I found this 1943 dated British machete a few days ago in a small junkshop. It is in pretty good condition with a solid handle and some remains of green paint, and actually quite sharp. But it also had a few areas of rust (the cancerous sort) so I decided to clean the blade.
The scabbard was dirty with the seam burst open around the tip and partway on the back, and the hanger had been cut off. After I washed it with some mild handsoap and a nailbrush and let it dry overnight, it turned out the leather is actually in a very decent condition and I started treating it with a good quality leather cream.
Some pics as I got the set:
I've been wanting to try electrolysis to clean rusty metal for a while now, and this seemed to be a good opportunity to try it out. So in the bucket it went. The brownish tint actually comes from the dissolved rust:
After a total of about 4 1/2 hours in the solution most of the rust and paint was gone. After a quick rinse I used some sandpaper for the last spots, then I finished it with some steel wool, and now it looks like this:
I think it came out quite good. I'll preserve it by wiping it with some WD40 or some other oil.
As for the scabbard, I think I will remove the 3 rivets that are holding the remains of the hanger and make a new one from a suitable piece of leather that I'll then pop-rivet back in place. I intend to actually use this set for re-enactment and the split seam doesn't affect the usability. Quite happy with it, for a decent price.