+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Old Katana, or is it?

Click here to increase the font size Click here to reduce the font size
  1. #1
    Contributing Member IanS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Last On
    05-30-2021 @ 03:01 PM
    Location
    Buckinghamshire, UK
    Age
    78
    Posts
    159
    Local Date
    07-25-2021
    Local Time
    06:05 AM
    Real Name
    Ian Scott

    Old Katana, or is it?

    I recently bought a rough katana at auction, it was badly in need of restoration, just what I wanted to practice blade polishing on, it seemingly had an old blade. I had polished a shin gunto blade previously and wanted to go a step further.

    I'm not sure about the blade now, I can't see a hamon, maybe something will appear during polishing. The tsuka seems pretty old as does the tsuba. The tsuba looks Edo period to me but I'm certainly not experienced enough to judge its age.

    I've added some photos and would appreciate hearing some of your thoughts on this.



    Taking the images from left to right, 1 is the tsuba end of the tsuka. 2 & 3 is one side of the tsuba. 4, 5 & 6 is the other side. 7 is the blade and 8 is two unfolded hishigami from under the ito wrap.

    Thanks,
    Ian
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Tsuka1.jpg‎
Views:	223
Size:	585.3 KB
ID:	114470   Click image for larger version

Name:	Tsuba5.jpg‎
Views:	222
Size:	719.9 KB
ID:	114471   Click image for larger version

Name:	Tsuba4.jpg‎
Views:	211
Size:	635.8 KB
ID:	114472   Click image for larger version

Name:	Tsuba3.jpg‎
Views:	216
Size:	1.21 MB
ID:	114473   Click image for larger version

Name:	Tsuba2.jpg‎
Views:	207
Size:	938.7 KB
ID:	114474   Click image for larger version

Name:	Tsuba1.jpg‎
Views:	130
Size:	1.13 MB
ID:	114475   Click image for larger version

Name:	Blade1.jpg‎
Views:	128
Size:	386.2 KB
ID:	114476  

    Click image for larger version

Name:	Hishigami2.jpg‎
Views:	148
Size:	938.5 KB
ID:	114477  
    Last edited by IanS; 01-23-2021 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Added text

  2. The Following 2 Members Say Thank You to IanS For This Useful Post:


  3. # ADS
    Friends and Sponsors
    Join Date
    October 2006
    Location
    Milsurps.Com
    Age
    2010
    Posts
    All Threads
    Banner AD Space Available - Click HERE to Inquire LIMITED TIME OFFER FROM THE AMERICAN GUNSMITHING INSTITUTE: Get Immediate Online Access To AGI's NEW Armorer's Course for Glock Pistols, Covering Every Generation of Glocks, Including the Latest Model 42/43 and Double Stack Pistols for ONLY $7.00! Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses.
     

  4. #2
    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Last On
    @
    Location
    West side
    Posts
    3,881
    Local Date
    07-24-2021
    Local Time
    10:05 PM
    No signature of any kind on the tang?

    If not, I would guess that the quality might indicate a sword made for the tourist/export trade before WWII. Such pieces were of course only made "good enough" for the market in both workmanship and style.

    In fact there was a deliberate desire to clearly separate stylistically what was made for export and for the home market, even when the quality was comparable. A symptom of certain well known cultural attitudes that are still discernible in products today.

    Is that a forging flaw or a pit about 5" back from the tip?
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

  5. Avoid Ads - Become a Contributing Member - Click HERE
  6. #3
    Contributing Member IanS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Last On
    05-30-2021 @ 03:01 PM
    Location
    Buckinghamshire, UK
    Age
    78
    Posts
    159
    Local Date
    07-25-2021
    Local Time
    06:05 AM
    Real Name
    Ian Scott
    Thread Starter
    Thanks for the information, your explanation of a tourist piece seems to fit, although the tsuba and the tsuka seem very old. The tang isn't signed but there is something on the tsuba.

    The tsuka matches traditional "manufacture", down to the hishigami, which are made with recycled printed paper or so it seems. This will be completely stripped down, refitted to the tang and re-glued , I can reuse the ray skin, make new hishigami and I already have the new cotton ito wrap.

    The blade has no flaw and is only stained, or very very slightly pitted and should polish up OK. I've had to get a new habaki as the original is cracked and has been messed about. I'm leaving the polishing until I've got the materials I need to renovate it.

    Ian.

  7. #4
    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Last On
    @
    Location
    West side
    Posts
    3,881
    Local Date
    07-24-2021
    Local Time
    10:05 PM
    Polishing is a skilled art indeed. We make much of the Japaneseicon smiths, deservedly I suppose in many cases, but we have "amateur" smiths here in the West who not only forge, but file and polish their own "Japanese" blades. Wasn't the polishing generally done by specialists in Japan?

    Certainly not a task where one can let the hand or mind wander!

    The Romans had laminated blades, but for whatever cultural reasons we in the West never seem to have made quite the fetish of sharpening and polishing as in the East. Read something recently about 19th C Tulwars often being old European blades that had been very carefully sharpened (and probably reshaped on the bevels I suspect) Ferociously effective at cutting it was said, even with little force exerted.

