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    Bayonet Care & Preservation - What to use, and how to do it?

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    Hello! I'm brand new here and have joined mostly for the purpose of asking for help in regard to bayonet preservation, as I have a handful of bayonets in my collection in various states of decay. I'll preface this by saying that I am aware that the goal is to preserve the bayonets in their current condition, not to make them look brand new.


    Long message, I'll try to condense it as best I can:


    I've been trying to research what I can about what to use and how to do it, and while it can be overwhelming, it seems it's best to pose a question like this to the community since there are a lot of folks who have experience and success in this type of preservation, despite the many differing opinions and suggestions. I've heard folks using WD-40, paste wax, Renaissance Wax (kinda interested in this one), vinegar, 50/50 mixtures of transmission fluid and kerosene, kerosene at full strength with a bronze bore brush, and so many more (and then folks going against the above suggestions, which adds to the fun and confusion).

    Heck, my little brother (who has a 1912-dated pump-action shotgun and has done a bit of preservation work on that) suggested that I use bore cleaner, a soft brush (likely something like nylon or bronze bore brushes), and a thin layer of synthetic oil.

    The use of steel wool, "Kroil" (a penetrating oil only sold in the US), and bronze-bristle brushes have been suggested to me for one bayonet already. I have picked up #0000-grade steel wool from work, all I'm missing are bronze-bristle bore or detailing brushes, and some sort of liquid or wax. A few of the bayonets (the M1892 Krag, Pattern 1888 Lee-Metford, and M1866 Chassepot) shown in this post look to have some spots of red active rust, which I'd like to remove as safely and best as possible without damaging the finish. The others (the Pattern 1853 and 1936-dated M1884/98), look to be in a condition where they might not need anything since the rust is a darker brown, but I'm both tempted to try and clean them up, and scared to do anything to them for fear of damaging them much further. As for the wood, the grips on the majority of my bayonets look fine, but perhaps it wouldn't hurt to put something on them to keep them looking as they are and prevent further damage from the oils of my skin when I'm foolish enough not to handle them with gloves.


    What are the best things that I should be using to preserve (the metal more than anything, but also the wood) my bayonets, and how should I be doing this?

    If you need other photos or info, please feel free to let me know! Photos of everything below:




























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    On 05/07/2023 at 04:19, Farkas said:

    Nice selection 👍


    this thread might have what you need 👇




    its in this section on next page 


    tony 🍻

    Hello Tony,


    Thanks for the reply and the suggested post, I checked it out. Definitely another case of "100 collectors, 100 suggestions, and they all work to some degree."


    Seems gun oil is a safe bet all around. My workplace sells Hoppe's No.9, which is a bore cleaner, and I think would be suitable. I'm also interested in Renaissance Wax, but not too sure if it would be ideal if I'm trying to use oil on the blades alongside a bronze bristle brush to carefully clean away whatever active rust or scale I can get off without ruining the finish.


    Any other thoughts on that?

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    Disclaimer: don’t listen to me!

    But as you asked… yes 😊


    As it happens I’ve got something similar to one of yours 👇 with a bit of scabbard left.

    An impressive thing for sure.




    and a few other bits and bobs.


    I always clean them up to some extent, certainly the blade. I tend to buy neglected things, often in rough shape and I enjoy the transformation. The way I look at it is they’re mine and if I want to clean them I will. By any means I fancy! The issue I have faced is the return of rust as for some I don’t have scabbards… but just recently I found out about this 👇, previously blueing was beyond me, hopefully this is the answer to the rust 🤞

    I’ll let you know how it goes.


    But 1st if you can…

    There are some awesome videos on you-tube, search ‘bayonet restoration’ or similar 👍, it’s very impressive what some do and even shows how to make scabbards/sheaths. 

    Before anything else I’d strongly suggest you watch a couple of those videos. Lots of usable tips.



    tony 🍻

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    That's a solid suggestion! I think I will definitely consult some visual how-to videos before I accidentally ruin any of my bayonets.


    I have no problem attempting to work on the bayonets which have spots of rust here and there, but I'm honestly scared to try cleaning up my Pattern 1853. She's too old and coated in a dark brown layer of rust everywhere, I don't know what I should do. Not to mention, she doesn't have a scabbard. I bought her as a "naked blade," and as you said you've faced the return of rust for those without scabbards, I fear I may have the same issue should I decide to try. Part of me feels better just leaving her as she is, but the other part wants to try and save her from further deterioration (even in a dry environment).

    Edited by ColonelKlink1942
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    • 4 months later...

    The problem with attempting to restore anything is that whatever you do will only highlight the pitting and other faults that the item might have, and the best solution is to sympathetically clean and preserve. I usually use nothing more than fine wire wool and beeswax polish - the solid kind - and NOT the aerosol. 




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