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waljamada

Japanese Calvary and Artillery Sword

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So went to a local antique shop and found two swords and a 25% off all booths deal. These had a tag price of $150 (so have about $115 into each) and when I looked at them the mess appears to be entirely surface level and just gunk from previous coatings of something....hopefully. I'm wondering, are these swords appropriate to use autosol on for cleaning? Is that my best route? Second the scabbard is also full of whatever was previously used to coat them and WD40. How can I clean the insides of the scabbard? Use a long sink brush? Looking for advice for me as I proceed on this rescue effort. The scabbard and blade numbers do not match. Can I also use autosol to clean off the rust on the handles? I'll probably clean them, keep one and sell the other. Or sell both to recoup some money I spent on nihontos :). Any of these two better than the other?

 

Here are pictures of the two swords.

 

https://ibb.co/album/eoooQa

 

I'll share pictures on this message chain after my rescue mission is complete

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Even in not perfect condition you cannot go wrong for that price, a real steal (steel!).

Perhaps other members have suggestions about removing the gunk/WD40?

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Don't do anything yet!  Let some of these folks lead you forward.

 

My 2cents?  That could be cosmoline, and it could be period. That could explain the lack of rust, unless they have been heavily cleaned in the past before all-over greasing. One of your leather seppas is gone, and the other is ruined from that process. Even if I'm wrong, it looks like you scored.

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Adam you got an incredible deal! Those are Type 32 swords, originating in 1899 and produced through 1925. They made around 8,000/yr so you can do the math and estimate the years of your swords.

 

The length will tell you if they are a Ko or Otsu version. Ko is 39" in scabbard and Otsu is 36"

 

Someone with experience will have to help with the cosmolean. It was a goop the returning G.I.s put on steel souvenirs. Pure alcohol (find it at hardware stores) couldn't hurt the blade.

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Chris, I smirked. You're pretty punny.

 

Austus, I'll wait for some hopeful guidance.

 

Bruce, just measured and both are 39" from handle top to scabbard bottom. So two Ko Type 32s. I'm gonna leave them as-is for a bit longer until I have a complete plan.

 

To be honest I was kind of suprised by them. They look like small/thin blades in scabbard but when you take one out and hold it; they feel pretty powerful. Theres something to the utilitarian make of them expressly for war purposes that seems more brutal in hand than a nihonto for some reason.

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My first Japanese sword was a type 95.  Bought it in the parking lot of a pawn shop for $100.  It wasn't in as good a shape as yours; they look really clean. Non-matching numbers bring down the value a little. Check out the edge... they feel rough; see if they're the same.   Keep us posted!

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Hot water or a heat gun can work well combined with acetone or mineral spirits and a whole lotta elbow grease.

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Cosmoline or grease just wipe off with a little oil. WD40 stinks, avoid that. Varnish needs spirits. Either work. Don't get too concerned, barely anything will really hurt. If the gunk is in scabbard, just wipe it off the blade every time you pull it out and it'll be clean soon enough. Common on old swords. Don't over think it.

 

Rust should be rubbed with oil on a rag until dark and smooth.

 

I've tried a lot of oils. Gun oil works well, not a solvent mind.

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One more thing... the blade steel is surprisingly soft.  I scuffed mine with a sock, putting oil on it.  Go easy on that elbow grease. 

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Started working in the first of these today and found pitting underneath a bunch of the gunk. Theres a decent amount both on the shinogi-ji and in the bohi. Now I'm not sure what to do exactly. Would one suggest I sand them down? Does anyone know if the surface of the swords is just polished steel or is it actually burnished? Does anyone have any suggestion about grits, products or strategies for repairing a sword like this as much as possible? Also where is the line where I should stop repairs and just let them be? Thank you for anyone who advises me through this.

