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Thread: Tips For The Sword Collector

  1. #101
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    And, from the perspective of those who strongly dislike modern swords, only when you know what's on the market can you avoid it. Only when you follow the modern sword market can you know the details of individual reproduction models well enough to pick them out ten years later in a patinated state in an online auction. So there's that.

  2. #102
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    Ooh! Almost forgot.
    I have realized some years ago that it is neither ethical nor wise to sharpen a sword that does not have a sheath.
    Think about it.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Critchley View Post
    I shall inform Christies right away
    Of course, David, you can indeed sell the old stuff from the curb, many do, and even cut up new furniture instead, if you prefer.
    Some like to cut up pig carcasses, but they do cost; if one loves to BQ it's all good.
    In the past many warriors would cut up criminals, enemy captives, or (disturbingly) low-caste persons, for practice. I do not recommend this.
    In the Persian and Arab spheres it is traditional to test cut and practice cut into mounds of clay. One wonders if they made wet-clay human statues for practice. The clay cutting seems productive, but I haven't done a lot of it.

  4. #104
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    Waxed leather scabbards (as for instance Brittish 1907 bayonet scabbards) can be re-formed with heat from a very low oven or boiling water. The wax is flammable. They will burst into (actual) flames in a microwave. It is very funny, but I don't recommend it.
    Leather that seems both stiff and oily is probably waxed.
    Leather that seems stiff and springy is probably raw hide (not leather).
    Leather that seems stiff and crumbly is in trouble. Don't bend it. If the structure has dry-rotted oil may not help, but otherwise it may. Snow-Seal is a proprietary boot wax. I hope I can mention a brand name here?
    Epoxy can be soaked into leather.
    Old leather gets cracked. Be very careful.
    There are 2 ways to draw a sword from an old leather scabbard (that I know; tell us 2 more, please!):
    One is to hold the scabbard hanging straight down by its (metal) throat (chape, locket) so it won't bend from gravity when the sword is withdrawn. This is best with straight swords.
    The other is to rest the scabbarded sword on a table or other flat surface, with the handle off the edge of the table, so the sheath is left behind, laying flat on the surface, when the sword is drawn.
    Don't cut a stuck leather sheath off a blade; you can probably remove it with solven soaks.
    Some types of leather will rust a blade during long contact, especially if they get wet.
    Leather is probably not a sufficient material for quality sword sheaths; my lil opinion; wood, raw-hide over wood, metal; I like a nice metal sheath, especially with wood inside. The era of the leather sheath is one of very limitted duration and geocultural scope. It is enlarged in the American imagination for being both recent and dominant in our area (as an extension of Europe/overculture dominance). Note where one does find leather sheaths, they are sometimes waxed, which forms a whole nother ball of.....um......hee hee, because you get cuirbolli (boiled hide), which is sufficient to making armour as well as scabbards. Cuirbolli is the material European plate armour was invented in; it had to become metal, not only in response to crossbows and firearms, as commonly said, but with the invasion of N Africa and The "Holy Land" by Christendom. In these hotter climes, the wax that had stiffened the hide in Europe, became oil that softened it and lubricated cuts do I digress excessively? Must I post this thought to the armour forum?
    Last edited by tom hyle; 08-04-2010 at 06:31 AM.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by tom hyle View Post
    In the past many warriors would cut up criminals, enemy captives, or (disturbingly) low-caste persons, for practice. I do not recommend this.
    I am delighted we can agree on this point Tom, Indeed I think it should be positively discouraged (by a sutably armed SWAT team by preference)

  6. #106
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    Alas, those doing the cutting have typically been the cultural equivalents of the SWAT team. (Elite warriors in service of the existing power structure.)

