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Thread: Artanyik Dharb steel question

  1. #1

    Artanyik Dharb steel question

    Hi all, namely the specialists.

    AS you may recall I have purchased a bare blade in my visit to Aranyik that I posted a while ago here.

    Anyway it is Here here once more





    I was wondering what kind of steel is used. High carbon steel?
    Your input will be most appreciated.

    Thank you all

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Mark had a link to an article out of Blade magazine that I believed discussed this. The author had visited Lung Som's shop (which is how I found out about it) unfortunately the link didn't work last time I tried it and I didn't get a copy of the article.
    Khun Deng

  3. #3
    Originally posted by Dan Wilke
    Mark had a link to an article out of Blade magazine that I believed discussed this. The author had visited Lung Som's shop (which is how I found out about it) unfortunately the link didn't work last time I tried it and I didn't get a copy of the article.
    Thanks Dan

    Have your swords arrived? Do post them please

    Best

  4. #4
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    Antonio,
    I must have missed when you posted about your visit, it's good you did again, I'm a fan of Dhas.

    Dan,
    Do you still have the link? Sometimes you can get lucky and archive.org grabbed a copy of it, allowing you to visit a now broken link.
    Eric Litton

  5. #5
    Originally posted by Eric Litton
    Antonio,
    I must have missed when you posted about your visit, it's good you did again, I'm a fan of Dhas.

    Dan,
    Do you still have the link? Sometimes you can get lucky and archive.org grabbed a copy of it, allowing you to visit a now broken link.
    Hey Eric,

    Glad you found it now. It is incredible the price and the dignity.
    I like dha and dharb as well. Remember the one that one Nathan Creel did for me?

    Now this is a project for me to do in my spare time. Do I have spare time?

    What's that about archive.org?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Northern California
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    2,616
    archive.org is a site that caches sites to provide a history of them. The chances that it cached a specific page are less likely than a main site, but sometimes you can get lucky and be able to view a page that is now no longer there.
    Eric Litton

  7. #7
    Originally posted by Eric Litton
    archive.org is a site that caches sites to provide a history of them. The chances that it cached a specific page are less likely than a main site, but sometimes you can get lucky and be able to view a page that is now no longer there.
    Oh, I see.
    Darn, you were born with computers. I was born with a simple pencil and paper

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Japan
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    Link

    Here's the link from Mark's page "http://members.cox.net/thedhapage/Blades%20of%20BangkokFrame1Source1.htm" and the reference is to this article :

    Boyd, Francis, "Blades of Bangkok," Blade Magazine, March, 2000, pp. 136-143

    Hope this helps! I'm a little smoked right now and don't have the time to search myself. If I remember right he was a bladesmith himself and discussed the techniques that were used, I believe he said they were very similiar to the san mei construction used in old japanese blades which would make sense considering the heavy Japanese influence in the 1600s.
    Khun Deng

  9. #9

    Re: Link

    Originally posted by Dan Wilke
    Here's the link from Mark's page "http://members.cox.net/thedhapage/Blades%20of%20BangkokFrame1Source1.htm" and the reference is to this article :

    Boyd, Francis, "Blades of Bangkok," Blade Magazine, March, 2000, pp. 136-143

    Hope this helps! I'm a little smoked right now and don't have the time to search myself. If I remember right he was a bladesmith himself and discussed the techniques that were used, I believe he said they were very similiar to the san mei construction used in old japanese blades which would make sense considering the heavy Japanese influence in the 1600s.
    Thanks Dan, but it isn't showing... unless its my dumbself.

    I'll try once more

    http://members.cox.net/thedhapage/Bl...me1Source1.htm

  10. #10
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    Unfortunatly it appears it wasn't archived, but it was worth a shot.
    Eric Litton

  11. This is what I get for ignoring SwordForum for a few weeks. Excellent essay and photographs of your visit, Antonio! I look forward to the time when I can visit Lung Som as well.

    As for the article on the DRI, I had to kill the link because I only had permission from Blade to republish it for 30 days. Being an "intellectual property" attorney can be a bit inconvenient sometimes, as it makes you feel guilty about flauting other people's copyrights. I explained the 30-day restriction on the parent page of the article, but if you didn't modify the URL to reach the home page you wouldn't have found it.

