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Light Weight 98

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Not often seen, the light weight '98. Normal length, everything else miniaturized. Blade is chrome plated, and obviously used for parade or office use. The tsuba is pierced, and no locking mechanism. This one had the blue/brown tassel (now stored away for safe keeping). 

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Neil,

Here's mine. A little worse for wear than yours. I haven't studied these, and am only famiiar, in passing so to speak, but I feel like I read that the chroming was an "early" experiment attempting to protect from rust? But dropped fairly quickly, reasons not explained. I'll try to find the reference to that, unless someone else can come up with it.

 

But I put the issue to you - do you have a sense of dating on these? Were they early (late '30s) or were they being produced throughout the war?

 

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Neil,

Here's mine. A little worse for wear than yours. I haven't studied these, and am only famiiar, in passing so to speak, but I feel like I read that the chroming was an "early" experiment attempting to protect from rust? But dropped fairly quickly, reasons not explained. I'll try to find the reference to that, unless someone else can come up with it.

 

 

 

 

 The problem with chromed blades is that as soon as they are sharpened all the advantages are lost. Breaking the chrome skin opens up the underlying steel to the possibility of corrosion, and not just on the edge, but running under the chrome, damaging the blade and causing the chrome to flake off. The bare steel edge also looks ugly contrasting with the bright chrome.

 It's something you see a lot with early 20th century Western Military blades, and when I see such on the table at an arms fair, I leave them there. Early chrome plate was not like the current beast,  a lot more is now known about the long term effects, and more done to mitigate them.

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You're correct, Bruce. Nick did provide details of 95 blades being chromed as a measure to protect the sword until it was distributed for use. I don't have my documents with me to offer more than that.

 

I think there was a discussion about these swords on the forum before. I cannot remember specifics, but the view was that they may have been for officers outside of combat roles who wanted the status symbol without the bulk and weight of a combat sword. Perhaps that is why it is chrome plated.

 

Great sword, Neil! I had the opportunity to purchase a lightweight gunto maybe..... 10 or 11 years ago for $800AUD. I didn't thought, which in some ways was a shame, but I'd probably have just sold it off anyway.

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The light weight is about half the weight of a normal '98. 

Re chrome plating the blade, as the sword was never intended for combat use, it would never be sharpened. The chrome would negate  cleaning and oiling. Also in a parade environment, a drawn sword for a salute with a chrome  blade would look shiny and clean.

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