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Taking Care of a Sword

AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin KoopantinoRegistered User regular
edited December 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I've just inherited a Japanese sword carried by an officer in World War 2. My grandfather served in Japan in WW2, though he didn't fight there, he was on cleanup duty after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anyhoo, I don't know that it is worth anything or not, and even if it were I'm not going to sell it. However I want to take care of it. It has somehow kept from rusting despite many years of neglect.

All I know about it is that it is a Type 94 Katana. that's all I've been able to dig up thus far.

So... how do I take care of it? I don't know the first thing about swords.

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Posts

  • OrganichuOrganichu poops peesRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2007
    The t94 katana was the standardized piece for officers in the Imperial Japanese Army. There was a similar version bestowed to Navy officers, but I think the picture you linked is of an Army brand. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can help you with blade care. The tricky thing is that though the armament surroundings (hilt, scabbard etc.) were standardized, the metal rations and the individual wealth of different officers led to a wide variety of actual blades. Some of these swords contain newly fitted (from 34-38) blades, and some contain blades that are old enough (and ill kept enough) to be almost purely ceremonial.

    Your best bet for identifying (and maintaining the quality of) the katana is to find someone you can show it to with expertise in the field.




    edit: of course, there are standard maintenance practices that I'm sure you could do with any blade, assuming it's not decayed and disintegrating. I don't know anything about that, though. You can probably Google it.

    Organichu on
  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    The basic and most important thing to do is to wipe it down with an oil every now and then or wax to keep it from rusting. Look for stuff designed to protect metal (basically anything advertised for guns or knives works).

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  • ReitenReiten Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Some gunto (military swords) are basically worthless mass produced, pressed steel, if I recall correctly. Some, though, were high quality family blades or purchased from a real sword smith (as Organichu wrote). Japanese use mineral oil with clove smell usually on the blade. Apply just a little bit to a soft cloth (we always used a scrap from an old white tshirt since they are typically pretty soft) and wipe down the blade. Make sure to cover all surfaces (including inside the groove near the spine/back of the blade). Always apply with your palm at the spine of the blade, not the front (the edge) or you risk cutting yourself badly. A couple long swipes from base to tip should cover all the surface area.

    I'm sure you can order the oil online from a budo store, but I haven't done so and so can't recommend a place. Normal mineral oil should be fairly easy to obtain.

    Reiten on
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Okay, thanks for the info dudes. I will try to find some oil to wipe it down with, at the very least.

    I don't really care if it is a worthless blade. It's more of a sentimental piece, anyhow. It isn't rusted or deteriorated in any way that I can tell, and I just want to keep it that way and maybe put it on display. I hope to keep it nice so that maybe some day I can pass it down, heirloom style.

    AbsoluteZero on
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  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Turns out this sword could be a Type 95 Katana. Wikipedia is giving me conflicting information on the subject.

    AbsoluteZero on
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  • OrganichuOrganichu poops peesRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2007
    I'm not sure how reliable Wiki will be on the subject, but from my knowledge of the topic: the Type 95 was the cheaper and far more prevalent gunto produced for NCOs.

    Question(s): what material is the hilt? The scabbard? The 95s that lasted through to the end of the war began to be supplanted with more wooden components as a result of the aforementioned metal rations.

    Organichu on
  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Yup, it's definitely a Type 95. No wooden parts, either. I found a website with information on shin gunto swords issued. The translation isn't so hot, but here's what I got:
    Initial type: Army Arsenal Nagoya Factory made(blade ? 9090 T, full length: 96.0 cm).
    The aluminum hilt(Tsuka) is painted. Brass aoi-shaped guard(Tsuba). Horseshoe chape(Ishizuki). Iron scabbard(Saya).

    Thankfully the site had pictures of the swords, and I was able to match it up to that one. From what I can gather the blade is machined steel, the hilt is aluminum, the guard is brass, and the scabbard is iron.

    AbsoluteZero on
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  • OrganichuOrganichu poops peesRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2007
    Yup, just about every T95 had a machined blade.

    Congrats! Nice find.

    Organichu on
  • LukinLukin Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    www.swordforum.com is a good resource. It's very heavily moderated (almost to a comical degree), but that's a good thing if you're just looking for information.

    Lukin on
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  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Lukin wrote: »
    www.swordforum.com is a good resource. It's very heavily moderated (almost to a comical degree), but that's a good thing if you're just looking for information.

    Oh, awesome. Lots of great info on there, thanks!

    AbsoluteZero on
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