Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Chromed blade restoration?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4

    Chromed blade restoration?

    Evening All,

    I've been gifted an 1822 pattern artillery light cavalry sabre. From what I can tell it's in generally OK condition, although the wire wrapping on the handle could do with a tidy up. It has a New Zealand broad arrow dating it to 1926.

    However somewhere along the line the blade has been chromed, and as a result the etching on the blade is all but impossible to make out. The blade's spine has no serial number, but is marked "London Made" and has the C of P marked and has what looks to be a hallmark (including a horseshoe shape and a 7 on it's side). The ricasso is marked "HENRY WILKINSON PALL MALL LONDON" with the proof slug on the opposite side.

    I've a few questions I'm hoping someone can help me out on:

    a. Can (or should) the chrome on the blade be removed? I can't recall ever having seen a chromed blade before.

    b. Would a sword of this type of that era have a tempered carbon steel (ie "real") blade?

    c. Would it likely have a full tang or not?

    I'm thinking of sending it to Crisp & Sons to have it restored, but as that's a rather expensive proposition as I'm in NZ and it may only see one parade a year, so a little guidance would be much appreciated.

    Sorry about the quality of the photos, the chroming makes it difficult to capture any detail.

    Cheers,

    Mac

    Last edited by A Mackinlay; 06-07-2008 at 07:12 AM. Reason: Spelling! Added photo link.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Netherlands/Thailand
    Posts
    2,055
    Sorry can only anwser A:
    Chrome can be removed, but its best to have it done professional, the guys that chrome can also take it off.
    More Sweat In Training Less Blood In Combat
    My Site

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    2,691
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruud B View Post
    Sorry can only anwser A:
    Chrome can be removed, but its best to have it done professional, the guys that chrome can also take it off.
    In my days at Wilkinson, the only way we could do it properly so the etching again showed up, was to strip, polish and re-etch.
    I will have a word with the head swordmaker at Pooley and see what he says
    Robert

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4
    Cheers Robert, much appreciated.
    Mac

    Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
    Posts
    1,407
    I am fairly sure it can be done by chemical (or electro-chemical) methods. I've been told that by antiquarians here in Spain, since it was quite common here that police mounted forces were issued ex-cavalry troopers' sabres, after being chrome-plated. For the sake of better-looking parades, and such...

    Once collectors put their hands on these sabres, some of them prefer revert them to their original state, and that is done promptly by some dealers. I don't know the details of the process, but it can be done without relying on mechanical abrasion.

    However, you have to dismantle the sword, and in the end, you could find medium to heavy pitting under the chrome; surely the commonest reason to plate the blade, by some previous owner. If you go ahead, get ready for that... perhaps I'd rather leave it alone.

    Juan J.
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4

    Jeweller's hallmark..

    Any chance that if I can manage a decent shot of the hall mark, that someone out there can translate it for me?
    Presumably I could then confirm the date of manufacture and just who did the etching of the blade.
    Mac

    Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal , Canada
    Posts
    951
    Good morning,
    The chroming can be redone but by a shop used to that and not a car bumper shop; a friend of mine, army officer, had a parade sword re-chromed and the build up was such it did not fit the scabbard anymore.
    I had recently chrome removed from 2 scabbards (for that ONLY the car shop is O.K.but I would not dare) and they came back "in the white", very nice.
    A PIECE OF ADVICE HERE : if you have a scabbard treated, be carefull to remove the wood lining if any; one of mine had thin strips of wood left that retained the chemical products; it attacked the blade in less than one day. Luckily I unsheathed the saber the day after and there was a very ugly stain I removed promptly.

  8. #8
    Without seeing the blade and hence the amount of chrome on the blade its difficult to comment. But the chrome can certainly be removed by a plater.

    I can also vouch for crisp and sons. Ray Crisp used to do a lot of refurb work for me when i was at WS and he does an excellent job. He also ran a plating company for a while so if you're looking for someone that knows refurbishment, plating and etching (Crisp and son also employ the etching shop supervisor from WS) you'll not find much better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    2,691
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    In my days at Wilkinson, the only way we could do it properly so the etching again showed up, was to strip, polish and re-etch.
    I will have a word with the head swordmaker at Pooley and see what he says
    Robert
    Got the following reply back from Pooley Sword for you:
    I know some of the stripping of plating can be done without the harsh acids that used to be used leaving the steel much more intact ‘ however it sounds like the etching was already pretty worn & then polished prior to plating.
    So removing the plating may not make the etching any more visable.
    I’ve not come across any Wilkinson blades of that era that aren’t carbon steel
    As to the tang hard to tell without looking at it
    PH
    Pooley Sword

  10. #10
    Just noticed the photos.

    That plating can be removed without damaging the blade. A plater will reverse plate the blade which removes the chrome and the nickel.

    It will leave the etching more visible, but i would agree with Robert that the etching is already a bit worn before the blade was plated. The stripping process will also dull the blade and it will need a repolish so that in turn would lose even more etching detail.

    I'd get it stripped and reetched.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    817
    I was asking this question last month- I have four quite nice swords- one an engraved 1796 ladder hilt- that have been chromed by idiots. I'll contact Poole, thank you!
    hc3

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4
    All, thanks for your helpful replies. I'll have to start saving up my pennies!

    Mac
    Mac

    Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,455
    If you live near a yachting marina, ask them what chrome-plating shop they use. Sword will need to be dismounted and put back together, so weigh in the cost factors, whether it's worth it to do all the work, or to find a better sword.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    21
    The depot has a fair stock of swords for loan-out for parades. I have seen some truly antique ones over the years. Unfortunately all of them have been heavily chromed, and it indeed makes the etching hard to read. A bit of a shame really. They are all carbon steel, and tempered, and given the dates of some of them, I am fairly sure they originally were intended for use. I suppose after WWI it was felt that they were never going to be used in anger - so why not chrome them?

    If you find a place that will refurbish a sword for a reasonable price anywhere near NZ, let me know. I had to buy my sword when I was commissioned, and it could use a refurbishing! Of course I couldn't afford a Wilkinson - mine's by E & F Horster.
    Last edited by D.O. Buck; 06-15-2008 at 12:38 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •