Good picture of a run of the mill job done on many a scabbard. It shows the faint scratching over the width of the scabbard, the file marks where the brazing was cleaned up and the way those were polished out to a degree. Scratches over scratches. I'd say polishing stopped here at 180 grid, maybe 240? The file marks will be visible at the sides of the scabbard body, in that spot, at the left and right sides, too. The polishing wheel was too large to get in there. If you follow my instructions and start where the file marks are now, at the left side and work your way, just like they did, all around, so you wind up at the right side file marks and do this with assorted grids, you will be able to have a Polish de Luxe on your drag. I also see where, at the left side where the rust spot sits, some material was removed from the thickness. The polisher started here and did not keep his tool flat, hence the ,, dent ''. So. There is a lot to learn about the way things were done just by looking at stuff. Thanks for posting this picture. It tells us the story.
Refurbish Project: Belgian Model 1802 Montmorency Cavalry Saber / Dutch Model 1814 No. 3 Cavalry Saber
My apologies for this wall of text. Hopefully there will be future episodes that will feature less exposition and more action.
This is the first installment of my amateur attempts to refurbish my Belgian m1802/Dutch m1814. I do not know how many of these entries I will get to make, or how long the project will take. So, you know, this show might get cancelled on a cliffhanger.
As I write this, the entire world seems to have slipped into a committed persistent madness. Among the numerous consequences, I have found myself largely home bound for long stretches of time.
While collecting, handling, inspecting, and learning about swords is a fun hobby for me, it has not really been a serious pursuit. However, as I have lately spent more quality time with my swords, and admiring the swords and studying the information other enthusiasts kindly post to this and other internet sites, I have come to have a deeper desire to become a bit more “hands on” with the hobby.
One way to do that is to start refurbishing my 19th Century antiques. I had not really considered doing this before because of the time commitment required and the fear of damaging the small bits of history currently residing in my weapons locker. Once all that down-time had been forced upon me, only my reluctance was left to protect my wards.
SBG member Uhlan has documented a number of fantastic historical sabers in his collection. In doing so, he frequently included invaluable information about the history surrounding them, contextual military specifications, and contemporaneous models, subtle design variations, and distinguishing characteristics. Just a fantastic resource to peruse.
Anyway, he also has contributed a number of how-to articles to the forum, including the following boss loot-drop:
Given my current state of virtual incarceration, Uhlan’s article emboldened me to go gather some supplies, and commit to cleaning a saber. Now please understand, I have no illusions that I can achieve as a neophyte the stunning results he is able to consistently deliver. His work is widely recognized as outstanding.
It's not my intent to “restore” my project saber. I just want to clean it up so that its condition is closer to its youthful prime, working through the hardships of military life.
I recently acquired this saber, and shared a few thoughts toward the bottom of this wordy thread:
I chose this saber as my project sword for a few reasons. First, it is neither particularly historically significant nor tremendously expensive. So I can be a bit more bold in facing what is certain to be a number of regretful mistakes in my workmanship.
Second, it is in pretty decent shape as far as its structure and overall condition, but its finish is significantly marred by a challenging service life followed by nearly two centuries of mild neglect. So a good cleaning will restore some dignity, help preserve the sword rather than the neglect, and reveal some of its personal history as preserved in its partially healed scars. If, you know, I don't mess it up.
Third, and perhaps most important, it’s just a beautiful sword with sultry meaningful curves, elegant proportions, and a flirtatious but sophisticated hilt. It deserves the attention and commitment.
I’m afraid that, after all that prose, I have only a small amount of progress to share.
My “work bench” is the dining room table. My actual workbench is dedicated to one of my more serious hobbies (race car), and is not available for this project. So contrary to Uhlan’s good advice, I’m just working on the dining table, manipulating the work with my hands.
I started out with Mothers Metal Polish which I already had on hand. It is really good stuff, but was hilariously insufficient to cut the black patina on the blade, or even the stains in the brass hilt.
Then I went for super fine sandpaper - 800 grit or so. This step was a symptom of me grappling with my fear of doing damage. Yeah, given another couple of centuries and a truckload of 800 grit, I may have made some actual progress on the blade. It was marginally successful in removing some of the stains in the guard, though.
Naturally, I will polish the brass back up later.
These photos were not taken with the intent to make before/after pics, so it takes a bit of mental gymnastics to see what I'm talking about. I'll try to take better photos next time.
Anyway, getting this far took three sessions of about two hours each. No power tools, of course. Just basically scrubbing with sandpaper. I did manage to learn that the joins and muscles in my fingers, hands, arms, shoulders, and lower back are not nearly as resilient as they were in my youth. Not nearly as much stamina, either. I ache.
