Katana Cleaning

krieger

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I just got a new katana and wakizashi as a graduation gift and it came with a cleaning kit, but I don't really know how to use it. The cleaning kit came with: oil, hammer, powder ball, cloths, and a container. I've read that you wipe off the grim/oil already on the blade with rice paper, tap the blade with the powder, and then the oil. My kit didn't come with rice paper...so can I use wax paper or paper towels?

Thanks!

*EDIT*

Okay, I think I mistaken the cloth for the rice paper. Instructions still welcome!
 

Sukerkin

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Hi Krieger

The answer will depend on whether your blades are steel or alloy, iaito or live?

A few 'proper nouns' to set the scene -the oil is called choji, the hammer is a meguki hammer and the powder ball is uchiko

It would be redundant of me to go into great detail on how to go about it as the information is freely available on the good old InterWebs. Have a look here:

http://www.chenessinc.com/cleaning.htm for a rough description and watch this:


to see someone actually demonstrating.

I don't agree with all the precise details but all that means is that I was taught a different way by my sensei.

Of course, as ever, the proviso is going to be "Get your sensei to show you" and, if it's a live blade, I would recommend that you are supervised closely the first time you clean it - an oiled, three-foot long razor is not a thing to be treated casually and she will bite you given half a chance :D. Bleeding to death because you sliced an artery leaning over to pick up your choji oil is not a noble way to go.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. I don't promise to know but I will try to find out for you if I can.
 
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Fiendlover

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Hi Krieger

The answer will depend on whether your blades are steel or alloy, iaito or live?

A few 'proper nouns' to set the scene -the oil is called choji, the hammer is a meguki hammer and the powder ball is uchiko

It would be redundant of me to go into great detail on how to go about it as the information is freely available on the good old InterWebs. Have a look here:

http://www.chenessinc.com/cleaning.htm for a rough description and watch this:


to see someone actually demonstrating.

I don't agree with all the precise details but all that means is that I was taught a different way by my sensei.

Of course, as ever, the proviso is going to be "Get your sensei to show you" and, if it's a live blade, I would recommend that you are supervised closely the first time you clean it - an oiled, three-foot long razor is not a thing to be treated casually and she will bite you given half a chance :D. Bleeding to death because you sliced an artery leaning over to pick up your choji oil is not a noble way to go.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. I don't promise to know but I will try to find out for you if I can.
i agree with Sukerkin

http://www.chenessinc.com/cleaning.htm

this should be the site you're looking for. this is was helped me because mine didnt come with instructions either.
 
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krieger

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I was told that it was really sharp, but I've tested this on my finger and hands with no avail...kind of disappointing really. Maybe they just need to be sharpened?

They are a Furubushidoo katana and wakizashi. "Hand-made practical katana"...I've seen pictures online of the same one i have disassembled, showing each piece, full tang and all.

Thanks for the sites, BTW!
 

Sukerkin

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Aren't the Furobushido line Paul Chen? Their quality control has had issues in recent years but if the blades are not sharpened at present I would council you most strongly not to get them sharpened.

A sword produced to be 'dull' can react very badly to the heat involved in sharpening and also was in all likelyhood not produced for tameshagiri (cutting practise).

As you seem to be just starting on the road of the sword-arts, leave her as she is at the moment and learn with the relative safety of a not-quite-live blade.
 

jks9199

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Aren't the Furobushido line Paul Chen? Their quality control has had issues in recent years but if the blades are not sharpened at present I would council you most strongly not to get them sharpened.

A sword produced to be 'dull' can react very badly to the heat involved in sharpening and also was in all likelyhood not produced for tameshagiri (cutting practise).

As you seem to be just starting on the road of the sword-arts, leave her as she is at the moment and learn with the relative safety of a not-quite-live blade.
I almost have to wonder if either they've got one of the iato practice swords that are not intended to be sharp, or have ended up with one of the infamous sword-like objects... thought I don't see why they'd have sent a cleaning kit with the latter.

Or they just don't know how to test the edge.
 

Sukerkin

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I don't want to say anything too negative because the swords were a graduation gift.

I shall limit myself to saying that (assuming the line is the one I think it is) if they were mine, I would only use them for training purposes and treat them as iaito that won't take much stress.

Everyone starts somewhere, Krieger, so don't worry about it for now. As your skill improves then so will your need for higher quality swords.
 
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krieger

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After viewing the vid and reading the instructions, I cleaned both blades rather successfuly. I then tested their sharpness and found that from about middle to the point is sharp, and I have the cuts on my palm to prove it...lol. I'm sure they are not for tameshagiri but rather for general practive use, like performing katas and such. Is Paul Chen a bad thing?

Thank you all for your advice/input! I can't wait to show my Sifu on Monday!
 

jks9199

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After viewing the vid and reading the instructions, I cleaned both blades rather successfuly. I then tested their sharpness and found that from about middle to the point is sharp, and I have the cuts on my palm to prove it...lol. I'm sure they are not for tameshagiri but rather for general practive use, like performing katas and such. Is Paul Chen a bad thing?

