Site: http://www.lerenfort.fsnet.co.uk/index.htmlCleaning & Restoring Finds.
Retrieving relics hidden for 60 years or more in the ground is always a magical moment for us military archaeologists. As soon as we arrive home, every digger starts to clean and repair the best pieces he's found, but sometimes inexperience or haste may cause serious damage to our "little treasures". All too often I have heard about German M38 paratrooper helmets scratched with metal brushes (thus removing all remaining traces of original decals or paint) and these then being repainted in Feldgrau to make them look better!! There are other, and in my opinion, better ways to preserve dug helmets.
Similarly, there are also proper ways to clean and restore badges, dog tags, rusty weapons, metal and glass containers, rubber parts and so on. The following article is basically a list of tips that are borne out of 15 years of experience and what is more important, mistakes. Any further additions are welcome from visitors and fellow diggers.
In the Summer of 2005 I had the great fortune to locate a still untouched WW2 era trash dump. I went there many times over the following 2 months, with good results. Now the place has been almost completely searched, but nevertheless I'm still able to find in a relatively short space of time a bag full of relics. In one morning, after three and a half hours of toil, I returned home with a remarkable number of American made glass bottles of every kind, parts of equipment, buttons some vehicle parts and so on. Among the many objects, some were unknown to me: I took them anyway.
So here is the first tip: Don't leave anything you unearth behind! You may regret it later on!
Dirty aluminium or brass tags may hide interesting inscriptions, visible only after cleaning, whilst a strange piece of rusty metal may turn out to be and important vehicle or weapon component, or even a specific military device: in this latter case, the aid of text books and experience colleagues can be very helpful.
The first thing to do at home is to remove the largest pieces of excess soil and debris as possible from your finds. For this purpose I use an old knife and a small screwdriver. Remove the soil gently, and do not scratch the objects. After this, I place everything into a bowl filled with water.
The only exception to this rule was what was apparently a brake light from a Willys jeep; I considered a softer approach to this find because, as it was empty inside and could not be disassembled easily, that the drying process would have been slow. Consequently the rust would have corroded the metal further.
So here is the second tip: Leave the relics you have selected for cleaning in water for a minimum of two hours.
This is intended to soften the soil debris still attached to the finds. In this way you save yourself energy in cleaning, as well as avoiding accidental damage to the item in question.
For cleaning, arrange a wide variety of different devices. I use many kinds of brushes, tools and also a particular kind of abrasive cloth, usually used by bricklayers to clean walls: it can be obtained from most hardware stores and will see off the most stubborn dirt from items without having to resort to more invasive metal brushes or sandpapers. After some use the abrasive cloths get softer and less effective. These are not thrown out but kept as they can still be used to clean relics that require softer treatment. So tip three: Buy some abrasive cloths, these will be useful on a wide range of relics.
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Collecties met zowel Duitse als geallieerde militaria. Let op; nieuwe aanwinsten graag plaatsen onder ofwel as of geallieerd.
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'' I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ''
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