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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
Joined: 03 Oct 2004

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PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2008 1:58 pm    Post subject: Hilt Blackening on XV.7         Reply with quote

While reading the topic on hilt blueing, I got to thinking. One of the most photographed swords with a blackened hilt would have to be XV.7 (XV.2 in myArmoury's feature article). Oakeshott mentions that the blackening looks to be either paint or possibly varnish over blueing. My question is, do people think that the blueing might be original....or something added centuries later, perhaps to protect it?
Thanks,
Dan
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Nathan Keysor




Location: WV
Joined: 15 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2008 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I don't see why bluing couldn't have been done in the past through a chemical process. If Viking smiths could figure out how to do niello I don't see why they couldn't find a compound that darkened steel. Steel will react to a salt vinegar mix and darken (if you arrest the oxidation). There may be much better ways of doing it that were available in the past and we simply aren't aware of.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
Joined: 03 Oct 2004

Posts: 967

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I guess the question would be, "when did they start wanting fittings blackened/blued?"
Also, the possibility of it being paint.....I know some experts have asserted that sword hilts were probably painted more than we realize....but is intentionally black paint also an alternative?
Dan
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2008 12:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A black "paint" finish may be relatively easily achieved by covering a piece with oil and heating it until the oil burns. If heating is controlled well enough the oil will not entirely burn out, but leave a glossy black layer on the steel that looks very much like paint. I have tried this technique myself a while ago and it worked fine. It probably depends on the oil used, but as far as I remember the process goes at temperatures at which steel is tempered, so even hardened parts can be blackened this way (well, at least dagger and sword blades, axes and other things that actually do not have to be very hard).
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