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MichaelZWilliamson

Before I Use It For Practice

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This showed up in a badly rusted military scabbard, and is obviously corroded, but mostly superficial.

 

However, since it's signed, I want to ensure it's just an unremarkable piece before I use it for polish practice.

 

35" overall, 26" from kissaki to mune-machi.  No visible hamon or boshi.

P1120001.JPG

P1120003.JPG

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Appears to be the WWII Seki smith Michizane. An antique Japanese sword, and I recommend against polishing on your own even if it is a showato. 

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A quick search (on google), turned up a few good threads from the NMB.

 

 

 

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Talking about polishing swords yourself (No matter what sword) is like asking where is the exit door. 
Take this as friendly advice, and next time just ask for the translation. 

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Hey there!

 

I see you're an Indy resident like myself (or close enough). As the gentlemen here are attempting to say in friendly terms, NEVER ever try to polish a Japanese sword. Even if it is machine-produced from WWII, Japanese togishi have at least a decade of training under a master before they're allowed to be called proper polishers. There are countless stories of people that are not togishi that have attempted what you're thinking of, and it never ends well for the blade. Ever.

 

They don't mean to sound angry or unfriendly, this is just a frequent topic that comes up from newbies.

 

My advice? Cherish it as it is, don't worry too much about the lack of polish. If you must have a sword in polish, find one that is already that way! Its much cheaper, more time efficient, and with a guarantee of no sword being harmed in the process!

 

If you ever want to see a semi-decent collection, let me know, I have a few decent pieces.

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It is not about polishing a sword. This is your first mistake.

it is about correcting the shape when a blade has been used for battle so much it's become dull and nibbled in the ha.

There is an aesthetic approach now, but historically this was probably not the whole intention, rather just a pleasent outcome of a sharpened and corrected blade.It was sashikomi.

Moving forward there was then the development of new polishing techniques like hadori that did concentrate more on enhancement of the hamon.this was undoubtedly a peace time requirement for swagger effect, probably not needed in times of war so much when you wanted your sword back asap ready for business.

So your not ”polishing" you are restoring and that takes years to master.

A bad ”restoration” will change the shape and take off too much steel as you won't have the experienced ”feel" for the swords geometry and shape for its period .

There are only so many polishes in any one blade and in some schools producing thin blades this is not many.

Make sense?

 

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Thanks for the info. Two mekugi-ana suggested it might be older than WWII.

I polish reproductions for practitioners.  I'm willing to clean up stamped gunto if they're low value. That's how I learn. I don't touch anything until it's identified.  

This has no visible dings and is very clean under the gunk and surface oxidation.  So I'll leave it as is.  I'll give it some oil and wiping.

 

After selling the bent and corroded scabbard, I basically got it for free.

Is it possible to estimate its original length, style, and timeframe?

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Mike whatever we say, it is the NMB inclination to demonize amateur polishing, but it is your sword and you can do what you like with it.

You just won't get any constructive assistance in the art of polishing.

If you must and without alienating myself further on here get to properly understand what your objectives are in polishing because that word misleads a little.

You start off with coarse stone's and work towards the finer stone's.

If the blades oil tempered then you won't get much enjoyment from what you reveal.it will be a sort of soulless piece.

I do believe there is enough information on the internet to get you going.

The cost of the correct tools of the trade are quite high and you will never achieve satisfaction without the correct stone's and tools.

Good luck

Adam 

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1 hour ago, Babu said:

You start off with coarse stone's and work towards the finer stone's.

If the blades oil tempered then you won't get much enjoyment from what you reveal.it will be a sort of soulless piece.

I do believe there is enough information on the internet to get you going.

 

Michael said in his previous post that he had decided against this course of action. "I'll leave it as is.  I'll give it some oil and wiping." That is the right course of action, and I don't think that we want to give encouragement in the opposite direction to proceed based on an online polishing education.

 

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What Ray said.
Adam, are you trying to dig a hole for yourself?

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Not at all,but it's his sword and he can do whatever he likes with it.

Not you or indeed anyone else on here can stop him and for all we know in spite of his statement against doing this heinous crime,he's going ahead anyway, so better he acquires a better understanding before he proceeds.

I don't promote home polishing but I also believe he has free choice.

If this is digging a hole then I apologise but it's still his sword and ultimately his decision.

Everything starts somewhere even Japanese trained polishers select a sword that will not matter to practice with.

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As I said, I have polished repros, and completely trashed and bent guntos (also used for straightening practice). I don't touch anything that could have historical value.  I previously had a pattern 1889 dated here. Turns out the blade was quite a bit older. It has been oiled, and that is it.

 

This one is actually a good display piece for my presentation on edged weapons, which starts in the Neolithic, through the Bronze Age, Middle Ages, Napoleonic, through to the present.  It makes an excellent example of, "This looks like junk, but doing a Youtube-grade 'restoration' will make it even worse."