    (But between you and me, if you do a search on SwordForum for "Boyd" and "Bangkok," you can probably find a boot-leg copy of the article, including photographs.)
    Mark Bowditch
    The Dha Research Archive
    "Let each one understand the meaning of sincerity, and guard against display!" Chuang Tzu, The Tower of the Spirit (XXIII.8)
    "There is no deadlier weapon than the will! The sharpest sword is not equal to it!" Chuang Tzu, The Inner Law (XXIII.8)

  12. #12
    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for the hint. I was replying to something, somewhere else

    I will do that search. Thank you.


    Actually I've came up with a final design for this blade.
    I hope to have it done in the Summer.

  13. #13

    ARTICLE TRANSCRIPTION

    Here is the article transcription that I found on a Search for Blades of Bangkok posted by Thomas Chen.

    This article titled "Blades of Bangkok" was written by American Japanese-style swordmaker Francis Boyd, and published in the American knife magazine "Blade" in March 2000. Francis is an accomplished smith himself, having trained under a Japanese swordsmith named "Nakajima" (if I remember correctly); a fellow apprentice was Michael Bell. I understand that Francis has a tremendous interest in Chinese and Japanese swords and look forward to meeting him personally one day .......



    "Christmas of 1998, my wife, Eleanore, and I journeyed to Saigon and Bangkok. We had a wild time in Saigon but, aside from a few antique purchases, it was rather uneventful in terms of blades. After only four days in Saigon we flew on to Bangkok. There we were met by Wiwat Chantape, a professor at Rajabhat College in Ratchaburi province; Sawate Poopakorn. a teacher at Mahidol High School in Bangkok; Pint Sangchanda, a lovely young lady who is a graduate student at Rajabhat University in Bangkok; and at least a half dozen of Wiwat's students from Ratchaburi. The next day Pim and her father took us on the grand tour of Bangkok-the Royal Palace, the Temple of the Dawn and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. We finished the day at Thailand's National Museum, which contains a superb weapons collection. Housed in a single room, the collection, while in rather poor condition due to the local climate, is nonetheless impressive in scope and historical significance.

    Upon entering the room the first thing you see is a full-size model of a war elephant (the ancient Thai equivalent of the modern army tank), mounted by a warrior and weapons handler equipped with spears and halberds, bristling like a porcupine. From there you wander around the room to case-after-case of swords of all Asian types-Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian. Pole arms are everywhere, including some European halberds. There are also some very fine European firearms, the most impressive a revolving cannon custom ordered from the French by a king of Thailand. The collection was easily as interesting as anything I saw in Thailand.


    Gang Hammering

    Christmas Day we were up early and off in search of blade knowledge. About two miles down the road, Wiwat took us to a country smith's workshop. As we hopped out of the van, we were greeted by the melodious sound of gang hammering as three men pounded away in rapid succession on a blade. The workshop was outdoors with just a makeshift roof to keep the rain off. When they finished pounding, I was introduced to Guan Shou Shui, the master of the shop, along with Pa and Som, his assistants.

    With Wiwat translating for me, I was able to discern that Mr. Guan was making sugar-cane knives. He is Chinese and wrote his name in Chinese for me, but my Mandarin did me little good in communicating with him because he spoke a Southern Chinese dialect that I did not understand. With help I learned that he forges exclusively with bamboo charcoal. Amazingly, the man worked completely barehanded. Due to holding hot steel for 30 years, the palms of his hands looked like the soles of my shoes. His family comes from the Southern Chinese city of Tou Po and has worked as smiths for three generations.

    Thanking Mr. Guan after buying one of his sugar-cane knives, we boarded the van and headed into Ratchaburi town proper. There we stopped at the shop of Loau Pin. She is an 82-year-old Chinese smith who, when we walked into her shop, was sitting on the floor chiseling the serrations in the edge of a rice sickle by hand. She told us that she had been making blades for 60 years and that her husband had also been a maker of swords and knives before passing away three years earlier. She is second generation from Southern China and blademaking has been a family craft for many generations.

    Mrs. Loau had four men working for her, including two brothers. One brother led the hammer gang while the other worked the bellows and tended the fire. We watched the men work for a while and then stepped next door to the shop of another lady swordsmith, Mrs. Ying Pairot.

    Ms. Ying is a sweet little lady of such small stature that it is hard to believe she has been making blades for 45 years. Furthermore, her family has made blades for over 300 years! She has a 250-year-old European post vise that she said is the family heirloom to prove it. She said her father worked until he was 84 and her brother also was a smith. They had come from Tou Po right before World War 2. Her husband was her assistant and her son already had earned a Ph.D from a college in Australia with the financial support of his mother.

