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Suggestions For Display Cases?


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Hello my fellow Nihonto lovers.  I've finally gotten my Rai Kinmichi that I had started a thread on about being my first proper, papered nihonto a couple months ago.  I could barely sleep the night before I got it on Wednesday, and have just been trying to soak it all up as much as possible the last couple of days.  When I get a chance, I'll attempt to take some pictures of it to add to my original thread, along with my thoughts on it. 

 

Anyway, since this is my first proper Nihonto, I'd like to get a nice display case for it.  A friend who also collects swords suggested one from Amazon, with a wooden frame and acrylic door with keylock.  They only cost about $90-$110 depending on if its big enough for 1 sword or 2 swords.  My question is, for those of you guys that use display cases, what kind of case do you use?  Do you recommend airtight cases, or will normal wooden cases be fine?  I live in Atlanta, GA, in the Southeast Unites States, which is a fairly humid climate during the summer time, though the case will be in a house with central air, as well as being in a bedroom with an extra window AC unit.  So, the blade will be in a climate controlled room at about 70deg Fahreneheit, though humidity is unknown.  I'm sure I can add some sort of desiccant or dehumidifier made for gun safes and the like, if need be.

 

I'd like to keep the cost below $200, if possible, but I'm willing to do what it takes to make sure that the sword is properly stored to prevent rust or any other form of deterioration.  Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance :)

 

Here's a link to the one on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002V18WX8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?smid=A2E4AR5NPCCQ1P&psc=1

 

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Sean, when I picked up my first sword I made myself crazy trying to figure out what type of case to put it in and where to purchase it from. Then one night sitting in my living room watching TV and looking at a pretty much blank wall it came to me, why not put then right there above the TV? So I now have 5 beautiful Japanese Swords displayed on my wall above the TV. I think that they can be appreciated much better by me and others and they remain out of reach to those who " just have to touch them" What ever you decide remember, display them where YOU can enjoy them, where they are out of reach of the touchy- feeley types and most of all, leave a lot of room since this field of collecting is very addictive and I am sure that you will be adding more to your display soon.

MikeR

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Sean, unless you have your air conditioning on ALL the time, the humidity in Atlanta will probably causing some rusting of a Nihonto over time, even if you leave it in shirasaya. I can literally watch rust forming on a bare blade here in Hawaii!

 

In a sealed case, you can add a dry-rod, but I'd still hesitate on having a bare, well-oiled blade in plain sight.

 

Ken

 

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Sean, 

You know I like those cases :)

 

We had a dog and cat then only a cat, now both again. The cases really keep all the hair from getting into everything. I like how the red background really makes the swords pop as well. They sell rechargeable moisture removers if you feel that's needed. 

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Sean, when I picked up my first sword I made myself crazy trying to figure out what type of case to put it in and where to purchase it from. Then one night sitting in my living room watching TV and looking at a pretty much blank wall it came to me, why not put then right there above the TV? So I now have 5 beautiful Japanese Swords displayed on my wall above the TV. I think that they can be appreciated much better by me and others and they remain out of reach to those who " just have to touch them" What ever you decide remember, display them where YOU can enjoy them, where they are out of reach of the touchy- feeley types and most of all, leave a lot of room since this field of collecting is very addictive and I am sure that you will be adding more to your display soon.

MikeR

 

Yes, this sounds familiar ;)  I started with Chinese repros, since they were cheap and I could cut with them without stressing about ruining a piece of history.  I still have quite a few on a wall rack in my room, but I'm slowly selling them off to make room for more Nihonto.  If I decide to get a display for my Nihonto, I would definitely want some sort of case that can be locked to prevent "touchy-feely types" as well.  I may just leave them as is and appreciate them when I study them.

 

Sean, unless you have your air conditioning on ALL the time, the humidity in Atlanta will probably causing some rusting of a Nihonto over time, even if you leave it in shirasaya. I can literally watch rust forming on a bare blade here in Hawaii!

 

In a sealed case, you can add a dry-rod, but I'd still hesitate on having a bare, well-oiled blade in plain sight.

