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Thread: To restore, or not to restore!

  1. #1
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    To restore, or not to restore!

    hello,

    greetings to you all from Kuwait, i would like, first of all to thank you for such a wonderful forum which i have been visiting for over a year now. but this my first contribution to this forum and i hope it would be a good one.

    through all of my life i have always loved ancient arms, from the spatha's to the katana.. the weapons of old amazed me, the care and quality is only a testimony to our genius. though being a young man with limited funds, it took me a while to begin a collection, but i hope now is a good start. i have bought a saif, though being a simple fan of weapons, i found it very hard to know the age of the weapon, the blade seems fine for my unexpertised eyes but the hilt wood is damaged, so now the topic title is more obvious, restore or not restore? i will link some pictures ( terrible shots but ow well).

    i hope that you can help me make a decision, and also any info about the origin and perhaps age of the weapon would be appreciated.

    thank you,

    A. alnakas

    P.S: if the pictures are completely useless, will try to take better ones.











    Last edited by A. Alnakas; 03-09-2010 at 04:30 AM. Reason: lack of skill with URL

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forums. This is a nice blade, you are lucky.

    About the restoration issue: My museology teacher in university once said that most of the damage to antiques comes from amateur attempts of restoration. So, unless you know what you're doing very very well, or you will work with a professional restorator, my advice for you is not to do anything at all.

    You might want to focus on conservation (protecting the antique as it is)
    "The relationship between West(Occident) and East(Orient) is indeed an example of a relationship of power and domination. Orientalism is thus a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between the Orient and the Occident. It is a Western style of dominating, restructuring and building hegemony over the Orient.İt is an accepted grid for filtering through the Orient into Western consciousness, into the general culture."
    From "Orientalism" by Edward Said

  3. #3
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    I second what Mr. Sancar Ozer said.

    I do want to thank you for sharing this wonderful blade with us

    I can not tell from the photos but is it a wootz blade?

  4. #4
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    Thanks gentlemen,

    I am certainly not a proffesional so I will follow your advice, sancar. And I don't know if the blade is wootz or not, will try to take better pictures, perhaps with a finer camera.

    There are inscriptions on the scabard that I can't read due to the condition of the metal. The inscription on the blade is a poem of the 10th century arab poet - al motanabi. The hilt guard is inscriped but I can't identify it.

    Will put pictures of a close up on the blade whenever I can.

    Thanks again,

    A.alnakas
    Last edited by A. Alnakas; 03-09-2010 at 04:05 PM. Reason: bad spelling

  5. #5
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    here are some close-ups, i hope it will show more details;









    from a close up, it shows that the blade have a sort of chemical reaction with something? perhaps its previous owner havent took much care of it...

    yours,

    A.Alnakkas

  6. #6
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    one thing you can do and should do is wipe the blade down with oil using a clean soft cloth. the red rust should be cleaned off gently but doing this. Do not rub the blade using a lot of force, just a firm but gentile touch and a light mineral oil.

    Regards
    David

  7. #7
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    thanks for the advice, i will find an oil and remove the rust. any sort of name of a brand or a certain light mineral oil i should be looking for?
    Last edited by A. Alnakas; 03-10-2010 at 04:10 AM. Reason: lack of attention = bad reply

  8. #8
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    light mineral (baby oil with out the scent) or any light oil.

    I am not sure what one calls mineral oil in Kuwait, but it is the oil one uses for a laxative or skin treatment. You can also use any light machine oil but chose one that will not evaporate. WD40 will clean your blade nicely of the lose 'red' rust but will evaporate and leave no protection behind. Any oil used on firearms, sewing machines, or even a spray on silicone. Be gentile as you apply and rub and make sure you do not let any of the oil get under the guard or hilt.

    I learned the hard way that the 'glue' that some swords from the Middle East melts when oil touches it.

    I do not know how close you live to the sea. The humidity from the ocean can be very bad for your blades and if you live in Kuwait City some of the air pollution from automobiles can be harmful for steel.

    There also appears to be a mark on the blade from moving in and out of the scabbard. If you can store the blade or display it out side of the scabbard I think that might be best.

    You could also take the blade to a museum and talk to the museum's conservationist for help.

  9. #9
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    thanks for the advice, sir.


    i live quiet close to the sea, technically its a 20 minutes walk to be exact, at the moment i have no ways of displaying the sword but will try to hurry to find a way to display it and still keep it away from touch, perhaps a glass display, as i have very inquisitive children in the house.

    you have described the oils well, i identified them and will hurry to get a pack and work on the sword as you adviced. will also contact the museum, though i doubt that they will be of any help. will try to find other sword collectors in kuwait and perhaps ask them for advice.

    thank you,

    A.alnakkas

  10. #10
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    hey, i have tried to clean up the rust with light oil (vaseline to be exact), some parts are very hard to clean and it seems that the job isnt complete. will put some pictures maybe it will be clearer for an expert. also will look for a stronger oil that would leave a layer to protect the blade.







    and, can anyone give me an opinion of the type of blade and if its wootz or not?



    Last edited by A. Alnakas; 03-10-2010 at 06:31 AM. Reason: more questions

  11. #11
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    just keep going slow and gentile, even something as soft as a tooth brush some times can be too harsh.

    Let the oil sit on the blade for a while 'wet' say an hour or so and then wipe off the blade using firm but still gentile pressure. That is only for the red colored rust, any 'black' rust leave on the blade. Black colored rust is inactive and actually protecting the steel underneath the black rust.

    Cleaning an old blade or any other antique is slow work that requires a delicate touch and a patient mind. Do not try to get it all off at once.

