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Al Schulman




Location: Ohio
Joined: 27 May 2017

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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2017 10:25 am    Post subject: Kris Manufacturer From Historical Handle         Reply with quote

I recently bought a 19th century wooden Indonesian kris handle at auction. It crossed my mind that it might be fun to re-attach a blade and have a functional kris. This is my first post, and I am completely naive about blade-making other than a few episodes of Forged in Fire.

I would welcome opinions on whether this is feasible, a good idea, and a range of costs. If anyone is interested in offering their services please feel free to PM me, but I am not committed to the idea at this stage.

Thanks to all who are able to help.



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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2017 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've seen quite a few bare Kris blades offered on Ebay, some of them fairly cheap. Sounds like a fun project. Happy Just be careful about buying on-line. Wink ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2017 3:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Kris Manufacturer From Historical Handle         Reply with quote

Al Schulman wrote:
I would welcome opinions on whether this is feasible, a good idea, and a range of costs.


Certainly feasible. As for good idea, having a kris to display your kris handle on is a great idea. (Why not the full kit: kris with scabbard, and a kris holder?)

The easy way is to buy a kris, and change the handle. A cheap kris (with scabbard) can be had for about US$100. A kris holder also, for a similar price (there are a variety of styles; you are unlikely to find some styles that cheap). You can can spend much, much, more than that for a kris, a bare kris blade, a scabbard, or a holder. You can spend much more than $100 on a mendak alone (the fitting at the end of the handle).

Changing a handle on a kris is easy - usually, the tang (round, skinny) is wrapped in a bit of cloth, and inserted into the hole in the handle. No glue, no peening, just push it in.

If you want to make a kris blade yourself, note that they have a quite complex geometry (e.g., but not limited to, a separate ganja that needs to fit closely to the rest of the blade). If you just want something to look like a kris to display your handle on, you can just cut a kris-like shape out of sheet metal or plywood or plastic sheet (clear acrylic might be nice), with a tang that fits the hole.

A nice source of info: http://atkinson-swords.com/collection-by-type/keris/
A very thorough source of info: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=11

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2017 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: Kris Manufacturer From Historical Handle         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Changing a handle on a kris is easy - usually, the tang (round, skinny) is wrapped in a bit of cloth, and inserted into the hole in the handle. No glue, no peening, just push it in.


I don't know where you got that information from since in Java the usual practice is to put a small bead of wax or hot-melt glue on the very end of the tang before sticking the blade into the handle. Still very easy to remove (some vigorous shaking, or at most a moderate tap with a mallet should be enough to crack the glue bead and free the tang) but definitely not just a friction fit shimmed with cloth.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Sep, 2017 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Kris Manufacturer From Historical Handle         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Timo Nieminen wrote:
Changing a handle on a kris is easy - usually, the tang (round, skinny) is wrapped in a bit of cloth, and inserted into the hole in the handle. No glue, no peening, just push it in.


I don't know where you got that information from since in Java the usual practice is to put a small bead of wax or hot-melt glue on the very end of the tang before sticking the blade into the handle. Still very easy to remove (some vigorous shaking, or at most a moderate tap with a mallet should be enough to crack the glue bead and free the tang) but definitely not just a friction fit shimmed with cloth.


Wherefrom the info? From removing various keris hilts. Also second-hand info from various keris collectors who have handled far more keris than I have. Most keris hilts in Western collections are not glued. Interesting to hear about modern Javanese practice.

Friction-fit being common is relatively modern, and a sensible response to cleaning keris much more often than fighting with them. There are hilts out there firmly glued in place with resin, and this was the common practice a century ago and was still standard in some places in Indonesia much more recently. Not a little bead, but firmly glued.

Gardner's book (Keris and Other Malay Weapons, 1936) is a nice record of the transition from resin to friction-fit. He reports resin as standard, and the then-current replacement of resin with melted gramaphone records, and modern use of friction-fit for keris not-for-use.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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