start of restauration project - antique tulwar

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start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 26 May 2016 21:43

Hello all,
I recently bought an antique from Mr Easton at a very modest price. It's a shamshir blade mounted on a tulwar hilt with nice silver koftgari overlay, which is great because I love both tulwars and shamshirs!

Image

The hilt is in quite nice condition with the majority of the koftgari remaining.

Image

The blade is in pretty decent condition at the forte and foible

Image

The middle of the blade and the point... not so good :D

Image
Image


Now, Matt did quite a bit of cleaning of the hilt already, so I only had to finish that up.
I was especially delighted when I cleaned up the pommel disk, as it looked pretty hopeless to me at first.

Image

Although I told myself (and Matt) I would hold back on removing material from the blade for now, the point really offended me so I did some basic reshaping.

Image

Also my secret hope, when purchasing the sword, was that due to the characteristic shape of the blade there might be persian wootz damascus steel hiding under all that rust and neglect, so I did polish out a small window, did a test etch with Fe3CL: Et voila!

Image

Now, to me this calls for a complete repolish and reetching of the blade, unfortunately polishing a sword blade deeper than a surface polish is still beyond my capabilities at the moment, so that will have to wait until I get a bit more experience in this regard and until I have made up my mind how much removal of material I can justify to myself.

Lastly I need some advice, the hilt is a bit loose and I want to refix it. I tried to heat it in boiling water, but it was not hot enough. My next idea was to put the pommel directly on the hot plate of my stove, and it seemed to work at first because I didn't feel any more movement, but when the hilt cooled off, the blade started wriggling again. At what temperature does the resin really start to melt? I'd rather not take a blow torch to the hilt.

And that's it for now, any comments and advice are most welcome

best regards

Gernot
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby MattS » 26 May 2016 23:28

That's a pretty sword! You'd better post completed shots :D

You can GENTLY heat the pommel directly with a blowtorch until the pitch starts to melt, and then push it all in place and let it cool.

It may not help, but have a look at my tulwar restoration threat, it might have some helpful techniques in it.
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 31 May 2016 17:41

Sorry for the late reply MattS, rough weekend at work.
Actually I read your tulwar restoration thread quite a while ago, and it factored into my decision to try my hand at restoring a neglected antique myself.

I don't want to overload the thread with pictures so here are links to some close up pictures I took of the sword.

Before pictures
Full sword:
http://imgur.com/brAtOGn
Hilt front side:
http://imgur.com/kLkWmYk
http://imgur.com/sRza0EG
http://imgur.com/beKxgTQ
http://imgur.com/UnmRXcE
Hilt back side:
http://imgur.com/DFHKSbi
http://imgur.com/KdN8dGG
http://imgur.com/eENH6gb
Hilt close up:
http://imgur.com/fedUlJo
Side view of hilt:
http://imgur.com/kfQ9W3I
inside of knuckle bow:
http://imgur.com/8X7K4ku
outside of knuckle bow:
http://imgur.com/xdRfpfu
blade insert:
http://imgur.com/TYxFZYf
underside of the pommel disk:
http://imgur.com/xHQ5EYS
http://imgur.com/HHT3O7h
top of pommel:
http://imgur.com/fVLVzxW
http://imgur.com/IS6VEkf
Blade front side:
http://imgur.com/8aN5tfw
http://imgur.com/F7xtcVl
http://imgur.com/oo7y03p
http://imgur.com/SkKxFWN
http://imgur.com/Okdbbhg
http://imgur.com/eAPY5bv
http://imgur.com/FoU3Jx7
Blade back side:
http://imgur.com/a3XIheB
http://imgur.com/LHpcPJd
http://imgur.com/YBlsnQX
http://imgur.com/9CTGuwa
http://imgur.com/WA5ArAV

after pictures (not a lot of those for now, as I only cleaned the rest of the hilt and did a prelimenary reshaping of the point)

inside of the knuckle bow:
http://imgur.com/tcq6S9f
top of pommel:
http://imgur.com/AoE5wuK
underside of the pommel:
http://imgur.com/YUiEZiJ
http://imgur.com/L4SBHFl
point:
http://imgur.com/SmUpxeV
window etching:
http://imgur.com/zgiIDw2

As for fastening the hilt, I gave it another try with the hot plate and managed to melt the resin. Unfortunately I did not heat it evenly and it only melted at the blade insert, so now it is even looser than before! I think I will hold off for now, because when I finally start polishing the blade, I think I'll dismount the blade anyway.

Cheers
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby MattS » 01 Jun 2016 13:26

gepi wrote:Actually I read your tulwar restoration thread quite a while ago, and it factored into my decision to try my hand at restoring a neglected antique myself.