    The rust on your sword does not look to be deep or bad. I do not think that the steel is wootz but can not really tell.

    What does the poem say?

    Regards
    David

  12. #12
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    yes, i will be as patient as i can be with taking care of my first blade.

    hmm, i will do my best to translate though it might be really bad.

    this is the poem in arabic إذا كان في لبس الفتى شرف له فما السيف إلا غمده والحمائل (etha kan fee lebs alfata sharafon lahu, fama alsaif ela kemdahu wal hama'elo) just incase someone who can read it and translate it better is available.

    etha kan = if there was.

    fee lebs = in the gear of / in th cloth of.

    alfata = the boy or the warrior (will ask my father who is an expert)

    sharafon = an honor.

    lahu = for him.

    fama = then.

    alsaif = the sword.

    ela = is only.

    kemdahu = his scabbard.

    wal hama'elo = (the rings that carry the scabbard on the belt, not sure whats it called in english)

    so basically it should be something like this in english ( if there was in the gear of the warrior an honor for him, then the sword is only a scabbard). could possibly preferance of a warrior with a drawn sword, a symbol to honor and keeping ones word and self value perhaps. will consult my father who studied arabic language further then i did.

    thanks mr, david.

    goodnight,
    a.alnakkas

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Alnakas View Post

    so basically it should be something like this in english ( if there was in the gear of the warrior an honor for him, then the sword is only a scabbard). could possibly preferance of a warrior with a drawn sword, a symbol to honor and keeping ones word and self value perhaps. will consult my father who studied arabic language further then i did.

    thanks mr, david.

    goodnight,
    a.alnakkas
    That is very cool

    and we call them 'scabbard rings'

  14. #14
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    Sword fighters

    You may be interested in a book, Sword Fighters of British India, and one of British Empire. The books describe the use of these swords and the devastating results. First hand accounts make up most of the book. These sharp swords can cut men in half or remove arms, legs, heads etc.
    As for the blade, clean with 0000 steel wool with CLP to remove rust, or another light oil. CLP (cleaner, lubricant, preservative) cleans and protects, and has a teflon suspension. However do not use CLP or penetrating oil if the blade or parts have gold, silver decoration, as the oil will get under it and possibly help to remove it.
    You have a real keeper.

  15. #15
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    wow thanks, atm i removed alot from the rust but still not to the extent i want, will check for oils tommorow and the wool you mentioned, also more antique blades hunting.

    btw, the blade doesnt contain gold or silver, so safe to use when the oil am using now doesnt work.

    can anyone identify the origin of the blade? am sure its not persian nor turkish... possibly iraqi or saudi, though need a more proffesional opinion

    much love,

    A.alnakkas

  16. #16
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    It looks Turkish to me,

  17. #17
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    i can be wrong here but never seen turkish blades with arabic poetry on it, its either phrases of the qur'an or the more common "la fata ela ali, wala saif ela thul feqar" or phrases written in turkish (letters are arabic, similar to how french and the english use same latin letters). the Qur'an is used in art in its original language. but why would a turk blacksmith inscripe an arabic poem on a blade intended for a turk? ow well, i can only guess or trace the sword back to its original owner.

    btw this is pure speculation from my part.
    Last edited by A. Alnakas; 03-11-2010 at 07:57 PM.

  18. #18
    I don't think this blade is Turkish. Yes, it has a hilt that is in turkish fashion(except for the crossguard which has a larger center than most Turkish crossguards), and there are some turkish swords with arabic and persian poetry inscriptions, but the style and technique of this inscription and size of the letters makes me think other than Turkish.

    I mean no disrespect but calligraphy on this inscription is not very high quality and generally inscriptions on turkish blades have much better calligraphy with much smaller letters stacked neatly in cartouches. Gold inlay (koftgari) is generally used to make those inscriptions.

    An example:



    And the shape of the blade(less curved, no fuller, no T-spine, no yelman)also indicates that it is a saif. I think it is made in 20th century.

    By the way, old Turkish alphabet is similar yet not same with Arabic alphabet, just like Persian alphabet.

    And the reason why some turkish swords have arabic or persian poetry is: poetry was very popular in Ottoman empire and soldiers sometimes had verses from their favourite Turkish, Arabic or Persian poems inscripted on their swords.
    Last edited by Sancar Ozer; 03-11-2010 at 09:01 PM.
    "The relationship between West(Occident) and East(Orient) is indeed an example of a relationship of power and domination. Orientalism is thus a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between the Orient and the Occident. It is a Western style of dominating, restructuring and building hegemony over the Orient.İt is an accepted grid for filtering through the Orient into Western consciousness, into the general culture."
    From "Orientalism" by Edward Said

  19. #19
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    thanks mr.sancar you have cleared alot to me. the reason that i believed the sword is not turkish was actually the low quality inscription on the blade, and by no means i think you are disrespectful, i am quiet honored to be having this discussion with you all.

    the arabic inscription is on the sword is kufi, a hand writing that is commonly used in all of arabia, though the shape of the sword always reminds me of swords from iraq. i have seen a few its the same way. also just an info, the kufi originated from iraq, though not pointing that the blade is for sure made in iraq.

    btw, i just discovered that a family heirloom nejdi is kept by my uncle, it belonged to my grandfather.. i wonder if he would ever give it to me. pictures soon!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Alnakas View Post
    btw, i just discovered that a family heirloom nejdi is kept by my uncle, it belonged to my grandfather.. i wonder if he would ever give it to me. pictures soon!
    I laughed when I read that last bit.

    It seems you now have the infection we all share here, heh, a love for blades that transcends normal wants.

    If he will not give it to you, ask to take photos and share with us.

    Regards
    David

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