This badik was purchased in a small village in West Java, Indonesia, about five hours drive from Jakarta. I was looking for an area where several craftsmen make high quality Javanese blades, and we chanced upon a small forge on the outskirts of town. The blacksmiths there said the town had once been renowned for making high quality blades, but the majority of the forges had been forced to close down due to lack of capital. This was definitely true. The oldest craftsman in town, whose family had been crafting blades for generations, had a single golok in his store, and he wouldn’t let me purchase it because it had been custom-ordered. They had no other blades for sale!
Around the corner, his sons had set up a forge. They had four or five blades and about as many chickens running around the work area. I was disappointed that I didn’t get the quality blades I was looking for, so I picked up this badik and an arit (sickle). What I didn’t realize, however, was how well made this piece was, despite its appearances. I now wish I’d picked up all their blades!
The sheath is extremely well made, and the blade is perfectly forged and ground. Even the handle was well carved. They didn’t have money for expensive wood, but this is an astoundingly well crafted working blade. If I can sell the badik and arit I picked up, I hope to be able to help the craftsmen produce more blades early next year and to give them money for better quality wood and polish.
This Makassar-style badik is actually quite a common style of blade on Java, and has been for centuries. I don’t know what kind of wood was used for the handle and sheath, but it has a distinctive smell a few of my other Indonesian blades also share.
This knife measures in at 18” in the sheath, which has a traditional attachment for tying the sheath to your belt. The handle is 5 3/8” and the badik is 17 3/8” on its own.
There is also what I believe is a carbon steel ring. The entire handle and sheath have been covered in orange varnish, which is widely used in Southeast Asia on working blades since it protects the wood against rot. There are a few holes in the handle from bugs (although I guarantee no bugs remain after the badik was made)!
The sheath is nailed together, which makes it much stronger than the regular epoxied sheaths and scabbards you find on other Indonesian blades.
The blade is 3/16” thick and was really, truly expertly forged from carbon spring steel and convex ground. There is a little varnish on the blade, but nothing that couldn’t be ground off during sharpening. The blade retains the original forge scale.
The blade measures in at 12” with an 11” cutting edge.
The balance point on this blade is 4” in front of the bolster. I believe this kind of badik would be used for slaughtering animals.
There is a maker’s stamp on the blade. The badik weighs in at a whopping 13 oz, or 16.8 oz with the sheath. This is definitely not something you will find anywhere else, so don’t hesitate if you’d like it for the collection or for actual use! SOLD.