 

Ken

 

I actually do have the AC running constantly in my house, for the exact reason that it is so humid and hot here.  Someone is almost always home, so there's no reason to turn it off.  I can't imagine how humid it must be in a tropical climate like Hawaii :)  I'm sure fighting off rust is a daily chore for you.  If I do end up getting a case, I'll put some sort of desiccant/dry-rod in there for sure though, but I've heard it can be just as bad if its too dry as well, so I'll have to keep an eye on it with a humidity gauge or something.

 

Sean, 

You know I like those cases :)

 

We had a dog and cat then only a cat, now both again. The cases really keep all the hair from getting into everything. I like how the red background really makes the swords pop as well. They sell rechargeable moisture removers if you feel that's needed. 

 

Yessir :) I remember you suggesting those for me, since I liked your setup.  We have 5 cats in my house, so just keeping hair out would be another reason to get some sort of case.  Though, only 2 cats come into the room it would be in, its still something to keep in mind.  I actually have those rechargeable moisture beads for my AR-15 case, so I'm sure I could use it the same way.

 

I had this glass front case made to measure and it has a dehumidifier bar in the bottom so it stays dry and constant temperature

 

That case is awesome!!  I bet that cost a few bucks to have built.  Eventually I may like to have something like that, but for now with only 1 Nihonto to display, it would be overkill.  I do like that setup though man, very nice work :)

 

I dont display mine, I keep them locked away. I do display a gunto but i wouldnt risk having something more valuable sitting out.

 

I've thought about this as well.  I'm torn between wanting to see my beautiful blade all the time and keeping it safe.  The other thing is that I don't yet have a safe for it.  I have been meaning to get a big gun safe for my pistols and AR-15, which I could obviously store my swords in as well.  I'm thinking it may be a good idea to get a safe first and then worry about the display cases later.

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Yes, a vault (safe that you can bolt to floor/walls/etc.) is an excellent idea. You may also want to look into finding a katanadansu, which is what the Samurai used in humid Japan to protect their blades. Mine has worked fine out here in the tropics for many years. Not exactly transparent for viewing, though.

 

Ken

 

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Definitely.  I was looking at a safe about 60" tall by 24" by 24" or so I believe.  It would be bolted to the concrete slab, so it ain't going anywhere ;)  I'll have to look in to the katanadansu, as I'm more concerned with preserving and protecting my blades than displaying them.  Though, it would be nice to be able to do both at the same time, of course.

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There was a thread here 12-18 mths ago and many people posted. It strikes me how so often we do not make the effort to look harder at the available data on NMB.

 

In that thread last year there were cases designed by members, assembled with Ikea or similar components, there were safes arranged beautifully inside like little shrines almost , et cetera.

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Ahh, the search button, what a wonderful tool.  Alas, I did do an extensive search and only found threads with people showing pictures of cases and safes.  Most of these were several years ago, so I thought maybe someone that had joined since then or someone who came up with a new idea since then might have some input.  I also was asking about specific types of cases, whether they needed to be climate controlled or airtight, since I have fairly high humidity here.  There weren't very many specifics about case construction or humidity control...just pics and descriptions of items basically.  Hence, the new thread :)

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Someone had posted about how they control humidity and temperature. There are options ranging from electric rods to small dehumidifiers to silica gel bags.

I also live in a fairly high humidity environment and have slotted two 1kg silica gel bags in a rifle case in which I keep swords. Separately, I have these tiny 1inchx1inch silica pellet boxes inserted in the silk shirasaya bag at the mouth of the Saya where it conjoins the tsuka and that all goes in the dehumidifier gun case Finally, I am planning to buy these Zcorr gun cases impregnated with VCPI for extra measure.

All of that I have learnt on the NMB so actually all of the information has been there over the years. The problem is, again explained in a different thread, the limited number of search results you can generate due to bandwidth etc. Brian explained it recently.

