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Restore or Leave it alone..


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All,

 

Very new to this.  I grabbed this this weekend for the cost of a good bottle of bourbon.   I'm really a WWII firearms guy and restoration is verboten. .  I need some advice.  It has some rust areas, I need to know what to do with regards to this. Do I end it to someone to get polished (not a high polish as this was a military sword) if not how do I arrest the rust and should I have a handle and new scabbard? (yes I know not the correct terms, but I'll get there).  Thanks in advance for the education!

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To help with assessment, can we get some measurements?

The following would help:

 

Nagasa (cutting edge) length:

Nakago (tang) length:
 

As for the blade, it is signed and dated (so I assume) and appears to have a hot stamp. I would assume that at least makes it more likely to be gendaito, possibly a bit older, but it could also just be a showato. You'll have to wait for the experts to chime in.

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Oh yes its a WWII blade...  the cutting edge is 28" long (I used the measuring instructions from a website) and the tang is 8.5"

越後国貞六造之 ..........[貞六]
Echiko (no) Kuni Sadaroku kore (wo) tsukuru [Seal: Sadaroku]
This was made by Sadaroku of Echigo no Kuni

昭和十七年二月日
Showa 17th Year, A Day in February

From Markus Sesko's Japanese Swordsmiths:
SADAROKU ( 六), Shōwa (昭和, 1926-1989), Niigata – “Sadaroku” ( 六), “Echigo no Kuni-jū Imai Sadaroku saku” ( 後国住今井 六作), real name Imai Yaichi (今井弥一), he worked as rikugun-jumei-tōshō and studied later under Amata Akitsugu (天田昭次), jōko no jōi (Akihide), Second Seat at the 6th Shinsaku Nihontō Denrankai (新作日本刀展 会, 1941)

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He made medium to high grade gendaito, so yes.. gendaito with his personal stamp. Appears to be a nice blade. Is it worth the polish? I would say yes, but that's just me.

 

As for who? Try Bob Benson or Jimmy Hayashi.

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Hi Stan,

Welcome to NMB. As regards the rust, try wrapping the blade in cloth or newspaper soaked in oil. WD40 or 3 in 1 oil should do the trick (or whatever the US equivalent is). After a week or two this should turn the active rust inactive. Don't oil the tang (if there's no red rust there) and don't clean the tang or do anything else to try to clean up the blade - leave it to the polisher.

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Hi Stan

Re: Do I end it to someone to get polished (not a high polish as this was a military sword) 

You have to decide either have it polished properly or not at all

This would depend on the value of the sword and your own preferences

 

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2 hours ago, Shugyosha said:

Hi Stan,

Welcome to NMB. As regards the rust, try wrapping the blade in cloth or newspaper soaked in oil. WD40 or 3 in 1 oil should do the trick (or whatever the US equivalent is). After a week or two this should turn the active rust inactive. Don't oil the tang (if there's no red rust there) and don't clean the tang or do anything else to try to clean up the blade - leave it to the polisher.

John,

 

Gotcha.  Will do that!

 

Stan

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1 hour ago, kissakai said:

Hi Stan

Re: Do I end it to someone to get polished (not a high polish as this was a military sword) 

You have to decide either have it polished properly or not at all

This would depend on the value of the sword and your own preferences

 

Grev,

 

That is indeed my decision point..  I have none of the furniture (if that's the appropriate word) for it other than just the blade itself, so not sure what to do with regards to "restoring" it to its original state.. not even sure that's possible since these things are individualized.   I thinking utilizing "some" of the more common metal bits to pay homage to the original maybe?

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Hi Stan,

 

It's normal for a newly polished sword to have a storage scabbard called a shirasaya. You will need a habaki (the metal collar that sits in the mouth of the scabbard) too. It's not necessary to fit the sword out with the full set of fittings that would be worn if the sword were to be carried by a samurai (unless you want to). I'm sure there is a guy making habaki in the USA whose name is, I think, Brian Tschernega - I can't be sure I've spelt that right but a bit of a google ought to turn out his details.

 

I'm sure there will be someone over there who can take care of the scabbard too, and the polisher can probably put you in touch with someone if the US members can't help.

 

The names quoted by Chris above are, I believe, Japanese trained and should be able to recommend a level of polish appropriate for the blade and your budget.

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Hi Stan,

To have the sword polished and mounted with new shirasaya and habaki, if necessary, by properly trained artisans will cost at least $2,000.  To have it polished by an amateur would be foolish.  I recommend a light coat of machine oil to stabilize the rust and not much more at the present.  Take some time to learn about Japanese swords and what your options are; with better understanding you can make an informed decision.  Maybe, someday, you'll decide to have a polish done but, you may also decide you're not that serious about collecting Japanese swords and you'll be happy you don't have way more into this one than you can ever recover by selling.  No need to hurry.

I'm willing to take a call and answer questions, if you like.  Grey  218-726-0395 central time.

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Nice looking sword....the last photos posted show a possibility of a hagire in the hamon (crack in the hardened portion of the blade.) This may be a photo artifact, my imagination, or something real which is considered a fatal flaw. The sword should be inspected by someone competent to evaluate the sword in hand.

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I second Johns idea and then go from there...

 

If yes, you'll be spending $1500 to 2500$ for the habaki and polish. Habaki alone is 300 to 600 or more depending on metal. If you go for a new shirasaya the cost goes up. 

 

Do it now because as the years go by the costs keep going up due to less professionals (tradesmen) alive,  less materials available (hinoki wood getting scarce, animal vs. synthetic), precious metals going up in price,  etc...

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