My failures finally convinced me to follow Uhlan’s advice regarding materials and procedures. I bought some sandpaper, from 60 grit on up. I also picked up some new masking tape.
Then I got back to work. I did a bit more work on the hilt and a bit on the spine of the blade, but not really enough to show up in photos. Though Uhlan recommended starting in the deepest part of the fullers, I started on the foible. This was not out of defiance or whatever. The roughest part of the blade was the foible, and I really wanted to start seeing some results.
I didn’t take “before” pictures, but I have an unboxing pic of the foible:
Not a great shot, I know.
This is where the foible is now:
This was the result of two sessions of maybe two hours each. Progress started coming faster as I practiced. However, finishing the whole sword is going to take … forever or so.
I have decided to stop there with the low grit work on the foible, even though there are still some deeper pits showing flecks of black patina. I would just have to remove too much steel to get it smoothed out. And the steel and patina are hard.
This is about as far as I have gotten. I tried to be very careful at the fuller termination. While I'm pretty sure I didn't damage it, this area took a lot of time, and produced kinda mediocre results. I'll probably work on this area a bit more.
My intent is to polish it all higher/smoother than it is currently. However, judging from the rest of the saber, it looks like the original polish was maybe a 220 grit at the highest.
In this photo, the poor lighting makes it look like there are dark streaks in the steel. They are just shadows in the low polish. In person, it looks like a satin finish. I’ll at least polish that out. Probably.
Okay, that’s it. That’s all I have for now. If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this.
Pellius, good work. But before you take it any further, allow me to make some remarks.
Dinner table: Work with what you got, no problem with that. The lady of the house may differ here, as you are bound to sand through the nice finish on the top. Also, you took on the difficult par of the blade. Tips are tricky. That's is way I strongly recommend you getting a wood plank of 100 cm long, about 10 cm wide and 1.8 to 2.4 mm thick. This plank will service two objectives: 1. You can now place the sabre on the plank and with the help of another smaller piece of wood , so as to not destroy the blade, clamp it down. Not to tight, but just so that you have both hands free and the sabre cannot move around. Really, think about this as it may save you much agony, sweat and cursing. Maybe even place that plank on some stable stuff to lift it even higher from the table top. I would like to suggest you play around here a bit. Piece of carton, 6 bricks in three rows of two high, plank, sabre, clamp? 2. In clamping it down, you will be able to lay the blade just so. Like with this tip work, I found that being able to have the tips of the fingers of the sanding hand to go slightly under the blade, as a guide, so one gets even and straight strokes, is very helpful. So, with this tip work, I would start with the sabre hilt to the left and the spine of the blade up and with just enough overhang of the (spine) tip section to be able to get your finger tips under there and just slide over the edge to control your sanding.
If you look at my sanding table, you'll see that even though my bench is 90 cm high, I lifted up the working surface to 100 cm. Saves a lot of lower back pain.
Another thing: It is not the point of this work to sand out all pitting, to return the blade to new. If you go on with this blade you'll discover that much of the smaller nasties disappear under the polish. So, do not use 60 grid to remove all of the pitting. You'll find that what is left of them gradually disappears under the polish. That is why I have a piece of red 3M mat at hand to do a quick polish of a small area, in your case right over the 60 grid, to see what will show up or what will happen when the polish is applied. You are searching for a result you can live with. I hope you can follow my rambling. It is early morning here and the coffee level is still not where it should be. If you have any questions you know where to go. Oh! Dang! With the 60 grid and all other grids: stay away from the edge of the fullers end. You cut in that ridge there and you'll almost never get it out. This part needs special care and that is why I recommended to start with the fuller. I hope I do not p!ss you off. What you took on is not a kidding matter. Kudo's to you and may your arms grow strong like Popeye's!
What I think is important, is that the blades of old were polished just so. By this I mean that by looking at these old blades up close for about 10 years now, I discovered that there were file marks, scratches of the grinding, in short, all kinds of stuff under the areas where the old polish was still intact. Sure, they were gleaming and shiny, but there was still a lot of ,,scars'' of the grinding under that shiny surface. Officers blades got often even less attention.... Something to mull over when you polish and clean this blade. The secret of a good polish is not to get an impeccable artifact like a Katana. But to get to a point were, like the polisher and grinder before you, you can say ,, I can live with this''. I will follow this thread with me nose to the ground as it were, if you do not mind. Coffee!!!
