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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 17 Nov, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: How did medieval men take scratches out of their swords?         Reply with quote

After battle or maybe practice, swords get scratches. I use scotchbrite heavy duty and a bit of CLP oil. After running it down the blade relatively lightly about 10 times or more, it usually does a pretty good job of taking light scratches out.

They didn't have scotchbrite 1000 years ago so if known what techniques did they use to cleanup their steel?
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Mon 17 Nov, 2014 9:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artwork suggests they had leather strops which were presumably used with some kind of abrasive.
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Mon 17 Nov, 2014 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
Artwork suggests they had leather strops which were presumably used with some kind of abrasive.


By any chance do you have a link to some of this artwork? I'm wondering if they took the sword to the strop or the strop to the sword and how exactly they ran it down the blade, or the blade down the strop.
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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Tue 18 Nov, 2014 12:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking at museum swords it seems they didn't much if ever, i'm guessing they would have the sword re-sharpened and polished every now and again and that by default would remove the scratches.
But on an everyday or use basis? No way... its just to time consuming for any real benefit.
Now taking care of the edge that's another story, but an edge ( or two ) can't compare to an entire sword!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,820

PostPosted: Tue 18 Nov, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Abrasives were and are everywhere.

Cheers

GC
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Tue 18 Nov, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I attached a pic of the strops for you. Scotchbrite is more efficient but strops are effective. They also had large stone wheels of the type that were used in the cutlery industry well into the 19th c for shaping and sharpening. Polished swords cut better and that's probably got something to do with why we hear so many old stories about legendary swords shining brightly in the so and so forth. The blade doesn't have to be mirror polished all the time or anything like that but every bit helps a little, people have done experiments with modern paints that have engineered-in lubricants and have noticed a boost to their cutting performance. The H/T's will cut better if you polish them up a bit, too. Oh yeah, polished surfaces resist rust a little better as well.


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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Wed 19 Nov, 2014 1:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

there are refs (although not to hand) of various mills renting out grinding stones for use by cutlers. Winchester springs to mind, its mentioned in a dig report. What type of gringding, rough, middling or finishing/re-polishing isn't mentioned.
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Fri 21 Nov, 2014 11:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
I attached a pic of the strops for you. Scotchbrite is more efficient but strops are effective. They also had large stone wheels of the type that were used in the cutlery industry well into the 19th c for shaping and sharpening. Polished swords cut better and that's probably got something to do with why we hear so many old stories about legendary swords shining brightly in the so and so forth. The blade doesn't have to be mirror polished all the time or anything like that but every bit helps a little, people have done experiments with modern paints that have engineered-in lubricants and have noticed a boost to their cutting performance. The H/T's will cut better if you polish them up a bit, too. Oh yeah, polished surfaces resist rust a little better as well.


Oh whoa, that's very interesting. Too think there would be an old drawing of even the cleaning of a sword too. Very good Happy
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Ryan A. Currier





Joined: 03 Jan 2011

Posts: 50

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2014 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting stuff! And here I am over here just worrying about my edge and deep mars... So... I can gain more performance with a higher polish maybe? I'll have to dingy up some swords that I know how to cut with and then polish them bright and test this out. I expect it to be more up to me then the polish..... but it is interesting all the same. Cool ^^
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 960

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2014 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan A. Currier wrote:
Interesting stuff! And here I am over here just worrying about my edge and deep mars... So... I can gain more performance with a higher polish maybe? I'll have to dingy up some swords that I know how to cut with and then polish them bright and test this out. I expect it to be more up to me then the polish..... but it is interesting all the same. Cool ^^

Note that the difference is very small, even marginal. Unless your technique is very precise and consistent (or your blade very roughly finished to start with Happy) you probably won't notice much of an effect because other factors will completely overwhelm it.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Wed 31 Dec, 2014 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It can add up to more than you might think though depending on the target. For instance on tatami a mittelhau is harder to perform as cleanly as a zornhau because of the extra friction of the mat pressing down against the blade rather than falling away. In real world terms it would be a marginal gain but it is noticeable.
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