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Stan Kittrell




Location: Pamlico Beach, North Carolina
Joined: 03 Oct 2017

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 15 Nov, 2017 6:11 am    Post subject: Restoration advice?         Reply with quote

I am jumping the gun on this because I haven't received the sword yet, but I have purchased a Reeves 1853 pattern cavalry sword and am waiting on it's arrival. I bought it at a good price. It is solid and in good shape except for the handle which has some damage. Photos are attached.

I may try to restore the handles myself and if I feel I am unable to do it correctly, I will send it off to a restorer to be rehandled. I would like for the handles to be as original as possible.

My questions are: Do you know of any books on sword restoration, specifically restoration of handles, grips, etc. ?
Also, do you have any recommendations on sword restoration companies in the U.S.?

i will also do some cleaning on the blade and guard, but I am not trying to get the sword back into it's original condition, but a presentable functional condition. The scabbard is in pretty rough shape with some small holes corroded into it, but I plan to just leave that as it is.

Any help, ideas, recommendations and/or advice will be appreciated.



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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,197

PostPosted: Wed 15 Nov, 2017 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I wouldn't restore it at all unless you intend to use it. Stabilise it so it doesn't deteriorate any further and leave it at that.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Wed 15 Nov, 2017 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It seems like most 1853 grips deteriorate and I have yet to see someone that has offered replacement grips.

Dan is spot on, unless determined to make it a using sword (ie cutting practice). I use Pecards antique leather formula
https://www.pecard.com/product/antique-leather-dressing/

I have been working on a six oz tub for more than a decade, It does darken leather but does nourish and stabilize grips. I would look at most antiques from a conservation vs restoration aspect,

Cheers

GC
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Stan Kittrell




Location: Pamlico Beach, North Carolina
Joined: 03 Oct 2017

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 15 Nov, 2017 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Dan and Glenn. I will try the leather preservative. The leather on this sword is damaged from water. Once I get it I will be able to see how bad the damage is and if it is falling apart. Thanks for taking the time to give me your advice.
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Fri 17 Nov, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree. As a collector of antique swords, restoration or replacement of parts and removal of original surfacing or grips doesn't help the value, if that is a concern.

There was a pair of nice 19th century duelling pistols at an antique arms fair two years ago that a lot of people were looking at but the person had restored the case hardened and browned parts of the metalwork and buyer after buyer looked at them and said they're nice but ..... and moved on.

Museum wax and a good quality oil I think unless you are intending to use it for practice and sacrifice the antique piece aspects of it.
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Daniel Parry




Location: UK
Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 185

PostPosted: Fri 17 Nov, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should say museum wax is for the metal parts not the leather. A good leather balm is what I use on scabbards on the smallswords I have which still have their original scabbards. Also be careful if there is any blueing or other surface treatment on the sword as some oils, like break free oils, are not good for those types of surface decoration.
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Stan Kittrell




Location: Pamlico Beach, North Carolina
Joined: 03 Oct 2017

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri 17 Nov, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Daniel. The value is not an issue for me. I do not plan on reselling it and I got it at a low price because of it's condition. This pattern is pretty common and from what I have read most of these grips have some damage to them, although the damage to these grips is pretty severe.. But I agree that replacing the grips probably would take away from the history of this sword. After it is delivered I will have to do some serious thinking on how to proceed. Thank you again for taking time to give me some advice.
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,218

PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2017 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Dan...do as little as you have to, to stabilize the grip and then leave it alone.

A couple of years ago, I acquired a Winchester Model 1894 rifle with octagon barrel. This is not a rare gun but it was in perfect mechanical condition. The bluing was missing from the receiver and there were a lot of handling marks. The bluing on the barrel was about 75%. The wood was original, with lots of handling marks and someone had drilled holes in the fore end and the butt stock for sling hardware. Anyway, the screws retaining the butt stock were loose but I was able to tighten them up easily and they have stayed tight. It came with what may be the original leather case for the rifle. The good folks at the Buffalo Bill Firearms Museum in Cody, WY, told me the gun was made in 1905. Other than applying some oil on the metal and tightening the two screws, I have done nothing else to the rifle.

Any way, a friend said I should re-blue the metal parts and refinish or perhaps replace the wood and make it into a shooter. In fact the gun, which I bought for $500, if I decide to sell it, in its current condition, is probably worth $1500 - $2000. I have seen one offered by a local gun shop for a price in that range, which is not in as good condition as mine. I know you said that did not plan to sell your sword but you may change your mind at some time. Had I done what my friend said I should have, as far as restoration, I would probably get half the figure just quoted. In my case, I would have had to pay someone to do the work for me, had I restored it.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Stan Kittrell




Location: Pamlico Beach, North Carolina
Joined: 03 Oct 2017

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sat 18 Nov, 2017 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Lin. I tend to agree with you. i have seen many restored swords online and there are sword restorers in England. I was thinking that swords from the 19th century that were in particularly bad shape would benefit from restoration, but not earlier swords. I was thinking that 19th century swords would not lose value from repairing severe damage such as these grips but I am a total novice as far as sword collecting goes and just starting to learn. I have collected firearms for a long time and Randall knives and a few other custom knives such as H.G. Bourne, but I am coming into sword collecting with no experience or knowledge. I appreciate your advice and the time you took to share it with me.

P.S. Good to hear from another Tarheel.
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Stan Kittrell




Location: Pamlico Beach, North Carolina
Joined: 03 Oct 2017

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed 29 Nov, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My 1853 Pattern Cavalry sword was delivered today. The scabbard and grips were in much better condition than what I had expected from the description and photos provided on Easton Antiques website. The scabbard is heavily pitted but is very solid. I was expecting it to be falling apart. The grips are deteriorated, but are very solid. I am very happy with it. The British Cavalry soldiers may have complained about it but I'm not.


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