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Thread: polishing old swords

  1. #1

    polishing old swords

    hello all couple questions I have 2 old sword ones is British m 1796 and a Prussian m 1811 and I am trying to polish them to some extent there are small pits in them but other than that ok but to polish them some what better than they look now which gray black an etc. also I am trying to polish a wwll Japanese samurai sword that was made in 1943 it has a real nice blade on it looks a little cloudy over all I did try a paste called simichrome which sort of works some what possibly few more coats of it can you recommend any better polishes that I could use thanks...... bill would a chrome polis work on the samurai sword ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I would steer clear of trying to polish the Japanese sword. The polishing of these blades is an art in itself, and trying to do it by yourself might simply hurt the overall value of the blade quite drastically. If there is no active rust, I would simply abstain.

    As for the others, it depends on the condition. Do you have any pictures?

  3. #3
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    Mar 2008
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    Hello William,
    I agree with Max.
    For your other swords, OK for polishing.
    You may have a few answers for the contrary but it belongs to you to do what you want.
    Browse a little bit the forum and you will see to polish or not is like opening a can of worms.
    I always said that if I buy a Jag E-type, I will restore it close to its original glory....I have been flaked for that.
    I have a LC 1796 by Johnston....a real gem in seldom seen condition; I made a plan to polish it remembering that too much is like not enough.
    My theory is that I am a link in the chain of possession of the sword; my duty is to preserve a piece of history unless you prove to me it has been picked up as is from the battlefield.
    Marc Marbot once said : "all sabers have been at Waterloo".

    Dan

    Bill, I PM'ed you photos

  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    Hello William pictures would really help to determine what the "black' is you describe. Some of it can be surface patina while a hard black corrosion cannot be polished off but acids can help to remove it.
    These sound like good early swords, and these swords may require aggressive cleaning. I've done quite a bit of "cleaning" and one of my most challenging was an 1821 p troopers sword with this 'black' corrosion. I virtually removed all the corrosion and the sword is now in the white and few would know how it once appeared.
    Using paste polishes only remove mild surface corrosion and is time consuming. Knowing how aggressively to begin cleaning is important.
    I recently fixed up an 1811, the blade edge was damaged in the past, nicked, most likely by playing swords. The sword also had grinding marks from an attempt to sharpen it.
    First you must remove some of the edge to lower the nick depth and then use stones to remove the grinding marks and restore the edge to a semi sharp state.
    Followed by buffing with grits that progressively are finer. The trick is to blend this in with the existing surface of the blade.
    My repair/cleanings do not appear to have been done, in other words the sword appears to have never been in a worse state of corrosion.
    I don't believe in highly polished blades that require removal of a good deal of material. This type of "dealer restoration" destroys details and value.
    If you are in a reasonable distance from me I could definitely show you how it's done or you could send me the swords for this work.
    Minor cleaning anyone with some dexterity can accomplish though more aggressive cleaning requires some skill and relatively expensive tools to get good results.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Hi to all.

    Regarding the Japanese sabre, if it has a machine-made blade I can't see a valid reason not to be treated like any other military blade. In that case, the use of a mild polishing paste can't do any harm.

    Another completely different thing is having a traditionally-made blade, whether modern or antique. That should be accomplished by an expert in polishing Japanese blades, as the other folks said.

    You say confidently it was made in 1943. How do you know that? In case it has serial numbering or the standard arsenal marks you are safe by cleaning it, but in any other case I would rely to an expert. You can post any marking (that normally would be on the tang) in the Japanese Forum to know more.

    Best,
    JJ
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  6. #6
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    Mar 2008
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    [QUOTE=Juan J. Perez;1229573]Hi to all.

    Regarding the Japanese sabre, if it has a machine-made blade I can't see a valid reason not to be treated like any other military blade. In that case, the use of a mild polishing paste can't do any harm.


    Exactly,
    I have a superb officer model, with all characteristics of "having been there".
    A poor soul engraved the ricasso with a personal number.
    It took some sanding with several grades of sand paper and final polishing.
    Final result excellent.

  7. #7
    thanks guys for your answers about the swords the Japanese sword has a showa stamp on it but also the tang has the maker marks Kane Mune date of mfg 1944 the 3rd month ( sorry about the date) got the paper work to make sure. did use some simichrome past polish on sword the haze did disappear some with the other swords I think I will just use some 600 grit wet sand paper and lightly sanding then down ( polishing )thanks for all your help bill

  8. #8
    William,

    What constitutes acceptable restoration is hugely subjective.
    If you don't intend to re-sell the swords at any point then any re-working is your choice.
    If you want to retain their monetary value for potential re-sale, then you have to factor in what others might deem acceptable.
    In that case it's likely that anything that removes metal will have a negative effect on their value.
    This will especially be the case with the Japanese blade if it is a Shin Gunto mounted Katana. The finish on Japanese blades is possibly the most specialised of all and any attempt to replicate it by non-traditional means, will almost always be detrimental to the value of the blade.

    Giving you advice without seeing the extent of the oxidisation and/or potential issues is difficult at best.

    So I'll tell you this instead.
    Less is more.

    Stoping the oxidisation getting any worse is a sensible objective.
    Anything else is dangerous ground

  9. #9
    thanks Gene for your reply the kantana has a showa stamp on and it has the brown army wrap handle and brown scabbard once apart it has Japanese writing running down both side of the handle in small chisel type marks and there is some file marks also running down the handle . the blade I think is great to me it has wonderful heat temper something like waves. I kind of think I could just polish the blade to possibly get rid of some of the cloudy ness if that is possible by just using some type of a good polish no stones or etc just poss.buff it some ? thanks bill

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by william fisher View Post
    thanks Gene for your reply the kantana has a showa stamp on and it has the brown army wrap handle and brown scabbard once apart it has Japanese writing running down both side of the handle in small chisel type marks and there is some file marks also running down the handle . the blade I think is great to me it has wonderful heat temper something like waves. I kind of think I could just polish the blade to possibly get rid of some of the cloudy ness if that is possible by just using some type of a good polish no stones or etc just poss.buff it some ? thanks bill
    Hi Bill

    I wouldn't touch the blade apart from a light oiling.
    Can you show some pictures?

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Location
    Cheshire, England
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    188
    The word 'polish' as applied to Nihonto is not used in the same sense as on western swords. Polish in a Japanese context is done by people who train for years using special paper and uchiko powder. This is a specialised process to bring out the nioi/nie structures and to optimise the hada.

    The use of commercial 'polishes', potions and industrial grits will definitely not achieve this and will reduce a fine blade's value to near zero.

    Also the nakago (tang) must not be cleaned in any way, the patination is used as part of the evaluation if the sword is submitted for shinza, needed if the sword is to attain its value.

    FWIW I would not trust any westerner to attempt to polish any of my Nihonto.

    Alan

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