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I have done tons of work with cosmoline … easiest and safest way (I found ) is boil a big pot of water and place the sword tip into heat … metal heat is conveyed and it just wipes right off.    It's safer and easier than other methods I have used.   I have done entire gun barrels and as long as you get a few inches into the hot water, it should work 

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Adam - you can't fix pitting without modifying the sword design ... Here is a thread where I re-furbed a type 95 NCO Sword that was in SERIOUSLY bad shape, actually almost rusted to the saya.   I had a professional bladesmith (and forged in Fire champion :) ... take a look at my work during endgame and he cautioned that I could do no more on the pitting without damaging the original blade shape/design.   See link for sanding, etc....   Dan 

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/28507-recovery-of-a-type-95-nco-sword/

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Heres some advice from a guy on a facebook group that seems solid to me:

 

I'd DEFINITELY stay away from anything motorized on a sword resto ..That should imho be the very last option,and only if you have multiple years experience working metal finishing ...

What you need to do is go get sandpaper for metal ranging from 120 all the way up to 1500 grit wet sand .. Go get some different round dowels and 1× sticks ...Wrap the sandpaper around the dowels for fuller work,and around the 1× material for edge integrity.

Also use your hands as well ..Nothing replaces or does an antiques blade justice like feel when using sandpaper ..

Your gonna want to start low and slow and work your way up through the grits until you have reached the desired results .

This will take lots of time and energy . This can also be quite a source of relaxation etc etc .

Go with the grain always ...

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  A friend of mine who does professional  restoration says that most military blades had a brushed or matt finish, rather than mirror or burnished. Officers blades were and are a different matter. Remember you got them cheap for a reason, so don't get in tiz' about condition.

 

 I would probably go for a wire brush clean up, and then see what was revealed.... but we all have different strategies and standards.

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Zook, thanks. Read through the entire post and appreciate it.

 

Dave R, yeah, beyond the basic bummer about the pitting I'm fine with it. Have the desire to work on them over the next few weeks so developing that plan of action. So far all I've done is used pure alcohol and hot water with a nylon brush. Pretty much revealed what I'm working with and while not pretty it's still quite a functional and sharp sword. I'm not going to aim for removal of all the pitting as it's impossible without removing too much nikku but I'll get them to a stabilized position. Try to pretty them up a bit.

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Adam,

this forum is dedicated to the preservation of Japanese swords. We do not discuss methods of DIY restoration and are strictly against any attempts. Machine made blades may be less valuable but will nevertheless loose some of their value by amateur sandpapering or polishing. 

 

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Roku,

 

Sorry, I respect that and apologize. I'm only willing to try this because it is a type 32 in bad shape and I will cease posting photos or discuss the strategy for stabilizing the sword from further deterioration. On a personal note I cant help but see the rigidity to the point of destruction as an aspect inherent in that stance. I also see the value in what you are saying. Human interventions in the destructive forces of nature is one of our greatest pursuits and I just can't let the sword die a further slow death....

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Adam,

 

this forum is dedicated to the preservation of Japanese swords. We do not discuss methods of DIY restoration and are strictly against any attempts. Machine made blades may be less valuable but will nevertheless loose some of their value by amateur sandpapering or polishing. 

 

 

 

 It's a mass produced homogeneous steel blade on the same level as a 19thC-20thC European Cavalry sword or bayonet, and nothing at all like a Nihonto. I think a visit to some other collector forums might be useful for you.

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I'm going to chime in on this, for what it's worth.

 

I truly respect what you guys are doing by discouraging DIY polishing, and understand why it's a really bad idea. But have you guys clicked on any of his pics and enlarged them? If this blade were a nihonto, you'd be saying "Total write-off. This blade is worthless." and I have heard it said by many on these forums. If I had the search skills of Thomas, I'd pull them up and quote each of you on that.

And this blade is worse off than any of them.

 

So if a blade is "ruined" and is not worth resoration (in other words - trash) honestly - what difference does it make if a guy tries to remove some of the destruction? I personally think he is honoring this blade by his efforts to try to give it a little dignity back.

 

Yes, if another rookie sees what he is doing, would he naively be encouraged to do the same thing to his newly acquired rusty nihonto? Possilby. But you've clearly discussed why that isn't good to do, so unlikely.

 

I wouldn't do metal-work on any of my 95s or 32s to remove rust spots, but they are good blades. Adam's is truly a "gonner". I don't see his work as anything but an effort to save what he can of a destroyed blade.

 

Please click on this pic:

post-3487-0-31482400-1581516760_thumb.jpg

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Sitting firmly on top of the fence on this. That said pitting is so deep whats the point of going deeper. Remove active rust. Stabilize and move on.

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