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To Polish Or Not To Polish?


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#1 IJASWORDS

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 01:47 AM

David Flynn posted a very interesting quandary in another section. That is, with the high cost of a PROPPER polish (circa $4000), and the initial cost of the sword, would this be a financially viable proposition on GENDAI TO?
OK, my YASUKUNI TO, yes, and it has, that is a no brainer.
So the dilemma is, with a good polish you can enjoy/appreciate the workmanship and fine detail in the blade, with an empty wallet, OR enjoy the sword as a historical/military artefact at a lower cost of ownership.
I guess the only mid-ground is probably leave them as they are for now (well maintained of course), and if/when the market price catches up in future, polish then. I can't see the cost of polishing declining. Neil.

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#2 Hamfish

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 01:59 AM

How much do you enjoy the sword?
How badly do you need to have a togi put his art to practice?

And for $4000 what can you buy. A isshin matetsu

A bady polished nagamitsu from aoi art

How often does one regain there money from restoration when they re-sell?
Hamfish

#3 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 02:20 AM

Neil,

I tossed and turned on the same decision about my Dad's Koa Isshin. It's got lots of stains and scratches that give it the "used in combat" (or on some poor hapless Chinese) that is tempting to preserves as-is; but it's Dad's. So I've decided to have it polished. Sentimental reasons only.

You know that there are really good polishers out there that can do it for around $2,000, right? That's what I'll be paying for mine, when my turn comes up this Spring.
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#4 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 03:42 AM

I nearly bought a Koa Isshin that was in poor condition with the intent of having it polished, it was not battle damage but post war abuse and neglect I suspect. The cost of a full polish would've probably let me buy another Koa Isshin in good shape.  Especially in Australia there are mighty few options and I'm not really sure about those either in terms of price or quality. Sending it overseas with the weak AUD ATM means even "cheap" polishers are prohibitively expensive and infeasible beyond only the very highest quality pieces.


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#5 IJASWORDS

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 05:32 AM

Bruce, I understand with a family heirloom, there is more value than monetary, so GO FOR IT!! But we have a saying down here.... I inherited my Great Grandfathers Axe, but its had three new axe heads and five new handles since great grand dad had it....is it still the same axe? Neil.
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#6 Shamsy

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 09:13 AM

I'll have my Yasumitsu polished. The cost of the sword in total will be about equivalent to the total value. But that's not really it. It's a great sword and worth restoring in its own right. Sometimes it's not about the money. Best to have cost as close to value as possible, but unless you're flipping swords off every couple of years the money you might lose is the price you pay for enjoying the sword.
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#7 David Flynn

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 09:45 AM

To me, if the total value of the sword remains, ie. initial cost, with the polish then added, why not.  If however, the cost of the sword, plus the cost of the polish ( shirasaya, maybe new habaki, origami etc) comes in a lot higher than what one may buy the equivalent, then the only real factor for having this done, is sentiment.Bruce, we only have one Japanese trained Togishi in Oz, Andrew Ickeringill and I'm led to believe he would not touch a Koa isshin  Also you have a few non professionally trained polishers who  will do this service.  What you forgot to mention is that that 2k for the polish, is for the polish only.  If you don't remove the wooden liners and clean them properly ( or have new ones made), or have a shira saya made you will scratch the polish. Also, the 4k mentioned is in Merica dollars, Australia would be about 5k.  But this does include the Shira saya, Habaki and Origami.

Sentiment can be expensive.


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#8 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 07:29 PM

Thanks for the reminder David! I just sent an email to David Hofhine to make sure, but I think I told him about the blade when I first contacted him. We'll see what he says. I'm also checking into a shirasaya maker, now that you mentioned it!

#9 David Flynn

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:27 AM

David Hofhine is not a Japanese trained polisher.  From my understanding though, he charges the same as a Japanese trained polisher.

 

http://www.militaria...+david +hofhine


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#10 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 02:26 AM

Thanks David,

I like his work, and this is a Mantetsu blade, not a high-art blade.

#11 David Flynn

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 02:32 AM

Bruce, many people with " Sentimental Swords",  often realise that the costs of restoration outway sentimentality.  It is often more prudent, to just keep the sword from deteriating further and to spend the restoration costs on a better blade.  Usually,  the sentiment  runs only with the current generation.

 

I used to think average polishers were good.  That was until my collecting improved with knowledge.  Once one has seen professional polishes, compared to average polishes, it's like chalk and cheese.  I understand sometimes it's a cost factor, however, an average polish will be picked by and experienced collector.  This also comes down to selling and buying.  Swords with professional polish, will sell for more than a comparable sword with an average polish.

 Unless one only wants a " clean blade."


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#12 Bruno

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 02:01 PM

Hi Bruce,

 

I agree with David. Though Mantetsu-to are not true nihonto they are fine swords. (I also have one out of polish from 1942 or 1943).

 

David Hofhine is a fine for standard showato but not for nihonto or even Mantetsu-to.

 

Jimmy Hayashi in San Fransisco and Takeo Seki in Vancouver are the togishi you should think about. 

 

Edit : For the shirasaya ask Brian Tschernega.


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#13 BenVK

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:33 PM

Andrew Ickeringill and I'm led to believe he would not touch a Koa isshin.

 

Most likely because Manchurian steel will just eat up all his very expensive natural Japanese stones with no beneficial result to the blade.


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#14 BenVK

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:52 PM

I'm puzzled why Koa Isshin Mantetsu swords are selling for so much these days anyway?

