Here is a small update for our UK based customers. We have selected a respectable distributor for MY Parang products in the UK and Ireland. They have placed two large orders recently and we are very happy with the progress and market they cover in the UK. From now on , UK customers will not have to purchase all the way from Malaysia , wait weeks for the product to arrive plus the unnecessary extra cost of UK local taxes and duties , but can purchase directly from the UK based shops listed below. Buying parangs in the UK can’t be any simpler!
This means that from now on, we will not be taking anymore individual orders to the UK. If you are a shop owner and intend to sell in the UK , drop us an email, we will put you in touch with our distributor there. Alternatively, you can contact our distributor in the UK directly listed below ( MORA Distribution Ltd. )
MY Parang Distributor in the UK and Ireland :-
Mora Distribution Ltd
Unit 6 ,Prospect Business Park,
+44 (0) 1962 736335
E-mail : email@example.com
2) Moonraker Accessories
BA12 6AF ,
Tel/Fax : +44 01747 830418
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Direct link to MY Parang product page
3) Greenman Bushcraft
37 Beehive Lane
(this address is not a shop – Visitation by appointment)
Tel: 01245 201 002 Direct link to MY Parang product page
4) Springfields of Burton Ltd
76 Station Street,
Tel: 01283 530707
email: email@example.com Direct link to MY Parang product page
5) The Bushcraft Store
BDU Imports Ltd & The Bushcraft Store®,
Culver Nurseries, Cattlegate Road,
Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 9DS.
Tel: 020 8367 3420
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Direct link to MY Parang product page
Every parang user will need eventually a means to sharpen it. Here is a short write up on sharpening stones used to sharpen parangs .
Being a parang user for 20+ years, I have an array of sharpening stones. Some have been worn out and discarded, and some are still in use. Sharpening stones come in various shapes, sizes , material and grits. Most sharpening stones are square, but some come round or wedge- shaped. Some are made of natural material – especially the finer grit ones. The coarser stones are usually made with carborundum , diamond or similar types of abrasives held together with a binder. Grits range from 40 and all the way up to about 1200 grit. It is quite difficult to grade a natural sharpening stone as it is not made of a specific grit and you can only tell from using it. Some natural sharpening stones will be harder than some and some will not cut as well as some.
Sharpening is basically removing steel from the knife edge , and how you achieve this can be quite interesting. I have seen rocks , sand , files, carbide scraper, sand paper , porcelain , dremmel and grinders being used. They all try and achieve the same final outcome, which is a sharp edge.
A note on mechanical sharpening – ie sanding machines, dremmel and grinders – I’ll not touch on these as I believe if you are not familiar with power tools, you can actually ruin the edge by over grinding. You can also destroy the heat treatment by overheating the knife edge.
So lets go to the sharpening stones. First up is a natural sharpening stone I am very familiar with. It belongs to my late grandmother and was placed outside her house on the ground next to the garage. It was one of the first natural sharpening stones I have ever seen, and it was used very very well. As you can see from the pictures below, the surface has become like a saddle from all the years of sharpening kitchen knives, goloks, sabit and parangs. A few years back, I noticed the stone was not in its place and only recently my uncle told me that someone had moved it. I’m so glad that it is now in my possession , although someone had chopped the top surface . I’ll try and recondition the surface back to its original smoothness. It is believed that this stone is more than 50 years, as my uncles remember that is was already in use when he was a child. In some villages even today, it is quite common to see a similar stone by the riverbank which the whole village uses to sharpen their knives.
Below are some of the sharpening stones I have used in the past. Some are natural and some are man made. The rough “brick” is used to dress the other stones, ie I do not use it to sharpen knives, but I use it to flatten the surface of the other stones before I start sharpening. A concave stone does not produce a good edge. As you can see, they come is various different sizes, from 5 inches long to 8 inches long. Some of the sharpening stones have two grits, one rough grit on one side, and a finer one on the other side.
Here are some of the man made ones , some are thinner and good for field use. The green sharpening stones are much harder and better for stainless steel knives as they don’t wear out as fast as the black ones.
Here is a close up of the natural stones. These natural stones differ in hardness, and some produce a slurry / muddy paste when sharpening. The left most and right most stones are the hardest, they sharpen quite slowly and produce not much slurry. The second from the left is my favorite, it sharpens fast and produces a muddy slurry. The on to the right of it is not the best stone, too soft and the slurry is very gritty. Usually I use these stones at the final stage, to get a razor sharp edge. The edges usually come out slightly hazy or mirror polished, depending on which sharpening stone you use.
Recently about a year back, I discovered or actually had the opportunity to try out a friends diamond stones. To keep things short, I’ve never looked back 🙂 . They cut much faster and you can use them dry. Best of all , they don’t need any dressing and stay flat forever. I’ve tried cheaper diamond stones and have been disappointing as the diamonds fall off after some time. But these DMT diamond stones are the best!
Sharpening stone holders also come in various shapes and sizes. The left one below is from my inlaws , and it is just a square block of heavy wood with a carved recess for the stone to sit in . The middle one is one I made a long time ago, and you can wedge it against the table edge. I used to use oil when sharpening , hence the mess , but now days I either use water or nothing ( on the diamond stones ) . The sharpening stone holder you see on the right is one which I made a few years ago. It’s a copy of the modern stone holders and it works very very well. The bottom picture shows the modern sharpening stone holder , it’s much slimmer and has a better grip. I now have a few of these at home and in the workshop. it’s the best addition to your sharpening stones, and everyone should have one.
