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+Caring for Scabbards
Leather scabbards present a potential risk to blades becuase they tend to be acidic. There is an easy and cheap way to fix this however. Mineral oil. Pour a healthy amount into your scabbard. Cover the mouth of the scabbard and invert scabbard. Repeat until you are sure the entire scabbard lining is coated. This will neutralise acidity and make it safe to store your sword in a leather scabbard indefinitely. Don’t believe that leather scabbards are historically inaccurate, leather scabbards have been in use as long as swords have.
This same technique works really well at preserving the timber in wooden scabbards.
When it comes to leather on grips and scabbards, mineral oil is also the premier preservative. It will not attract microbes like organic preservatives do.
It is a good idea to wet the leather with a mister spray (using clean water only) when applying mineral oil as this will ensure the leather, which is dried out during the tanning process, is at a moisture level which is suitable. Obviously it is a good idea to keep the sword away from the water while doing this.
Neatsfoot (cow shin bone) oil, Dubbin, lanolin and Leather fat are all good products BUT ONLY when used with ALOT of mineral oil. The reason why is that neatsfoot, dubbin, lanolin and leather fat are all organically derived products which mould and bacteria love. Even if you can’t see the bacteria, they will be there eating at the connective fibres that give your leather strength, and then eventually causing visible mould, tears and holes.
The same applies to linseed and tung oil for wood parts. Linseed is great because it polymerizes, making wood tougher, and similarly with tung oil BUT it must be used with mineral oil to ensure longevity of a product.
Mineral oil and baby oil are the same product. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is virtually identical too, but is thicker. For the love of all that is holy please DO NOT USE MOTOR OIL. Motor releases vapours which are harmful.
Mineral oil does not spoil and is cheap. Apply to all organic components of a sword twice a year and you’ll be assured of long term durability and forestall the degenerative effects of time.
An Alae Swords Falchion whose grip has been liberally treated with mineral oil.
Bill Blake – Alae Swords
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