Bronze Age dagger/sword, Luristan, about 800BC, Iron Age Celtic adze, about year 0, Viking era axe found near Archangelsk, Russia, about 1000 AD.

 

Bronze1.JPG

0ADCelticGerman2.jpg

axe2.jpg

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Viking era reproductions based on finds from Gotland, about 10th century.  Soft iron spine, pattern welded cores, carburized edges. These are my work. My eldest daughter, then 13, helped forge the billets and finished her own.

Harry3 (2).JPG

Kuhnives.JPG

Filing.JPG

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Ottoman bishaq, about 1850, wootz steel, jade, and gold inlay of a Persian poem.
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Another Viking era shaping axe, the smaller back used mostly for crushing and splitting mortar, the edge inset with carburized iron.  A weld line is visible across the socket.

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My daughter's blade after initial polishing.

MorriganPolish.JPG

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Adam, Adam, Adam...... I collect Showa-To even with patina and rust (which you stabilize with oil). 

You don't stuff up historical pieces. 

I think a holiday is in order. Find another forum that may appreciate your advice.  

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1 hour ago, MichaelZWilliamson said:

"I don't touch anything that could have historical value."

 



 

 

 

 

I think, and someone with more experience correct me if i'm wrong, that that is the problem. Any authentic Japanese sword, no  matter how old or how it was made has at least some historical value. That is unless it is to the point where any type of polishing or other work is impossible, or until someone destroys it with an attempted "restoration". It is just not something that should be done without proper training, at all, ever. If you want to mess around with polishing, get or make a blade specifically for that, a modern one made to historical specs. But never should it be attempted on an antique of any kind unless you are one  of a literal handful of people with proper training. But i am new to this, just my 2 cents.

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For once I kind of find myself agreeing with Adam . This piece is stuffed as is and the rust is like a cancer that will keep getting worse . I don;t advocate that anyone does home polishes but something has to be done about the active red rust . For me oiling it is only going to delay the problem .

Ian Brooks

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3 minutes ago, LLagrange said:

 If you want to mess around with polishing, get or make a blade specifically for that, 

 

I've been forging blades for 37 years, though nothing of the quality of the better historical smiths of any country, though I've observed and met a handful.
I have very limited knowledge of Japanese work, but I understand metal when I see it.

 

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I in no way meant that as an insult of what you know or your experience just to be clear. Just that antiques are bot something to be messed with by anyone other than someone with years of training very specifically about what it is they are working with.

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Michael,

 

If you need another apprentice, I am available after the pandemonium subsides, sometime after the elections. But, not on Japanese swords. You have some very nice blades.

 

Tom D.

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1 hour ago, LLagrange said:

You do very nice work btw. That Persian blade is beautiful.

 

The Ottoman is an original in my collection. The Viking repros are about the limit of my skill, though I've done some very nice dress daggers.

 

Here's one I did several years ago, with hand-fluted dyed maple burl, bronze wire, and tigereye.

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1 hour ago, Tom Darling said:

Michael,

 

If you need another apprentice, I am available after the pandemonium subsides, sometime after the elections. But, not on Japanese swords. You have some very nice blades.

 

Tom D.

 

As far as smithing, I can recommend better ones. As far as cutlering and bladesmithing in particular, I wish I had time. Between an 8 month old, a 6 year old we're keeping out of school during this idiocy, and my day job (I have 9 national bestsellers in print and four books on contract), I get a couple of hours a day in the shop, mostly to help unwind and focus. It's 0130 and I'm hard at work. :)

 

 

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As it's a showato which don't have any artistic features, i think he can do what he wants with it. A showato is no more than a bar of vulgar metal transformed in sword.

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It's not about what Michael can or cannot do. A guy with a Juyo Ichimonji can do what he wants with his own property too..he can buff it to a mirror shine and gold plate it if he likes.
It is about what we advocate here. In private, a person can do what he wants. But on my forum, we don't advocate amateur polishing, especially since most guys out there don't know what is an arsenal blade and what is a Yasukunito in rusted condition. The policy remains....we don't promote self polishing.
The funny thing is that Michael himself I think understands that and is cool with it. No problem with his posts. It is some members that need to learn the lesson yet again.
Do I really need to lock this?

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11 hours ago, Babu said:

Scratching head........

Rather than allow more liberal members to step into the beartrap wouldn't it be prudent to admonish the OP. Tell him we don't offer advice on amateur polishing and close that thread immediately?? 

Because leaving it open just causes problems.

 

Michael, just for the record, has what people said here put you off doing the sword because it's my belief your going ahead anyway, it's what you do.

Regards Adam

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The only problem is members who know just enough to be dangerous giving advice on how to do it. Time to close it.

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3 hours ago, Babu said:

Michael, just for the record, has what people said here put you off doing the sword because it's my belief your going ahead anyway, it's what you do.

 

Adam, again Michael has said "I'll leave it as is.  I'll give it some oil and wiping." Can you not just accept his comment at face value, rather than to continuing to push on this point and telling him what you think he really plans to do?

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