Uhlan - thank you very kindly for the encouragement and advice! I appreciate you taking the time to share them.
It’s a work morning here in Florida at the moment, so I don’t have time to follow up your remarks with the attention they deserve. I’ll give a more detailed response later, but again, constructive input and advice is warmly invited and very greatly appreciated.
Uhlan - I studied your work bench setup. It is very nice, with some clever innovations. I would very much like to incorporate some of your ideas into my work space. At the moment, my workshop (the garage) is focused on other projects. Once I get better organized, I may move the work out there. I had imagined I might put a work space and bench in an extra bedroom, but that room is now a “distance learning” school area.
I’ll have to stick to the dining table for a while. It’s a large and heavy table; quite sturdy. I put down a large towel to protect the finish and catch any ick. I wash the towel after each session.
I also use oil during all sanding. It catches the dust, and makes clean up really easy. I’ve been using drug store mineral oil. It has no smell, and is water based, so if any spills, it won’t permanently mark anything. (An oil stain on the table really would vex the wifey.
I use a thick roll of masking tape on its side as an elevation platform for the blade, with the hilt resting on the towel on the table. This gets the sanding portion off the tabletop. A lightly oiled paper towel between the tape roll and blade catches most of the sanded dust, which stays put thanks to the mineral oil on the blade.
Surprisingly, the sword stays put pretty well with this setup, but I do still need to hold the blade with my left hand while I sand with my right. I use a hand towel to hold the blade.
Clamps would be way better, but I’m not about to put clamps on the dinner table. Plus I have to put away the project and clean up after every session. Not ideal, but it’s not onerous.
Well it seems the set up you have right now works well enough. The tip section you did looks just fine. If I may I'd like to give you a tip: go over the 60 grid with a small piece of red 3M sanding mat. Just go over this part gently. In good light this will tell you what you will get if you should polish right over the 60. Sanding scars will show up. Now you know where the trouble spots are and also whether it is possible to jump the 80 grid stage and continue with say 120 or even 180. Another thing: cut a strip of say 120 grid of 1.5 cm wide and abot 10 to 15 cm long. hold one strip end in your left hand and the othe with your right. Now pull the strip tight and ove a sharp edge. Not the dinner table! What you get is a curled strip, easy to roll up and without the cracks that will dig into the steel. Smooth round roll. If you let slip the roll a bit, it will be soft and deform to the profile of the part you're sanding. A little roll like that is quite easy to handle and to point where you want it to go. Remember to make even and long (10cm at least) strokes and never to sand in one spot. This last will give dents that will show up during the last stages of the polish. Great way too to see whether there are hidden hammer marks on a blade. Those deeper spots will show up light grey against an opaque whiteish background. Don't try to sand them out. They are part of the story. As are file marks and the like. I leave those be on my sabres, but you might have other ideas. For now I have to say you show to have great guts just to jump in and do a job not many people would like to take on. Kudos!
Uhlan - thanks again For the advice and encouragement. This is my first project of this kind, and it’s a little intimidating.
This is my humble workspace. It’s simple and very inexpensive. I’m hoping I’ll be able to improve on it incrementally over time.
I saw your sandpaper roll tip in your original article. I tried several techniques, and can solidly affirm that the sandpaper roll is an excellent innovation. It is now my go-to method. Especially on the lower grits with thicker paper.
To be honest, I’m still getting a feel for how to do this kind of project. I’m also learning how to do the actual work, and how to temper my expectations. My overall strategy for completing the project is still evolving as I attempt to balance acceptable results with a realistic completion horizon.
At the moment, I’m kinda leaning toward a double-cleaning approach. In other words, I’ll complete the entire sword to a “decent” standard, and keep my mind open to the possibility that, to achieve the results I really want, I will have to go back and do the whole thing again.
While that will necessarily require a ton of additional work, it will also provide a reasonable pausing point in the foreseeable future. It will also give me a lot of much needed experience doing this kind of thing, and establish a good knowledge base for dealing with every part of the sword. Perhaps most importantly, it will free me to accept relatively minor imperfections in the short term so that I can move the overall project forward in a meaningful way.
Fuller Termination, Before Cleaning
This evening’s efforts were focussed on cleaning up the fuller termination.
This is a tricky part of the project that would probably really benefit from me having more than just a few hours of experience. It is a very visible part of the saber, with a complex geometry that is expected to maintain its sharp definition with crisp transitions. The transition ridge from fuller to foible would be suuuuuper easy to gouge with sandpaper, which would be glaringly obvious from any angle in any light, and would be nigh impossible to fix.
