Lets have a look at the Bidor Blacksmith!
I’m sure many of you have heard of the Bidor Blacksmith by now. There has been many blog writings on them and their blades are sold worldwide. From a small family shack, they are now one of the leading parang / agricultural tools in Malaysia. Their expertise lies in their heat treatment – their blades are easily sharpened and able to hold an edge for a long time.
Recently on our last trip, we took some pictures of the workshop and this post will be pretty picture heavy .
Here, they earn their living from making agricultural tools – from sickles to kitchen knives , and most things in between. Hence to live of this , their setup is pretty much bigger and is a stark contrast with the traditional makers. Here you can see half a dozen power hammers and tons of steel stock.
This post on the Bidor Blacksmith will be less wordy and will be mostly pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words, therefore I won’t bore you much with lengthy explanations.
Late 2013, they purchased two gas forges, as you can see in the picture below. Apparently they have been having trouble sourcing for the right type of coal, and the gas forge is a very much welcome upgrade. Gas is much easier to obtain and more consistent in supply . They however, do not use it to heat treat their products. This is because the gas forge heats up the whole blade, and not only the cutting edge. This is true, since you only need to harden the edge only.
I asked Ah Ming when he was demonstrating the heat treatment if there was any difference in using water or oil. He said no, but he mentioned that the oil is much messier , as it leaves a greasy surface on the blades.
The picture below shows the old address of the Bidor Blacksmith. Beware, as there are fakes make now days which uses this old address. When I spoke to Ah Ming, he mentioned that he knows about the fakes. He said they started when customers requested for Bidor made parangs , but the shops and their suppliers were too lazy to get them from Bidor itself, so they asked their blacksmiths to copy to name and stamp it into their products. Really , anything can happen in Malaysia!
edit 5/11/2014 : We have added a good video by the cool guys at ” Bush Channel ” on you tube.