SAC Troop - Thanks again for the great info, but of course I now have another question. (Sorry!)
Is this knife a collectable or valuable? I know this may sound strange, but my intentions for cleaning it was so I could start using it. I know that messing with the condition of a collectable can significantly decrease the value of it, but I also know that taking care of things that are used on a regular basis helps extend the life of the item.
So if it's a collectable, I don't want to screw up the value/character of the knife, but if it isn't, then I would like to clean it up to help extend its life.
Another reason for wanting to clean it has to do with the previous owner, who apparently tested different ways to clean the knife. Now it has splotches of various degrees of "character". For example, there's a section of the blade about the size of a quarter that is as shiny as a mirror. So the look of the blade is uneven and splotchy as far as the natural aging process goes. I figured cleaning it would even things out and then the aging process would be the same across the whole knife.
I can post pictures once I get home if you want to see what I'm talking about.
Anyway, let me know your thoughts.
Thanks again for the info and insight. I do appreciate it.