For this part, I eschewed the 60 grit for 80, and stayed well away from the transition ridges. The plan was to use much higher grit around the critical areas so that any slip-ups would be minor at worst. With the 80 grit, I took extra care to stop fairly often to ensure I was leaving a smooth overall finish with no wavering undulations. Slow work, but it gave me a chance to really appreciate the saber from every angle and in great detail. It was quite rewarding, actually.
Then I moved on to 150 grit to smooth things out a bit, but still stayed away from the actual transitions. For working around them, I went with 220 grit, and used pretty light pressure. Instead of the “roll up eraser” technique that is so awesome for most applications, here I went with 1”x1” squares of sandpaper that I could more precisely control with my fingertips.
After a few hours, the worst of the nastiness was cleared, but I had to accept that some patination would get to stay for a while.
Before I start working farther up the middle of the blade, I intend to go over the areas already done with a much higher grit to polish it up. I want to get a feel for how it will look at the end of the first run.
Foible, After Cleaning
Fuller Termination Closeup, Before Cleaning
As you can see in this photo, the fuller ridge was not pristine to begin with. There are a lot of scratches, and the termination was a bit washed out already. Not terrible, though, and I didn't want to make it any worse. The historical finish seems to have been a low satin at best. The cutting edge (top of photo) had some pitting. The spine transition had more pitting and some very tenacious patination. This was a tough area to address because it needed a lot of work in a small space bordered on both sides by prominent but delicate ridges.
Fuller Termination, After Cleaning
Overall, I think it came out pretty well, with all the geometric features preserved. On close inspection, however, it is far from perfect.
Fuller Termination, After Cleaning
The cutting edge (top of photo) came pretty clean. This took a lot of time with higher grit paper. As seen on the photo, a few small pits persist.
Fuller Termination, After Cleaning
The spine transition (bottom of photo) was quite tedious. While it isn't perfect, I rather like the way this part came out.
Middle, Before Cleaning
While not located in such a delicate spot, this little family of pits was right in the visual center of the fuller. They were kinda deep. The challenge here was to resist the temptation to really scour the spot. That would've left an ugly crater, and risked washing out the upper and lower fuller ridges. Contrary to my natural inclinations, I kept with the methodical approach.
Middle, After Cleaning
The spots are still there, but not quite as loud. Probably more importantly, the fuller channel is still uniform.
Middle, Before Cleaning
This was about where progress stopped tonight. While it's tempting to become fixated on scouring out the black glass at the bottom of the pits, there is also a surface patina that could use a good evicting. Fortunately, this particular sword is not too egregious with either.
Middle, After Cleaning
Didn't quite make it as far as the surface patina this time. The angle of the light here really shows off the unresolved pitting.
Done for the Day
This is where I was at quittin' time. This pic shows the cleaned and uncleaned contrast pretty well. Overall, I'm happy with the results so far. Ultimately, though, I would like the blade to look better upon close inspection. Ah well, a journey of a bunch of steps starts with a few early ones. Or something like that.
The rest of this week is shaping up to be kinda busy, so I'm not sure when I'll have more to share. Shouldn't be too long, though.
That is one of a hell of a good job. You'll sure get the hang for it.
The fuller termination is indeed a very tricky part to do. May I suggest the following: When I do this job I learned it is wise to go from high to low. Never from the bottom of the fuller up to the higher ridge. I use a small piece of paper to do this that fits under my ring finger. Lay the piece of paper where you want it, lick your finger, place on paper (now your finger will not slip) and lay your index finger on top of the ring finger to keep up and regulate the pressure. The small surface of the ringfinger will make the sanding fit into the narrow part of the fuller end. But look out. Even done so, there can be scratches. These could be removed by making a slender roll of paper over a tooth pick. This will keep the paper stiff so you can do very detailed work. You can point this sanding stick at the smallest of targets. To finish the ridge and bring the fuller end back to form I have this small wood block (1.5 x 1.5 x 5 cm) and wrap it tightly with a strip of 5 cm wide sand paper of the high grades, so 400 and later 600. The 400 will do some very fine grinding and the 600 will give it the final tough. This I do after the fuller is polished up and the work there is done and I start to polish the tip section. If you go from the tip section and a bit over the ridge at the fuller end you'll get a nice defined edge if you follow the profile of the tip section that goes from low at th sides to high in the middle. The tip is fatter there. Keep the pressure down and mostly at the end of the little block. Do not grab it in the middle but at one end so the other end will not dive into the fuller. I use the little block for the blade edge too. With it you can follow the contour of the tip section, the blade edge which is often curved and the blade spine which is often flat. I hope it is clear this has to be done in the length of the blade, tip section included. The block will also show where there are flat spots where you went too far or stayed too long. The flats will look light grey against a white background.
