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Sculpted T-I Spine: Is this Spinal Tape?

A few weeks back I picked up the pictured T-I blade at a flea market, and only now have had a little bit of time to attend to it. It has a light amount of surface rust and seems to have been little used, although the pivot point had a heavy degree of moisture attack and the edge is a wee bit ragged. Since the gold wash is still relatively intact, I have been thinking to maintain a light touch overall--meaning polishing paste and #0000 steel wool in the most affected areas and no further. That leaves the gold wash on the show side, which I can either ignore (assuming that my tetanus shot is up to date) or attempt to clean up a bit. Polishing paste is out the question, so perhaps toothpaste and a Q-tip? Or something else? Beyond this, the spine is sculpted, leading me to think that tape should be used during honing. Normally, I don't like to use tape, since it interferes with the sense of touch, and the spine itself feels pretty solid (with little or no spine wear) and otherwise utilitarian, so I am tempted to have a go without the tape. But perhaps it is always best to use tape with a sculpted spine like this?
 

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Dude, nice blade, I think it goes to 11... Just don't put it on a drum seat or it might spontaneously combust.
 
Very nice blade.

I agree, honing without tape should not affect the spine work.

If you want to clean up the small rust spots on the front side, consider using the polish on a q-tip. You should be able to clean it up a bit without taking off the etching/goldwash.
 
No NEED to tape, but tape if you like. Hopefully you set the bevel once and maintain from there on, the spine hone wear should not ride up to the decorative area.
 
Thanks for the advice and appreciation guys. There are only a handful of minute specks of rust on the gold wash itself, so I think I'll leave it just as it is for the time being and hit the larger spots on the blade with the paste and Q-tips as suggested. Tape-less spine it is, and when I hone it, perhaps I can lightly rub a little slurry on the wash every now and then with my fingertip to lift off the red stuff there... Knowing the price that these things go for when they are new, my jaw kind of dropped when I saw it for sale. The vendor, a nice elderly lady, told me that her husband had used a "coupe-choux" when he was alive, and that he never used soap when shaving, only oil. "Was this one his?" I asked her as it was the only one she had for sale, and thinking to perhaps maintain the tradition of using only oil while shaving with it. "No," she replied. In hindsight, I should have asked her what became of her husband's razors...

Now back to the drum kit... I have a slightly shop-worn set of T-I style wooden scales that should match it pretty well.
 
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