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Larry Garfield

Leather and rust and glue, oh my!

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I've 2 related rust questions, which hopefully are close enough to both go here...  (If not, please only smack me lightly.)

 

I have a new sgain dubh I just finished in time for Ren Faire.  The blade came out decently, although the handle is a bit lopsided (my own fault for rushing), and I made a simple leather sheath for it so I could wear it on my leg.  It worked out great with the tiny little exception that when I pulled the blade out a few days later, it was rusted on one side, and one side only:

sgain-rust.jpg

I think that's the side that was facing my leg.  That suggests that it was sweat that leaked into and through the leather and got onto the blade.  (Holy crap, 1075 is water-sensitive.)

So, questions:

1) Is my theory correct?

2) What's the right way to keep that from happening?  (Treating leather, lining it, different kind of leather...?)

3) What's the best way to clean the blade now?  I've used polish on previous blades that rusted, but that of course left some pitting.  Is there a better way to deal with that other than sand it back down smooth, then back up to a polish?

The sheath is this basic thing:

 

sheath.jpg

 

Related, another of my blades has rusted twice now in the same spot in a display case I made. I assume that means "Screw you, display case".  How do I go about figuring out the culprit and fixing it?  My theory is that the back of it is fur attached to a pegboard using Titebond II (what I was using at the time, before I was advised here that it's a rust machine).  It's been about 9 months since I made it, though, and it's only affecting one blade in one specific spot.  Is there something I can do there other than ripping off the whole fur lining, sanding off all glue residue, and attaching a new piece of fur with Titebond I (which I have since gotten instead)?

 

Thanks as usual for any input.

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I can’t speak for leather finishes or glue or any of that. If you leave a blade in a leather sheath for an extended period, it will rust. 

You seem very focused on the leather stuff but what are you using to protect the blade itself? You should apply an oil (mineral or camelia are good choices) or a carnauba wax works as well if you don’t want it to be oily. 1075 does not have any rust resistant properties so you should be putting something on the blade to protect it from things like sweat and moisture from the sheath, etc.

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Plus that looks like garment leather, i.e. chrome tanned rather than veg tanned.  That causes rust much faster, especially if damp.  Same with latigo, whatever they treat it with will leave rust anywhere it contacts steel.

I use car wax on my blades.  As it was explained to me back when I started out, "if it sheds water and bugs at 80 mph it's got to be good enough for a stationary blade!"

Can't help you on the display case other than to say it may still be the titebond II offgassing in that one spot.

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I hot wax my sheaths and this "seals" the leather so there is no transfer of rust producing interactions.

Edited by Garry Keown

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I have some chrome tanned sheaths, they get pretty sweaty and wet but I don't think I'm getting  too much rust from that, my clothes get soaked when I go ride my bike in the hotter months and stuff in my pockets gets the worst of it. I soak my sheaths in beeswax and that probably helps, copper/brass/bronze fittings will still patina because of the leather. Most of my knives sit around in leather sheaths but I'm not noticing any rust from that unless the blade needs oil, if I pull out a blade and its dry I will oil it. A little patina and oil every few months seems to work for me, a blade with no patina will rust very easily, also the more polished it is the less it will rust but 400 grit seems fine to me.

 

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I hadn't even thought of chrome vs vegetable tanned when I bought this leather.  That could be an issue.  I need to pay more attention in the future.  Blargh.

For those saying you use beeswax, can you elaborate on how you did so? I have some that I got to try and seal the outside of a leather-wrapped wood scabbard I made, and it was nothing but a hot mess.

The blade itself was polished to I think at least 800 grit.  No patina yet as it hadn't made it out of my workshop, really.

I have some renaissance wax I put on some of my blades, but either I did it wrong or it didn't help because the blade in the display case was waxed and it still got a fierce bit of rust on it.  (The sgain didn't have any wax yet.)

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This is  my hot waxing process

 

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I've used Garry's hot waxing technique a few times.  I've been very happy with the results.  It leaves the sheath formed right to the knife and water beads right off.

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Hm.  Thanks, I'll have to give that a try.  I will probably have to give it a try after getting more beeswax, since I don't think I have enough to fill a can like that. :-)  (Also, I have a gas stove.  This will be interesting...)

 

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4 hours ago, Larry Garfield said:

Hm.  Thanks, I'll have to give that a try.  I will probably have to give it a try after getting more beeswax, since I don't think I have enough to fill a can like that. :-)  (Also, I have a gas stove.  This will be interesting...)

 

I use parraffin wax in the heating process Larry, mentioned within the first 10 seconds of the video  I only use beeswax for the secondary wax to impart a bit of shine 

Edited by Garry Keown

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