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Yes, I've seen and use the silica gel boxes in my AR-15 & Pistol cases.  I was just trying to get an open discussion going to potentially learn of any other ways people have controlled humidity in their displays/storage.  I've thought about using all of those you mentioned as they are fairly easy to come by online these days.  I'm going to look into a katanadansu as well.  Most likely I will just buy a big safe, bolt it to the floor and store all my guns and swords in there, except for a few I'll display on a table stand or something.  I'll put a nice dehumidifier in there with a humidity gauge to keep an eye on it. 

 

I saw a lot of what you are talking about, and again, I was just hoping to get a new conversation going about it to possibly include anyone (like myself) who is new or may have a fresh perspective on the matter.  I'd be interested in seeing this thread you're talking about involving search results and bandwidth.  I have a very fast internet connection with high bandwidth, so I'm pretty sure I was able to get all of the search results that could be found, but maybe not.  Thanks for your help, I appreciate all the suggestions.

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I think the problem is often old timers get tired of the same topics coming up and do not even bother answering. So we need to optimise how we look things up on the board. The issue is not your bandwidth but the way the NMB is hosted and the bandwidth it consumes when it generates search results.

Some people have electric dehumidifiers in their gun cases and gauges. But I would be concerned with electronics running with my treasured items so I work with tonnes of silica. I have noticed sword museums work with mechanical dehumidifiers in the cases and in the actual room - proper , large dehumidifying appliances. Humidity of 50-55 apparently. Katana dantsu are also good but I would still add the silica dessicant.

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I know what you mean :) I'm sure some of the old timers who didn't respond in this thread, probably responded in the previous threads that I've seen anyway, so it all works out in the end.  I got some good suggestions and ideas from a few guys, including yourself.  Plus, by the lack of responses and content of some others, it shows that not all that many people actually display their Nihonto.  I've seen a few really nice custom glass cases and the like, but most it seems keep them locked away in a safe or some sort of storage case with humidity control or desiccants.

 

I've actually looked at some of those electric dehumidifiers for a gun safe, but like you, I'd be a bit weary of potential problems with the power going off and not working or something.  Silica gel packs would not have this problem of course, but probably wouldn't be able to be as accurate for constant humidity.  I'm sure there are trade-offs for each, but I'll look into it some more.  Silica desiccants are readily available, cheap, and easy to use and recharge, so I imagine I will be using those to some extent either way.

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Sean, just remember that when the silica gel picks up water, it slowly deliquesces, & you suddenly have a puddle of water with your blades. It can happen really fast. The dry-rod is a much better idea, or, if you want to really be safe, the ZCORR bags that I use.

 

Michael, I've had blades in my katanadansu for a decade, with no sign of water infiltration. The Japanese knew what they were doing! Not sure about modern ones, though.

 

Ken

 

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Hmm. I was keeping my one blade in Shirasaya with the accompanying Koshirae on a bookshelf adjacent to the bathroom. I put silica gel packets in both the Saya bag and the brocade bag for Koshirae. The a/c stays on 24/7 as well as the ceiling fan. After reading this thread I have put them in the front room. I had hoped the constant refrigerated air would compensate for the periodic humidity from the bathroom. Ambient humidity in the midwest is nil. So I thought I was ok.

I am now reconsidering how to store & conserve my blade.

tom

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Sean, just remember that when the silica gel picks up water, it slowly deliquesces, & you suddenly have a puddle of water with your blades. It can happen really fast. The dry-rod is a much better idea, or, if you want to really be safe, the ZCORR bags that I use.

 

Michael, I've had blades in my katanadansu for a decade, with no sign of water infiltration. The Japanese knew what they were doing! Not sure about modern ones, though.

 

Ken

 

I wouldn't have them anywhere near the actual blades themselves anyway, just in the bottom of the safe.  Either way, I'll probably just use a dry rod to be safe.  I'm not sure its necessary here for ZCORR bags, that's a bit overkill I think.  I understand maybe because you are in Hawaii, but I have the A/C on constantly in this house so the humidity is pretty low inside.   Just out of curiosity, I know I'm new and inexperienced and all, but isn't a Katanadansu, plus dry rod and Zcorr bags a bit much?  I could see if you plan on going out of town for a few months or for storage where you won't be checking and oiling them regularly.  I have Chinese repros that I haven't even oiled once and they have yet to rust at all.  Obviously, I understand that Nihonto are antiques and require much more care and attention than a simple $1k Chinese katana, but they're both made of carbon steel that rusts. 

