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Tormod Engvig




PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2007 5:44 am    Post subject: To polish or not to polish...         Reply with quote

Greetings to the forum!

I became the proud owner of an Albion Mercenary a while back. As it is the pride of my (modest) collection, I keep it hanging on my wall and only occasionally take it down (to give it a fresh coat of WD-40). Nevertheless, with time, I've noticed some slight staining, especially aorund the pommel and guard, obviously from my skin oils.
Is this something that needs to be treated right away? The idea of a sword with character, i.e. one that doesn't necessarily shine like a mirror, but one that ages naturally with a patina of its own, a burnished sheen, appeals to me. Is there a danger that the stains from the occasional fingerprint will turn into rust if not treated quickly? Is it worth polishing the sword over? I've read an article somewhere recommending that a display sword in a low-humidity environment be taken down and given a going over/polishing once a year to maintain its luster and to limit the formation of rust. Does anyone have any experiences in this regard they wish to share?

Tormod

"Skal til kamp på bølgen top, Dannebrog i stavnen op, gid der bag dets røde fold, står en helt som Tordenskjold."
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2007 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there are different schools of thought on this. I have found it impossible to keep all of my swords completely free of rust, this has more to do with maintenence habits than anything else, I suspect, but my point is that keeping them in perfect condition isn't easy or necessarily practical for everyone. I have a few swords that I am deliberately allowing to age naturally, one that has been aged and etched, and 2 pristine Albions which have been displayed only and I try to keep these as clean as possible, for their resale value if nothing else. So for me it depends on the individual sword, it's value and condition (I am much more likely to preserve the finish on an unused sword than one that has been cut with), and so on.
Once a sword has begun to show light pitting, I try to decide fairly quickly whether to maintain it or let it age-if I want to keep it clean and polished I will remove any spotting as it appears and keep it coated with wax or oil. Red rust is especially urgent as it is still active and eating into the steel. Black rust is less time-critical but the sooner it is removed the better. There are a number of abrasives/polishing agents that can be used for this but I usually just use 400-600 grit wet paper and blend with a scotch-brite. A more thorough polish can be done but I'll just end up doing it again in a couple of years anyway when more spots appear...
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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would use a heavier oil than WD40 which is an OK light lube if used very frequently and good for cleaning, but it evaporates like mad and if the weather is hot does not provide a good long term coating. Balistol seems to be the Albion choice!

Neil.
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Tormod Engvig




PostPosted: Fri 02 Nov, 2007 1:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neil Langley wrote:
I would use a heavier oil than WD40 which is an OK light lube if used very frequently and good for cleaning, but it evaporates like mad and if the weather is hot does not provide a good long term coating. Balistol seems to be the Albion choice!

Neil.


Thanks for the heads up. I had a feeling that this might be the case with WD-40, but its nice to hear it from a fellow collector. I think I'll head out and buy some Ballistol!

"Skal til kamp på bølgen top, Dannebrog i stavnen op, gid der bag dets røde fold, står en helt som Tordenskjold."
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Nov, 2007 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neil Langley wrote:
I would use a heavier oil than WD40 which is an OK light lube if used very frequently and good for cleaning, but it evaporates like mad and if the weather is hot does not provide a good long term coating. Balistol seems to be the Albion choice!

Neil.


Has Albion swtiched to Balistol? For a number of years, BreakFee CLP was their oil of choice. I've used Breakfree for many years with no problems.

Happy

ChadA

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Fri 02 Nov, 2007 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the many great things about Albion is that the final finish is hand rubbed with a gray scotchbrite pad. What that means for you, is that as long as you maintain the direction of polish, you can spot polish with a gray scotchbrite pad to your heart's conent and always match the original finish.

I use RemOil, which is fantastic and takes a long time to evaporate off, but before I switched to it I had frequent outbreaks of dark spots. A few seconds with the pad took care of that. If vigorous rubbing was requred and the finish was altered, some long smooth overstrokes along the entire blade or hilt fitting took care of it..

A while back I bought a Brescia Spadona that looked more that the antique than the recreation, but a few hours of scotchbrite work and the sword is indistinguishable from something that just came out of an Albion box.

Albion has some great polishing instructions on their site that will show you specific techniques. The most important thing is that you get the right pad (gray, scotchbrite) and follow the original direction of polish.

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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

Posts: 112

PostPosted: Fri 02 Nov, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Neil Langley wrote:
I would use a heavier oil than WD40 which is an OK light lube if used very frequently and good for cleaning, but it evaporates like mad and if the weather is hot does not provide a good long term coating. Balistol seems to be the Albion choice!

Neil.


Has Albion swtiched to Balistol? For a number of years, BreakFee CLP was their oil of choice. I've used Breakfree for many years with no problems.


Maybe not but Albion Europe sells it and supplies Balistol with the ‘starter’ maintenance kit supplied with swords (http://www.albion-europe.com/shop/sword_care_products-c-54.html), and I must admit I fail to differentiate between the two at times (old age don'tcha know)!

Neil.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Nov, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just about anything works but blades left out bare will attract dust and moisture if oiled. It is a never ending watch for some. Dr. Jim prefers Balistol (it's food and enviro safe as well) and others whatever they are comfortable and familiar with. i tend to use paper towels and silicone spray for a lot of my blades. That's pretty much what the gun cloths amount to.

Renaissance wax or just good old paste wax for some. Most of my swords are in leather, or wood core scabbards. I haven't had any issues unless I put someting away damp. Lot's of automotive products would do just fine.

Yes, do try to match what ever polish exists, or change it to your preference.