The point where you let things be you have to determine your self. In the end there will always some rubbish left here and there. That will give the blade character and status as antique. With a good polish those small spots do not matter much anymore. Before the polish they dominated the general view and greatly influenced the general perseption in a negative way. After the polish they are small isolated spots that do not disfigure the blade anymore and add to the antique feel in a more positive way. This is what my learning curve tells me at the moment. I am totally okay with that.
No, you do things much better then I expected. And what is very important, you seem to be a patient person. Not one of those that think to do such a job in one afternoon when they're bored, no problem. Keep up the good work and the wife happy. Eat lots of protein to keep those arm muscles happy too. Fire up the BB Madge!
Today’s results don’t show up particularly well in photos, but to the eye the blade looks quite a bit cleaner. All the photos here are after I finished work today.
I spent this evening’s session going over the area already worked. Uhlan suggested using a wooden toothpick wrapped in fine sandpaper to dig out some of the more persistent pits that were near sensitive areas of the blade - transition ridges and the area around the fuller termination.
A decent shot of the foible and fuller termination. (I'm not sure why my iPhone camera insisted on changing the white balance of the pics.)
It turns out I don’t have any toothpicks in the house, but out in the shop I had a handful of (unused) wooden coffee stirring sticks that I held on to “for someday, just in case.” That day finally came! Vindication.
Anyway, I went over each pit individually with 220 and then 400 grit wrapped around the stick. This gave a lot of leverage and control, and a good handle on what would otherwise be tiny bits of sandpaper.
Then I did a moderate once over on everything with 400 grit to smooth out the finish.
Again based on Uhlan’s advice, I did a quick high polish. This was not to raise the final polish so much as to even things up and get an idea how the blade would look if it were given a final polish. I used good old Mother’s Mag polish for this. Great stuff.
Reverse angle of the fuller transition. The spine side transition was challenging, but I like the way it turned out.
As the photos show, there are still a number of flecks of black patina tenaciously clinging to the blade. They aren’t as obvious to the eye as they are to the camera, and I am leaning toward accepting this level of clean, at least for this run.
Fuller transition. I'm really getting to know every detail of this sword.
I spent a little more time here at the beginning of the project because I’m still getting an idea how much effort and time is required for various levels of results. As my target goal becomes more specific and well defined, my expectation for the coming body of work grows clearer.
Also, of course, I’m basically doing this for fun. So, more is okay so long as I don’t leave the project half finished or something.
Though not as delicate as the spine side transition, the blade side took more sheer work to even out.
I have also learned that, at present, about 90 minutes of actual work every other day or so is about optimal for me. After that, returns start to diminish a bit. My body seems to respond better that way, too.
I’ll admit it is easy to go for hours while I’m busy at it, though. As I gain experience and practice, the work itself sorta becomes transparent, and the future blade underneath starts to reveal itself. By being focused on the tedium of the work, all the other stuff on my mind gets put to rest for a while. It is quite meditative in that way.
This is where the old family of middle-of-the-fuller pits used to live. Now they are almost invisible if you don't know to look for them.
This divot, on the other hand, may get to stay forever.
The soft edge of the current work field.
This area is up next.
So that’s it for now. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
For today's work session, I focused on the middle of the blade. It went a lot faster than the foible or the fuller termination area; probably a combination of having gained a bit of practice, and the area having a very simple geometry. All the ridges here run parallel to the sanding/polishing action.
I have been using Uhlan's sandpaper roll technique a lot. It is very useful for a number of reasons. it can be wrapped tightly or loosely, giving a lot of precise control over the geometry of the paper's cutting surface. It keeps the work area visible. It wastes very little sandpaper. It also provides a secure way to grip the sandpaper and use it with precision. The abrasive is on the outside of the roll, which ensures a sure grip even when using a good amount of oil.
I discovered a minor innovation that may be worth mentioning. Rather than tearing off the used paper as it becomes caked with steel and no longer cuts, I just unroll it a bit between my thumb and fingers while still sanding, letting the excess curl around my thumb. In this way, I can continually keep a good cutting face against the steel without even pausing. When I unroll it to roll it up from the other end (to expose the unused "core"), the roll is full size again, and can again be gradually unwound, since it still has the entire tail of used paper attached.
In woking the middle, I ran my whole series of cleaning grits, 60, 80, 150, 220, and 400.
