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Old 7th June 2019, 11:10 PM   #1
Bob A
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Default Repair/resto question

I have an old Sudanese dagger from the Mahdist era, with the typical etched inscriptions and a bone hilt, nicely wrapped in fine copper wire.

However, the resin or goop that was used to secure the blade is missing on one side. Even though the blade is fastened to the hilt, there has begun some slight movement over the years.

My question is, what ought I to use to fill the gap, to keep the whole construct from loosening further? The dagger is fairly commonplace, of course, but even so it deserves some respect toward originality and perhaps even reversability.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and insights.
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Old 7th June 2019, 11:28 PM   #2
Battara
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It's probably black pitch. Not unusual. I would restore it with new black pitch.

BTW - please post pictures of the piece. Can tell more with pictures.
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Old 8th June 2019, 01:02 AM   #3
ariel
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BTW, where can one get black pitch?

I fixed a couple of Tulwars with very old mastique and wobbly blades with a molten old sealing wax mixed with powdered brick. Exactly the same recipe that was used originally: shellack + a little wax + ceramic powder.
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Old 8th June 2019, 02:39 AM   #4
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Thanks Ariel for that. One place to acquire black pine pitch is Germany. However, you can also color red jeweler's pitch (which I have done in the past).
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Old 8th June 2019, 05:04 AM   #5
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There is a product on the market here marketed by Selleys called KNEADIT. It's polymer compound which sets HARD. Available from hardware shops.
Very easy to mix and to position. Can be filed, drilled and generally reworked as one would a piece of any metal.
Stu
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Old 8th June 2019, 07:09 AM   #6
Bob A
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A quick look for black pitch came up empty. Pine tar can be had, but it's viscous liquid at room temperature.

Jeweler's red pitch is available, in pound quantities, but it seems to have a 110 degree F melting point, which might be a little low for the intended purpose.

Information on raising melting points would be of interest.

Sealing wax is readily available.
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