  7. #107
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    The subject of international shipping arises.
    There are many silly, not to say evil, laws, and they are (very) variously interpretted and enforced. Many civilized persons have an irrational fear and distaste for blades, and some seem content with the flimsiest of excuses for impeding one's travel.
    It is not wise to lie to governments, and would never be advised on this forum. It is, however, important to remember that objects may be CORRECTLY classed in various ways, and some ways may be more beneficial than others. I have been advised to always remember that "tribal" swords are "antique cultural objects", and need not be "swords" or (especially) "weapons". I once greatly confused a young cop at a gun show by telling him that the jezail I had bought was not a firearm. His older partner knew what I meant; it was pre-1896 and legally an "antique or collectible", requiring no paper work or legal investigation for the purchase. I used "antique collectible" on a bayonet recently. What legal and correct description do you prefer to use on international sword packages?


    Sometimes I use surface shipping. There is no tracking or insurance, but sometimes (yes, only sometimes ) it is much cheaper.
    It costs as much to cross the Canadian border with a package as it does the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.
    Last edited by tom hyle; 08-06-2010 at 06:19 AM. Reason: and/an; typos

  8. #108
    Stay away from vendors that describe the swords as ready for battle.

    How can you trust a vendor that encourages people to use the swords for battle? I know that most of them just wanted to say that they're razor sharp, but there are better ways of saying it.

    By the way, I'm new here!

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Black View Post
    Stay away from vendors that describe the swords as ready for battle.

    How can you trust a vendor that encourages people to use the swords for battle? I know that most of them just wanted to say that they're razor sharp, but there are better ways of saying it.

    By the way, I'm new here!
    Welcome To Sword Forum International

    User registration number 68,992

    Pull up a chair and desk lamp

    The tips for this section generally revolve around antique and military swords, so most of the discussion will regard the swords as ready to have just been called swords.

    Whatever catchphrase or term that the market (the customers themselves) pushes forward in the clamor for modern made swords is going to be overused and misunderstood by most.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; there is a beginner's room as well

  10. #110
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    Just a reminder/note that there is now an option to use the photo albums for hosting images.

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/album.php

    You can upload five images at a whack. The system will resize to suit and then one can use the image tags for thread presentations (also for blogs and articles as we move on).

    Cheers

    Hotspur; the regular manage attachment uploader also resizes pictures from your drive

  11. #111
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    Edwin A. Armstrong catalog downloadable/readable

    1881 E.A. Armstrong Military Equipments

    http://www.archive.org/details/1881E...taryEquipments

    There are some other files out there that have come to light as well and it looks like I have a good bit more reading to do. I am finding more and more non fraternal swords popping up and am looking to more regarding their supply of swords. Some look every bit as do Ames stock but I can't be sure. Others look like German whilte metal prevails on some of the society swords.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; more as a dedicated thread for them as I am finding massive amounts of old media mentions and genealogical files/registers

    Also available here
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/18782654/1...strong-Company
    Last edited by Glen C.; 07-14-2011 at 06:51 PM.

  12. #112
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    An interesting abstract from 1875 for the William H. Horstmann manufactory.

    http://www.workshopoftheworld.com/ce...horstmann.html

    The root of the site may also be useful for other research of Philadelphia.

    http://www.workshopoftheworld.com/index.html

    Cheers

    Hotspur; light Sunday reading

  13. #113
    I have not used this service myself, but it certainly looks handy for researching Royal Navy officers: http://www.navylistresearch.co.uk/
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 08-26-2011 at 06:09 AM.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    I have not used this service myself, but it certainly looks handy for researching Royal navy officers: http://www.navylistresearch.co.uk/
    Looks good, and quite economical too!
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  15. #115
    Google Books has (in the U.S.) a number of 19th century Navy Lists, but nothing covering the 20th century. This site will probably be helpful for all RN officer queries, but especially those for WWI and later swords and dirks.

  16. #116
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    Avoid using cleaning and polishing compounds containing ammonia on brass or bronze. This includes Brasso, Windex, Wadding Polish, etc. As any experienced high-power rifle reloader will tell you, they weaken the metal rather dramatically, and can shorten the service life of thin guards and branches. The first thing you may notice is the brass tarnishes faster after using ammonia. That's because it softens the surface rather than work-hardens it like polishing should.