Once the entire blade is cleaned on both sides, I plan to go back over both sides with a high grit polish followed by Mothers.
This evening, I paused after the 150 grit stage to take a few photos and rest my fingers.
It was at this stage that I had to make a strategic decision. There were a few deeper pits that were not likely to come out without a serious, geometry-wrecking scouring. I was okay with leaving the remnants of these imperfections. However, to address them in any meaningful way, I would also have to remove what looked like historical sharpening marks. The black patina ran deeper than those marks, as it had fortified itself within the deeper gouges of the historical rough polish.
In amongst the patina and pits, the diagonal marks on the cutting edge (top) look to me like sharpening marks
I decided to remove the patina, and loose the sharpening marks. This was the first time I had destroyed evidence of any historical attributes other than the patina of neglect.
In moving up to the 220 and 400 grits, I tried to ensure that the border between this area and the prior sessions was blended well, and that there was a soft edge leading into the next area - the forte.
The deep pit in the center of the fuller is still there, though not quite as prominent. The sharpening marks are..history (sad)
My current plan is to next clean the forte up to the fuller termination, then spend another session on just the ricasso. I want to preserve the nicely visible makers mark, and keep all the transitions crisp. I previously measured a (very) faint counter polish that ran two inches down the blade. I'll wait to counter polish it until after both sides of the blade are cleaned.
That's all I have for now. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
About that pit: Yes, there is always one that doesn't want to play ball. :) In my experience there is often one smack in the middle of the foible or just on the ridge of the fuller end. Maddening. Rest assured. The little creep will disappear under the high polish. I mean, it will still be there but it will not be prominent.
About the roll: I use this technique of rolling back also. It works very well and indeed saves a lot of paper which used to be cheap, but I see prices slowly going up over here. To avoid sharp creases in the rolled up paper I do as my mother did when she made a present and pulled ribbon over the sharp edge of the table to make it curl nicely. Do the same with the strip of paper and get a nice smooth roll without cracks.
About the file marks: Sometimes they have to go. Sometimes they don't. Depends on the rest of what is going on. I go soft on the edge and not with a roll. The edge often is rounded, not flat. So the get good contact and avoid the border line edge - fuller during the first stages of cleaning up I use a small piece of paper. Long enough to hold between thumb and finger with the rest of the fingers curled under and against the edge. Even if the cutting edge is sharp one can steer the paper to avoid the border line. In a sort of scouting action to see what is waiting I use a small piece of red 3M mat in the same way as described above. Now you know where the problems lay or how thick the patina - dirt layer is. Sometimes it is possible to do the edge with 240 or even just the 3M mat. To get the, often wavy, border line straight I wait until the rest of the blade is done in 400, wrap a strip of 400 around my little block and so tidy up said border line with fingers again against the cutting side of the edge to get a very straight line. It is very much possible to straighten lines with even 600 if you wait to the last minute to do them. Consider optics: the last polished part of a surface will reflect the light just slightly more than the rest.
About stamps, engravings and working against the ricasso: Here my other block comes in. To avoid dulling and rounding the edges of a stamp I first work around the with paper rolled on a round wood sate stick so you can poke it anywhere in a controlled way. I do the part of the ricasso that goes up from the fuller that way too. When everything is cleaned up and scratches are dealed with I go over the stamps/engravings with this little block:
It will never go deep as it can only touch the surface. Stamps and engravings will come out sharp. Never smeared. Use 240 or 400 and for a final polish of engravings wrap it with a piece of cloth and use some good silver polish. Sometimes I use it even for fuller work. As it is oval it is easy to use in any hollow. Just turn it a bit to get best/more contact.
Great work Pellius. This sabre is going to be beautiful again.
This lockdown thing is making me work my poor head off. Take a look in the Uhlanistanian Hospital......
Uhlan - thank you for the tips and encouragement. Both are very much appreciated.
I’m must say, the Uhlanistanian Hospital looks like it has an innovative treatment regimen. Those are very beautiful swords.
I’m still pretty new to the sword hobby, so I’m not familiar with the epeé type swords at all. I’m still trying to get better acquainted with the mainland Euro cavalry, infantry, and artillery sabers. Maybe a constabulary saber here and there.
I saw your recent very impressive article about your French epeés, but I haven’t had time to really read it. I’m looking forward to studying it, which often entails regular stops to look stuff up on the internet. Political and military history, terminology, foreign languages, heck, even plain old maps and geography. Great stuff!
Also, is that an Italian model 1833 there? Oh, man. The write up on that will be epic!
