Caring for a Sword

Care of Military Swords

Ceremonial Use and Safety:

  • WKC swords and sabers are intended for ceremonial use only.
  • Blade tips are relatively sharp; exercise care during use.
  • The blades are not designed for impact and “fighting.” While forged, tempered, and designed for flexibility and durability, ceremonial blades lack the toughness to withstand the heavy impact of “blade-to-blade” contact.
  • Do not use ceremonial swords for re-enactment fighting.
  • Horseplay may result in damage to the sword or, worse yet, personal injury.
  • Sword and saber manual of arms is a developed and practiced skill. Do not be flamboyant when handling a drawn sword.
  • Children tend to have a natural fascination with swords and often mistake a ceremonial sword for a weapon. Supervise children closely and know that the misuse of a sword is dangerous.

General - Metal Components:

  • Acids from fingerprints can react with metals and discolor metal components over time.
  • Salts and other air contaminants (e.g., formaldehydes from carpets, etc.) can collect on metal surfaces and can also cause discoloration.
  • Periodically wipe your sword with a soft, dry cloth. We recommend monthly for harsh environments (e.g., high humidity, proximity to sea air, cities with heavy smog, etc.) and every few months for less harsh environments.
  • Remove fingerprints and other oil marks with a soft, dry cloth.

Gold-Colored Components:

  • Do not use abrasive metal polishes or metal wool on any gold-colored part. All gold-colored parts on WKC swords are gold-plated, except for special productions specified as lacquered brass (e.g., Citadel, West Point, etc.).
  • Use abrasive “jeweler” cloths sparingly to remove any discolorations.

Air Force Swords:

  • The hilt and scabbard fittings are silver-plated and then lacquered to achieve the antique, aluminum-color finish and to minimize tarnishing.
  • Do not use abrasive metal polishes or metal wool on the “antiqued” sword components. Use abrasive “jeweler” cloths sparingly on the lacquered surfaces.


  • All WKC blades are stainless steel, except the nickel-plated Army officer sabers and the special gold-plated and gold-blue blades.
  • Discolorations or minor scratches can be removed with a “jeweler” cloth or a mild metal polish, such as a silver polish.
  • Remove all polish residue with a final wipe of a soft, dry cloth.
  • Never use heavy abrasive polishes, scouring pads, or metal wool as they will damage the polished finish of the blade.
  • Avoid contact with acidic or alkaline substances as either may chemically react with metals in the stainless steel.


  • Leather scabbards should only require an occasional wipe with a cloth moistened with a clear household silicon spray polish.
  • Scuff marks in the leather can usually be repaired or hidden with ordinary shoe polish.
  • Maintain nickel-plated scabbards as a general metal component.
  • Maintain the stainless-steel Marine officer scabbards as described for blades above.

On-Going Care and Maintenance:

  • After each use, completely wipe the sword with a clean, dry cloth to remove any fingerprints, perspiration, and residue.
  • All ferrous materials, including “stainless” steel, will rust in varying degrees if not maintained and with prolonged exposure to the elements.
  • Whether displaying or storing your sword, periodically clean and wipe your sword and metal scabbards with a lightly oiled cloth to protect your sword.
  • Because the cloth bag may wick humidity from the atmosphere, we recommend storing your sword in a plastic bag within the cloth bag.
  • We recommend storing the sword unsheathed from the scabbard if storing for prolonged periods of time.
  • If shipping or transporting your sword by air, securely wrap the sword in plastic to minimize condensation on the cool sword surfaces after the sword returns from the cooler high altitudes.


  • Care must be exercised when attempting to clean Military Swords.
  • Most fingerprints and smudges will clean up quickly and easily with mild soap, warm water and a soft cloth.
  • DO NOT USE any sort of metal cleaner or polishing compound unless specifically approved by the manufacturer and even then, try a very small amount on an area that is least conspicuous.
  • Some of the less expensive swords are made by annodizing the surface and even mild cleaning or polishing chemicals will completely ruin the finish.
  • Other swords are plated with a thin layer of chrome rather than being made of a single forged piece of steel that is polished during manufacture to a bright finish.
  • Polishing compounds could mar or even remove chrome plating, again destroying the sword.