View Full Version : Sword care?
08-04-2000, 03:53 PM
I just purchased an lower end Paul Chen katana. Can anyone point me to a faq for sword care and such?
08-04-2000, 04:51 PM
I noticed that the wooden sheath has a small amount of sawdust that seems to be collecting on the oiled (the gunk they put on it in shipping) blade. Should I clean out the sheath as well? Also, where can I get the supplies to cealn the sword (uchiko ball)?
08-04-2000, 05:24 PM
Here's a link for a good place to start on understanding the care and feeding of your katana.
If you got a sword care kit with your Chen sword, be aware that most do not consider the choji oil or the uchiko to be of good quality and recommend going to another source, such as Bugei.
You might also consider buying some books to study on the subject as well, such as "Japanese Swordsmanship":
This is one I have which does a good job of describing the procedure from start to finish.
Train hard, train safe,
I have, on occassion been accussed of being over-cautious
when it comes to the maintainance of my Katana.
Does eveyone think it is necessarry to perform a cleaning ritual every time the blade comes in contact with skin?
In our style the blade slides between the left hand fingers when performing "Noto" and I consequently clean it after every training session (no matter how short or how many times I perform "Noto")
Your input would be greatly appreciated
Yours in Budo
(Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu)
08-06-2000, 10:13 AM
I too clean my katana each and every time my skin comes in contact with the blade. I do not think you are being overly cautious. In fact, I would say that everyone I know does the same.
The oils, sweat/moisture, etc. on your skin can be very damaging to your blade. In days of old one would go so far as to hold a piece of rice paper between their lips when viewing the blade. This was done so that their moisture laden breath would not come in contact with the blade.
Hope this helps....
Hanashi Ryu Kenjutsu
08-06-2000, 12:05 PM
Man, now I'm paraniod.. I've gotta get a cleaning kit! :)
After all of this, a friend came over and saw the katana and proceeded to draw the blade and put his fingers on it!! Ack! I just about tackled him. LOL
08-06-2000, 03:09 PM
I just want emphasize, when you get your cleaning kit, make sure that you wipe all of the old oil off of the blade prior to applying the uchiko. Otherwise, any oil left on the blade will get on the ball and will clog-up the pores of the cloth. It will also transfer the old oil, and anything it might have collected, to the clean blade.
Be very careful not to wrap your fingers around the blade as you wipe it, unless you keep a first aid it handy.
Do not attempt to "clean out" the scabbard, most are fitted to each particular blade. The most I would suggest is to place a folded cloth or towel on the floor and lightly tap the the scabbard down on it, mouth down. Most scabbards are designed with a small pocket at the bottom to collect the shavings and excess oil. The shavings will eventually work thier way down as you use the sword.
Incidently, the paper used for cleaning, and that held in the mouth or kept in the kimono, is made from mulberry, not rice, and is called washi.
After reasembling your sword, make sure that you double-check the mekugi (the restraining pin) before you use it, and every time you use it. They sometimes have a way of working themselves loose, on an often used sword.
08-06-2000, 06:57 PM
What exactly it the purpose of the uchiko powder?
I'm gonna run by a local store for mineral oil and good quality paper/napkins/cloths to get the original oil off the sword.
08-07-2000, 04:08 AM
Uchiko is used to lightly "polish off" a residue that may be sticking to the blade after use. It is a powder made from the uchigomori stones, the finer quality uchiko also has powder from hazuya and jizuya in the mix. These are all stones used in the sword polishing process. Though far more complicated than I'm describing here, the traditional process of making uchiko was performed by the polishers. As the swords are polished the stones are worn down. The sediment in the water is grindings of the stones and steel. This sediment is used to make the uchiko balls that are then wrapped with silk and fastened to a small handle. As the ball is tapped along the blade the powder comes through the silk and coats the blade. So when you are cleaning your sword with the uchiko, you are also polishing it.
But I do not believe this is the process used to make the comercial uchiko found in most cleaning kits.
Though mineral oil and napikins will work, I do suggest getting an actual sword cleaning kit. If for nothing else, they contain the traditional clove oil which adds a nice smell to your blade.:)
Thank you Mr Ash for your reply,
I now do not feel so neurotic.
Someone touched your blade? I too had the same problem.
My partners father lightly touched the blade of my Katana, much to my horror, and I have been living with guilt ever since.
He is not and never has been familiar with Bujitsu and in this instance his family and Mother in law were in the room. I did not feel comfortable embarassing him in front of his family and hence said nothing. Despite the fact that I maintained his honour, the fact is that it fails to comfort me.
Am I wierd or do others share my ideas? If so I would also appreciate what others would do in this instance.
Yours in Budo
08-07-2000, 01:51 PM
While many here have recomended the use of napkins I would discourage that practice. Paper...specificly wood based paper is very abrasive, it will scratch metal (beleive it or not). You would do better to use lens paper, which is availible at almost any camera shop. As for clove oil before the Crash there was some discussion about making your own clove oil from mineral oil and clove bud "essence' oil (availible at many healthfood stores) this is a cheaper alterative to buying the little bottles of sword oil.
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