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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

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PostPosted: Wed 15 Apr, 2009 8:51 pm    Post subject: Rusting Swords?         Reply with quote

Ok, did a search but didn't come up with anything, so I thought I'd ask:

I bought meself a Windlass Baron's Sword I call Old Whippy a few months back. Recently I've noticed what looks like some sort of "tarnishing" (the first term that comes to mind) on the blade. However, it does not look like the rust I've seen on so many other metal objects. It looks like the steel is turning a slightly brass color. You can't really see it unless you look closely (I doubt it would show up on camera very well, but if someone really wants pictures I can give it a shot), but it sort of worries me.

My first thought was, of course, rust, but I had some other thoughts. If it is rust, why isn't my Viking Five-Lobe (bought at the same time) rusting as well?

I have done more water-bottle cutting with Whippy, but most of the water got on the weak and the tarnishing is on the strong. Both have been oiled off and on with 4-cycle motor oil. One thread I saw on here mentioned that leather scabbards (which both have) can harm the blade, so that's another possible cause to my mind. Something else: I thought I saw a review on a Windlass sword once that claimed it had received some sort of surface treatment (like chroming?) to prevent rust. Could this be on this sword and just behaving weird?

So, any ideas?
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Apr, 2009 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

General advice:


Care and Maintenance of the Modern Replica

An article by Patrick Kelly

Several things are possible regarding the other sword including different hilt material (stainless, etc.) or varnish.

All metal tools, swords included, need maintenance. Oil is good to clear off any moisture and prevent additional moisture from hitting the parts, but it generally won't do much against active rust or other patination that's "taken hold". For that, you'll need some sort of polishing compound or something to get rid of it and then you can oil it up again and protect it.

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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-This is why most scabbards of the time were made of wood and then covered with leather. Either that or they were lined with lambswool. As far as I have read, they didn't put leather where it would touch rhe blade.. the old-fashioned tanin was acidic., being made from oak gall.
Ja68ms
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 9:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's impossible to say without seeing the problem, but if this blade is lacquered, as Windlass blades used to be (not in any of the recent examples I've seen) then you could be seeing changes in the lacquer due to...? Abrasion against the scabbard? Reaction to the oil? Who knows? Use solvents to remove the lacquer.

If the steel is not lacquered you could be seeing light rust, in which case simply oiling the steel isn't likely to help (you'll have oily rust). Try using the finest steel wool you can find, with or without something like WD40 as a cleaning agent. Then remove the WD40 and re-oil with light, clear machine oil (sewing machine oil). I don't know what 4-cycle motor oil is, but if it has a color cast, then the color change in your blade might be related to the color of the oil.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since you mention it Sean, yes the oil has that exact shade of color to it. However, this doesn't rub off like oil should.

I'm thinking I will wait on this a little and see what develops. If it starts to look like real rust I will do something about it, but if not I will wait until I get around to putting an appleseed edge on it (maybe during the upcoming break between semesters) to do anything about it. The worse that happens is that I lose the entire sword, but since I play with it almost every day I think I will catch it a little bit before that. Big Grin
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Petroleum products can turn to sludge that might not wipe off easily. The surest way to tell is to apply a bit of engine degreaser to the area. The steel wool also should cut through a tough residue. I have a feeling the oil is the culprit here....
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmm... Assuming it is just sludge, is that a problem or maybe a blessing in disguse? I.E. the sludge might protect the blade quite nicely. I don't mind the color, just am wondering what it is.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know how your product was originally protected, but, linseed oil is fairly common still on metal tools at shipping. It is cheap, and works, but, does transition towards a yellow -brown patina over the course of a few months to a year or so.

Regardless of the actual cause, the first remedy is pretty much going to be the same as others stated above. I prefer the extra fine gray colored Scotchbrite with solvent cleaner and follow up light oil (gun oil or other high quality oil that should not take on patina.) The fine Scotchbrite just seems easiest to control for a uniform satin polish. Also, it works pretty fast on actual rust pitting as well as more minor patina issues. The draw back is that the finer grades of Scotchbrite is often not in local hardware stores. A plus is that it costs less than shipping, and should last you a life time once you have made that initial purchase for around $10 U.S. worth of it.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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