Maintenance of Samurai and Japanese swords

Maintenance of Samurai and Japanese swords Such a delicate thing as a samurai sword requires adequate care. True samurais never compromised its maintenance. Japanese people used to say that the sword was combatant’s soul. To reach maximal possible sharpness the blades are made from carbon steel which means they can rust. If you want your precise weapon to remain in top condition you need to oil the blade properly.

The blade preservation

The samurai sword needs a treatment described below. It should be done every time after training and at least once in every three months even when your katana serves just as a decoration. If kept in a salty atmosphere it is recommended to do the procedure every month. Let us offer you the samurai sword maintenance kits made by several producers to choose from.

The most of the care is obviously needed by the blade. There are also stainless steel copies available on the market suitable only for display. Their blades do not need this care. If you possess real carbon blade you should be making following steps:

  1. Remove remaining oil. The best way is to wipe it off with nuguigami – a special soft paper made right for the swords cleaning. Wipe only in one direction (from the sword’s guard to its tip) while you are holding the sword in your left hand pointed away from you (nuguigami in your right hand will slide along the spine side of the sword). Always be careful and remember extreme sharpness of the edge. Do not reuse the papers. Alternatively rice paper towels or tissues can be used (but not the scented ones or the ones with lotion!). If you want the best treatment then use nuguigami.
  2. When there is no oil left you can apply cleaning powder by tapping the uchiko ball onto the blade every 3 cm. Do both sides and the spine (mune). Do not forget a fuller (bo-hi) if your sword have it. The goal is equally spread powder on the blade’s surface in order to remove all residues from cutting. Please note: the first use of uchiko will probably require denser tapping. Any remaining oil can clog uchiko ball’s surface so be sure you did the previous step properly. Avoid any inhaling of the powder.
  3. Take another piece of nuguigami and wipe the cleaning powder off the blade in the same way you were removing the old oil. It should eventually become completely clean and polished. Then it is ready for new oil.
  4. Drip several drops of new choji oil (oil for swords) equally to the blade and spread it with rice paper or cloth. You can also soak the cloth and apply the oil with it. As previously, start from the guard and continue to the tip until there is a thin layer on whole blade. The oil will protect it from corrosion while your weapon will be sheathed and waiting for its next employment. Therefore be sure you did not neglect any part of its surface including the fuller.

Other tips

Your katana is stored in its sheath (saya). Saya is usually well protected by lacquer so its only enemy is a dust. Use soft dry cloth and remove the dust time after time. Always be careful when drawing this sharp sword from (or into) its light fragile sheath. The most reliable way is to hold the weapon in front of you with the saya in your left hand and the sword’s handle in the right hand. The left hand stands still and only right hand is pulling the blade outside or inside. To prevent scratching of the sheath it is recommended to grab it by its belt.

Keep in mind

For preserving finest condition of your katana it is also necessary to keep some other things in your mind:

  • Do not touch the blade. Human sweat is aggressive and can cause damages
  • Breathing on the blade will result in water condensation on the surface which causes rusting
  • Avoid contact with acidic or salty substances
  • Do not expose the sword to direct sunlight or intense heat (e. g. storing by the heating) - the danger of water condensation
  • Do not polish any part with a metal polish. The blade can be polished by using the powder from uchiko ball.

The samurai swords really worth the maintenance and you will recognize the difference. The more you will look after it the more you will get back. We wish you many pleasure experiences!

Advisory Service: Questions and Answers

I have ordered a sword in your store and would like to order a scabbard now, how?

The scabbards are made exactly to the size of the blade. Please select a scabbard you like. If you´re not sure, whether it is a suitable one, contact us with your order number and we will recommend you a suitable style. If you have already received the sword, we will ask you after receiving your order to submit several measurements of the sword blade. If we still have not dispatched the sword, we will take measurements of the blade ourselves and have the scabbard made for you in correct size.

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