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Crossgrain, should i like it ?
Old 02-25-2020, 07:28 AM   #1
Bulldog
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Default Crossgrain, should i like it ?

Just been reading a few threads with good comments being made about crossgrain, but when I first started collecting I read what Tom Johnson had been told about crossgrain by the factory workers who had actually made these blades, and it was said by the workers that a blade with lots of crossgrain was a blade which had not had much time spent on it and was a poorly finished blade. As you likely know the crossgrain is a by-product of the grinding wheel and polishing process, and the more time spent on a blade with finer grinding wheels and more polishing the smoother (less crossgrain) the blade would become ending with what was considered in the T.R. period as a well finished good looking blade, on the other hand a blade with lots of crossgrain was a blade that was rushed out therefore not finished as well. So, could anyone tell me why today collectors prefer a poorly finished blade with lots of crossgrain over a better finished blade with less crossgrain? When I first started collecting I was not a big fan of patina but now I like the look this gives a dagger, perhaps someone can now convert me to liking crossgrain as I'm not sure what you see in it.

Russ.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:50 AM   #2
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I have always wondered about the obsession with cross grain. Being a metalworker all my life I can say the same thing as stated in your post, that cross grain is the marks left from the coarser finishing of the blade. Because a blade does not exhibit cross grain does not necessarily mean it has been polished post war. I think for some collectors the sign of cross grain helps assure them that the blade has not been played with and is proof the blade was made with the correct wartime manufacturing process. The lines left in cross graining can sometimes be called witness marks in the metalworking business.

Steve
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:56 AM   #3
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I am in the same wheelhouse, in my industry (medical wire) any metal that has marks on it is deemed to be inferior and thus does not pass QC. We would call them "mechanical" flaws. As I am a dagger collector just because it does not have cross grain does not disqualify it, besides polishing/cleaning a blade of any steel that can oxidise is part of owning it, I live in a high humidity state and I have to take particular steps to keep Mr. oxidation out of my life.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:31 AM   #4
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Do you know manufacturers of SA daggers whose blades show no crossgrain?
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:31 PM   #5
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All blades show crossgrain to some extent or they have been polished/buffed/etc. post war.

I will say though, on early quality political daggers (SA and SS) the very best show immensely fine crossgrain that creates a kind of luster on the blade. Later period political daggers show the rougher grain that the OP seems reference.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:46 PM   #6
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If this „theory“ (don’t want to call it a myth) that crossgrain is a sign of a poorly finished blade would be correct, the blades of the well know high-quality manufacturers like Eickhorn, Aesculap, Pack, Kober, etc. should have no or just very little crossgrain, as these manufacturers - and I think all SA dagger experts will agree on this - have produced SA daggers with the highest quality amongst all other makers. But their SA daggers all do have tons of crossgrain on their blades!

There were regulations how SA daggers had to be produced and one of the final production steps at the blade was the final grinding with special grinding compound on a grinding wheel. And the result was always crossgrain.

So this theory just ain’t right! Blades with no crossgrain have been simply polished to a later time and the original crossgrain has been removed.

If the collecting community would believe in this theory, one could sell all postwar polished blades as genuine and legit period originals.
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivbaust View Post
If this „theory“ (don’t want to call it a myth) that crossgrain is a sign of a poorly finished blade would be correct, the blades of the well know high-quality manufacturers like Eickhorn, Aesculap, Pack, Kober, etc. should have no or just very little crossgrain, as these manufacturers - and I think all SA dagger experts will agree on this - have produced SA daggers with the highest quality amongst all other makers. But their SA daggers all do have tons of crossgrain on their blades!

There were regulations how SA daggers had to be produced and one of the final production steps at the blade was the final grinding with special grinding compound on a grinding wheel. And the result was always crossgrain.

So this theory just ain’t right! Blades with no crossgrain have been simply polished to a later time and the original crossgrain has been removed.

If the collecting community would believe in this theory, one could sell all postwar polished blades as genuine and legit period originals.
I'm inclined to have the same opinion with a couple of additional observations. The metal polishing was done on very large wheels with the size of the grit (polishing compound) determining the fine striations that dagger collectors call "crossgrain". Period and earlier sword blades polished lengthwise near the hilts the polishing was done at a right angle (if not plated). Plated - ? Some early pistols having an almost glasslike finish, that for Germany circa 1942 was more coarse, but consistent that is sometimes called a "brush finish" (for some things steel wire wheels were used). Earlier TR period period service bayonets having more of a "high polish" finish, some late ones will have very visible grinding/shaping markings with little additional work to remove them. With all that said if it's for my own collection, on daggers I want to see some "crossgrain". FP
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:03 PM   #8
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A very interesting discussion and very much knowledge for a rookie to learn.
Thanks a lot


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Old 02-25-2020, 04:25 PM   #9
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Same technique and process is used today for making kitchen knives... crossgrain on an IKEA knife
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:27 PM   #10
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Conclusion for me ... if there’s no crossgrain on a SA / NSKK dagger blade, I’m not interested in it
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:29 PM   #11
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That’s what I want to see on a blade
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:58 PM   #12
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Some blades in my collection show no evidence of ever having been polished, a Hörster HJ Leader's dagger and a transitional DLV/1st model Luft dagger come to mind. My understanding is these blades were plated and never polished. On the typical political dagger, I want to see a fine crossgrain.

Great topic for discussion Russ.
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:10 AM   #13
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Thanks guys for the responses, some interesting comments made. I agree that all blades should show some crossgrain, what I was getting at was why is it that the more crossgrain (courser grinding lines) that is visible the more desirable the blade seems to be, I would have thought a blade like what ERM describes as having very fine crossgrain that creates a nice luster on the blade would be a more sought after blade, guess its personable preference. The massive number of SA daggers needed could be the reason Large companies like Eickhorn, Pack, etc produced blades with a lot of course crossgrain on them, as there would not have been the time needed to highly finish millions of blades, no matter who produced them. As this information about grinding and polishing supposedly came first-hand from the Solingen factory workers, it is not a theory or myth, it is the truth. Thanks for the replies, maybe it will grow on me.

Russ.
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Old 02-26-2020, 07:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
... As this information about grinding and polishing supposedly came first-hand from the Solingen factory workers, it is not a theory or myth, it is the truth. ...
I also had the possibility to receive „first-hand information“ (direct from the source, meaning from a manufacturer of SA daggers) and this story was/is a little different than what has been said so far here about crossgrain and quality
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Old 02-26-2020, 07:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivbaust View Post
I also had the possibility to receive „first-hand information“ (direct from the source, meaning from a manufacturer of SA daggers) and this story was/is a little different than what has been said so far here about crossgrain and quality
Hi ivbaust, I would be interested to here what you have been told from a manufacturer of SA daggers, it might help to understand what we should be looking for in a blade, cheers.

Russ.
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