Cleaning your sword

Discussion in 'Sword Arts Talk' started by Lisa, May 20, 2006.

  1. Lisa

    Lisa Don't get Chewed!

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    I have heard that mineral oil is good for cleaning a sword and was wondering what the sword practitioners on the forum would recommend to keep the swords clean and in good condition.
     
  2. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    I start by cleaning the blade with either 91% isopropyl alcohol (available at any Wal-Mart or hardware store), or 95% ethyl alcohol (also available at any Wal-Mart or hardware store). This way, I get all of the grime, dirt, etc. off the blade.

    Once that's done, I take some Superlube Drifilm spray lubricant. This is basically Teflon solubilized in hexanes. I'll spray down the blade, and let the hexanes evaporate (they evaporate very quickly). Then I'll wipe down the blade a bit with a soft, lint-free cloth. Presto. Clean blade, well protected against external moisture, and the layer of Teflon left behind, is a dry coating that does not attract dirt, grease, etc.

    Also the hexanes can rip out organic contaminants that the alcohol might have missed.
     
  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I just wipe any grime off with a clean paper towel. Then I spray some WD-40 into another clean paper towel and wipe it on the blade, so there is a light film left over.

    If I am going to put a sword away for a longer period of time, I smear vaseline on the blade. Since it is heavier and sticky, it will stay on the blade and keep it protected for a long period of time. A lighter oil like WD-40 can eventually run off the blade and leave it unprotected.
     
  4. mantis

    mantis Master Black Belt

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    doesnt vaseline collect more stuff?
    besides, i cannot find vaseline anywhere! it disappeared from the market or something?
     
  5. Swordlady

    Swordlady Senior Master

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    I use Windex to clean off my euro swords. I'm not joking; it does a good job getting off gunk, which usually some label glue if I was cutting water bottles or something. I spray some Windex on the blade and wipe it off *carefully* with a paper towel. I have some Hanwei sword oil (it's just mineral oil), which comes in a handy spray bottle. Spray a little oil on the blade, and wipe a very light coat on the blade. I keep my swords on display plaques, wipe them down and re-oil every few months.

    Katana care is a bit different. I use uchiko power (comes in a little ball) tapped on the blade, and wipe it off with sword paper. I use choji oil (basically, mineral oil with a bit of clove) to coat the blade after cleaning it. Again, just a very thin layer. Some use mineral oil to oil there katana. I just like being traditional, I guess.
     
  6. Lisa

    Lisa Don't get Chewed!

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    I have stickied this for quick reference. Getting some good replies and I think others will benefit from it as well. :)
     
  7. Swordlady

    Swordlady Senior Master

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    Eek...WD-40 isn't a good protectant for swords. It can actually trap moisture instead of wicking it away. I also used WD-40 for my first sword (a Agincourt wallhanger - a nice looking one, but still a wallhanger) and got corrected very quickly when I bought my first *real* euro sword. Mineral oil is generally a good way to go, but make sure the blade is thoroughly cleaned off first!
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    It stays in the scabbard, at this point. This is for long-term storage.
     
  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hmm... I've been using it for about 6 or 7 years on several better-quality Chinese swords, and never had a problem. I definitely notice some rust after just a couple of days if I forget to clean it after use. The inverted grip we use can position the blade along the bottom of the forearm. If you are at all sweaty you will certainly get some rust if it isn't cleaned soon afterwards. But I've never had a problem when I used WD-40, even when the sword has then remained in storage for several months without re-oiling.
     
  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    I've always cleaned my swords the same way I was originally taught. Wipe old oil off with a piece of white toilet paper. Uchiko both sides of blade. Wipe with another piece of toilet paper. Apply a very thin layer of choji oil with a soft cloth. If I have a lot of gunk from tameshigiri, I will clean the blade with Noxon first, then proceed as normal. It's cheap, easy, and effective. It is also been in use for hundreds of years.
     
  11. karateka

    karateka Yellow Belt

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    when it comes to sword care for high carbon steel blades, (includes swedish power) i recommend hanwei sword oil. i have owned alot of high carbon steel blades and i must say the sword oil does the trick every time.

    wipe your sword with white spirit and remove any exess spirit, then apply a thin coat of hanwei sword oil, and your blade is protected against rust.

    to buy hanwei sword oil, remember that google is your friend.
     
  12. Swordlady

    Swordlady Senior Master

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    So is eBay. :D I bought four bottles of Hanwei sword oil on eBay; that'll hold up for a few years.
     
  13. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Since I already have it for my firearms, I just use Breakfree CLP to clean and protect the sword, clove oil smells ALOT better though.

    Lamont
     
  14. howard

    howard Brown Belt

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    You can try making your own choji oil if you like... get a small bottle of clove oil frome somewhere like a health food store or an aromatherapy shop. Add a few drops to some plain mineral oil from the drug store. One rule of thumb suggests 1 part clove oil to 100 parts mineral oil.

    This will work out a lot cheaper than buying choji oil.

    Mineral oil is petroleum-based and is safe for high-carbon steel blades.
     
  15. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I use breakfree and other stuff on some of my Filipino blades, folding knives, etc. However for my Japanese based swords, iaitos, etc I use Choji as it is simply the best and it smells great as well.

    Brian R. VanCise
    www.instinctiveresponsetraining.com
     
  16. Prizmwolf

    Prizmwolf White Belt

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    I have several swords that get equal attention.The blade: First I use 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean the blade and metal surfaces only. If the alcohol gets on the wood, put Orange Oil to it immediately! Then I spread a very thin coat of gun oil on both sides of the blade. (e.g. Just one good swipe with a cloth)

    Now for the handle: My Damascus blade has a Rosewood handle and I use Orange Oil on it. The Orange Oil is made from 100% orange rine. Not only does it clean, it polishes and preserves as well. It also brings out the natural beauty of the wood. Spray a cotton cloth with the Orange Oil, then rub it into the wooded handle; this goes for the sheath as well folks. This works on all wood surfaces except lacquered or unfinished wood.

    When you see the finished work, you will be pleased. :)

    Prizmwolf
     
  17. wade

    wade Black Belt

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    Hmmmm, interesting. I have a medium length blade from the early 1700's. It was picked up in Kyoto in 1945 by the occupation forces. I use it to practice my draw and cuts against pine tree branches. I find that rubbing alcohol and old t-shirts work really well too. But ya know, this stuff sounda pretty good to, I might just try some of them.
     
  18. Peekingduck

    Peekingduck White Belt

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    I asked at Aoi arts in Tokyo and a few other places.
    It seems 5-56 is good, as long as you spray it into a different
    bottle first to get rid of the gas.

    just my 5 yen
    Be well amigos
     
  19. cstanley

    cstanley Blue Belt

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    If you have a sword from the 1700's and are cutting pine trees with it you are terribly misinformed. A valuable antique sword should never be used to cut anything. Use it to practice iai or kata and NOTHING else. You can purchase modern sharp swords to play with. The oils from the trees, especially pine, will eventually corrode the blade. You are also putting dings and scratches on it of which you may not be aware. Put it up somewhere and treasure it.
     
  20. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski Orange Belt

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    Brian, good to see you here. NO, I am not following you around![​IMG]

    Anyway, what I recommend for people to use is gun oil. Gun oil does not collect dust like a lot of oils do...at least not as much. Gun oil wipes on nice and thin so you can give your sword a nice shine with no oily look to it.
     

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