Last year, I got a parang from a friend in Limbang Sarawak. After a few phone calls and exchange of emails, I am convinced that he is the right person to help me source for a parang maker there. Getting any parang is easy but getting a good working parang needs time and in this case, a friend who knows his local blades. It took him some time to look for a good blade smith. After a few weeks of waiting, I finally got the parang from him.
It seems that there are many parang makers in Limbang, Sarawak. While some are making blades that are meant for work, some are made perhaps more for decoration, considering the sheaths and handle are well decorated with exotic wood and carvings. Decorative parangs I am not keen to market.
Well, the parang arrived last year and I have not had much opportunity to use it until recently. During a one day hike to a waterfall with some friends, I decided to give the parang a try out. The blade looks very much like a duku panjang but it has a wider belly.
I used the parang on the trail. Did some trail clearing as well as some chop test on bamboo (live and dead). The walking trail was generally clear, so there was no real reason to use it.
The parang blade, like most is thickest at the handle but tapers to about 2mm towards the end. There is a hole towards the tip of the blade. I have no idea why it is there but my friend reckons it is an existing hole on the metal, which the blade smith says is from a vehicle leaf spring.
The handle of the parang has that pistol grip shape. I have nothing against it but was too curious to know how long the tang goes into the wood. So, a chisel and a hammer took me a good 10 minutes to break it apart (I was careful not to damage my chisel!). The tang was a good (close to) 2 inches and the maker used epoxy to fill everything up. This is something I really like. No pins on the handle and tang though.
This Parang Tebas from Limbang, Sarawak now has a new handle I fashion from Tamarind wood. I will need time to do more field tests on it but so far, it has been doing very well.