Monday, December 11, 2006

Cleaning up Swords...The Bell, part1

One of the more difficult jobs which come through the armoury is sword repair. Difficult and rewarding. Lots of different skills involved. It moves away from the job of "cutler" into the realm of "jeweler". In this case, I shall show the process involved in repairing the "bell" of a Firman made Military Sword. This sword is actually "in service" as part of the ceremonial functions of soldiers based in Ottawa.
(note... Firman is one of several companies which competed for the limited military sword market, but like the more famous "Wilkinson Sword Company", they are now no longer in business. Can't get 'em any more, you have to fix 'em!)

These swords are fine...they just get a little battered around. I have fished out cigarette butts out of the scabbards, and straightened scabbards which got caught in car doors and staircase spindles. Straightforward if somewhat finicky repairs. The Bell is the nicest part of the sword. The hand guard of the sword is called the "bell", and the first step to repairing it is to take the sword apart. A simple nut holds the whole mechanism together....back it off and everything falls into your hands. Rust, dents and other damage can make this simple stage into a nightmare, so be careful.

The top picture is my tool of choice for this job. A square warding file. Used originally for locks, warding files are a little larger than jeweler's files, and smaller than your average metal working file. I use such a file to deepen the lines in surface of the workpiece. The second pic down shows the damage...the dents, gouges and scratches which I must repair. The third pic down shows the deepened lines. Deepening the lines takes about two hours. Click on these images to see them full size.

Once the lines have been deepened, I can start sanding off the dents and scratches. This removes most if not all of the plating. I used to do this by hand with sanding blocks, I now use an unusual motor mounted wheel made from sand impregnated cardboard. Very expensive, and very quick. This will take a lot of metal away in a hurry, and if I had not deepened some of those lines, they would now vanish!

The bottom pic shows the inside. It needs to be done too.

1 comment:

Lip Germ said...

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you Stag.