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Shamsy

Type 95 Black Saya

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Thanks Bruce; I must be remembering that discussion with you as that sums up what I remember. Was it Neil who suggested the use of acetone as a chemical that would leave original paint intact?

 

Happy for the thread to evolve into an 'alternatively painted' thread. I'll go and read that SFI discussion and see what I can learn/remember.

 

Edit update:

I think some of that discussion took place too early, back when people thought that a couple of sources constituted the limits of our learning. Still see that with Dawson all the time. I think you were doing a good job, Bruce, of following a common thread and looking for an answer while pointing out flaws in what seem to be a sketchy theory. There are a good deal of swords painted very carefully golden. Was theatre that common?

 

 

Saw this which made me laugh:

"I have an early serial numbered copper-hilted gunto, about 60-70 of them known remaining."

 

But then this which is what Neil too has on his pattern 1:

"The saya seems to have been painted in gold, but under the greenish paint; traces of gold remaining do not seem to be applied with the round the corner hardware store gold paint but to be a metal treatment."

 

Nick already showed us the example of the aluminum treatment that Japan used and is evident on the transition Suya swords between pattern 1 and 2, so I think we can safely say there is plenty of evidence of pattern 1 saya undercoats which were later abandoned.

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Here is another 95 with period, but not original, black paint on the saya. This one had faint traces of green/brown around the saya throat (externally).

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Another example just popped up on eBay. 95 with period, but not original, black saya. Note the telltale spots of original paint on the throat in two pictures. You can also clearly see that the paint is not even, as all genuine, period examples I have seen have been crude refurbishment without much care for removing the original paint.

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 Something that may or may not be relevant, black paint dried faster, which was why early Fords only came in black. If you were doing a quick repaint in the field for scabbards that had been banged about enough to need one, black would have advantages over other colours.

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Thanks for the insight, Dave. It's really only conjecture on my part based on experience and a number of samples I've seen and continue to see and will add here. Post war repairs to black tend to be clean, smooth and lack patina. The examples I can find with genuine patina all seem to be crudely repainted, without properly being stripped and with paint that seems to be semi gloss and usually pretty rough. I'd say either poor preparation of the saya or perhaps poor quality paint.

 

Experience does not equal expertise though. It's just a hunch that, as you state, a quick repainting may have been needed and black paint was stocked.

 

We already know that some saya were painted in 'snow camo' and a great number of brown and greens were used, so I don't think it's inconceivable that when necessity dictated, any colour on hand would be used.

 

There is plenty of primary evidence that the extreme conditions of some theatres caused rust on blades and exposed steel, so the paint is a natural method of preserving a thin steel scabbard.

 

Happy to discuss and hear other opinions. I'll keep posting examples of period black saya as I find them so I can at least support my thoughts with some sort of evidence.

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I know on a copper, I've seen a couple of different greens. The interior throat was correct, factor original. There was very little green left on the saya, but what remained didn't match that inside. Both were period, just one added later. I have no doubt at all there were organised efforts for refurbishment and repainting of saya at arsenals. I'm just unsure why/how black got used, but given the crude applications, I suspect more of a rough field use, where better facilities weren't available. Perhaps it was even because of the quick drying time...

 

I'll keep listing examples as I find them, as a theory without any kind of systemic evidence isn't useful.

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The black NCO version I have, just some pictures to show you all, I have no evidence the black is applied post war, nor if it is applied during production.

Indeed, book references state that black is rare as shown in the picture. 

 

Best regards

Erwin

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Would need a few photos, better quality and not on a black background. You'd also have to take out the throat of the saya and see photograph the copper tab that the screw goes through. Patina is also a good tell, though there are some near mint examples, so not as accurate. I'll not speculate since you own the sword, but I have a hypothesis of what you'll find.

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Not easy. Combining them is no problem. But it will then sort posts in date order and some replies will make no sense and the whole topic will be convoluted.
 

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I would have suggested a new thread, editing out some posts and retaining the more pertinent ones, but hard to know which people would like to remain and it's not my place to choose really. I think an oddly organised combo is still better than two threads though.

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Another example of a re-painted saya, most likely recently and not period. This is a great example of some obvious tells. The patina of the sword is in no way commensurate with the patina of the saya. The tsuka is not even the same shade of black anymore and shows clear patina, totally absent from the saya except for a few sanded marks. The saya throat is another obvious give away too.

 

The condition of this sword shows it is clearly not even original to the saya. The saya has been restamped and very obviously so. The size and font aren't close and the removal of original numbers is plain to see.

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You missed the best part, John! The photo that shows it is a repaint (though the condition of the saya to the sword makes that obvious).

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Another one. EBay seller actually states the tsuba and scabbard are repainted, though it's pretty obvious. Nice sign of honesty though. If you see this seller with a sword you like, grab it because they are one of the dealers on eBay I would recommend as honest.

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In a pinch, that is probably a more accurate assessment. Most of the bad ones leave as little information as possible, hoping someone will make an incorrect assumption. I've seen some really sly listings. Avoiding listing or showing one or both serial numbers (because they aren't matched), failure to mention missing parts, obvious 'touch up' jobs... at least this time the issues are plainly listed. One of my least favorite dealers states that all swords are from estate sales unless listed. Apparently they have never had a sword otherwise! It is to add a false sense of originality to swords that I know they mix parts for, touch up and sell missing parts (seppa, saya liners etc.).

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Another repainted saya. Still adding examples to this thread to support my hypothesis. I'd like to get some more of the Pattern 5 though as this is the particular example claimed to have the originally painted 'rare black' saya.

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