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Old Blade In Wartime Mounts, To Restore Or Not?


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#1 JohnK

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:33 PM

So I've been lurking here and taken the plunge and purchased a wakizashi in type 98 mounts.

The blade is either late Koto or early Shinto and I'm weighing up what to do with it.

I can either leave as is in a poor polish and study it, or polish the blade and remount it in period fittings.

I'm not looking to sell this at any point, so there's no deception involved with remounting. I'm also aware that polishing will be expensive and not worth it monetarily. However, I love to tinker and restore. Was considering getting some edo furniture from Aoi and then making a tsuka to fit.

Thoughts? Is this heresy or not?

John.

#2 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:34 PM

Good quality pictures are a must before we can help you.


John


#3 ROKUJURO

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:48 PM

John,

why not, if you are a trained specialist in this field and leave the blade untouched. 

Everything else depends on the condition of the existing parts. Altering valuable parts should absolutely be avoided. 


Regards,

Jean C.

#4 JohnK

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:51 PM

Apologies. It's still in shipping at the moment but here's the seller's pics from their original purchase from a dealer. There's a small chip on the hamachi which I assume can be polished if it's an issue. As soon as it arrives I'll take better pics so that all flaws can be easily seen.

I'm aware it's likely of no particular merit and issues such as a 1mm boshi at the kissaki wouldn't warrant a full restoration from a value perspective but I'm rather keen to get the best out of it, learning the hard way most likely!

I'm really interested in whether remounting it is generally accepted? I can always reuse any new mounts on a better blade in the future if I so choose.

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#5 JohnK

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:53 PM

I'm not a trained nihonto specialist however making a tsuka would be relatively very simple woodwork. I've certainly no intention of trying polishing or anything destructive.

#6 EdWolf

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:43 PM

John,
The basic shape of a Tsuka may be looks easy to build but I think it is not that easy. The shape and style needs to fit the blade and the wrapping is much more difficult than it looks.
Take a look at the following site
http://www.tsukamaki.net/index.html
Regards, Ed
Ed

#7 Rich S

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:44 PM

The koshirae and blade look fine as is. IMHO, I'd leave it alone just keep in clean and oiled.

 

Rich


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#8 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:49 PM

I don't think this blade should take another polish. Keep it as is and appreciate it as a fine example of wartime used blade in military mounts.


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John


#9 JohnK

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:57 PM

Thanks Ed. I've restored an antique persussion pistol before which involved carving a whole new stock so a tsuka shouldn't provide too many challenges by comparison. Inletting the lock was a good introduction to precision carving, tsukamaki looks like a fun challenge but ultimately not impossible. I welcome all suggestions and I'll be sure to post detailed photos when it arrives shortly.

#10 Stephen

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:59 PM

Please leave it as found, its correct for its history, a older blade taken to war, if it could only talk. as stated just keep it oiled, any restoration will just take away from its past. 


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#11 EdWolf

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 06:04 PM

Hi John,
If you already have restored the stock of a antique gun than a Tsuka must be not a problem. I think not that you should restore it. It's a fine piece of history. Enjoy it.
Regards, Ed
Ed

#12 Geraint

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 07:15 PM

Hi John,

 

Some thoughts for you.

1  This sword needs nothing doing to it at all.  It is what it is and is  a perfectly collectible sword in this condition.

2  There are many quite good, mumei wakizashi out there for not a lot of money if you want to try your hand at koshirae.

3  If you really must build koshirae for this one then make a tsunagi for the mounts and keep them both together.

4  If you have restocked a pistol then your woodworking skills are certainly up to it though koshirae are very subtle things as you will discover.

5   I really recommend, The Art of Tsukamaki", by Thomas Buck. and "The Craft of the Japanese Sword", Kapp et al, both of which will give you much vital information.

6  Whatever you spend on the koshirae you will never recover when you sell.

7  Whatever you do avoid using conventional glues, it can damage the sword.

 

(Edit)  Knew there was something else!  UK based supplier of the stuff you will need http://www.ryujinswords.com/ or go to Namikawa on the web.

 

Whatever you do you will learn an incredible amount about the craft and all being well have some fun.  It won't count in the swords favour when you come to sell but you will have gained a lot of knowledge

 

All the best.


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Geraint

#13 JohnK

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 07:26 PM

Thanks Geraint, some good points. I've already ordered both books so I'll gain a good understanding of the art and craft regardless of what I decide. I would definitely keep the mounts together as I agree that ultimately the blade and the fittings should remain together. Perhaps a mumei wak should be the way to go then.

#14 Stephen

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 08:35 PM


Stephen C.
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#15 Dave R

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 08:59 PM

 For me the question is, why? There is nothing wrong with gunto mounts, they are the last functioning avatar of this blade, all you are doing is stripping away its history. The dealers tables are littered, and I use that word deliberately, with swords that went to war in Gunto mounts and are now in improvised, and miss matched Buke-zukuri,   If you want a project, buy a decent unmounted blade, or one in shirasaya.


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#16 Okiiimo

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 09:02 PM

A little over a year ago, I found a early shin gunto at a local antique shop and posted photographs and requested advice from this forum. I received sound advice. I submitted the blade for NTHK shinsa (it scored 76 pts) and was verified to be an Shinto blade by a chujo saku smith. It had bad pitting (particularly in the kissaki) and my first inclination was to go and improve it by having it polished. There is some pretty deep pitting near the kissaki and I received a range of opinions on whether it is restorable or not (ultimately it requires a polisher's opinion).

 

In the end, I resolved that if the value of the sword after polishing is less than the cost of the sword and restoration, it was not a candidate for restoration. I still have that sword and I enjoy it very much as it is - chips, pits and all. I plan on caring for the sword until it's time to pass it on. At least I'll know that it wasn't messed with under my watch.

 

Respectfully,

 

allan


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Allan N
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#17 Surfson

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 03:02 PM

That's great to hear Allan.  It's always nice when the NMB helps people in our field!  If you had inherited that sword, and had sentimental attachment to it, then it may have been a different math.... we run across that often as well.  Cheers, Bob


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#18 Greg F

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 02:52 PM

Hi John, welcome. I definitely think its best to leave it. I f you really want to try your hand at building koshirae there is always cheap blades on ebay that need mounts that are ideal for this. Best of luck.

Greg
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#19 Tsubaplayer

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:47 PM

I'd be more than happy to own the sword in tha condition.  As said, Id just keep it as it is, and enjoy it.


Doug

#20 JohnK

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 08:57 PM

Thanks for all the responses and opinions, it's really appreciated.

Once I'd got the sword in hand you'll be pleased to know that I've decided to keep it original. It needs a new habaki as the one on there doesn't fit properly and the tsuka is badly cracked so I'll probably just replace those while retaining the original koshirae and menuki. It's truly would be a shame to remove much of the history by 'restoring' it.

I've also heeded your advice and just purchased a mumei bare wakizashi which I'll reunite with some period koshirae. I'm actually looking forward to having a go at hishigami, wish me luck!

I'll be certain to post the progress on here so others considering taking on a similar project can learn from my inevitable mistakes!

So far this forum has been a gold mine of information and the sales board feels like a safe place for a beginner to purchase from. Far less risky than eBay for sure.

Big thanks to Lev (Death Ace on here) for my first seamless transaction! I'm now considering liquidating some of my previous collections to fund more, and better quality blades as I become more knowledgeable.




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