Tang care

How to restore antique arms & repair practice swords.

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Euan
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Tang care

Post by Euan » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:12 am

I've dismantled a sword to make a new handle for it and the tang has a fair bit of active rust on it.

What's the best way to treat/remove it without affecting the patina?

Is there anything I could or should be doing to it to protect it before the handle goes on? I read that the tang shouldn't be oiled.

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Image

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Peter Dekker
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Post by Peter Dekker » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:38 pm

Hi Euan,

The best you can do is to remove the active rust with steel and brass brushes. I use small toothbrush like ones that you normally use for car fuses. When brushing, you'll notice the active rust becomes red dust, which you can remove with a bigger and fairly stiff brush with plastic hairs.

(Actually this is my way for cleaning arrowheads for preservation, but it should be the same for tangs.)

You should leave the nice dark patina under that intact, so watch out especially with the steel brushes.

Good luck!

-Peter
Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.


-Bruce Lee

http://www.mandarinmansion.com
Antique Chinese Arms & Functional reproductions

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josh stout
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Post by josh stout » Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:23 am

I haven’t worked with a tang that is quite that red, but with slightly less oxidized examples I have used an oiled rag to work down to the black patina. It was easy and didn't take long. I know people say you should not oil a tang, but you can wipe off most of the oil afterwards, and I think this is less aggressive than Peter's method. If it doesn't work you could always go to brushes, but be very careful.

I think in traditional Japanese sword maintenance the little bit of oil left on the fingers after polishing is wiped on the tang. This provides a nice black patina, but is not considered "oiling" the tang. Working with small amounts of oil on the fingers, and a rag, I have had good results.
Josh
hidup itu silat, silat itu hidup

-Suhu

Euan
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Location: Stirling, UK

Post by Euan » Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:34 am

Thanks for the suggestions.
I ended up using a combination of the two techniques brushes/oil.
The patina was a lot tougher than I had anticipated.
It has cleaned up OK but there are still suface blisters which probably contain more active rust.
I'm not sure whether to leave them alone or not?

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Peter Dekker
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Post by Peter Dekker » Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:51 am

Hi,

Can you show us a picture of these "blisters"? I am not quite sure what you mean.

-Peter
Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.


-Bruce Lee

http://www.mandarinmansion.com
Antique Chinese Arms & Functional reproductions

http://www.manchuarchery.org
Fe Doro - Manchu Archery

josh stout
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Post by josh stout » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:02 pm

The best I can see from the pictures is that there is some of the original black scale from forging left on the tang. If the bumps or blisters you see are in the scale, and you can't pop them with your fingernail, they may be lumps in the scale from the original forging.
Josh
hidup itu silat, silat itu hidup

-Suhu

Euan
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Location: Stirling, UK

Post by Euan » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:51 am

I think you are right about the blisters being scale. I was a bit thrown that one or two of them did pop
It's a steep learning curve!
here is a pic
Image

Slightly off topic, here's the finished article (my first full blown polish etc on an antique)
Image
Image
Image

HomoCaballus
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Post by HomoCaballus » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:13 pm

Buenas Euan,

If you plan on excersizing with the sword you may want to treat the tang with a chemical inhibitor of the active rust to at least stop it losing even more strength. Musea use p.e. an alkaline sulphite.
Even than you may need to use a strong adhesive in the hilt assembly to restore some of the lost integrity.

Enjoy your blade.

petrus

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