WD in WD-40 is for the words water displacement. it doesn't leave a whole lot behind and does clean the blade of whatever was there. I learned the hard way once when wrapping some barrels in a fuzzy blanket after spraying them down.
In a trunk and in a cellar. a couple of years later, they were fuzzy and oxidized barrels. A friend found out in a similar fashion, thinking it would help his table saw in a fairly open out building. That only took a few days to dissapointment.

I don't mind my users looking used but do touch up heavy scratches from time to time.

Cheers

GC
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Tormod Engvig




PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 1:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm so glad I'm amongst experts here. Thanks a lot for all the advice! I'm surprised Albion does not have a maintenance kit for sale on their U.S. homepage. I'm assuming Balistol is easy to come by...
"Skal til kamp på bølgen top, Dannebrog i stavnen op, gid der bag dets røde fold, står en helt som Tordenskjold."
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
One of the many great things about Albion is that the final finish is hand rubbed with a gray scotchbrite pad. What that means for you, is that as long as you maintain the direction of polish, you can spot polish with a gray scotchbrite pad to your heart's conent and always match the original finish.

I use RemOil, which is fantastic and takes a long time to evaporate off, but before I switched to it I had frequent outbreaks of dark spots. A few seconds with the pad took care of that. If vigorous rubbing was requred and the finish was altered, some long smooth overstrokes along the entire blade or hilt fitting took care of it..

A while back I bought a Brescia Spadona that looked more that the antique than the recreation, but a few hours of scotchbrite work and the sword is indistinguishable from something that just came out of an Albion box.

Albion has some great polishing instructions on their site that will show you specific techniques. The most important thing is that you get the right pad (gray, scotchbrite) and follow the original direction of polish.


I wish to second vouch for everything Michael said. Albion's sword finishes tend to be so easy to maintain and rebuff with some gun oil and fine grey Scotchbrite that I tend to error on the side of negligence. I have found I can set them aside in a closet for half a year and still quickly return them to "my personal idea of good condition." Special viscous oils do not seem to be required if you will touch them up every few months.

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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tormod Engvig wrote:
I'm surprised Albion does not have a maintenance kit for sale on their U.S. homepage. I'm assuming Balistol is easy to come by...


At least at the time I talked to Mike, Albion was having trouble finding a consistent supplier of grey scotchbrite here in the U.S. That is a big part of why they don't offer those starter kits.

Balistol is probably available several places, but I know that Brownell's carries it if you can't find it anywhere else. They offer it in what I would consider to be industrial quantities Happy , but they do have it.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007 9:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:
Tormod Engvig wrote:
I'm surprised Albion does not have a maintenance kit for sale on their U.S. homepage. I'm assuming Balistol is easy to come by...


At least at the time I talked to Mike, Albion was having trouble finding a consistent supplier of grey scotchbrite here in the U.S. That is a big part of why they don't offer those starter kits.

Balistol is probably available several places, but I know that Brownell's carries it if you can't find it anywhere else. They offer it in what I would consider to be industrial quantities Happy , but they do have it.

-Grey


My local hardware store chain ( Canadian Tire ) has a type of large pads of synthetic steel wool " like " abrasive that seem to match the " fineness/coarseness " of the Albion finish and is available in degrees of abrasive qualities.
Might even be scotchbrite under another name or close enough to not matter. In any case when I have used this stuff on a small rust spot it seems to blend well with the original finish, or close enough to not matter. Wink

I use renaissance wax or just a good gun oil for a quick wipe. Alternatively a silicon cloth for a quick application of moisture displacement coating.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Tormod Engvig




PostPosted: Tue 06 Nov, 2007 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Michael Edelson wrote:
One of the many great things about Albion is that the final finish is hand rubbed with a gray scotchbrite pad. What that means for you, is that as long as you maintain the direction of polish, you can spot polish with a gray scotchbrite pad to your heart's conent and always match the original finish.

I use RemOil, which is fantastic and takes a long time to evaporate off, but before I switched to it I had frequent outbreaks of dark spots. A few seconds with the pad took care of that. If vigorous rubbing was requred and the finish was altered, some long smooth overstrokes along the entire blade or hilt fitting took care of it..

A while back I bought a Brescia Spadona that looked more that the antique than the recreation, but a few hours of scotchbrite work and the sword is indistinguishable from something that just came out of an Albion box.

Albion has some great polishing instructions on their site that will show you specific techniques. The most important thing is that you get the right pad (gray, scotchbrite) and follow the original direction of polish.


I wish to second vouch for everything Michael said. Albion's sword finishes tend to be so easy to maintain and rebuff with some gun oil and fine grey Scotchbrite that I tend to error on the side of negligence. I have found I can set them aside in a closet for half a year and still quickly return them to "my personal idea of good condition." Special viscous oils do not seem to be required if you will touch them up every few months.


Just another reason to love Albion I guess. Now I won't be afraid of altering that lovely finish the blade comes with either.
Thanks again everybody!

Cheers,
Tormod

"Skal til kamp på bølgen top, Dannebrog i stavnen op, gid der bag dets røde fold, står en helt som Tordenskjold."
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Tormod, I've basically been labled "The Notorious Polisher of Hilts From Hell" Laughing Out Loud by Craig Johnson of
Arms & Armor. Once he saw how I had filed, sanded, buffed and polished the ring guards inside and out and the entire hilt of my Three Ring Italian Rapier and also had disassembled the Irish Sword to do the same thing to the exposed tang on this sword, I was thus dubbed the above. LOL

On the blades I will usually start with a 320 grit with Remmington Gun Oil or WD 40 and take it up to a 800 grit. On the hilts I start with a 220 and take it all the way up to a 2,000 grit. Then I use a good metal polish, buff that up nice and finish with a coat of Renaissance Wax.

I've never had a rust problem as a result. Oh, I do this to my polearms too. Laughing Out Loud

Bob
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