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Thread: Outdoor Sword Storage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Gainesville, FL
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    Outdoor Sword Storage

    Hello.

    Later this year, thanks to my sister, I will become an uncle. I wanted to get a gift for the little tyke to commemorate his/her birth and naturally felt a sword would be a good choice, but my sister prudently suggested a sharp blade is not the best thing to give an infant. After pondering for a while I decided to take a page from the legend of Theseus and, along with the sword, provide a large, heavy stone to bury it under so that the child can only retrieve it after growing to a suitably heroic age.

    I thought that I could store it inside some type of pipe, perhaps metal, buried upright. The bottom of the pipe would be permanently and the top would protrude slightly from the ground, fitting inside a cylindrical hole in the bottom of the rock. The top would be capped and locked, with some type of gasket inside the cap to keep out moisture.

    What steps, if any, could I take to preserve a sword in semi-decent condition after many years in such storage? Cake the sword in wax? Fill the pipe with desiccants? I have not yet decided what type of sword I want to purchase, but I probably want it to be western style. I would want to pick a type which has fittings made of sufficiently durable materials to withstand such abuse. Any thoughts on what types would be good?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas.
    Eric Smith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    First off, use PVC pipe, not metal. A metal pipe has the potential to promote rusting of the sword due to chemical reaction between the two. A coating of any good gun oil would probably suffice. A better bet would be a coating of Renaissance Wax which is used by museums, including the British Museum, to protect and preserve objects including metal ones. A Google search should turn up places online you can buy it. I'm not sure if a coating of grease would be a good idea, but if you do decide on grease use something intended for storage of guns. Cosmoline used to be standard, I don't know if something else has replaced it.
    "Courage is fear holding on a minute longer."--Gen. George S. Patton

  3. #3
    PVC pipe filled with dessicants(little moisture absorbing silicone beads)?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Fayetteville North Carolina
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    Cosmoline

    Cosmoline is the genericized trademark for a generic class of rust preventives, typically conforming to MIL-C-11796C Class 3, that are a brown colored wax-like mass; have a slight fluorescence; and have a petroleum-like odor and taste (as detected when working with it).
    Chemically, cosmoline is a homogeneous mixture of oily and waxy long-chain, non-polar hydrocarbons. It is always brown in color, but can differ in viscosity and shear strength. Cosmoline melts at 113-125 °F (45–52 °C) and has a flash point of 365 °F (185 °C).
    Its most common use is in the storage and preservation of some firearms, hand tools, machine tools and their tooling, and marine equipment. Entire vehicles can be preserved with cosmoline. Notable Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass recently disclosed that ancient Egyptian mummification practices from the third to fifth dynasties utilized a chemical compound molecularly similar to cosmoline.
    During World War II, U.S. Coast Artillerymen (serving the huge coastal artillery batteries) were known as "Cosmoliners" because they were tasked with the near constant cosmoline application ("greasing down") of the guns. The chemical was also used to coat weapons (including entire tanks) for long sea voyages, as it prevented rust even in salty conditions.
    During Pacific island campaigns in World War II, the United States Marines sang a song about cosmoline. Adapting the popular big-band tune "Tangerine," they would sing "Cosmoline...keeps my rifle clean."
    Due to its gelatinous nature, cosmoline can be difficult to remove completely. Cosmoline that is fairly fresh, or that has been hermetically sealed in a plastic bag or shrinkwrap, remains a grease-like viscous fluid, and mostly wipes off with a rag, leaving only a thin film behind. Cosmoline that is older and has had air exposure usually solidifies after a few years, as the volatile hydrocarbon fraction evaporates and leaves behind only the waxy hydrocarbon fraction. The solid wax does not readily wipe off. It can be scraped off, although the scraping is laborious and leaves crumbs to be swept or vacuumed away. A useful method of cleaning a tool of crusted cosmoline is to allow a penetrating oil (such as WD-40, CRC 5-56, or equivalent) to soak into it for several minutes or hours, which typically restores it to a viscous-fluid state, allowing it to be wiped off. An additional method of cosmoline removal on new parts is to use a closed-cabinet parts washer that utilizes the power wash process. Removal of cosmoline with an aqueous parts washer requires high heat, the proper aqueous detergent and the correct hydraulic impact pressure.

    http://www.cosmolinedirect.com/?gcli...FQ1U7Aod1Gt99g

    Apply the cosmoline and then wrap with cotton or linen.

    For your Sister I suggest a Diaper Genie:
    http://playtexbaby.com/DiaperGenie/D...-II-Elite-Pail

    Regards
    David

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    As to the type of sword to chose, how much are you willing to spend? Do you want something that can be used for test cutting or just to hang on the wall? Do you want an exact copy of an antique sword or will just a generic type do? Is there a certain minimum or maximum length and/or weight you want? Is there a particular time period in which you're interested?

    I know these might seem like a lot of questions, none of which you may have considered, but until you give us more guidance on what you're looking for we can't make any meaningful recommendations.
    "Courage is fear holding on a minute longer."--Gen. George S. Patton

  6. #6
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    A pvc pipe that is big enough to fit the mounted sword would be a great idea. However, what happens if they move before he's old enough?
    I like swords.

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    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Desiccants usually have to be replaced on a regular basis. I'd go with the cosmoline myself and have disinterring the blade one of the tasks of his quest for it!
    Thomas Powers
    CoFounder of the Intergalactic Union of Bladesmiths
    "when you forge upon a star"---you better have your union card handy!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
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    Thank you all for the suggestions. I am thinking I will go with the Cosmoline coating in a sealed PVC pipe, perhaps encasing that in a metal pipe for additional security. Being low on funds at the moment, I am considering a Windlass Steelcrafts Italian rapier ( http://www.museumreplicas.com/p-1158...an-rapier.aspx ). It should be sufficiently durable souvenir, and I would be hesitant subjecting an expensive blade to such harsh conditions . It might be a bit tough to scrub the Cosmoline out of the wire-wrap handle, but putting a bit of elbow grease into an object's restoration often makes one appreciate it more. If the family moves, I guess mom and dad have to dig up the pipe then dig a new hole for it.
    Eric Smith

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Black Hills of SD
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    Glad we could help you with this, Eric, and I'm sure your nephew/neice will appreciate the sword.
    "Courage is fear holding on a minute longer."--Gen. George S. Patton

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