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Artur Zima




Location: UK
Joined: 11 Apr 2016

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 12:59 pm    Post subject: Sword maintenance         Reply with quote

Hey all,

I have a quick question - today I have received a viking sword from Vladimir Cervenka (which is really great and if you're interested I can post some photos later), it is my first proper sword and I want to take good care of it.

I cleaned the sword and applied the renaissance wax but I'm wondering about the area where the fuller goes inside the guard, obviously I cannot apply the wax there properly and I'm not sure how likely it is for rust to form there.

Would you guys recommend to apply some oil (I have Ballistol oil which I believe should be suitable) in those empty spaces?

Thanks!
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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 69

PostPosted: Mon 08 Jan, 2018 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The wax should last for a long time if you don't run your hands along the blade very much. As for the gap between cross and blade: a droplet or two of Ballistol should last quite long. It should creep into all the crevices and distribute itself evenly within them. Since you're never going to touch that area you'll also not have to worry about reapplying oil there anytime soon once the layer is settled in.

I recently did some solo practice with my Swordmaker longsword in heavy snowfall (and thick fog the other night). After drying them off I put rather generous amounts of ballistol on the steel parts. Some snow (and of course condensed fog) had gotten into the recess so I dabbed it out as best I could with a piece of tissue paper and slipped a few droplets of Ballistol into the gap on both sides of the blade afterwards. If I recall correctly Ballistol also forms an emulsion with any leftover water, allowing it to evaporate eventually without harming the steel. Could be wrong on that count.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Jan, 2018 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tend to use good quality gun oil with a quick wipe on / Wipe off ofr the excess.

Renaissance wax seems to work well if the blade is " Untouched " but I'm not sure how durable and protective is the wax if the blade is handled too much.

I haven't had any rust problems with any of my swords even when stored in the scabbard for a long time as long as I applied some oil to the blade and fixtures.. ( Note many people have a different opinion or have had bad results storing swords in their scabbards ..... your millage might vary .... Wink ),

A wood core scabbard made of a wood that isn't acid is safer for longterm storage than a leather scabbard I think ?

Still good to check on the blades occasionally for rust. The micro climate in my house must be good because I rarely see any rust forming on any of my wood working tools in the basement even when I don't do anything special to protect them.

If you live in a very humid climate or a humid house rust can be more of a worry I think.


One thing that is really bad is putting a wet blade back into a scabbard as the humidity will stay in the scabbard for a long time.

This could happen with test cutting water filled bottles and putting the sword back into the scabbard if it's still a bit wet.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Tue 09 Jan, 2018 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe there are several "flavors" of Ballistol, but keep in mind the standard flavor was designed as a firearm lubricant/preservative and, this is important, SOLVENT. By virtue of its composition, it also will help protect wood and lubricate (and stain/darken) leather. As a solvent, it will react mildly (it is not an agressive solvent) with copper-based compounds such as brass and bronze. This is important in a firearm where materials like these foul the bore of the weapon. If you have brass or bronze components on your sword however, be advised that Ballistol might not be your friend in that instance.

As an aside, I've also used WD40 to polish brass, so that might also be something you want to be wary of concerning solvents.

Ballistol is a decent choice for work if you want a higher viscosity oil for your purpose (again, important in a firearm where you might use it like a grease against bearing surfaces), but I've not found that to be important in swords...

...My recommendation would be to use food-grade mineral oil on your sword to protect the metal parts, or the hard-to-reach ones. This should basically be non-reactive and shouldn't cause any forseeable problems unless you saturate the leather grip inordinately. Ballistol itself is mostly mineral oil, and it's why the product is advertised as "eco-friendly." Getting straight-up food-grade mineral oil will keep you away from any unwanted solvents, extra staining to the grip that may seep in from oiling the guard, and protect you from that love-it-or-hate-it smell that Ballistol is famous for.