Mr Easton, do you offer a finder's fee? :lol:
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby admin » 05 Jun 2016 08:48

That's wonderful! It's amazing to see that pattern - it looks like a really nice complex one. I felt sure that with that form of blade it would probably be wootz. What acid did you use?
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby admin » 05 Jun 2016 08:52

Incidentally, I think you've made the right decision regarding the point - I think I would file it down a bit more even. For the blade surface I think fine wet and dry sandpaper is the best way to go, rubbing in little circles first dry then wet. The trick with wootz seems to be to not buff before etching - I normally buff European blades with a felt wheel and polishing paste if I'm going to go for full restoration, but it seems that if you polish that much on a wootz blade then it impedes the etching results. You need to open the grain apparently and polishing to fine closes the surface off to the acid. That's what people say anyway….
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 05 Jun 2016 16:39

admin wrote:That's wonderful! It's amazing to see that pattern - it looks like a really nice complex one. I felt sure that with that form of blade it would probably be wootz. What acid did you use?


It's beautiful isn't it? I used 10% ferric chloride solution to etch the blade. I would have rather tried nital, because that is the etchant favoured by Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, who is very knowledgeable about these kind of swords, but it seems a little unsafe to me. It seems to be quite a volatile substance, although in low concentrations it's supposed to be safe. I'm not taking any chances though, because im pretty clueless in chemical matters, and with Fe(III)Cl you just have to be careful not to get it on your skin or in your eyes (and don't inhale any chlorine gas of course).

The reshaping of the point is still a work in progress. Problem is I also want to sharpen it a bit, not to fine, because the edge won't be stable then with all of the pitting, but at the moment it's of course quite thick. I don't yet really know how to go about it. The blade has a wedge cross section and no secondary bevel, so I'll have to sacrifice a few knives first and get some practice, so I don't mess up the blade geometry on the sword.

As for polishing well, the question is how much of the surface can reasonably be restored, the pitting is quite deep for the most part and will have to stay, but I at least want to get rid of all the scratches and perhaps some shallow pitting, and I'll probably need to go down to quite a low grit, about 120 I would guess, to achieve that.
I polished the window etch up to 2000 grit and it still etched very nicely, this seems to be not true for all blades as can be seen in this video, by Dr. Khorasani:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJNfm6J ... ruDwQGxTqp
(skip to the 34 min. mark :D)

Anyway, new updates will come slowly. I will take my time, because I don't want to make any mistakes that cannot be corrected.

Cheers
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby MattS » 07 Jun 2016 11:44

gepi wrote:with Fe(III)Cl you just have to be careful not to get it on your skin or in your eyes

That's good advice for all acid :D

One of the most important things to remember when you're diluting acids too is that you add acid to water to bring it up to the concentration you want. NEVER do it the other way, if you add water to acid that can cause a very energetic reaction.

Depending on the country you live in you might struggle to get your hands on anything nitric acid based (unless it's a really low dilution), because it's an explosive pre-cursor. I know that in the UK you need a licence to buy and own it. Historically though it does seem to have been on the preferred etching acids, I've seen it mentioned in armour making too.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this project turns out!
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 25 Nov 2017 12:01

Well, time flies...
I can't believe it has been more than a year since I started this, but life kept getting in the way. But now I am finally done :D


I removed quite a bit of material from the blade, but not enough to threaten its integrity. Quite a bit of deep pitting has remained as I thought, but still I think the result is a marked improvement. I polished the blade up to 2000 grit.

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blank2.jpg
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I etched with oxalic acid, which gave a really nice result. The wootz pattern is top quality with some random ladder pattern, prob. 18th century, with a very noticable differentially hardened edge.

pattern.jpg
pattern.jpg (192.77 KiB) Viewed 181 times
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 25 Nov 2017 12:08

There are some areas along the edge with didn't take the etching, which seems to be a flaw in the heat treatment, which I had confirmed from some wootz experts on the bladesmith forum.

flaws1.jpg
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flaws2.jpg
flaws2.jpg (237.88 KiB) Viewed 181 times


I could not reattach the hilt with the orginial resin, because it became quite crumbly and didn't want to melt, but rather started burning up, so I had to discard it and reattach the hilt with cutler's resin, which works just fine.

hiltattached.jpg
hiltattached.jpg (210.02 KiB) Viewed 181 times
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 25 Nov 2017 12:14

And finally some dramatic poses:

downbladeblue.jpg
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upblade.jpg
upblade.jpg (215.53 KiB) Viewed 181 times


shiny.jpg
shiny.jpg (222.68 KiB) Viewed 181 times



Thank your for your time.
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby StoneDog » 25 Nov 2017 22:00

That is a gorgeous piece of metal you've got there.
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby gepi » 28 Nov 2017 21:12

Thanks! But... did someone perchance kill this forum, while I was away? :D
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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby admin » 01 Dec 2017 22:01

What a fantastic job! Well done and thanks for sharing photos.
(And yes the forum is rather dead now, as basically everyone migrated to Facebook)
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: start of restauration project - antique tulwar

Postby StoneDog » 02 Dec 2017 19:12

admin wrote:What a fantastic job! Well done and thanks for sharing photos.
(And yes the forum is rather dead now, as basically everyone migrated to Facebook)

But FB is evil..... It nearly ate my life anyway :oops:
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