Thank you all for your advice/input! I can't wait to show my Sifu on Monday!
This is my simple suggestion, based on your comments.

Put the swords on a shelf. Leave them alone until Monday. Take them to your instructor, and discuss learning swordwork properly with him.

The fact that you "have the cuts on your palm" to prove their sharpness strongly suggests to me that you don't know the basics of safety, and need to learn them. I have a friend who has a numb finger because of a small error with a sword where he cut the nerves. I've got another friend who ended up going to the emergency room in a different state many hyears ago from a dumb move with a knife. And I can add to the stories... I don't want you to become another one.
 

Sukerkin

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I can only reiterate the sound advice to not approach learning the sword lightly and to do so without qualified instruction is to invite problems with either technique or injury.

As to Paul Chen, they produce a wide range of equipment, spanning the spectrum of prices. At one time they were most famous for producing cheap swords for people starting out and, altho' you would never confuse them with a 'proper' Japanese smithed blade, they were quite functional enough.

I have a Practical Plus katana and wakizashi myself, which are robust blades that I use for cutting practice. When I compare them to my Tozando Hon Jidai Koshirae katana tho', it is instantly clear what the difference is between a $300 sword and a $900 sword (approximate currency conversions of the prices I paid).

Nowadays, with the company expansion taking production out from under the well-intended founders eye, quality control has become patchy and the lower-end kit is not regarded well. I emphasise tho', that they are perfectly fine for when you are starting out - altho' I would've recommended iaito for your first blade because, trust me, everyone cuts themselves at some time and the odds of it being serious are much greater at the beginning.

In the end, enjoy them and enjoy learning to use them but please find an iaido dojo in your area and learn there. 'Backyard' self-tuition usually ends up in the Accident Unit and some have ended up in the morgue.
 
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krieger

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Well, I made the cuts on my hand on purpose, because I was told they were sharp but they didn't look it. They healed later in the day, no biggie. I'm accustomed to knives, so I know how to handle the blade.

I am actually learning katana in class, it's by chance that I was given this as a gift. Although, a nice chance at that. I have a couple wall hanger swords and I compared them to my practical ones, and I see the difference. It would be nice if i could affored a hand forged Japanese katana. Alas, a dream for now.
 

Grenadier

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The Paul Chen line of blades encompasses a wide range of quality, and I see them as being similar to Last Legend.

You can get a decent blade, one that will work fine for cutting, at a reasonable price. They are not, however, classified as authentic Nihonto.
 

pgsmith

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Throwing in several opinions here ...

First, I DO NOT care for the cleaning instruction on the Cheness site. It is too easy to misinterpret them and scrub at your blade with a piece of rice paper. That is a serious accident waiting to happen! Whenever anyone has questions about Japanese styled swords, I send them to Dr. Rich Stein's very informative Japanese Sword Guide ...http://www.geocities.com/alchemyst/nihonto.htm It is aimed at the collector rather than the user, but is crammed full of wonderful information, including a whole section on sword care.

Second, swords are never meant to be as sharp as knives. If you are used to dealing with knives, you'll find even a very sharp sword pretty dull in comparison. Swords are meant to withstand much more force than is ever exerted on a knife, so too sharp of an edge will result in chipping or roll-over, neither of which is desireable.

Third, do NOT use your new swords for training purposes. Since you say that you are "learning katana" in your class, you will be very tempted. Leave them on the shelf and keep them well maintained. You'll be ready for live blade use eventually, but rushing it only enlarges the chance of a life changing injury. I don't mean to say that you cannot be safe, or cannot handle yourself. I am merely pointing out that a sharp sword is like a gun that has no safety and you cannot unload. It only takes a small loss of concentration or a little distraction and then you have lost the use of your hand, or arm, or dropped fingers on the floor or, if no one happens to be around when you do it, you've sliced through an artery and bled to death before the ambulance could get there.

People tend to not take swords as seriously as they should, and this has led to many serious injuries.

Enough of the preaching though. Enjoy your new swords, and consider yourself lucky that someone was good enough to gift you with them!
 

Charles Mahan

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Throwing in several opinions here ...
It only takes a small loss of concentration or a little distraction and then you have lost the use of your hand, or arm, or dropped fingers on the floor or, if no one happens to be around when you do it, you've sliced through an artery and bled to death before the ambulance could get there.

This may sound a bit melodramtic and unlikley at first glance, but the guy in the following thread really did lose a great deal of function in his left hand and very nearly bled out. A good thing for him that someone was there to apply a tourniquet.

http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=53083
 
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krieger

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I only brought my katana to class once, and that was to have my instructor look at it. Other than that, they sit on my dressing, looking nice. We use bokkens in class.

Thanks for more input.
 

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