    This lady knows her stuff and gave me a real going over. Like all Thai smiths, she makes everything from swords and bowies to everyday tools and cutlery. The most astounding thing she said was that the reason all the Thai smiths use bamboo charcoal is that you can forge in it without using flux. She makes her swords with eight folds (eight being lucky to the Chinese) and uses an inlaid-edge construction that the Chinese call jiagang (qiangang). She inlays the edge steel about 30 percent of the way through the body steel. She questioned me thoroughly about how I make my temper line after I showed her a tanto I had brought with me. After a fairly lengthy discussion on swordmaking, I came away quite impressed with the sweet little old lady. She also gave me the Thai names for her tools: tao -- fire; tung -- anvil; kim -- tongs; and korn -- hammer.

    From Mrs. Ying we went to the Ratchaburi Museum, where I was shown the sword presented by His Majesty King Rama V (Chulalonkorn of The King and I fame) to Ratchaburi state in 1910. The sword was made of solid gold with jewels and cloisonne. Unfortunately, I could not get a picture of it because the museum does not allow cameras. The blade easily rivals the solid gold dagger of Tutankhamen and is much larger. What a day! How could it get any better?

    But it did.


    Sheffield Of Thailand

    The day after Christmas we arose before dawn and were on the road by 7 o'clock. We went to Mahidol High School, where we picked up Sawate and proceeded to Rajabhat University in Bangkok. There we picked up Pim and eventually arrived in the now desolate town of Aranyik.

    At this point, allow me to provide some historical background. Bangkok is the modern capital of Thailand. Ayudhya is the old capital and, while the city was built in the 14th century, it did not become the capital until the 16th century. Ayudhya has often been called the Venice of the Orient. Surrounded on four sides by the Chao Praya River, the walled city is crisscrossed by canals like Venice.

    Near Ayudhya is Aranyik. The town was once the largest center of blade manufacture in Southeast Asia. Much like Sheffield or Solingen, it made blades not only for Thailand but also for most of the countries within the trade sphere of the Thais. Renowned for their strong and sharp blades, the smiths of Aranyik were so busy from the demand for their work that what began as a small town, at its height, grew into almost a small city.

    What became of Aranyik and why is it virtually unknown in the West? I will explain.

    The Thai monarchs have been excellent rulers over the centuries. Naraesuan, Ekathosarat and Narai were some of the great monarchs of the Ayudhya period. Even the current king, Rama IX, is a good man who, though he is a constitutional monarch-having ruled for the past 50 years-earns his keep as king doing many good works for the people of Thailand. There was a most evil king in Thai history, though the less said about him the better. Then there was the dumbest one.

    His name was Ekathart, the last ruler of the kingdom of Ayudhya. As noted, the city was walled and naturally moated. King Narai, who maintained diplomatic relations with Louis XI of France, had equipped the walls of Ayudhya with the best European cannons money could buy. The city was situated in the middle of a plain so you could see the enemy coming from afar.

    Nonetheless, when Burma invaded Thailand, Ekathart did not organize the defense of his country-he preferred spending all his time with his many wives instead! He completely ignored the effort of his own people to save him and his throne. When the Burmese army besieged the capital, the king would not allow the siege guns to be fired in the defense of the city without royal permission under pain of death, as the noise of the cannons scared his wives! Needless to say, on April 9, 1767, after a very short siege, the city fell. With the fall of the Thai capital, the armies of Burma rolled on to the city of Aranyik.

    So great was the fame of Aranyik's blade craftsmen that the Burmese wanted to take them back to Burma to make weapons for them. This was not to be. A fierce battle ensued at Aranyik, actually much worse than the one at the capital. The Thai workmen were hopelessly outnumbered. After several days of amazing valor and self-sacrifice, it was over. For only the second time in its history, Thailand had fallen to a foreign invader, and every man of Aranyik was dead. To this day, the Thai people revere Aranyik much as Americans do the Alamo. So powerful is the Thais' respect for the men who fell at Aranyik that, today, no one will work on swords within the old city limits of the town. Instead, Aranyik's blades are made in the adjoining town.

    At the entrance to Aranyik is a monument dedicated to the city's history consisting of a small section of the old city wall surmounted by a giant Thai sword. The drive through the center of town is underwhelming. Aside from a few farmhouses and a couple of residences here and there, you would never know that it was once a small industrial center that made some of the finest blades in Asia. Only after we went to the next little village did we come to where they make the swords of Aranyik today.


