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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Fri 01 May, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Albion Mercenary Guard / Pommel Antiquing         Reply with quote

This last week, my wife picked me up an Albion Mercenary in the Marketplace here (with the help of Nathan and Brian). I really love the sword, but it needed a little more character. The grip is a light brown that shows alot of varying detail in the leather, but the pommel and guard were polished to a fairly high near chrome sheen. I had to do something to make it match a little better. So, I decided on a medium antique effect with the details highlighted a bit.

As most everyone here knows, I hate the stock finish on most new swords. They always look too new, where as I prefer a little more age / wear and tear. Rather than do something to make it rust prematurely or pit the finish, I like to add a light antique grey to dark grey finish. I use a mild chemical blue which will easily come off with 000 steel wool and gun oil, so it's not really a permanant change, but it adds alot of character to the weapon. The good thing is that no harm comes to the original finish of the sword - any light scratches or wear is on the outer layer of blue rather than actually damaging the metal.

My wife and I agree that the new finish matches the original grip character much better. I am happy with how it turn out!

Thanks in advance for your comments!






J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
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Chris Goerner




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your taste and mine run along the same lines. I like my swords to have that "used, but well cared for" look. You really achieved that well with this sword. The finish on the hilt really compliments the color of the grip and makes some of the color variations in the leather seem more natural.

I particularly like the worn highlights on the edges of the cross and the facets of the pommel. Well done!

Chris

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like the look you've achieved, but have to disagree on the philosophy. All swords (and daggers, knives, armour) were new once. And probably fairly shiny. Happy

I think antiqued stuff can look great; I just prefer the piece to gain the look honestly through actual use and patination. Artificially aging something is just that: artificial. The real aging of an item (like for a person) carries stories and experiences, joys, and pains, etc. Artificially aging an item is kind of like a fake back-story. I suppose adding artificial aging isn't as bad as trying to remove evidence of real aging, but it's just not my thing. Happy

I love the look and creativity, but it kind of rings hollow to me. I have nothing against people who like to do this stuff at all, though, I just have a different point of view on the subject. Happy I do love seeing how people create the various looks, though.

Happy

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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the darkened finish looks good, and personally do not think of this as "antiquing" so much as adding a protective finish which happens to have the added effect that mild wear/polishing highlights the corners and high spots, and gives a slightly worn effect.
Period armor and weapons/fittings were blackened, painted, plated, gilded, etched, and even covered in fabric, so I don't think this is necessarily ahistorical, either. Inducing wear by polishing with steel wool is the only part of this that I would call artificial.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:
I think the darkened finish looks good, and personally do not think of this as "antiquing" so much as adding a protective finish which happens to have the added effect that mild wear/polishing highlights the corners and high spots, and gives a slightly worn effect.
Period armor and weapons/fittings were blackened, painted, plated, gilded, etched, and even covered in fabric, so I don't think this is necessarily ahistorical, either. Inducing wear by polishing with steel wool is the only part of this that I would call artificial.


Justin,
I agree, actually. Happy If it was just blackened/blued, I'd have no issue with it because, as you say, it's historical. But selectively scrubbing off areas where real wear would keep it bright is artificial. If you want it blued, just blue it. Happy

If you want it to look well used, why not use it well/handle it/get it grubby the old fashioned way? Happy

Happy

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Carl W.




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon - nicely done! if you don't mind, what specific "part" did you use, & brief hint of "how" details?

Chad - I intellectually / theoretically agree, but in practice in the real world now, fwiw I disagree. Swords are no longer practical objects or tools. We cannot carry them daily to work on our horse, have the odd skirmish every week or so scaring away bandits :-), etc., or do all that much with them to "honestly age". For most, swords now are collector's objects, of which I'd think a substantial percentage of enjoyment is visual - stirring of the imagination.

As a collector (new, so fwiw), I find Kirk Lee Spencer's redone gladius immensely more visually interesting than my (still, so far) pristine Albion Allectus. (Of course I haven't handled, so not saying I'd trade :-)

To each his own. Not arguing, just trying to lend a bit of moral support to the other "character" folks. Takes some guts to ruin a perfectly good sword :-)
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with you in principle, Chad. I would prefer that my swords be as "natural" as possible, but in some cases I'm not prepared to be that patient. The idea of natural aging on modern replias is also compromised somewhat by the fact that modern steel alloys do not age the same as simple period steels and wrought iron. Given this I think some judicious artificial aging or induced wear is acceptable, depending on one's taste. Those who use their swords for cutting or wear them about at events and such can probably achieve a worn look much more naturally, but not all collectors fit these categories. This is of course all a matter of preference, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, just offering an opinion.