Just my 2 cents.
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Gregory T Kallok




Location: Northern Virginia
Joined: 10 Jul 2017

Posts: 34

PostPosted: Wed 10 Jan, 2018 5:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For wood, leather and steel the only product you need is "Breakfree". It does all 3 incredibly well. Use it liberally then wipe off excess. Do not store sword in its scabard. Once a month or 2 wipe your sword down with it and after every time your sword is handled. Its the only product you really ,"need". ALBION swords uses it. I've used it since I can remember. Most important thing though is to use it! That high quality steel will rust quickly so after you take it outside and cut pumkins, hand sweat whatever get that rag with the Breakfree on it and wipe it down.Btw, once you get a good rag, I use a cut up old cotton t shirt, with a liberal coating, will stay good for a while. Just add a bit of BF it lightly moisten it. Grays on a real sword.They will spoil you!!
Keep your nose in the Wind and your eye on the skyline.
Del Q
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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Posts: 230

PostPosted: Wed 10 Jan, 2018 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While all the advice above is good advice.....

Since getting a couple on cans of Lanox, a heavy duty marine lubricant based on lanolin, I stopped using other protective measures on swords. It lasts a long time, longer than 10+ life cycles of gun oil applications. The protection it gives is not shortened by handling, cutting, etc... and works very well with scabbard stored swords. I keep mine in scabbards all the time, and rust is not part of my experience any more. The Lanox gets into the wood if its a wood core scabbard, and continues to protect. I bought the two cans 4 years ago, and it may be 10 years before I get into the second can. They are large spray cans with a spray straw like seen with WD40.

I initially looked for Lanox based on advice somewhere on this forum, if I remember correctly. The only place I found Lanox was online, ordered a couple, and won't go back to anything else...... this may also be a period accurate approach - there are data points that indicate lanolin may well have been the protection of choice in the swords eras of use.
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William Fox




Location: Great Britain
Joined: 05 Jan 2017
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Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu 11 Jan, 2018 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't disagree with the advice given here, but for me, the oil and method I use to clean a blade depends on the sword in question, and its value!
I own a 16th century Japanese sword that has a beautiful blade, last hand polished to a mirror finish by a master about 80 years ago. It was captured by a British officer in 1945. I would only use oil of cloves on this blade, and lightly clean and oil it once a year, if necessary.
In comparison I have a couple of Albion swords made in the past 10 years, with satin finish modern steel blades, that I sometimes use for practice cutting. These blades are unlikely to be ruined or devalued by me rubbing them with simicrome, brasso and smothering them in ballistol or gun grease.

My conclusion is that if the question is about preserving a blade from rust that you use for cutting, sparring etc, then all of the suggestions on this thread are good. If you are looking at what to do with a valuable antique sword, where a potential buyer would study every inch of the blade with a magnifying loop, then use something akin to clove oil, and clean with a very soft cloth, only when necessary. Remember, every time you wipe a blade you are polishing it and removing a microscopic layer.

A quick point on scabbards. A good scabbard should act like an airtight capsule. When a clean oiled blade in secured in a dry airtight scabbard, it can last for centuries in immaculate condition. Problems occur when some damp got in there at some point!

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger
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Artur Zima




Location: UK
Joined: 11 Apr 2016

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu 11 Jan, 2018 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your replies, all of this information is extremely useful!

On a similar note, I'm planning to make a stand for the sword and wanted to ask you what materials are best to use. From my research it seems that walnut with polyurethane varnish should be okay and not too corrosive since it will be in contact with the steel.

Let me know if I got this wrong or if you have any better recommendations.

Thanks!
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Ryan McLaurin




Location: California
Joined: 12 May 2008

Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri 12 Jan, 2018 12:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't post much as I'm more of a reader than a talker, but I thought I'd make an exception on this topic which comes up every so often. It looks like all the suggestions above are fine, but I thought I'd add my two cents.

I've been collecting swords for about 33 years now, and knives for about 43 years, and I've come to a few conclusions over that time. I think there are a number of considerations when storing your swords and/or other weapons. As was mentioned, the value of the weapon, whether it is purely monetary or has historical value, is a consideration. Obviously, if the sword is an antique, one should probably research preservation methods used or suggested by museums or other serious collectors.

