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Thread: Cleaning question: French 1874 Gras bayonet

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    Really Senior Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    Cleaning question: French 1874 Gras bayonet

    I picked up what appears to be a good condition 1874 Gras bayonet made by Steyr in 1877. Blade is fairly bright with some slight greying which I'm not too concerned about. No major pitting but did have some light rust in a couple of spots I was able to remove with very fine steel wool. I expect the blade would polish with the same steel wool but not something I'm inclined to do.

    My main question is about the brass end. It is dark. Most of these I've seen have had the brass polished. With a slight patina, they look great, bright shiny brass not so much. I do realize the brass will tarnish fairly quickly but haven't decided if this is something I should just leave alone. It doesn't look bad as it is.

    Is polishing the brass on these a no-no or considered normal cleaning and maintenance?



    And if polishing, I don't want to hurt the wood in the process so what would the correct proceedure be? I used to always use a product called brasso on brass when I had to polish things for the Army.

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    Really Senior Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    After some light cleaning and oiling, I decided it looks fine as it is. There was a build up of hard gook that came off and left the brass with a distinct brass color while still remaining heavily tarnished.

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    Really Senior Member old-smithy's Avatar
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    Strange when these were new they woudl have been highly polished like most brass hilts, but blade collectors unlike many others prefer the patina, if that was a car it woudl shine like new and everyone woudl go awwww, if you shine a blade they go eugh!

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    Really Senior Member Aragorn243's Avatar
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    I have a difficult time with this area as I don't look at dirt and dents as history but as abuse and poor maintenance. If it were a car, it would be fixed. Guns and bayonets I can live with but furniture drives me crazy. I have a very old set of drawers, shaker type that look bad because of the age and the condition of the finish but I don't dare try to refinish the thing.

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