I guess I was mostly responding to your comment that all swords, daggers and armor(s) were fairly shiny when new. Some had/have darkened finishes or other coatings when new, although I guess it is arguable that they were probably shiny before these finshes were applied.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl W. wrote:
Takes some guts to ruin a perfectly good sword :-)


I agree too. I used several applications and got a Crecy Greate much darker than the posted photos on this Mercenary appear to show. Despite all repeated efforts, the cold chemical bluing (Perma Blue) did not really do much to improve rust resistance. The cold blued furniture required just as much oiling and care as the bare blade. Additionally, rubbing it to remove any start of rust formation tended to remove the bluing and expose bright shiny corners as it has been noted above that the polishing process tends to do.

A true hot bluing process (immersion in near boiling lye and salts) is a very different, and much more effective process that adds beauty and much more substantial protection. After living with the maintenance of a cold blued imitation for over a year, I decided that I personally would not want blued or blackened furniture unless it was a true hot process requiring something like a sword to be disassembled at the time it is done.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, this is all just our different personal preferences. Happy

I think if I were to age a sword, I'd want to age it past gently used to faux-relic status. I'd bang it up, notch the edge a few times and bury it in dirt and light corrosives for a few months or longer. Then I'd stabilize it and clean it up and have something that looked several hundred years old.

For what it's worth, I keep my stuff oiled so it never really patinates much. I want to believe that if I were a knight, I'd be a rich one who could afford a couple of squires to care for my stuff. Happy

Happy

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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Carl W. wrote:
Takes some guts to ruin a perfectly good sword :-)


I agree too. I used several applications and got a Crecy Greate much darker than the posted photos on this Mercenary appear to show. Despite all repeated efforts, the cold chemical bluing (Perma Blue) did not really do much to improve rust resistance. The cold blued furniture required just as much oiling and care as the bare blade. Additionally, rubbing it to remove any start of rust formation tended to remove the bluing and expose bright shiny corners as it has been noted above that the polishing process tends to do.

A true hot bluing process (immersion in near boiling lye and salts) is a very different, and much more effective process that adds beauty and much more substantial protection. After living with the maintenance of a cold blued imitation for over a year, I decided that I personally would not want blued or blackened furniture unless it was a true hot process requiring something like a sword to be disassembled at the time it is done.


About 6 months ago I made a new blade for my Benchmade pocketknife out of O-1 tool steel, etched in vinegar and then cold blued it.
I carry the knife daily and use it frequently, usually just giving the blade a quick wipe on my shirt-tail to remove fingerprints before putting it away. Despite not being oiled much, it hasn't rusted or gotten an etched-in fingerprint yet and still has most of the finish after 6 months of fairly hard use. O-1 tends to rust very quickly in my workshop so I would say that the treatment has provided some protection from rust at least. I wonder if its effect varies depending on the steel alloy, or if the etch prior to blueing made a difference?
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:


About 6 months ago I made a new blade for my Benchmade pocketknife out of O-1 tool steel, etched in vinegar and then cold blued it. O-1 tends to rust very quickly in my workshop so I would say that the treatment has provided some protection from rust at least. I wonder if its effect varies depending on the steel alloy, or if the etch prior to blueing made a difference?


I am guessing that it does. I have a cable damascus and a separate linear damascus pocket knife. I switch and alternate carrying both. At all times, one of them is in my pocket. The cable damascus never seems to have rust issues. The linear one requires regular oiling and occasional touch up with gun cleaner. Eventually, I will have to re-etch it.

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicely done Jonathan. I did something similar to this Albion Senlac.


I applied cold bluing and then rubbed the furniture with an oily rag to achieve a darkened appearance. I tend to share Chads opinion on artificially aging swords so that wasn't my intention, but rather to give the sword a bit of detail and contrast.
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input.

I do something to nearly every sword I own, because to be honest, I don't carry any of them enough to actually wear on a patina. I take good care of them, and would prefer not to let any of them get enough dirt/grime on them to actually put on a permanant patina. I avoid rust/pitting at all costs, so the blue works for me. It looks good and its easier to take care of. However, I don't like the blue to be so dark that it's black, because that looks somewhat unnatural to me. Alot of the older Del Tin stuff has a finish just as dark as what I put on my Merc when they came new, and as an influence, I just learned to love that tone of grey metal over the highly polished pieces. If I can see my reflection in it, it does not really work for me. Once again, this is personal preference. Some like shiny, some like dull - neither is the correct way.

