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Dedicated 1936 SS Dagger service number 183329

Dedicated SS daggers are very rare to say the least, I had an opportunity to purchase this from someone who was offered this dedicated 36 but it was in a very sorry way. Now some people would debate restoring a dedicated piece like this, but in this condition it was a preservation excersise to save the integrity and honesty of the piece moving forward. If the finder in Germany would have left it all alone it might have been a harder desision to make, but the botched attempt at tidying it up left no option but to start a thourogh restoration from scratch. Thankfully all the fittings had been left in their original codition so we can get a clear idea on the originality and provinence of the piece.

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After 60 years swealtering in someones attick the handle had massively shrunk and twisted with the intense variations of temperature and the scabbard had become pitted all over. After it was rediscovered it appears that the someone forced the scabbard fittings off damaging all three of them in the process. They then very crudely filled the pitting and painted it extremely poorly before putting them back. The handle was crudely re shaped beyond anything that resembled the original. It then recieved a thick coate of the black paint over the wood, runes, and eagle.

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Sorry above pic is part way through restoration

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no7

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On my first inspection of this dagger it struck me that it was potentially an important and traceable piece. The blade was heavily oiled and had remained in almost mint condition, the dedication was deep as well as the original owners serial number in the reverse of the cross guard.

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Materials and fittings

There have been a range of materials used in the original construction of this dagger

Upper and lower scabbard fittings were made of Nickle silver
Centre scabbard ramp was made of solid brass
Main chain links all made of nickle silver
Connecting chain links mainly nickle silver with one being steel
Cloverleaf was made of steel
All handle fittings were Nickle silver

Period repairs

It is evident that this dagger had a number of period repairs, firstly at least one connecting link had been replaced with a steel one, and it is possible that one or two of the other connecting links might have been replaced. The upper scabbard chain mounting point had been replaced with a steel replacement that had almost completely coroded since it was repaired. It is possible that the cloverleaf was also replaced being made of steel but I am almost certain that it just happened to be used with the mainly nickle silver fittings.

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55 here you can see the beautiful blade, later you can see the amount of oil and grease used in the scabbard and on the runners

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Dagger Repair


The first thing that I have done is remove the cross guards and start to polish them, despite being Nickle silver they took several hours to clean by hand. The patina and build up of dirt and grease was particularly stubborn to remove, it has started to deteriorate the surface of the nickle silver so the timing of the cleaning and restoration is spot on before the piece gets severely damaged by pitting. The serial number 183329 on the rear of the lower cross guard seems to be filled with the same thick matter that I have been able to remove from the surfaces. I will need to get this proffesionally cleaned out as to keep the integrity of the inscribed number. Both the crossguards have the same markings A.E and I have left them un cleaned inside.

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I carefully removed the SS runes and Eagle from the handle with a very sharp angled implement to get them out without damaging them. It took several hours to clean them using Autosol rubbing them on a cloth until all traces of the black paint had been removed. I had to use a scalpal to scrape the black paint out of the eagles wings that was stubbornly lodged there. I was very pleased with the finished articles and left the reverse of the items un cleaned to be re inserted into the handle. The handle itself was completely rotten under the thick paint, I suspect it had secome to woodworm while it had been stored for all those years.

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115 here you can see when I stripped the scabbard back, it took hours to get the filler done correctly (I used to work in a car bodyshop) this was one of the first coats.

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117 After fully accesing the extent of the damage it was clear even with extensive filling and treatment this handle was beyond any hope of repair. It was not however made of Ebony, it appeared to be a lighter wood that had been stained originally. I used a period SA handle of a similar wood colour for the basis of the new handle. It had a chip out of the top right hand corner and was a poor fit on both sets of cross guards. I painstakingly filled it several times to make a snug fit and softened all the edges of the wood a little to give it that rounded SS handle feel. I used four coates of ebony dye to give it the colour being carful each coat to apply it without brush marks by rubbing it in thourahly using one of my fingers. Once dried I re inserted the original Runes and eagle then used a scouring pad to give it an aged feel. I then attached the crossguards and inserted the blade again that has a number 5 on the tang.

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120 to get a really snug fit on the crossguards I had to fill a lot of the SA grip using car body filler. You can see it starting to take shape here.

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122 grip after six coats of ebony stain note the runes and eagle put back snugly. After another few weeks I took the edge of the shine using a scotch brite to give it that old worn look and feel.

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I wiped the oil off the blade with a clean cloth, I have not polished this blade at all. It still retains most of the original burnishing and a good degree of cross graining and required no work on it at all. The blade to cross guard fit was also excellent so required no attention.

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131 that completed the work to the actual dagger

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136 Scabbard Shell

After removing all the fittings it was apparant that I needed to strip the scabbard shell down to bare metal to access its condition. It was the original scabbard shell having the centre ramp fitting holes, although I suspect it would have been annodised because there were two holes for the centre ramp not one. It had previously been badly filled and you can clearly see where the pitting was originally. Fortunately there were no visable signs of rust so it was completely repairable. I spent several whole days getting the filling and shape correct. Thinking ahead in order to get as tight a fit
as possible on all scabbard fittings the dimentions of the filling needed to be very precise. For example once painted you needed to be able to get the centre ramp back on without damaging the paint but the fit needed to be exact and snug. I used a commercial filler primer and wet flatted and re filled certain areas tens of times until it was as perfect as possible. I applied 14 coates of paint over two days carfully flatting out any in prefections to ensure a high quality finnish. I then used a cutting compound to give it that all over flat painted feel that you get on the original painted finnishes. A huge amount of time went into this scabbard shell but the effect of getting things right here will mean that it will look original when it is finally put back together.

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137 Scabbard fittings

I removed the bottom scabbard fitting with ease, it had previously been butchered off and had not fitted so snugly when re fitted because some of the metal had twisted and bent. The centre ramp was very difficult to remove, this was in part that it was probably sweated on originally, so it was a good fit even after being removed. Secondly because of the poor way that the scabbard shell had been filled it had enlarged the width of the scabbard around the centre area. I eased it off using a combination of boiling hot water on it, to expand it combined with genly applying pressure using woodern grips in a vice.The top scabbard throat fitting was also very tight, I eased it out using a woodern mallet and a wide copper chisel covered in tape as not to scratch it. The top scabbard fitting came off with ease once unscrewed as someone had previously pried it off in the same manner as the lower scabbard fitting.

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A lot of work and a beautiful job. Opinions differ on restoration, but I think such a dagger deserves it. There is a "crossover" point where restoration may or may not be desirable. The same with other antiques and collectibles.

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140 I used a traffic film remover acidic de greaser to get every bit of grease and oil off the links and fittings ready to get the ramp and clover leaf ready. You need to do this carefully quickly and rince thouraly if you use this stuff. Same as alloy wheel cleaner (strong stuff)

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19 here you can see the painted scabbard it looks lovely but needs to be aged and compounded to flatten the finish after the centre ramp is back on. I put some very thin black metal paint on the link to replace the burnishing, most of it will be removed again to give the correct effect and aged feel.

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