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Restored Patton saber


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This has been a "long term" project for me. Took a bit over forty years.

Back in 1972, at my first set designer job, I found this badly-abused Patton saber in the trash. It had been used as a theatrical prop for decades and had suffered the attentions of playful members of the actor's brotherhood. Some fiend of a propmaster had painted the nickle-plated garrison scabbard with lead-based white oil paint (I assume to kill the distracting shine onstage), this was later painted black. Somewhere along the line, another vandal sanded off the browning on the grip and basket hilt to bare steel. Then the entire piece, scabbard and all was spray-painted silver. Then the prop room was shoveled out and I rescued the poor thing. It has remained in my possession ever since, with the idea of repairing it always in the back of my mind.

Last week, I went to work on it. Having disassembled it and assessed its condition in '72, I knew that structurally it was sound. The only thing I wasn't going to do was grind the dings out of the blade or try to polish off its patina. Everything els was intact under all that paint. A citrus stripper was used over a two-day period. That got most of the guck off, though there was some hide glue splattered here and there on the scabbard that presented problems. Getting the paint out of the checkering on the hard-rubber grips and cast iron backstrap was a challenge. Wound up using a plastic scraper here and there on some of the stubborn spots. Once cleaned, the steel and ironwork got treated with Laurel Mountain Forge browning solution, then got a hot-wax treatment and hand-buffing. I was delighted with the condition of the nickle-plated scabbard. There were a few dents and a couple of spots where the plating had lifted. A little buffing compound and some paste wax brought it back to life.

This is going to a knife show in Phoenix in January, the only thing on my table that isn't one of my creations. Anyone have any idea what its value might be? It's from the Springfield arsenal, dated 1913 with the serial number 5745, making it late in the year.

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