    Brass is susceptible to stress corrosion cracking, especially from ammonia or substances containing or releasing ammonia. The problem is sometimes known as season cracking after it was first discovered in brass cartridge cases used for rifle ammunition during the 1920s in the Indian Army. The problem was caused by high residual stresses from cold forming of the cases during manufacture, together with chemical attack from traces of ammonia in the atmosphere. The cartridges were stored in stables and the ammonia concentration rose during the hot summer months, so initiating brittle cracks. The problem was resolved by annealing the cases, and storing the cartridges elsewhere.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass

    And be careful with Pecard's and leather. Wonderful stuff, but Pecard makes several formulations. Their "antique leather" formulation has more and stronger solvents and was made to save the poorest-condition leather. Used on thinner leathers still in good condition, and leathers that need to retain their shape, it may soften the item more than you will be happy with. In turn, on leathers in worse condition than they appear, the regular Pecard formulation may only soften the surface, making the item more prone to cracking than if you left it alone. This is most evident in old rifle slings that are prone to cracking across their adjustment holes, but applies equally to the thin straps of leather sword knots.

    http://www.pecard.com/index.html
    Last edited by Bob Smalser; 11-17-2011 at 07:05 AM.

  17. #117
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    Bob makes a good point about Pecard's. Some of their formulations contains at least one chemical, the name of which I can't recall (haldane . . . haldol . . .hell'ngone?). I use a conservation product that is nothing but lanolin and natural neatsfoot oil and it has worked quite well on leather scabbards and accoutrements. Anyone interested could Google "museum services corporation" to find the source.

  18. #118
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    I know I have debated the relative merits of various compounds in the past and have left it as mentioning whatever one may prefer. I did buy some Pecard's after some recommendations here and had also applied not just the antique formula but also a mix of their black and brown dressing. Attached below is before and after for that particular scabbard. It did reduce cracking and rather than rip a soft spot, it made it supple. Otoh overall it added a bit of a candy coating that may have been the colored dressing more than the regular grease but even that set up after soaking in to allow some buffing.

    I also remember decades ago be warned away from mink oil and having had my own boots fail through softening with Neatsfoot (a lot of sub zero work though so it could have been a combination of affecting issues). The warning about mink oil from someone making and stitching high grade knife scabbards.

    What I have not found and any would be welcome to post are the actual mds sheets for Pecards showing the ingredients of their various compounds. I know there have been example of conservators posting to the conservation distribution list with laboratory analysis of some products (one about Nevr-Dull comes to mind).

    http://cool.conservation-us.org/

    Other leather grips here ranging from the 18th to 20th century have suffered no ill effects with Pecards antique. Indeed, it actually swelled a very stubborn mid twentieth century leather washer knife and has retained its form without disintegrating in fairly regular use (prying and scraping stuff). Also below a generic Prussian 1822/US1840 with before and after Glening.

    Side by side comparisons could be cool but costly.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; we see a lot of home grown methodology as well so precautions of any type are certainly worth reviewing
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by Glen C.; 11-19-2011 at 12:12 PM.

  19. #119
    Hello
    I am a french Naoleonic swords collector...tips:
    Be patient. get the best you can afford and discard unwilling pieces

    You can have a viw at my extensive sword collection at http://swordscollection.blogspot.com/

  20. #120
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    Last edited by Glen C.; 03-29-2012 at 08:47 PM.

  21. #121
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    Register of the army and navy of the United States,
    Issue 1; Issue 1830
    By Peter Force

    http://books.google.com/books?id=p2FGAAAAYAAJ

    Interesting notes of the past

  22. #122
    Hart's Lists available on archive.org! 201 copies, and many from the 20th century!

    http://archive.org/search.php?query=...rt=-publicdate

  23. #123
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    excellent!
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  24. #124
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  25. #125
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    Fascinating and relevant when looking at sword contract prices and say, someone forging blades for Starr at less than 8 cents per blade. Finished swords costing $4.00 per in the ordnance contract. On a good day, that smith making about $4 +- as a daily wage (minus his expenses aside from sweat).

    http://www.nber.org/chapters/c2486.pdf

    faskinatin'

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