 

I hope you don't take that as me being unappreciative of the help and advice, quite the opposite.  I just want to make sure I find the happy medium between keeping my blades rust free and not driving myself nuts doing so ;)

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Sorry, Sean, I covered this in a much-earlier post. There really is a method to my apparent madness.

 

I have my high-value blades in my big vault, which has always had a dry-rod for other weapons. Several of the really high-value blades I also keep inside ZCORR blades in the vault. The other blades are in shirasaya or koshirae in a plain old katanadansu (old, literally, as it's from Edo). And of course I have a high-end professionally-monitored security system, along with a couple of watch-swans wandering in my yard.

 

Ken

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Sorry, Sean, I covered this in a much-earlier post. There really is a method to my apparent madness.

 

I have my high-value blades in my big vault, which has always had a dry-rod for other weapons. Several of the really high-value blades I also keep inside ZCORR blades in the vault. The other blades are in shirasaya or koshirae in a plain old katanadansu (old, literally, as it's from Edo). And of course I have a high-end professionally-monitored security system, along with a couple of watch-swans wandering in my yard.

 

Ken

 

Ok, I see what you mean now.  So, basically you have the same setup that I'm planning on using myself...a big vault with a dry-rod for guns and swords.  Then, for extra protection on the higher value blades, ZCORR bags.  I guess if you have enough swords, then keeping all of them in the safe or katanadansu isn't feasible, so you keep the more expensive ones locked away safely and the others in the katanadansu.  I like this idea, though in order to implement it I would need quite a few more blades to add to my collection ;)

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I keep mine bagged in shirasaya so not display tips from me personally. I do keep my replicas of European swords out in the open, and never had problems of them developing rust even when handling, touching and using them.

 

I was very impressed by displays that several high end shops in Japan had. While many had spectacular displays I must point out that in my opinion the display at Taibundo is god-tier. Weather conditions around the world are so different, Japan is so humid total opposite what we have here in Finland. I found this as really interesting subject but my lacking ability of speaking Japanese made the conversations almost always very brief as language barrier was really steep.

 

Pic borrowed from their website. :)

 

bg_block02.jpg

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I keep mine bagged in shirasaya so not display tips from me personally. I do keep my replicas of European swords out in the open, and never had problems of them developing rust even when handling, touching and using them.

 

I was very impressed by displays that several high end shops in Japan had. While many had spectacular displays I must point out that in my opinion the display at Taibundo is god-tier. Weather conditions around the world are so different, Japan is so humid total opposite what we have here in Finland. I found this as really interesting subject but my lacking ability of speaking Japanese made the conversations almost always very brief as language barrier was really steep.

 

Pic borrowed from their website. :)

 

bg_block02.jpg

 

Wow :) Jussi, I'd say that's a pretty good description...god-tier.  I shouldn't be surprised I guess, as these are antiques and pieces of history on display, but damn is that awesome.  I plan to go to Japan one day and I'd love to visit this place, though like you said, the language barrier will be pretty high unfortunately.  I guess its time to start learning Japanese, so I can actually express my awe at the beauty of these blades and displays to someone ;)

 

My swords are on the home insurance policy. I am of the mind that you do what you can (buy in low crime area, security as good as you can get it, really nosy neighbors....) as this all adds to the protection. 

 

I need to add mine to the insurance policy, that's a good idea.  I've got my guns insured through NRA and USCCA, though I should probably add them to home insurance as well.  I never thought about adding swords since I've only recently started collecting blades that are worth insuring ;)

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Erol took us to Taibundo. Mindblowing...was handed stuff like I was looking at repros...all with a smile on their face. "Here's a Sadamune....here's a Rai....here's an Ichimonji.....here's a Sa....." all being thrust into my hands. For someone who was (and still is) very much a novice, it nearly blew my mind and I went into sensory overload.
That place is more than amazing.

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