Besides these, I also have some Japanese sharpening stones, up to 6000 grit. I seldom use it as I don’t need such a sharp knife. For the parangs I have , 600 grit is more than enough, and if I want to show off to friends, i use the 1200 grit. Thats enough to shave hair off my arm.
I also have a Spyderco Sharpmaker, and I use it for sharpening my folding knives. it’s easy and fast!
Parangs and Goloks have been in our culture for ages, so it’s not surprising to have many skilled parang and golok makers in Malaysia. It is a thriving cottage industry and I must say there are some really good craftsmen out there. Each of the different states in Malaysia will have at least a dozen makers, from part time hobbyist to full time craftsmen.
Some makers only concentrate on making the blades, while some specialize in making wooden sheaths and handles only. Most do both, as it is a convenience to their customers. Some people do buy and create in stages, ie they may commission a parang or keris blade this year, and when they have some excess funds, they will then make the sheath and handle. The price of custom parangs vary widely, from rm 50.00 for a rough and bare one to rm 500.00 and above for more exotic ones using special steel and fancier wood.
While these craftsmen are many , so are blacksmiths who make agricultural tools. A lot if not all the tools used in palm and rubber plantations are sourced locally . They are much cheaper and easier to access. These blacksmiths who make agricultural tools vary in size, some are smaller backyard ones, while some are factories on their own , and can churn out hundreds of pieces every week.
Common Malaysian parangs which you can find are of different brands like A1, Cap Mata ( eye brand ) , 201 and Sam Lee. There are more, and I will add them in once I have found them. Most of them are similar to the Bidor made ones, but one stands out quite a bit.
If you look closely at the one made by Sam Lee, it looks like it has been made in a factory. Like super mass produced. The blade is stamped off a large sheet of metal , as you can see the sheer marks on the side of the blade.
You can also see the edge grinding is probably made by a machine as the grinding marks are very evenly spaced and even. They even have a micro bevel at the edge.
It would be nice to check their factory out one day, but I will need to do some research as the parangs they make do not come with any address or contact no.
Most local people in Malaysia will know roughly where to get parangs. At the moment, we do not have any dedicated knife or gun shops like those in western countries. Back when I used to follow my father overseas, I remember going into specialist shops selling knives, scissors and guns. It was like a candy store and I remember that I was particularly interested in a small gun capable of shooting small pallets. As you might have expected, my dad did not buy it for me for obvious reasons.
Buying parangs in Malaysia is not such a difficult task, especially if you are in the kampungs or villages. If you are right smack in the middle of big cities, then yes, you may have to go to Ace hardware or similar to look for parangs. Generally parangs can be found in sundry shops , hardware shops ( selling construction material ) as well as some specialty parang shops ( very seldom ) as the below pictures .
The following pictures shows some parang , knives and agricultural tools which I saw in some specialty shops . These shops are more or less near each other and you can’t find them elsewhere in Malaysia. I’ve never seen so many parangs in one place ever. They come in all shapes and sizes, from small game cleaning knives to meat cleavers to fancy swords. One thing to note is that they are all made in Malaysia.
The Royal Malaysian Customs requires a special permit to import knives which have a blade more than 6 inches and weapons like katanas , daggers ( including the keris ) , automatic knives, knuckle dusters are all illegal and are prohibited for import.
As you can see from the pictures above, the array and choice can be mind boggling. There are cheap ones as well as better made ones like those below , with the wooden sheaths and handles. The cheaper ones are usually used for rough work such as clearing brush and weeds, while the better parangs are kept for more specific task like slaughtering and game cleaning. In east Malaysia for example there are parang competitions where craftsmen will show off their beautifully carved parangs sheaths .I have yet to see them personally , but will do when I get wind of the next competition.
Keep your eyes open, as myparang.com will soon be producing their own range of parangs. Keep visiting this blog to find out where to buy Malaysian parang
Some of us may not even know that there are basically two types of wooden parang sheaths – the one piece sheath and the two piece sheaths. What this means is just how the sheath is made , for one piece sheaths , the slot for the parang is dug out from a block of wood, using special tools. As for the two piece sheaths, the slot for the parang is dug out on two halves and later glued or tied together.
Obviously, the dug out sheath is more complicated , difficult and time consuming to make , compared to the two piece sheath. The top two pictures shows two parang sheaths that use the one piece sheath, while the lower picture shows the joints or the two halves of a 2-piece sheath.
The two one piece sheaths above are made in Kelantan, and I am not sure if it is only available in that state. I have yet to find a one piece sheath made in other states in Malaysia.
Another tell tale sign that a sheath is one piece , is the extra wedge of wood at the end of the sheath . You can see this from the picture above. Note how the two sheaths on the left have a small wedge of wood at the bottom of the sheath ( one piece ) . The two sheaths on the right are 2-piece sheaths. some two piece sheaths can be opened and cleaned.
Here in the picture above you can see some of the tools used to make the one piece sheath. First a hole needs to be drilled through the sheath, then a special saw like to ones above are inserted and used to saw out the slot for the parang. These special saws are not available for purchase, but are usually hand made by the parang craftsmen themselves.
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All about Malaysian Parangs, Goloks and Duku Chandongs