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To clean or not to clean that is the question.

Article about: Hi everyone, I had been debating whether or not to clean my 2nd model luft for a few months after I got it, when it arrived although I was pleased with it there was a lot more rust and dirt

  1. #1

    Default To clean or not to clean that is the question.

    Hi everyone, I had been debating whether or not to clean my 2nd model luft for a few months after I got it, when it arrived although I was pleased with it there was a lot more rust and dirt on it than I thought there would be. I eventually took the decision to clean it and im really pleased with the result, I didn't clean it excessively I still left patina in the recesses which made the pattern stand out more and now I can see a load more detail and hand enhancement on every part of the dagger which I would never have seen if I hadn't cleaned it. A lot of collectors hate the idea of cleaning a dagger and ive read in other threads that it depreciates the value of the dagger which I think is strange if the condition and look is improved. When people post pics of their daggers that are in mint condition other people will comment how good it looks and what fantastic condition its in so people seem to like this look. I myself would only clean a dagger if I thought it really needed it as I do like the old and patina look. What do you guys think, would you ever clean a dagger to improve its look or condition, or to stop it rotting away.

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  3. #2
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    Personally have never cleaned or polished a blade, hilt or components on any of my dress daggers. In the past my grandfather and I would take the end of a stag horn and gently rub off active surface rust on a salty piece of Militaria but most of the time if I even brought up ever cleaning a piece I got my mouth slapped or washed out with soap. Glad it worked for you and would be interested in seeing how you cleaned. I love untouched and Un cleaned. It is always tempting to want things shiny and spiffed up but I resist and keep things as found. You are correct to always keep Patina and not hog or over clean any dagger or edged weapon.


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  4. #3
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    I personally wouldn't clean a dagger, unless it was to the point where you could do nothing to the piece to devalue it any more. Some pieces can be cleaned and are done well and I too hope that it went well for you. Would love to see before and after pictures if you have them.

  5. #4

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    Thanks guys for your replies, I cleaned the rust off the scabbard by gently brushing it with a old soft tooth brush taking care not to use too much pressure so I didn't take any of the plating off, most of it was powdery so it brushed off ok then I cleaned it gently with simichrome and a soft cloth. The scabbard bands, crossguard and pommel are unplated aluminium so I knew I would not cause any damage by rubbing these, I used one of those sponges what you use to clean your dishes, they have a soft sponge with a rougher strip on the top and this was just rough enough to clean some of the patina off without scratching the surface, again I took care not to clean all of the patina off, then I finished again with a gentle clean with simichrome. I wouldn't do this with any other dagger but the rust was bugging me on the scabbard and I knew I could clean the aluminium parts without doing any damage, I wouldn't recommend doing this to a dagger where theres a risk of rubbing the plating off but the 2nd luft is easy to clean with it being unplated aluminium. I don't have any before pics but il post some after ones in the luft section later.

  6. #5

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    When a collector asks if he should "clean" an item, it usually meets with shudders. One has to point out the distinction between cleaning a dagger & conserving a dagger. As far as taste goes, to each his own but with respect to rust or corrosion, I think there is no sin in removing such things. Cleaning something removes dirt, grime & a beautiful patina that has taken decades to acquire, but rust will only destroy so I think it is a good thing to stop any corrosive.

  7. #6
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    So agree on the rust issue.


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  8. #7
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    Quote by Rossi View Post
    So agree on the rust issue.

    Clean rust & corrosion then protect, also remember verdigris eats metal as well


    leave patina if its not going to eat metal

  9. #8

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    Whether to clean or not to clean is always a difficult thing to decide. Anything that reaches the point where you have to make decisions on what to do with it has only got to that stage because of neglect. If you don't clean, then you are only adding to the problem caused by previous owners. I have a Jager zu Pferde helmet which is a classic example of what can be done with a little care. The helmet is a genuine WW1 veteran bring-back, which over the years had been sadly neglected. The whole of the outside of the helmet had completely rusted over - although this was only light. Instead of looking black it looked light brown. After gently cleaning with fine wire wool and liquid furniture polish the rust was completely removed - once more revealing the gun-blue like finish to the helmet. properly looked-after, it will last for many more years to come.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  10. #9
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    It depends what you mean by "clean". I never clean patina. That's what gives a pieces that certain je ne sais quoi. It's something that only Mother Nature can do right. As for the blade, absolutely. The blade has often been called the heart of a dagger/bayonet. By using a good non abrasive cleaner to remove finger prints, smudges and surface rust, you are preserving it. This, followed by a coat of wax, will ensure that the heart goes on beating for a long time.

  11. #10

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    Just posted pics in the Luftwaffe section under the heading, My cleaned but not overly cleaned alcoso 2nd model luft.

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