, as was Ivanhoe. There was a movie in the mid-1950's that had the silk scarf scene in it...Richard and the crusaders. A bad adaptation of the book.
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Old 31st March 2022, 01:43 AM   #13
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Maraming salamat Xasterix!

All very good points!
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Old 31st March 2022, 02:59 PM   #14
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Maraming salamat Xasterix!

All very good points!
Thanks for the appreciation and kind words
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Old 2nd April 2022, 04:48 PM   #15
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Nice Panabas Xas. I like the form of it, especially the handle with that piece of iron (?), protruding from the end and with those native repairs.

Here’s one that has a similar blade profile. It doesn’t have the acute distal taper as yours so it lacks the flexibility that you describe.
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Old 2nd April 2022, 07:41 PM   #16
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Nice Panabas Xas. I like the form of it, especially the handle with that piece of iron (?), protruding from the end and with those native repairs.

Here’s one that has a similar blade profile. It doesn’t have the acute distal taper as yours so it lacks the flexibility that you describe.
Great blade sir! That seems to be a brother-blade of mine =) I'm positing it's from the same era. Hoping I would come across another one like that, it's really well-preserved!
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