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Richard Waddell

Refinish And Polish, Or Not

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Hello Everyone,

 

Just wanted your opinion on whether or not to get my sword polished. The Mei reads Ryokai Kageyoshi Saku. He practiced from 1504-1521 in the Bungo Province. The Hamon is no longer visible, but in 1 location and is VERY light, the blade is 30" long, so it would be a costly investment. Have no current estimated value on the sword, but it would look great afterwards. 

 

Any thoughts please.

 

Thanks,

Richard W.

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Hello,

 

On the plus side; length, mei, ubu(?), no visible flaws(?) vs. on the minus side; unrated smith(?), work-quality not visible.

A polished window put in might be the answer here for a few hundred dollars, plus shipping and time, which may also be helpful in moving forward or should you decide to sell.

 

P.S. looking at the images again my impression and question here would be has this sword been exposed to high heat?

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Welcome to the forum, Richard. Your nagasa looks okay, but the nakago does look like it's been in a fire. The sugata looks more Shinto than Muromachi, which makes me think the signature may be gimei. So what you're betting on is that spending about $100/inch for a polish plus $250 for a habaki plus another few hundred for shirasaya will result in a blade that you're proud to own. I can almost guarantee that you won't recover your money in a sale, so you would be doing it just because you believe in the (hidden) qualities of the blade.

 

Your call, of course....

 

Ken

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Ken,

Thank you for the info. You mentioned that it looks more Shinto than muromachi. There are 3 Ryokai Kageyoshi Saku (KAG259-KAG261) listed in Hawley's. The other two that I did not mention earlier are from an earlier period. Do you believe that the sword may actually be from one of the earlier swordsmith with the same mei? Not looking to EVER sale it, just keep it in the family.

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Hi Richard,

I don't think any of us can give you a definitive answer from just 3 pictures.  You need to get the sword to someone qualified to answer your question.  A properly trained polisher, for sure, will tell you what you need to know.

Grey

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Hi Richard, You need to take some better photos to get help as it’s not possible at the moment. Take one of the Mei, the Kissaki, and the Hamachi/Munemachi with the habaki off so we can see the kasane (thickness) at that spot. But franco may be right (high heat) as no hamon can be seen and that would be bad, but that’s based on the photos you have put up. It does look late muromachi / Shinto but Grey has given you the best advice( the polisher will tell you what you need to know.) :)

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Richard

 

where are you located? maybe there is a sword show or club that you could visit and get some input

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Richard

 

I live near Toledo OH.  Depends on your time frame there are military shows in the area that a few collectors attend and maybe we could meet you and check out the sword

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Hi Richard, ................ But franco may be right (high heat) as no hamon can be seen and that would be bad, but that’s based on the photos you have put up. ........... :)

 

Hi All, to elaborate on this further, it is not just the fact that there isn't a visible hamon. The steel of a nihonto even out of polish, steel-wooled, etc., should still have some reflective quality to it. When you see steel that is flat, what the Japanese describe as "lifeless", it raises the possibility that it has been exposed to a high heat source. Sometimes this occurs on just one side of the blade, which makes detection for the novice even more difficult if not aware. Do some research and you will discover that historically in Japan this was not an uncommon occurrence due to conflict/fires/war to architectural structures. And there are quite a few of these blades out there.

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Yes, but in this case, the blade has obviously been subjected to fine sandpaper, which will obscure any hamon anyways, and give a similar appearance. Hence why it needs to be seen in hand. Repeated uchiko might show if there is a hamon. Incandescent lighting should also show you if there is a hamon if you know how to look.

 

Brian

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Hi guys,

Wow a lot of info. Thanks.

I will be posting some better pictures tonight of the sword.

It does paper to have some fine scratches on it. I know that it has been in my families possession for more than 40 years, stored on a gun rack. It was given to me and I am now trying to take better care of it.

 

Pictures to come.

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Richard, there's no yokote, the tip looks slightly broken, & who ever used the sandpaper also did one heck of job in rounding off the shinogi. There's not a lot positive that I see on this blade that makes me think it would be worth restoration. Wish I could give you better news, but....

 

Ken

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OK, so I am new at all of the parts of the sword, so I will look them up and see what you are referring too. I am upset about the sandpaper as well, but I cannot do anything about what happened to it previously. I am just happy to have such an old sword, and would like it to look good and to take care of it from now on. 

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Not that familiar with the terminology of the sword blade yet, so I will look things up. From what I can quickly tell the items listed could be fixed by a quality sword polisher. This would also be for family use only, not for sale. I am just happy to find out that we have such an old sword.

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As has already been mentioned, the blade has been sandpapered and, worst of this, the shinogi rounded.  To re-sharpen the shinogi, a great deal of metal needs be removed, just a matter of geometry.  Also, hard grit such as used in sandpaper burnishes the metal and hides the hamon and other activity.  Given the current condition of this sword, it wouldn't hurt at this point to get some uchiko and spend a few hours clearing away the haze.  See my post #16 in the thread below for more of an explanation:

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/5560-thoughts-please/

 

The uchiko won't eliminate the sandpaper scratches, but will clarify the metal between them.  If there is a hamon remaining, a few hours of uchiko work will reveal it despite the hard grit damage. 

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the

 From what I can quickly tell the items listed could be fixed by a quality sword polisher. This would also be for family use only, not for sale. I am just happy to find out that we have such an old sword.

 

1) get mei confirmed and no fatal flaws.

2) yes, a good polisher can deal with and advise you on reestablishing the foundation.

3) a good polisher will cost ~ $120.00 per inch, plus habaki and shirasaya. Which means it still needs to be determined if this sword in the end is worth the expense. But, first things, first ...............

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Gentleman,

Thank you all for your information and advice.

 

Going to start with the uchiko powder today, to clean the sword, and on the spot that looks like a hamon and go from there.

I would be interested in meeting up with the gentleman in Toledo, as my daughter is attending school in Cleveland, so I am up in the general area a few times a year.

 

Thank you again and I will let you know what I find out.

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Richard,

 

Everything can be fixed by a good polisher (if it is worth it) but for the tang which is in a very bad condition. Tang is very important in Japanese sword, this sword has lost a lot of value due to the tang condition.

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Hi, Richard,

 

the hamachi has been moved up(machiokuri), therefore it is so crisp and the the ana has moved up, too.

The nakago is not ubu then. Apart from that the nakago and signature looks good to me.

 

As for the blade, like the others already said, it is difficult to tell whether this patient can be reanimated. If you seriously want to try to restore this blade with all the costs involved, I would start to polish a small window on the boshi near the tip. This seems to be the part which was abused most.

 

Best, Martin

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