    As you know there was much skill displayed in replicas and the aging of them even long ago. It might be that explains the pitting on the tsuba or perhaps one that was "too far gone" to have any value on the home market and so was palmed off on the gaijin? The markings don't inspire confidence, but it's a field for the expert and I'm not one!
    Last edited by Surpmil; 01-23-2021 at 08:09 PM.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

  8. #5
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Last On
    Today @ 12:25 AM
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    25,988
    Local Date
    07-24-2021
    Local Time
    10:05 PM
    Too bad there's no markings on the blade at all, I had a second war navy sword that was marked with a painted figure but at least that. The blade is beautiful, the Tsuba is tightened the way they did with copper and the markings might tell more. I saw a Hamon disappear completely on a Navy sword when polished... The Tsuka does LOOK old and I wouldn't do much until having more info... I'd love to have it too. Very nice.
    Regards, Jim

  9. #6
    Contributing Member IanS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Last On
    05-30-2021 @ 03:01 PM
    Location
    Buckinghamshire, UK
    Age
    78
    Posts
    159
    Local Date
    07-25-2021
    Local Time
    06:05 AM
    Real Name
    Ian Scott
    Thread Starter
    Thanks for that Surpmil, always nice to get other guy's views. Unfortunately, I have no experience of Tulwars, otherwise I'm sure we would be discussing them in some depth.

    Polishing in Japan is still it seems the highest quality, although there are commercial polishers in the west apparently doing a better job than some in Japan. I followed as close as possibl, the Japaneseicon method of polishing my shin gunto arsenal blade which I think is oil quenched. I used wet and dry paper supported on two different wooden blocks from 280 grit to 10,000 grit, about 10 changes in grit. I left out the last three stages except for the 10,000 grit and will have to redo the polishing using the grits I left out and finishing on 10,000 grit. I wanted a rough old blade so that I could learn how to polish that and bring out the hamon.


    Hi Jim, I'm just working away at learning all I can with these swords, I need a new hobby. I don't get out on the bikes like I used to and that wasn't often, Japanese swords will be less of a maintenance task, I hope.

    I have a new set of files arriving today, can't remember when I bought a new one, probably forty years ago. I picked up a clamp from Toolstation yesterday, very strong spring, need it for when I wrap the tsuka. Also have some black laquer coming for a repair to the saya. Only decision to make is what paper I should use for the hishigami, originally, I think it was rice paper. I will research some more before I pass the point of no return. Ian.
    Last edited by IanS; 01-24-2021 at 07:53 AM. Reason: Added text

  10. #7
    Really Senior Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Last On
    07-23-2021 @ 11:37 PM
    Location
    Sault Ste. Marie, ON
    Posts
    1,168
    Local Date
    07-25-2021
    Local Time
    01:05 AM
    I watched a hour show on the Japaneseicon sword polishers. It is a 10 year apprenticeship done in the traditional method of living in the Masters home and getting paid a pittance well doing it. They basically spend 10 years with various stones and oils rubbing it back and forth exceptionally carefully. It is a art to be sure but my god I can't imagine having that be your life. Apparently there is a bit of a shortage because the demand from collectors has increased and the amount of people trained in the methods of doing it properly are going down significantly.

  11. #8
    Contributing Member IanS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Last On
    05-30-2021 @ 03:01 PM
    Location
    Buckinghamshire, UK
    Age
    78
    Posts
    159
    Local Date
    07-25-2021
    Local Time
    06:05 AM
    Real Name
    Ian Scott
    Thread Starter
    It's not the apprenticeship that I would go for that's for sure. I understand the charge for a traditional polish is around $100.00 per inch, I don't know if that's calculated from the blade length times both sides.

    I've been watching some videos on polishing so that I follow the correct procedure.

    Ian.

  12. #9
    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Last On
    Today @ 12:25 AM
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    25,988
    Local Date
    07-24-2021
    Local Time
    10:05 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by IanS View Post
    I understand the charge for a traditional polish is around $100.00 per inch
    Would make you want to keep your Katana in top shape...
    Regards, Jim

  13. #10
    Contributing Member IanS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Last On
    05-30-2021 @ 03:01 PM
    Location
    Buckinghamshire, UK
    Age
    78
    Posts
    159
    Local Date
    07-25-2021
    Local Time
    06:05 AM
    Real Name
    Ian Scott
    Thread Starter
    Hi, I'm back again with another question I hope someone can answer. I would like to know what this menuki is/represents, it's been baffling me for days. It's shown in all three photos, the first and second photos show it in two positions and the third just shows both, one being clearly recognisable as a person. It might be clear to someone who sees it for the first time.



    Incidentally, both are made of copper.

    Thanks,
    Ian.
    Last edited by IanS; 02-13-2021 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Added text

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Another Japanese katana - GI capture
    By 1886nut in forum Edged Weapons Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-31-2009, 01:14 PM
  2. I broke my katana!!
    By A. F Medic in forum Japanese Rifles
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-23-2009, 12:08 AM
  3. Yasunsori, Katana, Sumeri sword value
    By sdh1911 in forum Edged Weapons Forum
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 11-06-2007, 09:11 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts