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Old 11th September 2022, 11:46 AM   #1
xasterix
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Default Archaic kris for comment

I got this from a Cebu-based (in Visayas area, Philippines) family with Moro lineage. 20.3in blade length, hilt pommel didn't seem broken (seemed like it was made that way, no junggayan crest). Rectangular tang tapering to a sharp point was just short (2.7in). The blade is on the medium side (not as light as other archaics I've held), it's rigid and non-flexible. There's a curious part to the blade where the damascus pattern starts way above the base of the blade, after a line (I've polished and etched the whole blade at least 3x, the 'blank' part really yields no pattern).

I haven't touched up the scabbard, it's as-found.

Comments on age estimate and ID are welcome. TIA!
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Old 11th September 2022, 12:24 PM   #2
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Interesting find. The line looks like a "weld line", forming a carbide line. Really interesting construction. As much as the pommel.
As for age, i would guess it's archaic, it possess all the features.
Congrats !
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Old 11th September 2022, 10:37 PM   #3
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Interesting find. The line looks like a "weld line", forming a carbide line. Really interesting construction. As much as the pommel.
As for age, i would guess it's archaic, it possess all the features.
Congrats !
Thanks very much for the kind words and assessment!
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Old 12th September 2022, 08:56 PM   #4
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I LOVE that double twist core!

Yes I agree about being an archaic blade. The hilt appears later. As a whole it seems Sulu region in origin.
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Old 13th September 2022, 01:57 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by xasterix View Post
I got this from a Cebu-based (in Visayas area, Philippines) family with Moro lineage. 20.3in blade length, hilt pommel didn't seem broken (seemed like it was made that way, no junggayan crest). Rectangular tang tapering to a sharp point was just short (2.7in). The blade is on the medium side (not as light as other archaics I've held), it's rigid and non-flexible. There's a curious part to the blade where the damascus pattern starts way above the base of the blade, after a line (I've polished and etched the whole blade at least 3x, the 'blank' part really yields no pattern).

I haven't touched up the scabbard, it's as-found.

Comments on age estimate and ID are welcome. TIA!
If it is lightweight, most likely is old, maybe 19th century? As new blade usually are heavier than the old.
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Old 13th September 2022, 07:44 AM   #6
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I LOVE that double twist core!

Yes I agree about being an archaic blade. The hilt appears later. As a whole it seems Sulu region in origin.
Thanks for the appreciation and assessment sir
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Old 13th September 2022, 07:47 AM   #7
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If it is lightweight, most likely is old, maybe 19th century? As new blade usually are heavier than the old.
It's the most hefty among my probably-archaic pieces, but still lighter compared to late 19th century ones. I believe the reason for the heft is it has a beefier blade (thicker) compared to others of its era.
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Old 13th September 2022, 10:31 PM   #8
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xasterix,
could it be possible to get a close up picture of the "line", on both side ?
Thanks !
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Old 14th September 2022, 12:31 AM   #9
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xasterix,
could it be possible to get a close up picture of the "line", on both side ?
Thanks !
Sure, here you go
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Old 14th September 2022, 08:32 PM   #10
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XasteriX,
Actually, that line is quite a mystery to me. You can see the pattern going through the line.

So, if the keris was broken, then welded back together, it would be almost impossible to have the pattern exactly corresponding.
==> So, it's not a weld line...

Other possibility... It's the quench line.... But i doubt it is.
I honestly grind my mind
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Old 14th September 2022, 09:17 PM   #11
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XasteriX,
Actually, that line is quite a mystery to me. You can see the pattern going through the line.

So, if the keris was broken, then welded back together, it would be almost impossible to have the pattern exactly corresponding.
==> So, it's not a weld line...

Other possibility... It's the quench line.... But i doubt it is.
I honestly grind my mind
Agreed a forge weld of a broken blade would show a scarp joint. Here are two random theories: 1. Stress fracture that opened and was welded (closed) during the forging process? 2. Silver solder of a break?

Bonus idea could the billet have been saw cut and had a sheet of the lighter metal inserted then forge welded together? Either partially cut and then heated or fully cut and upset?
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Old 14th September 2022, 09:38 PM   #12
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The line is quite subtle is some area, i don't think there would be an inserted sheet of nickel or something.

The stress fracture could be possible but you can see the line cross the entire section of the blade. So i doubt it.

