Cleaning a Mint Knife

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Jan 5, 2006
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To what extent is it acceptable to clean a mint knife without detracting from its value? I just got a Yellowhorse knife with brass bolsters. The brass is dull from age. Will cleaning the brass make the knife non-mint?
 
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You raise an interesting question that I unfortunately don't have an answer for. I've refrained from purchasing a Yellowhorse custom 110 for that very reason. There may be some here who can provide answers. Can you restore the original shine and is it possible to prevent it from tarnishing in the future. I think this may be possible by applying a paste wax after the shine has been restored. I would think this may be problematic with wax building up in the crevices. There may also be some industrial products that can remove tarnish by dipping the brass into the solution (similar to "tarnex") but I'm not sure what they are or their availability.
 
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NEVR-DULL comes in a silver and black can, at most WalMarts and auto stores. It is, I believe, a nonabrasive cotton wadding polish that will clean the brass (and other alloys) right up. I say nonabrasive, because it's
like polishing it up with a soft cotton cloth or teeshirt.

The mint question is a good one, and seems dicey. JMO...it didn't come with tarnish or verdegris when new, so does gently cleaning it off with cotton make it not mint...or mint again? I'm not sure what others would say, but I'd vote for this method of gentle cleaning by hand. Again, just my opinion...but, I think even the Mona Lisa gets dusted off once in a while. :D

Bill
 
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El Lobo said:
NEVR-DULL comes in a silver and black can, at most WalMarts and auto stores. It is, I believe, a nonabrasive cotton wadding polish that will clean the brass (and other alloys) right up. I say nonabrasive, because it it like polishing it up with an soft cotton cloth or teeshirt.
Bill,
I use never dull on my knifes routinely. The problem with the yellowhorse knives is that the bolsters are engraved to the extreme which would make cleaning the tarnish out of the nooks and crannys a real problem that I'm not sure never dull will solve. ALthough since I don't have a yellowhorse 110 I really have no way to judge.
 
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Mothers Mag Wheel Polish works great. It's non-abrasive and works better than anything that I've ever used. To clean the polish out of the nooks and crannies, wrap a toothbrush with a cotton cloth. The bristles push the cloth down in the hard to get to spots. IMHO, polishing does not detract from a mint knife.

John
 
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May 21, 2004
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I'm not a knife collector, but I do have a couple thoughts about this that come from coin collecting. If I were to purchase a "mint" anything from someone and the brass was dark from age I would be fine with that. Because I know the nature of brass and I would also still see all of the detail that was there the day the kife was made. If I were to buy a "mint" ( or uncirculated coin) that was nice and shiny, but had a trace of black crud from polishing I wouldn't be happy at all. In the coin world, mint is mint. It's untouched. Any form of polish removes a small amount of material. The fact that the material removed was oxidized doesn't matter to a coin collector. I don't know if knife collectors think the same way though. If I bought your knife and you said it was mint condition, but then I find that it was polished, I would be very unhappy and I would feel that I had been tricked.

My advice would be to do no more that coat the brass with a very light oil to reduce future oxidation, and otherwise leave it as it is. If you sell it, you should explain all of this to the person that you sell it to. When dealing with fellow collectors, honesty is the best policy.
 
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WayneH said:
...Any form of polish removes a small amount of material. The fact that the material removed was oxidized doesn't matter to a coin collector. I don't know if knife collectors think the same way though. If I bought your knife and you said it was mint condition, but then I find that it was polished, I would be very unhappy and I would feel that I had been tricked...

How about knives that had been "refurbished" by Buck (or a professional)??? :confused:
 
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WayneH,
I appreciate your perspective, and from a purist point of view you are absolutely right. I on the other I hand collect Buck knives because I enjoy it and would like to display them. I polish them because I want them to look as good as possible. I don't polish them with polish but simply wipe them with the soft cotton cloth. If you do that long enough the brass will shine. I don't have any dreams of cashing in some day, only to enjoy my collection and passing it on. So, I guess it boils down to a personal decision as long as each of us understands the repersussions.
Mike
 
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I struggle more with the question of weather I should repair blemished older knives or leave them be. I collect the hand made Bucks from the 40's to 1961 and it is tempting to take out some of the dents and dings. If the blades are discolored, I know it is fairly easy to remove in the shop. On the other hand, some of the lines i see in the metal were there from the beginning and I would hate to remove the lines Hoyt or Al put in the blade.
Short answer on this type of knife..I leave them alone if they are in ok to awesome shape. If they have been hammered, literally or figuratively, I try to fix them up. These knives will never be sold by me so I do it if I think it will help me enjoy the knife more.
I like the idea of the cotton cloth over the toothbrush! Thats a clever idea!
 
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Jan 23, 2006
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I agree with Wayne H.

