Category Archives: Parang Use

Testing parangs made by myparang

Here is a small update on testing parangs made by myparang.

A few weeks ago some of us had the opportunity to go off in the the bush nearby to test the parangs made by myparang. These were some of the newer versions, which include the Bidor 123 , 135 , the Duku Chandong 12″ , and the Duku Chandong Heavy  12″. The main reasons to do this test was to find out how well the handles held on . I was also curious to know how well the handle would feel like after a few hours of heavy use. I have a similar handle on another parang, and I find the shape extremely comfortable. But who knows, perhaps the weight , dimensions or shape may be slightly off. I know that I find it comfortable, but what about others? That’s why I brought some friends to help out.

It was a hot day but we did some hard work on the parangs  . Small twigs, bigger branches, Dry and live branches, dry bamboo and even at batoning , no task prove to be too hard while we were testing these parangs from myparang. At the start of the test, we were determined to create some failure , ie handle loosening  or cracking , but we failed and the parangs won. Beautifully .

Below is the video we took while we were testing them out. We will be adding more videos on parangs and their usage later on . Please don’t hesitate to comment on the video if you have any.

Here is a simple video on how to cut open a young coconut I made some time ago. It shows how the parang is choked up for close up work or when you don’t need too much chopping power.

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Some typical tools you find in a home


Recently I had the opportunity to go back to my in laws house in a village in Melaka, and as in every village house, there are edged tools which are used everyday. Below are some typical tools you find in a home.

well used parangThe above picture shows a well used golok. Goloks and parang have a common use in Malaysian households , especially in rural areas. They are used for cutting weed, trimming trees and plants and also for peeling coconut. Most of the time, people do these simple tasks themselves as they have the skill and time, compared to city folks who may not have a single tree in their compound or apartment. City folks find it easier to go to the market or mall to get what they need, so peeling their own coconuts ( for santan – a main ingredient in Asian cooking ) is often out of the question. Just by looking at the worn out edge on the parang above, you can imagine the amount of work it has gone through.

IMG_2001The picture  above shows another golok alongside the first golok, and you can see that both are pretty worn out. The Goloks have probably been used for 10 years or more. The golok you see with the taped up handle is slightly different from the first one as this golok has a metal handle . The handle is actually the same material used for making the blade, but is flattened and curled into a round handle. It is sort of  a full tang knife , where the tang is actually the handle itself. You can see some closer pictures of the handle below. Some electrical tape has been wrapped around it so it is more comfortable to hold.

golok handlegolok handle 2As you can see, beauty is irrelevant here, but function is. it doesn’t matter if your parang is all shiny and new, it can be black , worn out and rusty, but serves it’s purpose well.

worn out sharpening stoneA parang isn’t very useful if it is blunt, hence the worn out sharpening stone as well. Note how rough the stone is . For general hard work, a fine mirror edge is seldom needed. What is needed is a sharp working edge and sharpening can’t take 1 hour. You need have a sharp parang in 5 minutes and get along with your task at hand.

coconut peeler malaysia 2I wont be surprised if some Malaysians have not seen the tool above. It looks like a sharpened spade mounted on a length of wood . The wood is then buried in the ground so the “spade” protrudes out about 2-3 feet above the ground. It looks like someone buried a spear halfway. This tool is used to peel coconuts, and it requires skill. Not every house has this, and it is more for those who peel coconuts often or in large quantities. If you are not familiar with this, you could injure yourself badly if you slip or fall on it. Perhaps I could do a video one day to show how it is used. I remember seeing one in my grand mother’s house when I was much younger, but it has disappeared many years ago, probably stolen by scrap metal thieves.

coconut peeler sheathWhen not in use, the sharp edge is protected by placing a can or a coconut ( or both ) on top of it.

 

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How to carry a long parang


If any of you have noticed, some of the East Malaysian or Borneo parangs ( Sabah and Sarawak ) can be quite long. I am sure some of you may be wondering how on earth do the locals carry a long parang or duku . If you hang it down vertically or hook it to your belt, like a conventional parang , you will be very uncomfortable as for two reasons, one would be because the parang is so long, it will swing all over the place , and second, if you were to squat or sit, the parang will rip your belt off when the edge of the sheath hits the ground.

how to wear long parangIf you look at the picture  above, you will notice that these three long parangs all have a different way of attaching it to your waist. They do not have a belt loop, but have some cord or rattan weaving which is attached to the the sheath lengthwise. The cord is actually a length of cord with a loop, and part of this loop is tied on to the sheath. It’s pretty difficult to describe by words, but if you look at the following pictures, it should be pretty understandable.

how to wear the long paranghow to wear long parangs

This is how the prang looks when it is worn. Notice how the parang/ duku is horizontal compared to vertical? It looks almost like how a katana is worn too. By having the parang horizontal like this, it enables you to draw the parang easily, while it does not hinder your movement. I’ve carried these types of parang before and believe me , it is very comfortable and does not get into the way at all. I did push the parang all the way to the back once as the handle kept getting in the way while walking, but once that is done, no more problems. And when you need the parang again, just pull it back to the most comfortable position. This way of wearing the long parang is the traditional way, ie it was not invented by me, so I’m pretty sure it has evolved and stood the test of time to be the most suitable way of carrying the long parang.

 

drawing the parang Here is how you draw the parang . You notice that the handle and blade is forward, so you don’t have to change hands or grips when you draw and use the parang. So there you have it, that’s how to carry a long parang .

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