Re: Happiness is a Clean Bayonet
I have a circa 1939 type 30 bayonet for the Arisaka model 99, which I am looking at as I type this. It has about 80% of the blueing left on it. The grip is in very good shape and is an aged reddish brown/mission oak color. No gloss, grain NOT sanded smooth.
I'd avoid sanding and coating, sanding and coating as this will give a high gloss and very smooth finish, which a war-time item would not have. As a Smithsonian curator once told me, you want it to show its age. I'd stain it, wipe it off after a minute or two and keep restaining it until you get the dark color you want. Linseed oil is good at bringing out the grain. After you get the color you want, saturate it with linseed oil, wipe it off and keep applying it until the wood stops soaking it up--may take several days. Then put a light coat of wax on it and you're done. Use 0000 steel wool instead of sandpaper and go lightly on it. Practice on a scrap piece of hardwood/oak and make sure you dipose any linseed-soaked rags/paper towels properly--they will self-ignite if you put them in the trash.