When I think of epic tales of heroism, it’s not just the heat of the battlefield that gets my heart racing – it’s the aftermath. The crackling of a campfire and the lugubrious hum of a wooden whistle, scarred heroes trading tales over dark ale – and the methodical, meditative polishing of swords.
In the old tales, this is a moment of quiet, pragmatic reverence. An act of thanksgiving to the weapon that saved your life today. An act of preparation for the battle that awaits tomorrow. While wiping down your blade in front of the TV after class holds a little less romance, it’s still worth doing properly – to cement that bond with your sword, and to keep it in tip top condition for future bouts.
We’ve had a few enquiries from our clients regarding practical swordcare. As such, I wanted to take the time to share the method we use on our own fencing arsenal.
We favour a fine grit sanding sponge for removing any rust or tarnish. Be careful to use only up-and-down motions (hilt to tip and back again) so as not to disrupt the polished finish.
Do NOT sand any blackened metal, as this will damage the finish. Strikes to oil-blackened furniture may result in brighter steel showing through, but our method of blackening means these imperfections will tarnish to a naturally darker colour over time, blending in with the finish and creating an antiqued look.
Once you’re happy that the blade is rust-free, take a rag or microfibre cloth, and apply a thin layer of beeswax-based polish to all metal and leather surfaces. We favour Liberon Black Bison Wax Polish – but make sure to get the paste rather than the liquid version. Once you’ve lightly covered the sword, use a dry part of the cloth to remove the wax again and buff to a shine.
We recommend a “little and often” approach, taking 5 minutes after each class or event to remove any tarnish and apply some wax – this way, you can stay a step ahead of any serious rust issues.
To facilitate regular swordcare, we’ve made up some Balefire brand maintenance kits, including two small sanding sponges, a microfibre cloth, and a travel-sized compact of our own Black Bison Polish and natural beeswax blend. We find that the kits are handy to throw in the bottom of a sword bag for a class or event, as a reminder to show your blades a little TLC after a few bouts.
If you’d like a care kit of your own, we’ll be more than happy to send one to you for £5 plus postage. Just get in touch to order yours, or add one to an existing order. We also sell care kits on our stall at events, so keep an eye on our social media to find out where we’ll be next!