black smudges on my windlass
by Adam Pendragon
(American in Germany)
QUESTION: My Windlass Towton sword gets black smudges and finger prints all over it every time I touch it--and I mean BLACK! In fact, the darn thing turns black even if i don't touch it--all on its own. No cleaner I've used works--the smudges just reappear after a few minutes. There's nothing black on my hands, and this especially puzzles me because the steel is supposed to be coated with laquer. Washing it with dish-soap and water works best, but within minutes it starts turning black again.
It is not rust, and it is no normal kind of tarnishing. the best way I can describe it is like handling bare aluminum; or newspaper ink mixed with the oil in my hands--but i don't read the newspaper, and it doesn't make my fingers black. And it happens whether there is oil on the blade or not.
In over 30 years of working with steel and laquer I have never come across anything like this, any ideas as to what could be causing this and how to stop it?
ANSWER: Hmmm, I've never seen that before! The only thing I can think of is that there must be something in the scabbard - but you've got me stumped...!
If anyone else knows feel free to chime in!
(Sorry I couldn't be of more help)