A friend came over this morning with show-and-tell. Years ago, he purchased a W.B.T.S. era sabre and wanted to get my opinion of it. As a reenactor, I never became familiar with original equipment. I did immediately recognize it as an 1860 cavalry sabre. It is in its original metal scabbard (both rings intact), and is complete except for grip leather and wire. The grooved wooden part of the grip is cracked but intact.
On one side of the blade is "U.S." over "1862." The other side shows the name of maker but is not readable by me. It appears to be four or five letters over "Tool Co.."
The metal is rusted, the blade is somewhat pitted, but the edge is very good and overall the sabre appears to be quite sound. He is not a reenactor. He wants to make it appear as new as possible to use for occasional parade. He is putting together a western campaigns cavalry impression (Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri) just for his own personal enjoyment. He already has a horse and McClellan saddle.
1) The only make I've ever heard of is "Ames." With what I've recorded, is there anyone out there who might recognize the maker of this sabre?
2) He also wants to have the handle redone correctly. Does anyone know of a swordsmith/repairman in the Southeast (we live in the Augusta, Ga. area) who could accomplish such a task?
3. How much and what type of clean up could he do to this piece that would allow him the satisfaction of using an original sabre but would not destroy the intrinsic value of the piece as an antique weapon?
I and he would appreciate any advice on this project. Thanks.