Sword Care

Sword and Weapon care

We have gotten a few questions from folks on care and maintenance lately so thought we could look over how to keep our weapons at their best. Our items have all the attributes of the originals they are based on. Good care and use will keep your piece like new for many years and there is no reason you should not hand it down to generations to come. It also means a little attention now can prevent a tough job of refinishing in the future.

Wipe with oil after use.

The care and maintenance of these items should be just as authentic as the item. The steel blades should not be stored in their leather sheaths unless the leather is infused with oil, such as Neatsfoot or Mink Oil. Untreated leather can hold moisture longer than the air around it, this moisture may condense on the blade when a change in temperature occurs. Any steel weapon should be stored in a dry area after a thorough oiling with a medium viscosity oil, such as most gun or sewing machine oils, 3 in 1 Oil, mineral oil or what we use, Zepreserve. If the piece is on display, it should be wiped down after any handling. Our skin oil has salts which are rather corrosive. They will leave rusty fingerprints within a few hours. Dust may allow oxygen to penetrate the oil to the steel and thereby corrode your weapon, so a periodic dusting and re-oil is a good idea. Please choose a wipe on oil, as many spray-on oils will evaporate quickly. As with any collection, regular maintenance will help to ensure that your weapon remains at its best.

If the item is to be displayed for long periods of time and not touched we would recommend a paste wax finish be applied to the steel components. Renaissance wax is a great product and most paste wax for cars will work as well. The key is to allow no oxygen to get to the metal and start a corrosive interaction with the iron.

Grey scotchbrite pad used to clean blade.
Clean the weapon to remove tarnish.


If you notice discoloration or need to clean the blade, like after using it to cut organic material. We suggest a grey Scotchbrite pad or 0000 steel wool for cleaning. To preserve the finish of the blade make sure to wipe in a single direction along the blade towards the point in even strokes. Do not scrub across the blade or towards the hilt. 

Leather grips will age naturally and one can see some darkening of bright colors with time and handling. If the grip gets a hazy appearance this can be easily be remedied with some handling and rubbing with your hands. Wire wrapped grips should stay clean with a minimum of use. It is only when they are exposed to moisture and left to sit that they may develop rust. 

Your weapon will be sharpened, if appropriate to that item, with the same type of grind on the cutting edge as the originals carried. This is based on examples of each type of weapon that have survived to today. The exception being pieces requested as "rebated," or stage edged. Swords, daggers, and especially heavy axes will have a thicker convex edge, when compared to a modern kitchen or hunting knife. This allowed the edges to survive more abuse before chipping or breaking, while still having an offensive edge.

CRaytex sticks or any of the rubber impregnated with polish products in a very fine grade will work.

Cratex stick

Removing marks

For stubborn marks or the start of corrosion (often faint dark or black marks) use a rubberized abrasive like Cratex sticks, always start with the finest grade and work back till cleaned then polish back through the finer grits to even out the finish.

Very fine file for edge and tip deformities

If you use your sword and you develop get nicks or burs a very fine file can be used to knock down the edges, but take care to not mar the surface of the blade just hit the burs at the edge. Most cutting mediums will not nick or dent the edges, this would only occur if using a sharp against some type of hard target.

One should not use a sword against hard objects such as trees or concrete. While this might look good in the movies (prop departments and special effects units use many tricks to enhance the storyline), it would destroy any real sword no matter what it is made of or how it was made. These were tools that evolved over thousands of years with one basic purpose, and though gruesome, that purpose was to inflict harm on ones opponent. They were not designed to (or ever could for that matter) hack down a forest or cleave an anvil in half.

Here is a video from Nathan covering some of these details

If you have any questions about your weapon please contact us and we will try our best to answer all your needs. 800 745 7345 or aa@arms-n-armor.com

divider swords

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography.  He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985

 You can also find this info direct from the menu at the bottom of our webpage.

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