Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 30th January 2023, 06:26 PM   #1
John Hsiya
Member
 
John Hsiya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Exclamation Sword cleaning - mistakes to avoid

Hello,

I thought it would be helpful (and perhaps a bit therapeutic) to speak of some of the mistakes which can happen during attempts at preservation. I feel many of our mistakes go unspoken, but talking about it and providing examples can help others in the future.

There are many wonderful resources and topics for cleaning procedures already, but they do not cover every mistake or always provide visual aids.

I will begin with a mistake I've recently made:
While cleaning surface rust (oil, autosol, paper towel, 0000 steel wool) I have taken off more of the oxidation than I would have liked. It's only visible from certain odd angles (last photo), which is how I made the mistake.

So when cleaning or polishing - make sure to view your work from multiple angles as you go.

It may seem obvious but is easily overlooked by novices such as myself. I have never seen anyone mention it before.
If anyone has similar "I wish I had known that sooner" experiences, please feel free to share.

Best regards,
John
Attached Images
   
John Hsiya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 03:30 AM   #2
Will M
Member
 
Will M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: In the wee woods north of Napanee Ontario
Posts: 382
Default

Reminds me of swords I've seen with griner marks or other power tool marks such as swirls. Very difficult to remove such markings. If you're not mechanically inclined and competent, allow another to clean your swords.
Will M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 09:53 AM   #3
Kmaddock
Member
 
Kmaddock's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Ireland
Posts: 470
Default

Welcome to the forum John, good thread Idea.

My Tip would be do nothing with an item for at least 2 weeks, just look at and study, to rush in invites errors.

I then soak in diesel all swords with no organic component for a week and than give them a gentle rub to see what lies underneath,

Looking forward to seeing how this thread develops.

Regards,

Ken
Kmaddock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 10:37 AM   #4
werecow
Member
 
werecow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Leiden, NL
Posts: 301
Default

I'm usually pretty conservative with them but at one point early on, I tried brushing a bit of the deepest black off of a fingerprint on this tulwar. Now I'm left with this ugly sheen whenever the light hits it at a certain angle. It glares at me from a distance as if to say "You did this to me! Behold your shame!".
Attached Images
  
werecow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 07:34 PM   #5
Will M
Member
 
Will M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: In the wee woods north of Napanee Ontario
Posts: 382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by werecow View Post
I'm usually pretty conservative with them but at one point early on, I tried brushing a bit of the deepest black off of a fingerprint on this tulwar. Now I'm left with this ugly sheen whenever the light hits it at a certain angle. It glares at me from a distance as if to say "You did this to me! Behold your shame!".
800-1000 grit water paper can easily remove that shiney spot. Best to do the complete blade under running water with the paper. If you don't like that finish try a wire wheel with 0.005 wire or try an acid. I would use the water paper.
Will M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st January 2023, 08:36 PM   #6
werecow
Member
 
werecow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Leiden, NL
Posts: 301
Default

I'll try that, thanks!
werecow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd February 2023, 07:06 PM   #7
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 807
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M View Post
800-1000 grit water paper can easily remove that shiney spot. Best to do the complete blade under running water with the paper. If you don't like that finish try a wire wheel with 0.005 wire or try an acid. I would use the water paper.
But this work should not be done under running water treated for drinking. Chlorine ions, which may be in such water, will penetrate the corrosion-damaged steel and settle on the walls of the microscopic channels inside. The blade will be beautiful for a year, five years, 10 years -- but then you can be surprised, because rust comming from the "deep inside" could appear on the surface. It is therefore recommended to work in distilled water.
(If you want to unify the appearance of the surface, good results can also be achieved with sandpaper stuck to a soft sponge)
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th May 2023, 01:59 PM   #8
Yvain
Member
 
Yvain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: France
Posts: 142
Default

After some years of trials and errors, here is my personal method for weapons cleaning :

-Remove grease, dirt, and potential varnish with a paper towel soaked with alcohol (90° proof), keeping the blade point down so it doesn't seep under the handle, until the paper towels come back clean. Then dry the blade.

