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myparang workshop setup

Myparang workshop setup

Finally after months of planning and searching for a suitable place, the myparang workshop is finally on its way and near completion. The hardest part was looking for a suitable spot to house the myparang workshop and this is one true case of what you can get when you are patient . We secured a shoplot nearby which is very accessible and central.

The previous owner was a Spa, but it did not get completed and we took whatever was left , over. There was lots to be done, lots of cleaning up since the previous owners left quite a mess. No to mention they left a pile of sand right in the front entrance. handoverAfter clearing up the mess, the next thing to be done was painting the walls and floor as well as installing the electrical fittings. This shop lot had such a high ceiling, that we decided to have the lights about 8 feet above the lower floor instead of having it up where the ceiling was. By having it much lower, you save on lighting and it would be much easier to change a bulb should one go off. Below is a picture of how it looks after the paint job. I must say it looks much better after cleaning up and some bright colors. By coincidence, the colors we chose resembles the local power company colors and many people thought we were a branch office.

painting and electricalAfter the main lights and fan were installed we did a lighting check and it looks all good! It was bright as day when we tested the lights at night, no no matter what , our staff will have a bright and safe environment to work in .

light testAfter the electrical fittings, we re supposed to take delivery of the metalwork, but there was a slight delay and we received our tools first. Can’t complain much as it helped to receive them first so we could place them around the workshop to see which location suits best. After much moving around, we decided to place most on the power tools together on one table and leave one worktable clear for finishing purposes.

machines are inFinally after a few days of delay, we received our work tables and lockers. The work tables came without the table tops, which we will install ourselves using 1″ ply. The lockers are meant to keep tools and parts which are not needed immediately. You just can’t be too safe , sometimes small items tend to grow their own feet and “walk off” . By now we were having some delay already in the myparang workshop setup.

racks adn tablesIn the following days we also received our order of carton boxes for packaging the parangs. They consisted of two carton sizes, one inner carton and a bigger outer carton which can fit 20 inner cartons. This will be easier to send overseas to our international dealers. All the cartons were piled upstairs for storage. carton boxFinally we had all the tables fixed and positioned , plus had all the machines bolted on. We figured out it would be best to bolt all the machines in the myparang workshop so they cant be moved around , you know sometimes staff think they know better….. Plus bolted means they are more sturdy and will not topple or fall off. The main worktable looks pretty cluttered with the Bench Vise, Belt Sander and Drill Press , but there is enough space around each tool to work comfortable and safely . We left one table completely free for options later on. We might move some tools over, but that will come later. Even if we need to, we might add in another worktable.

tables readymain work areaAlso at the far back, under the stairs is our Kydex workshop. That section is pretty much complete , with everything set up. Since then, we’ve already made a few sheaths in the new workshop and I must say it is much better working there as the space is bigger the the previous workshop. We also looooveeee the air compressor, it helps so much in getting the sheath inner clean from dust and whatnot

kydex workshop areaSo thats it folks. The parang workshop is currently 90% complete and we’re already working on the parts for the parang. I have not taken any new photos since the ones above, but it has started to look much busier. Keeping a workshop clean and neat will be a daunting task, but it will be done. A messy and dirty workshop will invite accidents. Today we just added a vacuum cleaner or if you prefer the more technical name ” a dust collection system” and it’s going to help a lot keeping the place clean.

All right folks! That’s the myparang workshop setup so far, once we’re in operation, we’ll update on more exciting stuff!

 

 

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Meeting a Blacksmith in Pekan Darat

In my last trip, I had the opportunity to meet Uncle Sobri who is currently working full time as a blacksmith. Uncle Sobri has his own shed which he shares with some other blacksmith. I was pretty amazed at the amount and variety of machinery he has. Although the place can be quite rickety, you can see that a lot has happened there. Some tools are really worn out and I am sure have been used very very well.

Uncle Sobri mainly makes rubber tapping knives now, as he needs to make something that is able to sell . However, all the rubber tapping knives he makes are sent further north like Baling and Betong, as Kedah itself does not have much rubber plantations anymore. According to Uncle Sobri, most have converted to Palm Oil.

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Uncle Sobri making Rubber tapping knives

When I dropped by on the second day of fasting, i did not see anyone else working, but Uncle Sobri. He was hammering his rubber tapping knives in his simple forge and anvil , tucked in one corner of his shed. He was gracious enough to take a short break and show me the shed and it’s surroundings.

The shed is pretty well equipped , and there are at least 3-4 furnaces , and about 8 power hammers and about 10 anvils scattered around . All are in working order except for one power hammer which has been dismantled for servicing, and a few other small machines where parts have been stolen.  Sadly, not many are used anymore, as the youngsters prefer to work in the factories now.

an old power hammeran even older pwoer hammer
One of the power hammers                         And an even older one

Some machines I noticed were bench grinders, a small wood lathe machine ( probably unused for 10 years ) , metal cutting machinery , hydraulic press, circular saw  and many more. I’d say this shack is pretty well equip. Only problem is there is no one using it.
anvilmore anvils
Anvils and more anvils

Waking around the shed, you can really see that this place has been used very well. According to Uncle Sobri, this shed was used by his late father. At that time, blacksmithing  was one of the main industries in Pekan Darat , and this place was bustling with activities. He said then, youngsters would come over after school and work at the forge for some pocket money, as well as to learn the tricks of the trade. Even the womenfolk would sharpen newly made knives and parangs in front of their houses for a few ringgit.

uncle Sobri with a Kacip
Uncle Sobri with a kacip.
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Uncle Sobri’s small workspace , with the furnace ahead and anvil on the left.

Below is one section of the shed that really amazes me. This section is where they clamp the rubber tapping knife to be ground down . Check out the amount of metal shavings! It looks like a huge pile of sand and even  like a sculpture . They must have not cleaned this place for ages, and I’m sort of glad actually. Even the wooden bench used to clamp the rubber tapping knives is very worn out. Try and count the number of nails holding it together and you should be able to guess it’s age!

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The sharpening / grinding section

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The clamping bench

Just about 2 meters away from Uncle Sobri’s workspace, there is another shed with another blacksmith. Unfortunately, when I was there, he was not around and I did not get the chance to meet him. From what I understand, this guy does make parangs . So i hope to come again soon and get some made up. I’m keen to see if he can make some nice and good pieces.
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Another workshop just nearby

 

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