I recently picked up an RAD Hewer and much of the Nickel Silver is black from tarnish....can I clean it/ should I clean it .... and how do I go about cleaning it if we think it?s a good idea ???
It's a matter of personal preference but most dealers/collectors will tell you to leave it as is. Over cleaning will ruin it's value. A light coat of Ren-wax would protect the finish without removing the tarnish.
Agreed - best to leave in "as found" condition
As a person who 30 years ago would clean. I would advise to not clean. These thing will survive without semichrome or mothers. What ever ya use! I did remove tar from a RAD pole top about 10 years ago. Just my 2 bits!
Bret Van Sant
I agree with you on something like the tarnish mentioned in the OP as it can be reversed and is relatively non-destructive. Otherwise it is a complex decision.
Some of the answer may lie in what you want to see in your collection and what is wise or needed for long term preservation.
I would not clean either. The only thing I look out for and do clean ( just remove by tooth pic) is the green verdegris on any item that has it.
Yours does not have that problem but if you have any thing with it, remove it as it will eat away some metals. Anyone that has had a snap separate will know the pain:)
Kind of hard to say without seeing the dagger.
To remove a little dirt or grime, a VERY light and well done removal would seem ok.
To remove that green verdegris is also a good thing. it eats everything.
To remove any tarnish, you will always have the "CLEANED" look that you do not want.
Just gives me the creeps when I see a dagger, or a fighting knife that has been all cleaned up.
I take my lead from museums.
A cousin worked for the Milwaukee County museum when I lived there in the late 1960's and he introduced me to what we call "conservators" today. I was already collecting daggers and wanted to understand their strategy. Paraphrasing, it was to keep the item looking as if it was not deteriorated by poor storage. Signs of genuine wear through use were preserved. Items were cleaned but not what we call polished. Leather and wood were treated to prevent rot, drying out, discoloration. Since then, I have looked at weapons in many museums like the Smithsonian, Hotel des Invalides in Paris, the Imperial War Museum, etc etc.
Therefore I remove leather vertical hangers from my SS daggers, remove any verdegris, apply wax, and store them off the dagger. Other leather like short hangers or belt loops get wax, too. I also use wax on SA/SS grips. I clean blades by repeated light coats of Renwax. Scabbard shells, crossguards too.
I would agree with the others in saying don't clean the dagger. I have a full stag RAD and the scabbard fittings are tarnished black. While there's less contrast with the black anodized scabbard, it still looks great because it took 80 years to get that way. Most collectors would only want a piece that has not been cleaned up, in case you ever want or need to sell it, something to think about too.
Bret, great Postschutz!
Totally agree on the side of the "let it be" faction. My policy is exactly the same as Daves,
Billy, how about a peek at the Full Stag?
Let me add that apart from a few rare armies and a very common beat up Luft, I collect SA/SS.
It seems to me that the places that need a close look in other daggers would be:
- Leather on grips and scabbards
- Leather in hangers and belt loops
I have seen many, many deteriorated leather parts that would /could have been saved with wax. Wood seems less at risk in TR items but again wax helps.
To me the biggest risk of all is the blade or the fabric used in making hangers.
How very true.
Look at all the HJ knives that have that ugly pommel that was left in the scabbard.
US fighting knives also suffer bad results of being left in leather sheathes.
That green verdegris has ruined many a keeper strap on knife sheathes.
Let me see if I can find some pics to reduce. If I remember correctly, yours is also superb.
Then there is the question of the nicotine-blanketed dagger.
Most I have seen have been SS/SA/NSKK but there are probably others. Almost sticky to the touch and one I handled smelled strongly of cigar smoke. I have never owned one in that state so I have never had to decide clean vs leave it alone.
What is the attraction to those of you who have one ? Anyone ever cleaned one ?