This is my first post here, and I am new to the world of knives but in the world of vintage vehicles original is original. Cleaning, restoration, polishing and rebuilding will diminish the value of rare old original pieces even if they aren't the prettiest thing around. A large part of the value comes in the patina and history. If you have no interest in preserving that value go for it, or consider that you might have the wrong knife in your hands. If you want something that is shiny and new buy a new knife. Just my humble opinion.
 
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Agent J said:
I agree with Wayne H.

This is my first post here, and I am new to the world of knives but in the world of vintage vehicles original is original. Cleaning, restoration, polishing and rebuilding will diminish the value of rare old original pieces even if they aren't the prettiest thing around. A large part of the value comes in the patina and history. If you have no interest in preserving that value go for it, or consider that you might have the wrong knife in your hands. If you want something that is shiny and new buy a new knife. Just my humble opinion.
Don't they restore vintage vehicles all the time. :confused: What about all those "frame off" restorations that are so expensive? :confused: Oh by the way....welcome to the forum! :)
 
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Yes but the value of a nice restoration will never touch that of a clean original vehicle.

Restoration of vintage vehicles is tremendously expensive, often more than the market value of the ride. Most restorations begin with lost-cause or incomplete starting materials and are cobbled together from a mix of old and new parts. It's flashy but will never match the value of an untouched original to a knowledgeable collector
 
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Agent J said:
Yes but the value of a nice restoration will never touch that of a clean original vehicle.

Restoration of vintage vehicles is tremendously expensive, often more than the market value of the ride. Most restorations begin with lost-cause or incomplete starting materials and are cobbled together from a mix of old and new parts. It's flashy but will never match the value of an untouched original to a knowledgeable collector

Apparently you haven't seen the Barrett-Jackson auto auctions on TV. You won't believe what frame off restored cars( if done right) are bringing these days. It's truly mind boggling. Check it out some time. It'll definitely change your opinion about restored cars. But then again, the restored cars you're talking are not even close to being in the same planet as these cars.
 
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I believe knife collectors have 3 schools of thought when collecting . If "mint", leave it as is; if "mint", periodically clean and shine; and if "mint", what a waste of a good tool....use it to find it's full potenial:cool:
 
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Scott Hartman said:
I believe knife collectors have 3 schools of thought when collecting . If "mint", leave it as is; if "mint", periodically clean and shine; and if "mint", what a waste of a good tool....use it to find it's full potenial:cool:
Thanks Scott,
My personal preference normally falls into either the second or third category, depending on my mood and/or the knife. :D
Mike
 
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What a hoot of advice!!! I agree, agree, and agree. My problem is I feel like I'm hoarding the few M/NIB Bucks that I have for no real reason. When I croak I'll leave 'em for the kid. But they'll prob just end up on e-bay w/o ever doing me any good other than just to look at 'em once in awhile.
What, I ask myself, is to gain by keeping them in their boxes in a closet????
I need professional help.
Or, maybe a shot of Jack...
 

LFH

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Feb 24, 2005
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Right now my collectables are probably making more than my cd's.

My personal preference is to polish and make pretty. Not do it to extreme, but clean if dirty.
I figure this old 110 came from the factory all nice and shiny, so why not keep it that way. Long as I don't wear all the brass off like I did some old army belt buckles.

A whole lot of personal preference.
 
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LFH said:
Long as I don't wear all the brass off like I did some old army belt buckles.

Army and Buck...one thing I never forgot is when I went to Fort Polk for Infantry School and the MP took my Buck 110 (no dots...it was a 1972 or 3). Put it in the "contraband" box...ya know he prob still has that puppy.
:(

I think I may start using my Buckcote 110 just to see what the blade is like. I dunno...what to do, what to do. Even if it is appreciating in value, am I ever really likely to part with it? My brain hurts.

All The Best,
Me.
BCCI 1190
 
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Agent,
Welcome to the Buck forum. I think that if you had a hardly used, carefully cared for 57 Chevy convertible fuelie with low miles, everything original and in good condition, it just might bring more than those resto mods you see on the tv auctions. Definetely not as flashy but for us purist, it would do just fine.
You don't happen to have the car I described do you? :D :D
 
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Very interesting thread this is. Many valid perspectives. I have an interest in many kinds of collectibles myself, including knives and I have a fondness for Bucks too. As was stated in the coin world "mint" is untouched and unpolished in my opinion also. The best coins are sealed and "Certified" and there are but a few nationally known grading companies, that make it so you know precisely what you are getting.
I agree that frame off restorations on cars done well will greatly enhance the value. Polishing knives is definitely a touchy subject. I think non-abrasive cleaning is fine as carbon steel knives, if not properly stored will spot and rust. I find the most reputable sellers on EBAY divulge if the knife has been cleaned and state exactly what the condition is. Also, in antiques they say NEVER polish aged brass, bronze, and nonferrous metals. JMHO
 
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