Perhaps if I were a collector, I'd keep my items in pristine shape. However, I use or wear my most of items out and about and they are never going to stay in pristine shape anyway. I just get a jump on the process. Big Grin

Like I said with my Merc, the worn details and stains in the light brown grip just did not seem to pop with a highly polished finish. I am happy with the contrast I achieved without overdoing it.

BTW, nice Senlac above there! I love it! Big Grin

J.E. Sarge
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 10:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Additionally, rubbing it to remove any start of rust formation tended to remove the bluing and expose bright shiny corners as it has been noted above that the polishing process tends to do.


Recently I have been bluing using a paste bluing compound diluted with water and applying it using a wetted scotch-bright type abrasive: What this does is that it blues and gently removes the blue at the same time and depending on how much one dilutes the bluing compound or how hard one rubs one get a mid to light grey bluing that looks more like a light patina that a deep blue: If one has to remove a spot of rust using the same technique makes it easy to blend it back into the rest of the finish so that the clean up of rust doesn't leave a bright spot.

I just like the dark to medium grey colour better than bright mirror polishes and I will do this to a Windlass, Generation2 or even to a Del tin but probably not to an Albion or a custom sword.

By the way the Del Tins seem to come with a grey finish that is covered with some sort of clear lacquer and is quite attractive as is but I prefer the similar finish I put on myself as well as sharpening the Del Tin.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 03 May, 2009 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
By the way the Del Tins seem to come with a grey finish that is covered with some sort of clear lacquer and is quite attractive as is but I prefer the similar finish I put on myself as well as sharpening the Del Tin.


The Del Tins I used to own darkened and turned a darker grey over time. I think it was just a natural thing. Fulvio used iron on some guards and pommels (and may still do so), and this could account for their different color and natural darkening.

The ones I bought had blades and hilts roughly the same color when I bought them. I noticed that even under the lacquer and even keeping them wiped down, they darkened over time.

Happy

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Eric W. Norenberg





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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Yeah, this is all just our different personal preferences. Happy

I think if I were to age a sword, I'd want to age it past gently used to faux-relic status


Hmmm... interesting, this comment and Mr. Cellini's pics of his DT 5143 in the same thread, just as I'm rehilting my 5143 for exactly that purpose. I really boogered (truly the most accurate technical term) this one up, back before I really understood and appreciated the character of a big sword like it. It's pretty significantly re-profiled, and sadly no longer structurally sound for any martial arts use, so I'm going for that fresh-out-of-the-crypt look. I figure I'll never be able to justify the expense of, or the denial of public/scholarly access to, an authentic item that ought to be in a proper collection, so this will be my placebo. I'll spin some wild yarn about it for the grandkids someday. Apologies in advance to all who will be offended - I promise that any astute person will be able to recognize it as a forgery.
-Eric
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Cellini wrote:
Nice Merc by the way! Here is mine. I was thinking about doing the same with mine but am still undecided.


Who made your scabbard, David? I like it! Big Grin

J.E. Sarge
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John Gnaegy





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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 9:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tried looking for mention of this in the reference section but perhaps I missed it or it hasn't been covered. How frequently were bluing or other metal treatments used on European swords? Has it been found on originals from certain eras or across a range of time periods? Was it applied primarily for aesthetics to nobles' weapons or was it more a commonly used practical rust preventative? I'd appreciate your learned input, I'm trying to decide on a treatment for a Type XVIIIe.
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any forged weapon will be technically blued after heat treatment. The blue/discolorations are removed during the polishing phase - which was (and is) a pretty time consuming process. So, in reality, I would speculate (if anyone can correct this assumption, please do) that more weapons had more of a blued/matte grey finish than a highly polished luster, especially if weapons were made and distributed quickly and there was not time to polish them properly.

I would assume that weapons made to a lesser standard were often more darker/blued in finish than those bought by nobility, who had the luxury of purchasing weapons finished to a higher standard.

Since I am assuming the historical context here, perhaps someone could chime in with some historical precedent here. I'd personally like to know a little more about it myself.

J.E. Sarge
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 2:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is still a good bit of grinding after heat treatment. Blades are not ground to sharp before the heat treatment. There are occasions where makers/smiths will leave a good amount of darkness and even scale but the norm is bright. Gus used to leave some fullers black as an option. That saved having to grind/polish them bright. To get an edge though, one needs to remove a good bit of metal after heat treating. Some blades do patina darker over time. Even the castings and forged fittings tend to get a good amount of work before a finish product. In the case of the fittings, there is no need other than crispness of lines. What we don't see of preserved swords is a great many that looked like they were not polished bright and that includes swords and blades across a great range of cultures.

Cheers

GC
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