Hi Roshan,Hi John!
Let me tell you the condition of my sword in a nutshell -
1. There is a considerable amount of pitting, and stains (blackish) on the blade.
2. I'm told that someone had tried to clean/remove the rust with a chemical of some sort. This chemical has formed a whitish hand layer of its own.
3. The handle is made of iron. Almost the entire handle is covered in gold (floral patters), but where the iron is exposed, its heavily rusted.
4. The handle of the dagger and the sharpening tool are made of bone. I think the chemical that was used had come in contact with the bone and stained it. Can something be done about this too...?
Please excuse the hassle, but I dearly want to restore this sword.
Thanks and regards,
I've been waiting to hear from you - I wondered if perhaps you'd gone away for a few days.
The problem with using a chemical rust remover near gold is that the acid will react with the impurities in the cold and change the colour. This can vary considerably depending on what else there is in the gold but it will be black or dark greenish black. This colour is permanent so DO NOT use chemical rust removers on gold ( or silver ) or anywhere near a precious metal. Another problem with rust removers is that because of the acid content when applied to rust they will also etch the metal around the rusted area. I try to avoid using chemical rust removers as much as possible but when I do need to use one I use Birchwood Casey Gun Blue Remover and clean it off very quickly.
For the rust on the handle of handle of the sword cover the whole hilt with a light machine oil such as WD-40, 3 in 1 or Singer Sewing machine oil. Allow the oil to soak in to all the rust until it is uniformly dark. It`s best to reapply the oil a few times over three or four hours. Then soak a clean absorbant cloth in the same oil - old fashioned yellow cotton dusters are ideal - and gently wipe the handle taking off the rusty brown oil. You`ll need several cloths as this makes a hell of a mess. When no more rusty oil comes off the hilt, wipe off the rest of the film of oil so that the hilt is dry. Then with some dry 400 ( or higher ) grade emery cloth, LIGHTLY rub the dark scale that is left. ALWAYS work straight up and down, from top to bottom. This light abrading will take the top off the remaining scale and you`ll probably see brown rust again. If you do, soak with oil again and repeat the process. Keep doing this until no brown rust appears.
You`ll then have a lightly polished hilt but with black marks in the pits. Now take some fine steel wool or 400 grade emery cloth and apply a little light oil on it - NOT WD-40 ( WD-40 is too thin to lubricate adequately - and start rubbing at all the black pits but remember only to work straight up and down. Keep working until most of the black has gone. You`ll have to decide at some stage just how black you are prepared to tolerate as you probably wont be able to remove all of it. Remember that as you are abrading the iron you are also abrading the gold inlay which is much softer and much thinner than the iron. Then polish with 800 grade emery cloth (and oil) and then 1200 grade.
For the blade you will have to use much the same procedure. If the pitting is very bad you will have to start with 320 grade or even 240 grade. The only way that you can completely remove deep pits is to grind the blade down......which is probably not a good idea. For final polishing after using the 1200 grade emery cloth you will have to use jewellers rouge and a clean cloth. This is bloody hard work ! You should be able to source jewellers rouge quite easily - I know that there are plenty of jewellers in India. If you have a problem sourcing it try toothpaste - but be careful as some toothpastes are actually quite coarsely abrasive. When the sword
is as good as you can get it you`ll need to apply a protective film over the whole sword. Linseed oil is quite good but like all oil it will be removed by handling. A better idea is to use a wax-oil. You can make this very easily by heating a pint/half litre of light petroleum based motor oil (not a synthetic or semi-synthetic) (Plain 10 or 15 grade is best) and melting half an ordinary paraffin wax candle into it - just drop it into the pan with the oil. Allow to cool - it should be the thickness of emulsion paint. If too thick you`ll have to re-heat and add more oil. Hang the sword by the hilt outside in the sun and thinly wipe on with a clean brush and then let it drip dry. The coating should be extremely thin - barely visible. If the wax-oil is too thick you`ll see lumps form. Then you`ll have to clean it off and thin the wax-oil a little more.
You should never touch an untreated blade with your bare fingers as the acids in sweat will mark the blade eventually. To clean off a bone or horn handle you`ll need to abrade the surface with 800 grade emery cloth - 1200 is even better if you have the patience - but don`t touch the bone with your fingers - it needs to be grease free. This will remove some of the staining. You then need to apply peroxide to the stain using a cotton bud. Treat a very small area - less than the size of your little finger nail - at a time. When the staining has disappeared - or as much as it is going to - wipe off the bone with a clean damp cloth. When it has dried wipe it again - with a different part of the cloth or another cloth. Do this four or five times. You then need to wipe the bone with the clearest, lightest VEGETABLE oil that you can find. You can use clean, white animal fat if you prefer. The darker the oil you use, the darker the bone will colour.
If you have any questions, just ask. As you can see, none of this is complicated, just slow and hard work.
P.S. Something that I forgot to say is that instead of jewellers rouge ( or toothpaste ! ) you can use `T Cut` which is a proprietary product used to `cut` the bloom on automobile paint. A good product and one that costs little but goes a long way.