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Don't take the rust off. If there are "caked" rust that flakes off, use a paper towel and gently rub it off, but not more than that. Buy some clove oil from an internet sword accessories seller and keep the tang and blade oiled with it. And do not ever attempt to polish the tang ! because the rust patina (black rust) on the tang is a very important component of the value of your sword.

The best way to get impressions of your tang signature is to obtain some thin paper (preferably rice paper), place it over the tang and gently rub a pencil tip sideways over the area. You should get a fairly good impression of the signature.
 
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