Climate was also mentioned, and this is a pretty big consideration. I live in southern California, and the climate is very warm and dry, so my methods of maintaining weapons might not work well for someone who lives along the coast or in a humid climate. If you actually cut with your weapons rather than just "handle" them as I do, they will need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried afterward every time.

In the past, I've stored weapons oiled and wrapped in towels under my bed or in a closet, oiled and placed in a safe, and oiled and hanging on my walls. I never store them in sheaths or scabbards, though I know people who do, and it seems okay if the weapon is taken out and re-oiled every two or three months.

I no longer use oil because, no matter the brand or type, there is always a somewhat unpleasant smell (especially with Ballistol), it's messy (I've ended up with oil on my walls and floor), it can evaporate fairly quickly depending on the type of oil, and most importantly, IT ATTRACTS DIRT! The most important thing I've found in regards to proper storage is keeping the steel clean and dry. Dirt/dust, whatever it's composed of, can absorb moisture and hold it against the steel, causing light peppering. Another issue with Ballistol is that it leaves a visible film, which does't look good on a displayed weapon.......

This is going to sound silly, but pets are also a consideration. I've had both dogs and cats in my home, and I've found if my weapons were stored anywhere accessible to a curious damp dog or cat nose, expect to find a "nose" corrosion spot in short time. This has happened to me three times.......

It sounds like you intend to display your sword, which is what I do. For the past five years I've had around 40 weapons hanging on the walls of the one (and only one!) room in which my wife allows me to display them. None are oiled. In fact, I used alcohol to remove all the old oil from the metal. Instead of oil, I use wax. Specifically, Renaissance Wax. I coated all my pieces with this wax and found it lasts a very long time. Any time I take a weapon down, before I put it back, I wipe it off with a soft clean cloth with a small amount of wax. Once a year (at most), I take down every weapon at the same time and re-apply a small amount of wax just to make sure every one of them gets cleaned at least once a year. I have also used Ren Wax on the leather and wood components of my weapons and it seems to work fine.

I should add that I also used car paste wax in the past on my blades and absolutely DID NOT have the same excellent results I've had with Renaissance Wax. I'm not sure why, but the car wax did not seem to protect much at all, and I had several weapons develop pepper spots.

Geeze, it wasn't my intention, but I sound like a Ren Wax salesperson......
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Chris Godby




Location: Murrieta, CA
Joined: 11 Jan 2012

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Fri 12 Jan, 2018 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the purposes of storage or display I think Renaissance Wax is a great option. In the conservation work that I have done in a museum, all the armour and blades we worked with were coated with Renaissance Wax after cleaning. In my personal experience I have had excellent results as well.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Jan, 2018 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gregory T Kallok wrote:
For wood, leather and steel the only product you need is "Breakfree". It does all 3 incredibly well. Use it liberally then wipe off excess. Do not store sword in its scabard. Once a month or 2 wipe your sword down with it and after every time your sword is handled. Its the only product you really ,"need". ALBION swords uses it. I've used it since I can remember. Most important thing though is to use it! That high quality steel will rust quickly so after you take it outside and cut pumkins, hand sweat whatever get that rag with the Breakfree on it and wipe it down.Btw, once you get a good rag, I use a cut up old cotton t shirt, with a liberal coating, will stay good for a while. Just add a bit of BF it lightly moisten it. Grays on a real sword.They will spoil you!!


Well cutting any kind of fruit can cause some staining even if it's not rust: Many kinds of fruit juices can be used to deliberately make a patina on blades, so any fruit juices should be wiped off ASAP, maybe even after or between every test cut ?

Cut a tomato with a carbon steel blade and you can get almost instant staining, or at least staining if you turn around to do something else and get back to the knife blade a few minutes later.

Whatever rag you use to wipe a blade clean should be dedicated to doing only this and avoid getting any grit on it by using it for something else. ( Throw away if it gets contaminated with anything that might be abrasive ? ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Harry Marinakis




Location: Kingdom of Ęthelmearc
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Jan, 2018 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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