-Remove active rust (red/orange) with 0000 steel wool dunked in fluid neutral oil (almond works well). This should be enough to remove active rust, without damaging patina (won't remove stable black oxydation and won't scratch the metal).

-If there is deep pitting, I use a brass brush, again with a bit of oil. The brass brush will be able to remove active rust in the pitting, without scratching the steel.

-After any active rust is removed, I clean the blade with alcohol again, then apply a very thin coat of neutral fluid oil.

-Leather : if in good question, I just dust it with a cloth and leave it alone ; if dry, I use neatsfoot oil (real one, not an imitation), this is imho the best choice, since neatsfoot oil contains a lot of keratin that will strengthen the leather.

-Wood : again, if in good condition, I just wipe it with a cloth ; if dry, I use flaxseed oil.

-Brass / copper : just a wipe with a cloth to preserve patina, rubbed with an alcohol soaked paper towel if dirty.


I'm personally against the use of power tools (for obvious reason), but also against mineral oil, which is used and recommended a lot by American collectors. Contrarily to natural oils, mineral oil create an impervious barrier on metal and can trap moisture under it, leading to rust development. It is also unsuitable for organic materials, as it won't moisture them properly, leading to drying and cracks. For somewhat similar reasons, I'm against the use of wax, which can again trap moisture under it, and will later age into an ugly and hard to remove gunk.
Yvain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th May 2023, 03:56 PM   #9
Interested Party
Member
 
Interested Party's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Eastern Sierra
Posts: 298
Default

Yvain, What grade of almond oil? Culinary or beauty supply?

What about for the care of horn? Any suggestions out there?
Interested Party is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th May 2023, 08:15 PM   #10
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,880
Default

Sorry, my view is completely different. I don't know what sort of sword John has shown but it looks Indo-Persian. When it's a good sword there can be hidden wootz under the patina, I personally would call it corrosion.
There are people who would pay a lot of money to receive a polished and etched blade. It takes a lot of time and energy to bring a blade back to life. I personally would clean such a blade! Just my opinion!
I also clean in most cases brass, copper and silver, it soon becomes dull again.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th May 2023, 08:16 PM   #11
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,880
Default

But never use power tools, avoid them!
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th May 2023, 08:25 PM   #12
Sajen
Member
 
Sajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany, Dortmund
Posts: 7,880
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
Yvain,
What about for the care of horn? Any suggestions out there?
Horn I rub and clean with linseed oil, it prevents the horn from cracking and it can close cracks and also ivory cracks.
Sajen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th May 2023, 01:00 PM   #13
werecow
Member
 
werecow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Leiden, NL
Posts: 301
Default

I have a yataghan that has a horn hilt that was literally crumbling to dust when I picked it up, with small pieces coming out along the spine covering. Soaking it in neatsfoot oil for a day gave the grip a firm feel again and stopped more dust from running out.
werecow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th May 2023, 01:01 PM   #14
Marius66
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 2
Default

Hello,
Sesam oil is good too
Marius66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th May 2023, 04:45 PM   #15
Yvain
Member
 
Yvain's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: France
Posts: 142
Default

@Interested Party, I don't think grade matters, as long as there isn't any additives in it, I've used sunflower seed oil successfully for cleaning!



Regarding horn, as @werecrow said, I also use neatsfoot oil. The collagen (not keratin, my bad!) will bind with it and strengthen it (it will not fix splits though, of course).
Yvain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st May 2023, 09:06 PM   #16
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Austria
Posts: 1,825
Default Oily oppinion

I do not use anything but mineral oil. All plant-based and animal oils alter their properties quite fast and may even become rancid.

I spoke with very reputed Japanese swords dealers and they also recommend mineral oil as it is much more stable in time.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st May 2023, 09:09 PM   #17
mariusgmioc
Member
 
mariusgmioc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Austria
Posts: 1,825
Default de-greasing

For cleaning/de-greasing a blade, white spirit and occasionally aceton are much more effective than alcohol as they effectively dissolve and remove all types of grease and wax.
mariusgmioc is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cleaning, mistakes, patina, preservation, restoration

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.