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#55382 03/25/2008 01:20 PM
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Rhys Offline OP
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This is my 1st 1st Luft and as you can see it's quite a project!

The blade is probably the best part of the dagger with a nice Puma/Solingen logo (see photos).

I have found the same leather as Steve (blueboyukb) from the excellent J Hewit & Sons in Edinburgh (see photo).

Ian from www.simplydaggers.co.uk gave me some excellent tips for the leather replacement.

I have managed to get the screws out of the fittings without damaging the heads so that's a good start.

The scabbard fittings are early (non aluminium) magnetic and could do with a clean. Can someone tell me if they are nickel/silver and what the best way to clean them would be? It looks like the remains of silver plating on the middle fitting.

Also the swastika on the crossguard and pommel - I read that this is brass and so it should clean up with brass(o) polish or will this cause more problems?

I would like also to change the leather on the grip but the wire which is in very good condition looks like a real pain to remove. Any ideas?

Finally there is damage to the pommel fitting which spoils the look of the piece. Don't know what to do here. Should the pommel unscrew like a Luft 2/AOD? as I don't want to cause any more damage.

Cheers,

Rhys

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Rhys
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Here is the dagger up against the replacement leather for comparison.

The new leather is a lot thicker and a coarser texture compared to the original but it still looks good in my opinion.

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Rhys
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If its thicker it probably wont fit under the scabbard mounts

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Rhys Offline OP
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You are right about the thickness.

I checked this with Ian (who used the same leather) and he said it was a problem.
The trick is to only push 2 to 3mm of the leather under the fittings.


Rhys
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A couple of things....

First, I believe that's a late dagger, not an early one. The crossguard and pommel are white metal/pot metal and the scabbard fittings are plated steel. Early fittings would be nickel-silver or aluminum.

Second, you can wet and streach the leather. This will not only flatten the pattern, but will also let you correctly install it under the fittings. As you remove the old leather, note the seams so you can get them back correctly.

Third, the scabbard fittings will have to be polished and nickel plated. Try your local motorcycle shop for plating. The pommel will need to be replaced. And if it doesn't take plating (some german alloys won't), replace the crossguard.

Fourth, you can remove the wire from the grip. Start at the top and pull the wire straight out with a pair of needlenose pliers.

Finally, I would total the repair/parts costs verses restored value and decide if it is really worth it.


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You are correct about the period being later.
The fittings are plated steel with small remnants.

Looking at the fittings, they would need a good polish to get a smooth surface. Would the plating cover small imperfections in the surface of the fittings?

Followed your instructions for the grip wire and it works fine.

Thanks.


Rhys
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Probably not. Plating tends to show any pits or scratches. You would want to polish as well as you can, then either weld fill or solder fill the imperfections.


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Rhys Offline OP
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If I decided to replace the fittings...

Are the aluminium fittings usually a direct replacement for the steel fittings?
i.e. would the fitting holes all line up on the scabbard?

Also, could you use an aluminium pommel on this dagger or is it a different size/thread?


Rhys
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Actually, the holes probably won't line up even using the same type Wink There is some difference in pommel thread size between makers. You would want to check the pommel for fit. The pommel metal should match the crossguard and (for most makers) the fittings. The late daggers used white/pot metal pommel and crossguard with steel plated fittings but the early daggers were either nickle-silver for the pommel, crossguard, and scabbard fittings or aluminum for all fittings.


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I had the fittings done and I am quite pleased with the results. The next job is the leather replacement.

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Rhys
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On the down side, when the guys plated the ferrule, the solder must have melted and the ring is now at the bottom of the tank Frown


Rhys
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The leather replacement is now complete! Smile

See photos attached...

The final results are better than I had hoped for, especially when you look at the early pictures.

I have ordered a replacement ferrule - will post pictures when it arrives.

I know some people would argue that the dagger should have been left in it's original state.
I would be interested to know your views on whether it should have been restored or left as it was?

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Rhys
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All things considered, I think you did a good job on the scabbard. I'll be interested to see how the grip turns out. Do you intend to try to do anything about the sundics pommels as it relates to the swastikas themself or leave them plated over?

Vern's point is well taken and we always need to apply a cost based analysis. Barring the piece having some sort of intrinsic emotional value, projects like this can often push the total investment further than would have been the total cost to buy a rig in better shape. I've done some restorations where exactly that had become the case. The only reason I had pursued the project was due primarily to the fact that the sword I restored is a variety that I have never seen (and still havn't seen again). Hand engraved crossguard with a super odd pattern. When everything was done and said, the base sword, and the parts, time invested, brought the total cost to around $500.

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Fittings cleaned with some light repair.

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Completed. I intend to finish up some of the details when I get around to it. I had hit a threshold where I had just wanted it wrapped up and rushed the end. Eventually, I'll redo the grip wire and roll with a brass color (which was what the original saber had). Finding and final grip fitting is by far the most challenging part of saber restoration. Contrary to what some belive, it's not as simple as buying a 2nd hand grip and merely sliding it onto the tang. Repeening the tang also creates challenges as well.

I'd like to see some other before and after images of project pieces.

Keep it going Rhys. I look forward to your completed project.

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Thank you Sword-Fish for your kind words and encouragement.

You have done an excellent job with your restoration at a very reasonable cost (plus the satisfaction you have from completing the project).

I would like to get the swastikas gold plated in the long run, but have not found someone who can do it yet. I looked at the gold plating kits but they are too much for a one off job.

Ideally I would like to find a replacement pot metal pommel if anyone can help... Wink

Pot metal seems to be a nightmare for a repair due to the low melting point. Is there a good metal filler which will do the job which could be plated? I have seen Quik Steel - Steel Reinforced Epoxy Putty which can be moulded but never tried it.
Apparently it can be "drilled, sawn, milled, ground, filed, tapped, sanded, painted and lacquered once it has cured."

The grip looks like a tough job with this leather so I am a bit undecided on how to proceed.

I have kept Vern's advice in mind as it is easy to forget the total spend as you go along.
At the moment I am happy with the expenditure...


Rhys
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Be sure to check Tom Johnsons site for the pommel. He typically has the best inventory of misc parts for sale. I usually need to tweak parts I buy from him in order to effect propper fitting.

Be sure to re-visit the thread and post photos of you finished product. I've always enjoyed seeing collectors resurect pieces back from the dead.


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