Athame and Sword Care

Aside from your broom, few tools need as much special care as your athame and sword.

Though mostly ceremonial and decorative, the blades of most athames and swords will be carbon or stainless steel. Both kinds of steel will oxidize, but at different rates.

Carbon-steel blades — especially if they’re being handled frequently – should be cleaned properly at least every month or two. While stainless-steel blades should be cleaned properly only every six months, if you’re unsure which kind of steel your blades are made of, err on the side of caution and presume they’re carbon-steel.

Prepare your blade by cleaning dirt, dust and oil from it with a clean cotton cloth and clear warm water. Dry the blade with another cloth.

Apply a thin layer of cutlery-steel or metal polish to the blade by daubing with a small dry sponge until the blade is evenly covered , and let the polish dry completely. Avoid putting polish on any jeweled or painted areas of the blade. Buff the blade with another cloth to remove the dry polish. When the blade is buffed, apply and leave a thin layer of mineral oil to the blade with another cloth and a small amount of oil. Apply a thin layer of linseed oil to any wooden parts of your athame or sword like the grip. With this kind of care, your blade will serve you for many years and might become a future heirloom to another blade caretaker.

by David Nelson