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Thread: Is This Sword Flawed?

  1. #1
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    Default Is This Sword Flawed?

    Good afternoon!

    I recently purchased my first full-tang Tachi recently and been using it for technique and cleaning practice. It was (relatively) inexpensive, and as such I don't expect it to last forever.

    Anyway on with the question. I cleaned it the other day and noticed an area of slight discoloration. I cannot say for sure if the sword arrived that way or if it is something I caused.

    Here is a photo of it with a thin red circle around the area in question. I am unsure what to call it, since it appears that the (faux?) Damascus pattern runs through it.



    Here is the unaltered photo:



    Any ideas? A remnant of the creation process? Poor polishing technique? Possibly a thumb print that caused some slight rusting?

    Thanks for any info!!!
    - Slam Jones
    Last edited by Slam Jones; 25th May 2017 at 20:57. Reason: Additional details added

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    It looks to me like the latter: like someone touched it with a sweaty finger and then didn't clean it and oil it before putting it away. If it's as shallow as it looks, a good cleaning with some uchiko, followed by a light coat of choji, should fix it nicely.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Excellent, thank you for the info! I'll have to do a thorough cleaning this weekend and try to get it off of there. Being my first 'real' blade I assume it will end up rusted to heck and back before I get another anyway, so I'm glad to be able to identify that type of rust spot now.

    Thanks again for the info!!

    -Slam Jones

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    If you don't have an uchiko ball, you can use a mild abrasive cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend. Lacking choji, any light mineral oil will work.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    I do have one but I've noticed it doesn't really dispense all that much (at least not compared to the guides I've seen). I usually have to tap it a few times to get even a light sprinkling. I believe I read that this can occur if the ball gets clogged with oil... any way to fix that particular issue (if it even is an issue)?

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    There's not really ny practical way to fix it, so you'll just have to tap more often to get the amount you need. And of course you can prevent it from getting worse by making sure any future use is only on dry blades.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Sounds good, I will definitely heed all this advice.

    Being my practice sword, it's all about learning for me right now!

    Thanks!
    - Slam

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    Hey Alec,
    Welcome to e-budo. I agree with Brian that this is a fingerprint smudge that wasn't cleaned quickly enough. Based on the look of the small amount of sword that is showing in your photos, I would guess that this is a Chinese made sword. The folded steel pattern is enhanced by acid etching the blade, and this makes these swords very prone to discoloration and spot rusting. You'll need to keep it meticulously clean, and will need to clean it often and well in order to prevent spots like this one occurring.
    If you are actually using the sword for anything, be sure and carefully inspect the handle, wrap, and fittings on a regular basis as the Chinese made swords have been known to develop looseness and/or cracks in the handle rendering them dangerous.

    Cheers,
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the welcome!

    You are quite correct - this is a Chinese-made sword, by the manufacturer 'Ten Ryu' in Longquan, China. From what I've read, these are rather basic or even 'wallhanger' quality swords; at my price point this is what I expected. As such I've been very cautious when it is out of the saya, making sure nothing that can bleed (friends, dogs, random wildlife) is within 20 feet of me to the sides and back, and at least 20 yards to the front.

    Regardless all pieces are tight: no rattle of any kind with the saya, blade, or fittings. I did have a question regarding tying the sageo in the elaborate knot that it came with, but I assume that is better left to a different thread.

    Thanks!
    - Alec

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam Jones View Post
    ...I did have a question regarding tying the sageo in the elaborate knot that it came with...
    The "presentation knot" isn't much used by practicing swordsmen, but if you want to know how to do it, along with two other common knots, see here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PvJLJixxF4
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    The "presentation knot" isn't much used by practicing swordsmen, but if you want to know how to do it, along with two other common knots, see here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PvJLJixxF4

    Beautiful, thank you for linking this! I look forward to practicing these knots.
    - Alec Kettenhofen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam Jones View Post
    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the welcome!

    You are quite correct - this is a Chinese-made sword, by the manufacturer 'Ten Ryu' in Longquan, China. From what I've read, these are rather basic or even 'wallhanger' quality swords; at my price point this is what I expected. As such I've been very cautious when it is out of the saya, making sure nothing that can bleed (friends, dogs, random wildlife) is within 20 feet of me to the sides and back, and at least 20 yards to the front.

    Regardless all pieces are tight: no rattle of any kind with the saya, blade, or fittings. I did have a question regarding tying the sageo in the elaborate knot that it came with, but I assume that is better left to a different thread.

    Thanks!
    - Alec
    I was wondering why I cant see a dividing line between the plain shinogi and hamon? As you say some sort of damascus pattern. The whole thing forged and tempered as one with no variation between cutting edge and the rest of the blade.

    Googling it I guess you will have to pay a bit more than USD 88 to get a decent safe blade. Please be safe.
    Last edited by hyaku; 4th June 2017 at 15:59.
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Hello Hyaku,

    Thanks for the input! I certainly did acknowledge your concerns in the above posts, regarding sword quality and safety precautions. As I've said, I didn't expect a quality blade, just something I can learn with that will likely fail of its own volition in a few years anyway. Also I have to agree - the picture is not exactly flattering!

    Personally, I would rather learn on a cheap blade than ruin a several-hundred or -thousand dollar, hand-crafted sword. If I had jumped for one of those, then the rust pitting would be much more tragic (not to mention embarrassing)!

    Once I can prove to myself that I can take proper care of a sword over an extended period of time (especially such a cheap one), then I will allow myself to spend a bit more than ~$88 USD on my next sword.

    I do agree - safety is the most important aspect of any of this! As such, it'll be a while before I start learning sharpening techniques, or much beyond maintenance.


    Thanks for the input!
    Alec K
    - Alec Kettenhofen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam Jones View Post
    ...Personally, I would rather learn on a cheap blade than ruin a several-hundred or -thousand dollar, hand-crafted sword.
    Just out of curiosity, what is your goal; that is, what are you trying to learn? Are you wanting to become a sword collector, or are you wanting to learn swordsmanship.

    If it's the latter, most of us started out with a relatively inexpensive non-ferrous alloy blade in a good mounting (called an Iaito) to learn the fundamentals of drawing, cutting, resheathing, etc., and a wooden sword (called a bokken or bokuto) for paired practice to learn timing, distancing, etc. Only after many years would it be required to buy a live blade.

    Even the best blade will hinder your learning if it's in a bad mounting, not to mention being dangerous to yourself and others. Until you have enough experience to know what to look for, the best bet when buying your next sword will be to let your sensei be your guide.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Hi Brian,

    Great question. I can sometimes lose sight of my end-goals, so thank you for keeping me on track here!

    First and foremost I admire the aesthetic qualities of these swords. As such, I would say my main aspiration is to be a collector who can maintain these swords in an optimum state, free of embarrassing self-caused defects as seen in my original post.

    The usage thereof is secondary to me, though I am still fascinated by the elegance and poise of those who have mastered them. I am considering finding a dojo so that I may learn proper respect of the swords, as well as the foundations necessary to learn basic swordsmanship. If I understand correctly, the sword I have presented would be downright dangerous for such a use, and I have now looked into Iaito, Bokken, and Shinai for the actual learning. I imagine self-training without a sensei can lead to very bad and dangerous habits, and as such I have avoided that for now.

    So to reiterate, my main goal is to collect swords and be able to maintain and show them in a safe and clean environment, however I still find the swordsmanship aspects to be fascinating in their own right, and may seek to learn from a sensei in the near future.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Slam Jones; 8th June 2017 at 23:47. Reason: Grammar

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