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Thread: Wooden scabbard causing rust?

  1. #1
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    Wooden scabbard causing rust?

    Hello,

    I put together this dagger/short sword nearly a year ago, and ever since then, the blade has been rusting along the edges. I keep scrubbing them clean with fine polishing paper, only to find a thin layer of rust again a few months later. I did glue the scabbard halves together, but surely the glue's dried up after all this time?

    It's been stored in a closet and not oiled. I feel like I should probably try oiling it before complaining, but I have several other blades in there, also in glued scabbards (basswood, poplar and pine) and not oiled, and only this one is rusting, which makes me wonder what's different about it. My only guess is this: All the other scabbards are covered in leather, but this one is bare wood finished with oil, so maybe moisture has a more difficult time migrating away from the blade and out of the wood.

    Should I try giving the blade a really thorough polish and then paste wax?
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    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

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  2. #2
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    Hey Dan,
    The only issues that I could think of would involve the scabbard itself. If the wood wasn't properly cured before being used, the oil finish may have trapped moisture inside the wood and be preventing it from escaping. The other alternative is if the scabbard is oak. The tannins in oak are pretty toxic to steel and will cause it to rust wherever there is contact. If the scabbard is not oak, I would suggest placing it in a low temperature oven (170 degrees or so) for several hours (or overnight) to eliminate any moisture that may be trapped inside the wood. If it's oak, you're basically SOL.

    Let us know what you decide and how it turns out. It's good information to post for future reference.
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  3. #3
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    Thank you.

    The scabbard itself is basswood from a hardware store. It could've not been dried thoroughly, but I'm leaning toward there still being a little bit of moisture from the glue. Maybe the fact that the rust only forms on the edges would support that.

    Baking the moisture out sounds like it'd work but OTOH might it damage the epoxy holding the metal parts in place? Or would the epoxy more probably re-harden without coming apart?
    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

    Please, all you need for zombies is like 300ft of piano wire and a bus.
    -- Dana Price

    Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
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    Hey Dan,
    That low of a temperature would have minimal affect on the epoxy. It may soften just a tiny bit, but not nearly enough to flow, and would simply re-harden when it cooled.
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  5. #5
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    What glue Dan,
    brand + type,

  6. #6
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    I just reread my own blurb and it's not epoxy, but arrow glue. Assuming this tube I found in my desk drawer is what I used, it's Bohning Fletch-Tite Platinum.

    I'll write to them, they might not know but it never hurts to ask.

    In the meantime, how about just taking the blade out and leaving the scabbard under a heating vent for a few weeks?
    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

    Please, all you need for zombies is like 300ft of piano wire and a bus.
    -- Dana Price

    Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan D'Silva View Post
    In the meantime, how about just taking the blade out and leaving the scabbard under a heating vent for a few weeks?
    Sorry, have no idea about the arrow glue. Leaving it under a heat vent would accomplish the same thing as drying in the oven. Let us know how it works out!
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  8. #8
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    I have the same problem with a Hanwei Katana in the supposedly Bamboo saya. seems more of a stain than rust. always thought it was the glue. It is over ten yrs old so any moisture would certainly dried by now and the stain remains the same no change
    Long Life

  9. #9
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    Hey Dan,
    What did you use to glue the scabbard together? Titebond II and Titebond III are known to cause rust issues.
    I like swords.

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  10. #10
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    'Fraid I don't remember. It may very well have been one of those. I bought so many bottles of wood glue that year because of art class.
    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

    Please, all you need for zombies is like 300ft of piano wire and a bus.
    -- Dana Price

    Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
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    Honestly, Elmer's wood glue, Titebond Original, or Elmer's white are the way to go. Gorilla glue is good, too, but you have to use it carefully and with purpose....

    The fletch tite stuff seems to have mixed reviews, and it seems that it was reformulated in the past several years and people were (at least form 2010 to 2012) displeased with it in it's new formulation, particularly something about it not curing right.

    Make a nice wooden copy of that dagger and put that in the scabbard, and make new scabbard using an above mentioned good glue (I seriously recommend the Elmer's White, a particular togishi that has made saya for years, for some big names, has recommended it many many times), and well dried wood (poplar is always nice... oil it afterwards and it gets nice and dark.. it occasionally has dark green/purple/black stripes in it, too...) and you'll be much happier.

    I *think* Randal Graham (do a search for him) had a thread about wood glues and issues with them a long time ago... like.. 10-12 years ago...
    Last edited by Jeff Ellis; 09-03-2016 at 11:53 PM.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  12. #12
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    (grumble) Alright... next time I have access to a bandsaw.

    The basswood was a little too splintery to really be good for fine surface carving, I thought. But it stained really nicely, with the stain collecting in the cuts. Do you think poplar will do the same? I imagine it would be good for carving, but the lighter-colored poplar I've finished with linseed oil hasn't darkened much, only turned orange.

    Would be nice to use an Irish wood, but selection in hardware stores is very limited, especially in 1/4-inch thickness (in short: poplar, American red oak, basswood in the smaller stores, and maple over at Lowe's). Rainbow poplar is available sometimes, but not reliably, most of it's either white or green... and in any case I think of a rich brown as just right for this piece.
    Last edited by Dan D'Silva; 09-06-2016 at 06:38 AM.
    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

    Please, all you need for zombies is like 300ft of piano wire and a bus.
    -- Dana Price

    Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    Go to your local big box store, the blue one has a better selection usually, and find a piece of poplar with some character. I did a piece in mineral oil and it got a nice dark brown color to it.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  14. #14
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    Do you have any local lumber yards/ woodworking stores that carry exotic woods? It's always fun to see what they have in the way of woods that can be used for scabbards. They say to go for softer hardwoods to avoid scratches and use woods with low tannin levels to avoid staining. The guys at the store might be a great resource, too. They always know this guy that does this thing with knives and he swears by this particular wood, so they keep a little around, because he occasionally stops in, and they like him.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  15. #15
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    There's Mike Quinn down in Oxford Valley, but anything I get from him would have to be split and/or milled. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with anyone else in the area. Actually one of the reasons I used basswood to begin with was because it's soft and delicate enough to cut to shape with an art knife. I don't have the stamina or patience to cut the blank shapes with a hacksaw, so a new scabbard made out of even just poplar would have to wait until I have access to a wood shop.

    Hm... I have been toying with the idea of taking either turning or another semester of foundry, which would give me just that
    They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
    Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
    It had been strange, even in a dream
    To have seen those dead men rise.

    -- Coleridge

    Please, all you need for zombies is like 300ft of piano wire and a bus.
    -- Dana Price

    Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/

  16. #16
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    I'm not saying to use another wood, just that there seemed to be a place or a few that had exotic woods for sale in your area that you could look at. How much equipment do you really need? you could probably get the wood seller to cut it for you if needed....
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

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