No. It's just a Hussar Officers sabre of the generic type dealers like to label ,, Continental '' because they do not know either. It could be French and from the Regiment Bercheny dated about 1779. The scabbard and pommel cap point in that direction, but the evidence is inconclusive and based on one article on Passion Militaria with a rather small and grainy picture. It really looks like Solingen produced these ,,Continental"" Hussar sabres by the cart load. The others are some of my spadroons, the first load, with the polished blades taped off to protect them from harm while I clean the hilts. I must advise you do the same before you turn the freshly polished blade over to work on the other side. Grains of sand paper and paper/metal dust can harm and scar the polish, even if you are careful. I use a broad paper tape used in house painting and the like. I tape, roll the blade over and with a hobby knife cut off excess, so the paper tape will not interfere with the work. I wish I had an Italian M1833 but thus far I haven't found one good enough. There's always something the matter with the ones I see and the prices for those are ridiculous. If I find the right one, or better, the right one finds me, my M1829 Cavalry found me too, I promise to do an ,,epic'' review.
I saw your article regarding, among other things, your Italian m1834. Like so many things, I have not yet had time to really study it, but it was a nice overview even at a cursory reading.
It sounds like you may have found an 1829 cav? Very exciting.
I have an 1833 art’y. The blade is pretty good, really, but the hilt is kinda ugly with significant pitting and black patination. I couldn’t afford a more minty example.
It is solid, though, with no structural issues that I know of. Same with the scabbard - some patina and pitting, but no dents or dings. I suppose I would prefer the hilt take the neglect if I had to choose - it has a lot more meat to it than the blade.
If this 1802/1814 project goes well, I may take on the 1833 next. We shall see.
I saw your advice to tape the blade in your earlier article, and fully intend to do so. I bought a fresh roll of masking tape for just that purpose. 🙂
Masking tape. You Anglese have the most to the point words for stuff. ,,Dipstick'' is another one I like very much. Boss Hog called the dimwit Sheriff so. Great. One word to include all the bile in the Universe. We germanic oriented must make do with strings of lots of words to try to express the same.
I see that you are contemplating the use of Mothers? And you let slip that you are an Academic?
Prepare for a lecture then. I tend to lecture whether I want or not. Its me and I will not change. If certan people do not like that, then that is not my problem. You are an Academic so you are used to being lectured all the time. It's what you do.
Here goes: If one looks at spots remaining of the old polish on troopers blades it becomes clear that this polish, although quite glossy at times, was done right over any and all marks left from the grinder, the forge, the files and so on. That is what I picked up by looking at a lot of trooper blades. The Officers were polished up to a little better grade but again, even the blue and gild were often done right over stuff we moderns like to polish out. Somehow we are trained to admire the spotless katana/replica look. Old western blades are very far away from those. There was no time for the fancy stuff. Polished to a stage were the client (Army Board) would accept the lot. That was all. The old polish even shows signes of the polishing wheel. Removing stains removes much of what I call the old skin, but at the samre time adds another skin of sanding scratches and so on that can come close to the old skin under the old polish. This skin makes the antique look antique and that is why I do not even try to remove all traces of my work or that of my forebears. Right now I am working on a Spadroon. Officers stuff and on the ones I did already where spots of a very high polish indeed, on a blade so full of left over grind and wheel marks like you do not want to know. And to top this up, in good Solingen tradition the Officer here was fobbed off with a second like many of his buddies I might add. Like many Officers blades it shows quite a few cracks from steel dilamination. Nobody cared at the time, so why should we? Maybe the Officer got a discount. What I am getting at is this: doing a good burnish with coarse steel wool will be over the top already, but it sure does look nice and brings the blade together and gives a solid quite dark look close to the look of old. Scratches remain but sink back into the background as are all other marks and stains. This is quite good for Officers blades. Trooper got blades with a polish that looks more like they stopped at a level of our 240 and then went over the blade with red 3M and then sometimes burnished it a bit. Done. Going over any blade with Mothers will destroy the antique look and turn it into a Walmart Marto is what I see. Also it leaves a blue tinge on the blade, a layer of I think silicon or some such. Bug ugly and the gloss you get is like chrome over plastic. Blach! On the other hand Mothers enhances the burnishing effect too. So, this morning I did this: I put a little (really small amount) of Mothers on a tod and some good oil (not WD 40) on the blade. Polished with this mix. Result was a good burnish without the plastic look, but still too glossy. Little scratches were gone and some larger ones and remains of stains and old skin looked just right and silvery like it should. But as I said, too glossy, even for an Officers blade. Cleaned the blade very well and again put some oil on it and went over it with 0000 steel wool. Presto! Old look restored, gloss dimmed to what it should be, nice deep dark burnished blade and no sign of the blue silicon layer. In short: Please do not use Mothers at all and stop the polish at the steel wool (burnish) level (this is already more then the poor blade originally had), or use Mothers and try to do the above to get rid of the overly polished plastic Marto look you will wind up with after Mothers did its work. Please think about this. Or not. Your blade after all.
Uhlan - haha. Yeah, "dipstick" is quite a useful term of derision. It not only defines a person as a necessary but non-dynamic and one dimensional part of a system, it also implies they are basically a sycophant whose only meaningful attribute is temporarily borrowed from the very bowels of that system during the short time between being removed from, and then being reinserted into, that place.
While I associate with a number of academics, they wouldn't really consider me to belong to their ranks. I'm more of an advanced technician with an historically well defended territory of intellectual application. My work really only gets published if peers think I messed up. Or if it make the news. And yes, I get lectured. A lot.
I will heed your advice regarding Mothers polish, and I appreciate the insight. That is the sort of info that only comes with well informed long experience. Google searches seem to be useless for that kind of thing. Thank you for the information.
At this stage of the project, I'm only going up to 400 grit, then moving up to a new area of the blade. I had noticed that the historical polish seemed to be lower than even 400 grit. The crevices of that historical low polish seem to breed and entrench black patina, by the way. Some stains only seem to respond to higher grits. It's as if I have to flatten the steel around various stains and pits to get them to respond to abrasives; just to get the surface clean (not "repaired").
The Mothers helped me better visualize how the blade will look in the end, showing ridges, undulations, imperfections, and the like. Taking your advice, I'll go easy on the Mothers, and go over it all with 0000 steel wool before I call it "finished."
Incidentally, I've found that cleaning the blade with mineral oil removes much if not all of the Mothers waxy residue. Between that and the steel wool, I hope to get a realistic, reasonably historical finish. I really want to preserve the original color of the steel, too. It is quite nice.
christain: What she doesn't know is that I have a little nest-egg in a secret bank account. (SSSHHHH!)
Jan 15, 2021 23:06:29 GMT
christain: I hope this year shapes up better than the last. Living on mine and the wife's Social Security checks can be a stretch sometimes. We eat lots of Ramen noodle soup.
Jan 15, 2021 22:58:09 GMT
seth: Happy new year to you too Sir
Jan 15, 2021 15:39:20 GMT
Ouroboros: Brother Knight, whats up in the world?
Jan 15, 2021 14:01:37 GMT
treeslicer: Welcome back, Christain!!
Jan 15, 2021 7:19:48 GMT
nerdthenord: Hey Sir Knight! Long time it's been!
Jan 15, 2021 5:54:49 GMT
christain: What I want and what I get are two different things though.
Jan 15, 2021 2:55:12 GMT
christain: Happy belated New Years everyone. This year will find me making some cool new purchases, including a Medieval-style crossbow. Maybe a dagger or two, some sick armor pieces, and a new sword.
Jan 15, 2021 2:51:46 GMT
seth: An albion svante? If only my government stimulus check had been $2000 instead of $600, I could have used mine and my wife's to buy it.
Jan 13, 2021 18:33:16 GMT
grubbsdal: Hey guys, just thought I'd let you know, there's an Albion Svante in stock on KoA right now.
Jan 13, 2021 14:45:33 GMT
AndiTheBarvarian: Me Too! Btw: This said Talbot in Schiller's Maid of Orleans, Talbot died in the Battle of Castillon. So a sword thing too!
Jan 7, 2021 12:18:59 GMT
treeslicer: Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens -- Schiller. Right, Andi?
Jan 7, 2021 8:07:52 GMT
Robert in California: 2020 sucked...2021+ is shaping up to be a much bigger suck.
Jan 7, 2021 3:55:39 GMT
nerdthenord: Ordered a Purpleheart synthetic i33 sword and buckler
Jan 6, 2021 16:39:21 GMT
unistat76: Really nice. I have almost that exact same setup but my Rossi is 18".
Jan 5, 2021 15:14:42 GMT
saxyjeff2001: The Type XIV still available? If so, I'll take it.
Jan 2, 2021 22:32:43 GMT
JonSchwertFechter: A belated Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays 2020 and a HAppy New Year 2021 all!
Jan 2, 2021 6:44:41 GMT
All original submitted content is protected under our general copyright and is the property of Sword Buyers Guide Limited. Do not re-publish or otherwise distribute the content here without first obtaining permission from the forum administration. All rights reserved.