I also don't imagine a silver soldering, the result would not be like this.

If you check on the side of the twist, you can also see a line, resulting from a forge welding. Color and consistency are the same. That why i was thinking about a weld.

I will try to think about it tomorrow, with fresh idea

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Agreed a forge weld of a broken blade would show a scarp joint. Here are two random theories: 1. Stress fracture that opened and was welded (closed) during the forging process? 2. Silver solder of a break?

Bonus idea could the billet have been saw cut and had a sheet of the lighter metal inserted then forge welded together? Either partially cut and then heated or fully cut and upset?
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Old 15th September 2022, 12:11 AM   #13
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I appreciate the brainstorming guys! This is the only blade I have with such a mysterious line.
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Old 15th September 2022, 10:39 AM   #14
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Thanks for the additional pics, Xas!

I'd bet on it being a quenching line: It's (unusually) sharp towards the thinner edges while it get's a bit blurry in the thicker middle section. This behaviour would be expected due to different cooling rates. With a high polish and an etchant allowing fine resolution, the crystal structures forming this line might become visible.

BTW, the steel of the pattern welding seems to behave very close to the steel utilized for the edges (central layer). Possibly a steel that responds very well to quenching. (Or the bladesmith perfectly hit the sweet spot for quenching this blade!)

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th September 2022, 10:43 AM   #15
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While I agree with Julien and other contributors that this blade certainly ticks at least some boxes regarding assignment as an archaic blade, I believe this might be a really well-crafted example from the revival period, possibly originating from the 19th century. Just a feeling that I'd currently have a tough time to support!

I'd posit that we need to research these blades in much more detail before we can establish defendable stylistic and technological trends (and/or possibly cultural differences), deduce key features to allow constructing a reliable evolutionary tree/network, and possibly identify individual pieces & even assign age estimates. Given the dearth of documented early pieces which could be used for dating, age estimates are likely to stay relative (younger/older) rather than real periods.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 15th September 2022, 12:44 PM   #16
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Kai- thanks very much for your thorough metallurgical assessment and your gut-feel on age estimate!

Interestingly, you're the second person to posit that it may be a "revival" blade; a good friend of mine who's a museum curator had the same view. Compared to other archaic krises I've encountered- this kris has a pretty solid and non-flexible blade. It also has heft, unlike archaic krises which are usually light (sometimes ridiculously so).

I agree with your quench-line theory- that would explain why a bit of pattern in one of the sides still managed to spill over the line.
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Old 15th September 2022, 01:04 PM   #17
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The best way to know would be to have it polished and etched. The difference of color would be blatant. I supposed earlier that it could be quench but, more test would be necessary to be perfectly sure.

Still, keeping it in his current state is also a good thing. Especially for datation. It's all a balance and up to you asterix.

My knowledge in Kriss isnt deep enough to assess a revival style. So i entirely relay on Kai for his datation

An impressive sword in any case
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Old 15th September 2022, 01:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBG163 View Post
The best way to know would be to have it polished and etched. The difference of color would be blatant. I supposed earlier that it could be quench but, more test would be necessary to be perfectly sure.

Still, keeping it in his current state is also a good thing. Especially for datation. It's all a balance and up to you asterix.

My knowledge in Kriss isnt deep enough to assess a revival style. So i entirely relay on Kai for his datation

An impressive sword in any case
I forgot that it was you that originally posited the quench-line theory- thanks for that again, and also for your kind words!

I'll be doing an FeCl etch in the near future- I'll update this thread by then with clear and close-up pics
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Old 15th September 2022, 03:54 PM   #19
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I forgot that it was you that originally posited the quench-line theory- thanks for that again, and also for your kind words!

I'll be doing an FeCl etch in the near future- I'll update this thread by then with clear and close-up pics
No need to clair i'm first or not . Just couldnt be sure with the current state.
If you plan to etch, a good préparation would probably be requiered as the bottom of the blade looks quite pitted.

Kai, do you have encountered any exemple with a quench line like this ?
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Old 15th September 2022, 09:51 PM   #20
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Hello Julien,

Quote:
Kai, do you have encountered any exemple with a quench line like this ?
Not that I can remember, not that crisp and all over the blade, i believe.

