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Old 20th June 2018, 01:21 AM   #1
kamals
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Default Question on cleaning and partially restoring a Moroccan Nimcha

Hello, this is my first post. My name is Kamal. I recently acquired an antique Moroccan Nimcha, the mountings are all very solid but it was in frightful state. Completely covered with a thick layer of red rust, and the horn handles had started de-laminating.

I applied a copious quantity of olive oil to the horn handles, and wrapped them in plastic wrap to have them re-hydrate. Then I used a commercial rust remover on the blade with very light scrubbing with green scotch pads, and a brass brush.

I was able to get some corrosion off and can see some of the original metal, it is very heavily pitted, and a good deal of rust remained. So I caked baking soda paste and have let it sit about 24 hours.

Question, I have no idea of the actual age of the sword, I'm guessing it's early 19th century, and it really was in bad shape. Would it be bad for me to try to gently sand down the blade with high grit sandpaper (1000 or 2000) not to remove all of the patina, but just to give it a bit more of a polish and reduce some of the pitting, and to sand or plane down some of the horn handle?

I might have taken pics .. if so I can upload them. I'd have to ransack my phone a bit.

Thanks in advance !
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Old 21st June 2018, 02:21 AM   #2
shayde78
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Welcome, Kamal!
I think you'll get some helpful responses if you post pictures. There are a lot of restoration experts here.
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Old 21st June 2018, 04:58 AM   #3
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Hi Kamal,
Welcome to the Forum.
As has been said already, pics would be of help.
For rust removal you could also try soaking the blade in either WHITE vinegar or Pineapple juice. Either will work but I have found white vinegar to be to quickest, BUT you still need to be patient and give the process time.
Stu
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Old 21st June 2018, 07:02 AM   #4
kai
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Hello Kamal,

Quote:
I was able to get some corrosion off and can see some of the original metal, it is very heavily pitted, and a good deal of rust remained. So I caked baking soda paste and have let it sit about 24 hours.

Question, I have no idea of the actual age of the sword, I'm guessing it's early 19th century, and it really was in bad shape. Would it be bad for me to try to gently sand down the blade with high grit sandpaper (1000 or 2000) not to remove all of the patina, but just to give it a bit more of a polish and reduce some of the pitting, and to sand or plane down some of the horn handle

I second the request for pics - without them any advice is mere guessing!

The first step should always be to evaluate if restoration really makes sense: Full cleaning of a heavily pitted blade may result in major loss of material and leave just a sponge-like matrix of extant metal. In some cases it may be preferable to leave it in a relic state and only try to stabilize to avoid further deterioration.

Since you already went ahead with partial de-rusting, there is little reason not to try to grind the blade, even with coarser grades of sandpaper. Any work with sandpaper will (partially or fully) remove patina and result in "white" metal while the pitted areas won't be affected; if you intend to keep the patinated surface, steel wool will be preferable (mainly 0000, be careful when using coarser grades; patience and lots of elbow grease needed, too); spots with stubborn rust may need dedicated treatment.

If you soak the blade in vinegar, fruit juice, or commercial rust removers, you'll also remove the rust from the pitted areas resulting in a surface with lots of "craters" - this can look pretty horrible and should be very carefully evaluated before starting such an approach: It takes quite a lot of effort to completely remove the rust - may help long-term preservation (of the remaining metal) though.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 21st June 2018, 12:16 PM   #5
kamals
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Thank you everyone for the replies. These are a few pictures of the blade and the handle. The shiny stuff on the handle is oil. I decided to apply olive oil and wrap it to let it soak in.
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Old 21st June 2018, 05:11 PM   #6
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It appears that my photos did not make it through. Please excuse me, I am a new member of this wonderful community :-)
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Old 21st June 2018, 09:51 PM   #7
Fernando K
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http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23934

Hello

Here is a link on the subject

Affectionately
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Old 22nd June 2018, 01:49 AM   #8
Rick
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Smile Welcome

And this may be helpful with your picture posting problems.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13631
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Old 22nd June 2018, 08:45 AM   #9
kronckew
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I just posted my newly arrived nicha with an enthusiasticly cleaned blade HERE the blade appears to have been sanded with very fine sandpaper on a flat block, and polished. The pits have their black oxide in them...
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Old 26th June 2018, 12:45 AM   #10
kamals
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Rick, Fernando, thanks.
kronckew, it's a beauty. A pity about the aggressive sanding. I almost caught myself doing the same thing! I started a bit of sanding with 2000 grit paper then stopped myself before I did any real damage. I just got a bottle or Renaissance De- Corrosion fluid, it was expensive but so far seems to be helping. Last week, before that I tried Metal Rescue Rust Remover Bath brand, painting it liberally on the blade and guard then saran wrapping it all for 48 hours. Then I took a brash brush to it. It helped some.

These are all from June 15th
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Old 26th June 2018, 12:51 AM   #11
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These are from tonight. The rust is somewhat gone from the guard, though there is deep black pitting.

In the previous photos the glossy stuff on the handle was oil. Unfortunately it deeply darkened the horn. Which is, itself, pretty badly de- aminated (I'll try to get a good close-up picture of the handle).

Cheers everyone, thanks !
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Old 26th June 2018, 01:01 AM   #12
kamals
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Hello Kai, thank you so much for the comment and advice.
I started trying to grind the blade with 1000 grit and very quickly got cold feet. I was afraid that, well, I didn't really know what I could be getting myself into.

The value of the blade is low, and it's already very damaged so I might cautiously try the 0000 steel wool advice. I do want to bring out some of it's beauty without overly removing much patina. It was clearly not taken care of for 100 or 200 years, however. The blade is somewhat bent (I'd like to try to carefully bend it back eventually) and the horn handle is in frightful shape. So maybe it wouldn't hurt if I was a bit more aggressive on the polish.

The more that I think of it, the more I like the steel wool idea. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
Since you already went ahead with partial de-rusting, there is little reason not to try to grind the blade, even with coarser grades of sandpaper. Any work with sandpaper will (partially or fully) remove patina and result in "white" metal while the pitted areas won't be affected; if you intend to keep the patinated surface, steel wool will be preferable (mainly 0000, be careful when using coarser grades; patience and lots of elbow grease needed, too); spots with stubborn rust may need dedicated treatment...
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Old 27th June 2018, 11:53 AM   #13
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An update - I've tried the Renaissance de-corrosion fluid, sparingly applied with a paintbruch, and then brass brush scrubbed after a few minutes. and then repeated, in 2 inches portions.

It's working remarkably well in a short period of time, I only gave it a go for a bout an hour then wiped the rest and oiled it. There is bare metal showing but large portions of black pitted metal. It looks like some sort of evil fantasy blade now

I think I'll try letting the Renaissance de-corrosion blue fluid sit on longer. It evaporates quickly so maybe adding another later with a paint brush would help, and giving it 10 minutes to work.. I'll try again in a day or two and post pictures.
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