    Boonsam Srisuk

    Most Thai cutlery work is done as a co-operative effort. For lack of a better term, I will refer to these co-ops as guilds. One of the largest guilds in Thailand is S. Arunyig (S stands for sword), and the head of the guild is Boonsam Srisuk. When I met him, we immediately entered into a lengthy discussion of sword manufacture and history.

    In 1822, King Rama 11 brought a large group of craftsmen back from Vientiene (the capital of nearby Laos), including goldsmiths, silversmiths and swordmakers. Boonsam's family had served as swordmakers for five generations. The present king is highly interested in agriculture to the point that he has experimental rice paddies within his palace grounds. Today, instead of making swords for the king as his family did in the past, Boonsam makes rice sickles and is as proud of his work as his ancestors were of their swords.

    Boonsam uses a Chinese-derived laminating process for making his swords. He told me that he uses nine folds for the body of the sword. He then splits the billet lengthwise with a hot set and inlays the edge steel 80 percent of the way through the bar forming a lengthwise welded three-piece or, as the Japanese say, san-mai construction (as opposed to Cold Steel's San Mai III). I found Boonsam's technique extremely interesting as I recently polished a 1,000-year-old Japanese sword made by a national-treasure-ranked swordmaker named Masatsune that belongs to my friend, Kaname "Fred" Nakamura. The Masatsune sword was laminated in a nearly identical process to the one described by Boonsam.

    Next, we entered into a discussion on heat treatment. With a tanto of my own making, I explained the ceramic shell (clay) process for heat treating a Japanese blade. Boonsam did not just tell me how he did it, he took me out to his forge and showed me. With a sword held edge down in the fire, he quickly moved it back and forth in a very hot flame until just the edge was hot. Then, flipping it over, he dropped it back first into the water tank. Dropping it back first, he said, reduced the curving effect that heat treating had on the blade. After heat treatment, he laid a half-inch steel rod on the anvil and whacked it with the sword, nearly cutting the rod in half. With great pride he showed me the edge of the sword, which was undamaged. This-what I call a "natural" temper line process-is exactly how the aforementioned Masatsune blade is heat treated. It produces a slightly undulating straight-line temper the Japanese call suguha. The complete process of blademaking is essentially the same one the Japanese used a thousand years ago. The process finds its origins in Han Dynasty China over 2,000 years ago, and it still makes a pretty good sword today.


    Ayudhya Sword Seminar

    Boonsam told us that his workers were giving a demonstration on blademaking at a fair in Ayudhya, so we crossed the moat (the Chao Praya River) and entered the modern city of Ayudhya. The ruins of the old city are carefully preserved in the center of the new. The fair was being held next door to the ruins of the temple Wat Srisanphet. The first booth we came to was Boonsam's of S. Arunyig. There were two booths occupying either side of the street. One was the display booth with every kind and type of sword, spear and knife imaginable. On the opposite side of the road was the craft demonstration headed by Nai Tao, or master of the fire. The S. Arunyig craftsmen work on the ground like the Japanese (Ratchaburi craftsmen work standing up). When we arrived, Nai Tao had the fire going and was busy hammering out bamboo knives. He had one hammer man and two hammer women assisting him in his work. The Thai use some "big girls" to do their hammering. and these ladies really know their trade.

    I had my friend Sawate ask if I could hammer for Nai Tao. Every Thai who heard Sawate turned and looked at me like I was some "crazed white devil," but when Sawate explained that I was also a smith, Nai Tao consented and threw some blanks that needed rough hammering into the fire. The hammers were mere square hunks of iron banded to a bent piece of bamboo for the handle. With the metal hot. Nai Tao put me to hammering with him. It was a very hot day, and instantly the sweat poured off me. I must have deported myself well because Nai Tao was smiling when we finished and he put the ladies back to work. First with one and then the other I pounded like a trip hammer, keeping the rhythm that Nai Tao set with his hammer. Twenty minutes of heat and hammer and I had had enough. I thanked Nai Tao and his helper, to which I was rewarded with a big smile and the universal thumbs-up sign. From the sword display we wandered around the fair and the temple next door. The 600-year-old jedi of the temple are in ruins now but still reflect the beauty of the past while reminding one of the foolishness of humanity. As the day waned, we headed back to Bangkok and all too soon were back home in California. Today, our memories of Thailand and its rich cutlery history are almost as vivid as if we were there yesterday.

    Editor's note: The author is a veteran maker of Japanese swords, folders and kitchen knives. He displayed his pieces at the recent BLADE Show West, where he gave an impromptu slide-show presentation of his Bangkok visit and talked of returning there. "

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