And regarding the dating: As said, it's more of a hunch and needs serious research.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 16th September 2022, 02:53 AM   #21
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Hello Xas,

Quote:
I'll be doing an FeCl etch in the near future- I'll update this thread by then with clear and close-up pics
I'm not a big fan of ferric chloride - etching with it tends to be quite brutal to the surface and it's acting so fast that fine structures tend to be missed.

If you intend to polish the blade anyway, a quick & dirty exploratory etch with FeCL3 could help to show some details before you start the actual polishing.

You need a good polish to reveal finer structures. And a gentle/slow metallurgical etch to bring out the details without dulling the surface. Arsenic trioxide used in a traditional rub-on fashion works as do a number of more available modern etchants. I'd probably lean towards warm sodium persulfate; I can't claim to have tested most etchants though - doing this side by side on a representative test piece is still on my ever-growing to do list.

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Kai
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Old 19th September 2022, 07:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Arsenic trioxide used in a traditional rub-on fashion works as do a number of more available modern etchants.
Correct me if i am wrong here, but from my understanding arsenic trioxide isn't an etchant at all. It's function when used in the warangan mixture to stain a keris is that it turns iron and steel black while not effecting nickelous material in the pamor. That is how it raises the pamor pattern. It is the acid in the lime juice part of the mixture that acts as a gentle etchant.
I don't really know what causes the lines to appear in a twist core Moro kris, but if it is not the inclusion of nickel in the mix i don't think arsenic would be an effective way to raise the appearance of the lines in the twist.
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Old 19th September 2022, 10:31 PM   #23
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But an etchant would bring out the quench. And you would see a difference between the quenched zone and the "unquenched" one
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Old 20th September 2022, 12:41 AM   #24
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An xray might be interesting to see. Know anyone who works in a hospital or Dentist's office?
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Old 20th September 2022, 03:47 AM   #25
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Hello Rick,

Quote:
An xray might be interesting to see. Know anyone who works in a hospital or Dentist's office?
From the pamor extending across the line, it seems safe to assume that we don't see any differences on a macroscopical level here. Thus, I don't think x-ray will be of any help here.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 20th September 2022, 03:50 AM   #26
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Hello Julien,

Quote:
But an etchant would bring out the quench. And you would see a difference between the quenched zone and the "unquenched" one
Yes, any difference in final composition (steel alloy, heat treatments, etc.) will show up by etching/staining.

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Kai
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:05 AM   #27
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Hello David,

Quote:
Correct me if i am wrong here, but from my understanding arsenic trioxide isn't an etchant at all. It's function when used in the warangan mixture to stain a keris is that it turns iron and steel black while not effecting nickelous material in the pamor. That is how it raises the pamor pattern. It is the acid in the lime juice part of the mixture that acts as a gentle etchant.
Yes, I was referring to the traditional mixture of arsenic with lime juice. And, for brevity, I wasn't differentiating between etching and staining.

Any etching/staining result will not only be affected by the steel alloys (possibly containing different amounts of nickel, phosphorous, etc.) but as well from differences in heat treatment, especially quenching.


Quote:
I don't really know what causes the lines to appear in a twist core Moro kris, but if it is not the inclusion of nickel in the mix i don't think arsenic would be an effective way to raise the appearance of the lines in the twist.
In most cases, Moro "twistcore" blades will have been crafted from layering mild steel and another steel with noticeable nickel content (probably from Luwu?), indeed.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:33 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Hello David,


Yes, I was referring to the traditional mixture of arsenic with lime juice. And, for brevity, I wasn't differentiating between etching and staining.

Any etching/staining result will not only be affected by the steel alloys (possibly containing different amounts of nickel, phosphorous, etc.) but as well from differences in heat treatment, especially quenching.



In most cases, Moro "twistcore" blades will have been crafted from layering mild steel and another steel with noticeable nickel content (probably from Luwu?), indeed.

Regards,
Kai
Well Kai, i think you really have to differentiate between etching and staining because they are not the same thing at all. Actually i don't think all that much etching takes place during the staining process with warangan anyway. Most of the etching with keris takes place during the pre-staining "cleaning" processes when either fruit acids or coconut water are used to remove rust and bring the blade to "whitened" condition.
I was not arguing that there is not nickel in the steel of this archaic Moro blade. But by my understanding the patterns created here are not done by the same process that is used to create keris with pamor. There is not pamor used in this archaic blade as far as i know. There may very well be some nickel content in some of the iron used though. But frankly i don't know. I am curious to know how you know this though. Can you cite a source for this information?

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