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Tsuba Restoration Advice


Jimbo
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To (only) people who know what they're talking about:

 

I am currently getting fittings together for my katana in shirasaya. I recently purchased a tsuba from the ebay seller Koushuya. This was after almost a year of searching for the tsuba that felt just right. I ended up going with this one, and I am very happy with the purchase. Apparently it's an antique from the Edo period. But I don't really care about that. I just really like how it looks.......makes me feel good.

 

My first question: Should I leave this thing alone and fit it to my katana as is, or should I do something about the rust that looks like it might be eating away at the sukashi? 

 

My second question: If I should do something about the rust, what should I do/how should I do it? I don't want to damage/alter this thing (beyond necessarily removing rust) if I can help it. I really like it.

 

Here are some pics:

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I wouldn't do anything at all to it. Basically because it's a modern piece, and because it's 'pretending' to be Edo period it's a fake.

 

It's copper, and the colour is nothing like an authentic shakudo patina, more likely some or other industrial process.

 

It may actually simply be a contemporary hobby pieces, and as such perfectly honest. But, as far as Edo period kata-kiri work (the actual chiselling technique) goes it not skillful at all and the carver really didnt understand how tigers are carved in this style at all. Both points strongly suggest a relatively modern and in-expert manufacture I'm afraid.

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56 minutes ago, b.hennick said:

It Iooks to be copper not iron. It seems to have black lacquer on the back side. You have choices. Leave it the way it is. Remove the paint /lacquer. Or if it is shakudo it can be seems by a professional.

 

25 minutes ago, Ford Hallam said:

I wouldn't do anything at all to it. Basically because it's a modern piece, and because it's 'pretending' to be Edo period it's a fake.

 

It's copper, and the colour is nothing like an authentic shakudo patina, more likely some or other industrial process.

 

It may actually simply be a contemporary hobby pieces, and as such perfectly honest. But, as far as Edo period kata-kiri work (the actual chiselling technique) goes it not skillful at all and the carver really didnt understand how tigers are carved in this style at all. Both points strongly suggest a relatively modern and in-expert manufacture I'm afraid.

 

Thanks for your responses. I think I'll leave it alone then. If it's copper, then I won't have to worry about rust, correct?

 

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Hello Jimbo,

 

I am fairly new to tsuba collecting.  I have made some "errors" in some of my tsuba purchases.  No big deal.  For me, your initial post says it all -  "the tsuba that felt just right. I ended up going with this one, and I am very happy with the purchase."  And, " I just really like how it looks.......makes me feel good."  Well stated, and that's what making a purchase is all about (in my opinion).  I also like the tsuba.  The tiger walking (or jumping) through the bamboo.  Real, fake, repro, or copy - it definetly has its appeal !"

 

Also, as far as my very limited tsuba expierence goes, I am pretty sure that copper does not rust.  Although I think that copper will tarnish over time to a "green" type color (if not taken care of).

 

With respect,

Dan

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1 hour ago, Dan tsuba said:

Hello Jimbo,

 

I am fairly new to tsuba collecting.  I have made some "errors" in some of my tsuba purchases.  No big deal.  For me, your initial post says it all -  "the tsuba that felt just right. I ended up going with this one, and I am very happy with the purchase."  And, " I just really like how it looks.......makes me feel good."  Well stated, and that's what making a purchase is all about (in my opinion).  I also like the tsuba.  The tiger walking (or jumping) through the bamboo.  Real, fake, repro, or copy - it definetly has its appeal !"

 

Also, as far as my very limited tsuba expierence goes, I am pretty sure that copper does not rust.  Although I think that copper will tarnish over time to a "green" type color (if not taken care of).

 

With respect,

Dan

 

Thanks Dan.

 

Yeah, I picked this one out because of its bamboo tiger theme. I couldn't find anything I liked as much as this one on aoi Japan, nihonto.us, and about a dozen other sites more reputable than ebay. This one is gonna blend well the the fuchi kashira I received as a gift a few years ago (also bamboo tiger theme). Now I just need to find some menuki, then I'll send it all off to someone to take care of the tsukamaki and the saya (probably fred lohman, but that's not set in stone). Still deciding on the ito, sageo and saya color scheme. There's no rush. That's the great thing about shirasaya. I'll figure it out when I figure it out and the blade isn't going anywhere.

 

However, I am now considering removing the lacquer on this tsuba. If it's not an antique, as Mr. Hallam says, then I see no big deal in tinkering with it. If I can get some patina in the mix, a copper tsuba would be even better than an iron one in this case.

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Hello again James,

Sounds like it is going to be a great looking sword when it is complete !!  I don't know, maybe I would just leave the tsuba as it is.  It looks good.  Although, if you do remove the lacquer can you tell me how you did it.  I have tried using paint remover on one of mine, and it did nothing.  So without sanding and ruining the tsuba completly,  I just left the "patina" on it.

With respect,

Dan

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5 hours ago, parfaitelumiere said:

Depending on your other fittings and depending on the sword itself, you can use that tsuba or find a simplier design made from steel.
I think I saw several on yahoo like this.

 

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Here are photos of my fuchi kashira. A buddy of mine bought them from japanszwaard.nl, which is a Dutch website I believe. He gave them to me for my birthday a while back after I told him about my shirasaya project.

 

I haven't been able to find a tsuba theme that matches these fittings, except for this one. I have pretty much made up my mind that this is the tsuba that fits best.

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1 hour ago, Dan tsuba said:

Hello again James,

Sounds like it is going to be a great looking sword when it is complete !!  I don't know, maybe I would just leave the tsuba as it is.  It looks good.  Although, if you do remove the lacquer can you tell me how you did it.  I have tried using paint remover on one of mine, and it did nothing.  So without sanding and ruining the tsuba completly,  I just left the "patina" on it.

With respect,

Dan

 

I haven't figured out how to remove lacquer from copper yet. To be honest, paint remover would have been my first guess. I'll keep you posted as I try to figure this out. If I can get the lacquer off, then I will try to add my own patina. But I'm not sure about that yet either.

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1 hour ago, parfaitelumiere said:

I prefer the f-k set to the tsuba, I think maybe a different tsuba theme can be a better choice, simple iron with bamboo sukashi can be a good choice.
The tiger engraving on tsuba is very bad compared to F-K set.
I don't know if all the parts must be the same, not sure about it.

 

I feel ya. I will always be on the lookout for another tsuba. But I think for now, I'll settle with this one, and when I find one that feels like a better fit, I can simply switch em out. That's one of the great things about building your own katana. Nothing about it is permanent.....other than the blade of course.

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22 hours ago, parfaitelumiere said:

yeah, just the seppa to replace.

 

Right. I'm still deciding on the quality of the seppa I will settle on. I'll probably aim for custom seppa, so I'm thinking it would be a good idea to find a better tsuba before I have my sword mounted. Dan tsuba has helped me figure out the degree of quality that will properly match my f+k. So, I'm on the lookout for a quality katakiribori style tsuba with a bamboo tiger theme. I have found at least one that is just outside of my price range, but I'll have enough saved up to buy it in no time.

 

I still like the rough appearance of this tsuba though. I am going to try to remove the lacquer just for fun, but other than that, I will probably just keep it around so I can enjoy it every once in a while.

 

Anyone have any recommendations on who I should contact about a tsukamaki service? I have a few in mind after searching the links provided in this forum, but opinions are always welcome.

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