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Identifying Old Sword, First Collection With No Knowledge

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#1 guyktm

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 05:10 PM

Hi! members, 

 

Glad to be here and finally my curiosity of what this sword, which I happened to purchase things in auction that I have no idea of, what I am going to do next. 

 

This sword story is similar as well. I realized it was in pretty bad shape, I didn't even look at it and just looking at the cover of the sword and some other handle pieces, at that moment in time bought it. 

 

Sadly, I have no idea at all of what it is, besides it's a Samurai sword, did a lot of research on big Google and still can't distinguish what type of sword it is and which era? Katana? And I can't read Japanese or Chinese. It has some scripts written on it, both sides. One side is bigger and clear and other side is smaller and only few words can be seen. Hope some members can read it. 

 

I hope some members from here could, enlighten me with some info in regards to this sword. Also any info on cleaning the sword? had a bit of rust and I cleaned it with soap and water and a sponge, which looks a lot better now and the tip has been slightly bent and few dents on the sharp edges . 

 

And how can I put the handle back on it ? Would love to restore the original leather cover if possible too. Any ideas. 

 

Thanks

 

Max

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Max P.

#2 raymondsinger

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 07:21 PM

One side has the appearance of a KAO followed by Kuniie Yasusada. There are three columns of kanji on the reverse, which may be in a different hand.

#3 guyktm

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 01:49 AM

Hi Raymond,

Thanks for the info. What is KAO ? Is that all it says on the big writing ?
And you are right, the other side seems older writing and small and thus the words are not clear.

What kind of sword is this ? I really have 0 knowledge on it.

How can I fix the leather scabbard and the tip of this sword which is bent.

Thank you.
Max P.

#4 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 03:30 AM

Max,

Most of your questions are out of my area of study, but I can help with this one:

http://www.nbthk-ab.org/Etiquette.htm- on cleaning, handling, repair, etc.

#5 Grey Doffin

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 03:39 AM

Hi Max,

You can't fix the bent tip; only a properly trained polisher can/should take that on.  Resist the urge to fix this sword yourself.  Without training (which almost none of us have) you'll only be doing damage.  It is very easy for a well meaning amateur to ruin a Japanese sword; please don't even try.

Grey


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#6 SteveM

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 03:43 AM

Hello Max,

 

You can start by combing this site for articles and threads that explain all about swords and parts and terminology and handling and maintenance, etc...

You have truly come to the right place

 

Soap and water are not good for cleaning swords. Neither should you be handling the sword with your bare hands (its OK to handle the nakago part with bare hands, but make sure its dry when it gets put away - or better yet use a handkerchief or cloth or cotton gloves when handling). 

 

It could indeed be a samurai sword, but the leather scabbard is a sign of a 20th century military sword, so you may have a bit of a frankenstein; an old sword thrown together with parts from the last century. It isn't uncommon. Sadly, the scabbard looks like its a write-off. It could be replaced, but that would be a labor of love whose cost would outstrip the value the finished product would have. 

 

The sword itself is in sad shape, and here too you would be looking at thousands of dollars to bring this sword back to decent shape, the finished product again having a market value of less than what you put into it. 

 

The writing on the one side of the sword could be Kuniie Yasusada (國安定) as Ray suggested. I originally thought it was something like 國安定 (Kunichika? Yasusada). In either case, this name Yasusada doesn't appear in this format in any of the online references. There is also an unusual mark above this 4-kanji name (just under the lower peg-hole). I can't tell what it is supposed to be. 

 

The writing on the opposite sides are names of Shintō gods, 

春日大(明)神 Kasuga Daimyōjin

天照皇大神 Tenshōkōtaishin

I can't read the one on the far left, but no doubt the name of another god.

 

Overall, the impression is that this sword is an outlier, or a forgery (also, unfortunately, extremely common in the sword world).


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Steve M

#7 Brian

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 09:07 AM

Bear in mind that in the Japanese sword world, forgery doesn't mean the sword is fake, just that the signature is. This was very common....a top signature on an average sword.
Either way, your sword is real and antique. A few hundred years old likely. But restoration is an expensive and unforgiving process, and the outcome would likely be worth less than you put in.
You don't have enough parts to economically put it back into fittings, so you may want to look at a shirasaya oneday. But keep it oiled and wiped regularly, and you should be able to remove a lot of that rust without anything abrasive.
As to how to proceed, this is a tough one, as us collectors don't advocate amateur restoration, and yet professional restoration is too expensive for most. For now, conservation and preservation, rather than restoration.


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#8 guyktm

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 01:37 PM

Hi

Everyone, thank you for all the input and general knowledge and I checked out the link Bruce, and quite useful, and I agree, I later read somewhere to not clean swords if you do not how to clean. But the writings were very rusty and blades as you can see in one of the photo so I had to clean a bit to read the little characters plus had to see the condition. Looks like it's not worth fixing anyways. 

 

Steve, thank you for a detailed description and have to agree and be more wise next time when I purchase a Japanese Sword next time. A lot to learn, thank you for the translation as I googled and only cannot find the names. It has been an Interesting Journey. 

 

I wanted to display a beautiful sword but an antique one like this so bought it. Atleast looks antique as the Admin has mentioned, sadly without it being shiny and restored, it seems the appealing is not much there. 

 

Surprised it is expensive to restore swords ? why ? I cleaned Tsuba and finally can see copper and bronze but all worn out.

 

Max

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Max P.

#9 ROKUJURO

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 02:37 PM

Max,

it takes a good polisher about 120 hours to polish a KATANA blade, and to be able to do this without taking too much material off the surface and without changing the very special shape of the blade, he has to pass a very long apprenticeship. You can calculate about $ 100.-- per inch for a polish, if I am correctly informed.

Any amateur cleaning or polishing attempt can damage the blade and increase the costs of restoration (if at all possible). If you look carefully at your TSUBA, you will find that the soft metal inlays have been partly ground away, leaving an almost worthless TSUBA behind. Very sad!

To understand all this, we recommend to read a lot here in the archives of NMB and to look at pictures of high-end swords to get an idea of good and 'less desirable'.

 


Regards,

Jean C.

#10 raymondsinger

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 03:38 PM

I would not assume it is not worth fixing. The mei is interesting, that * appears * to be the name of two swordsmiths, so perhaps a gassaku (a piece made by two individuals) if the signature is authentic. The Buddhist inscription on the reverse may have been added at a later time, and if so would not be viewed as fake. I personally would consider sending to someone such as Bob Benson for an evaluation. As others have said, nothing should be done to try cleaning or repairing the sword yourself, especially not to disturb the natural patina on the nakago.

Best regards,
Ray

Hi
But the writings were very rusty and blades as you can see in one of the photo so I had to clean a bit to read the little characters plus had to see the condition. Looks like it's not worth fixing anyways.

Max


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#11 guyktm

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 11:20 AM

Didn't realize its that expensive Rokujuro. That means easy few thousands plus the bent tip and overall fixtures. I used to ask myaelf, when I seen some very shiny swords meant new, but didnt relaize all the hard work to bring it to that state needed such skills.

I will be browsing more threads here and learn as much as I can.

And thanks Raymond, I hope it is worth it. Bob Benson, you mentioned, where can I find to evaluate, as am in Australia.

Thanks again.
Max P.

#12 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 12:24 PM

Max, there is a proper Togishi in Melbourne: https://touken-togis...ation-services/


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John


#13 guyktm

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:01 AM

Thanks Pnsshogun,

Just kept in touch with him. A very nice person he seems.

Will update here, if anything new pops up in regards to this sword.

And thank you all for such good guidance.
Max P.





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