Maybe I'm missing something here but they are just mass produced blades at the end of the day.
 
http://www.ebay.co.u...=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

Ben


#15 SwordGuyJoe

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 12:38 AM

Excellent question! The reason eludes me.

#16 Hamfish

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 03:31 AM

A big fade, just like type 95 nco swords
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#17 Shamsy

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 11:45 AM

A big fade, just like type 95 nco swords


Just like those new fangled mobile phones. I mean really, are you serious? Antiques go up in value. These are no different, though there is now a much greater appreciation and understanding of them, in no small way thanks to published resources. It's a no brainer. The older, more documented something is the more people will pay. There may be some small troughs but I suspect these swords will be a much better investment than shares and bonds.
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#18 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 12:00 PM

I'm puzzled why Koa Isshin Mantetsu swords are selling for so much these days anyway?

Maybe I'm missing something here but they are just mass produced blades at the end of the day.
 
http://www.ebay.co.u...=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

They are regarded as some of the strongest and capable cutting swords made. They were made from the ground up to be effective combat weapons using high quality manchurian steel, advanced metallurgy and special forging methods. Officers prized them and you will see General grade swords with Koa Isshin swords mounted.

This excellent article on Ohmura has alot of information on them:
http://ohmura-study.net/998.html


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#19 Stephen

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 12:56 PM

John is right "highly sought after by the Tameshigiri crowd" Afu sama told me that over 30 years ago


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#20 Valric

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 04:25 PM

This is very interesting. 

 

Creating the Kobuse construction by using a "pipe-shaped" high carbon steel envelope, in which a rod of low-carbon steel was inserted I find quite fascinating. 


Chris H. 


#21 paul griff

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 04:38 PM

Hello,
Back to the question...Would a proper polish be a financially viable proposition on Gendai-to ( and that includes Yasukuni -to ) swords ?.... ' No brainier ', not necessarily so..! With every polish the shape,thickness and structure of the blade will change and you may in fact be altering what the maker intended it to be ! And what may you uncover ? Just because it's got a particular name or stamp on it doesn't make it a good sword ! Take for instance a Yasukuni shrine sword offered for sale by a well respected U.S dealer recently....Sword by Yasutoku or alternatively pronounced Yasunori....A very nice sword still in gunto mounts in original wartime polish and displaying a 'ware'...indeed, considered in the Nihonto world as a ' non - fatal ' flaw but nevertheless this is a fault between layers normally due to a poor weld...! Take a chance and polish it...maybe it will go...or maybe it will get worse...?
Enjoy the sword for what it is and who gives a damn what name is on it...? If you are in the U.K bring what you consider to be a quality mounted blade with you to the next Birmingham Arms fair in June and let's do a " blind taste test "....I have a sword with a Showa stamp in gunto mounts and it feels ' the business ' but most people would poo,poo it in favour of these hyped up big names....Again,enjoy the sword not the name.....
Regards,
Paul....
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#22 Hamfish

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 10:18 PM

Im not doubting the weapon, just the sharp (hahahha) price rise over a 2 year period. I have been studying translated articles for many years now, the most poignant fact I like is that they don't break below freezing point, thus making them a must have for china campaign. Im not ignorant to the pipe hammer wielding techniques made to economise the process.    

 

but from 1000 to 5000. all driven by what I think is the US market.?????

that's almost the same amount as a yasukuni -to

 

once again, try and send one to Japan for restoration???

 

but I love this type of discussion, but I think my comment has distracted the topic from polishing sorry


Hamfish

#23 paul griff

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 12:49 AM

Hello,
The discussion may have detracted somewhat from the original post but to interesting avail.. I originally bought a Mantetsu and a Shinbu-to before they gained their relatively high price status..Luckily ! I feel those were better times when someone starting out and/or on an average wage could buy a nice gunto and get " bitten by the bug " and trade up the ladder...Getting difficult now for people to start out....Maybe this is relevant to the original post....I don't think a lot of the afformentioned blades were worth a polish a few years ago...but now...?
Regards,
Paul..
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#24 BenVK

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 11:10 PM

John is right "highly sought after by the Tameshigiri crowd" Afu sama told me that over 30 years ago


I don't know anyone these days who would use a $3 or 4k Mantetsu for Tameshigiri. They must be nuts if they do.
The quality of Chinese forged blades is so good now and for peanuts price wise that you'd have to be a fool to use a valuable vintage Japanese blade to cut stuff with.

In regards to polishing a Mantetsu, it's probably not what you guys want to hear but the best way would be a hybrid polish.
WWII steel is just way too hard to place on natural stones. Plus there is no hada to try and bring out anyway so it would be a complete waste of time and valuable stone.

Ben


#25 Stephen

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 11:15 PM

because back then they were 3-400$ 


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#26 BenVK

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 11:27 PM

Way before my time unfortunately. :(

But like Hamfish said, they really have shot up in price the last couple of years which I just don't get.

There are some seriously nice Nihonto out there in the same price range.

Ben


#27 Gakusee

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

It might seem simplistic to you but my take is that more people are getting into the hobby - which is a very expensive one on that since supply is overall limited, regulations and import laws are making it difficult, etc. So, the newcomers naturally gravitate towards more affordable (or what used to be affordable) but "hyped-up"
or "talked-about swords". Mantetsu is mentioned so many times on the web and here. In fact even on this board, lately there has been much more activity / excitement / participation among those interested in showato/gunto/ mantetsu or high quality shinsakuto than the Koto boys. And this is a good thing - we all have different interests and I am glad appreciation for various aspects of this tradition are increasing.
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