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My Menuki


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I recently acquired this Type 97 Kai Gunto tsuka (the Tsuka only) and my intention is to send it to David McDonald (Tsuka restoration guy in Montana) to have him cannibalize it for parts - specifically to extract the menuki. The menuki will be needed for a tsuka re-wrap/repair for a Kai Gunto that I recently acquired (has damaged Ito and lacks menuki). David will receive my new sword and this tsuka that will be needed for the restoration project. Perhaps I should consult David first, but these menuki seemed a bit aged and I thought that perhaps it came from sword with blackened fittings, however I'm doubting that. Is there a way to clean or polish aged menuki to restore them to a brighter luster - maybe not a brand new look, but at least a little brighter than what you see here? I believe these menuki are made of brass. I appreciate thoughts about this. What would you do? What is recommended or not recommended in this situation? The sword on which they will be used is in good condition other than the tsuka, and the fittings are brighter than the menuki pictured here.

 

Thanks,

 

Geoff

Tsuba_Type 97 Kai Gunto.jpg

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You could try some water with mild soap or detergent, and a SOFT bristle tooth brush. Don't get too aggressive; rinse very thoroughly and blot dry. Repeat as needed for the level of 'shine' you need.

Dan K.

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8 hours ago, O koumori said:

You could try some water with mild soap or detergent, and a SOFT bristle tooth brush. Don't get too aggressive; rinse very thoroughly and blot dry. Repeat as needed for the level of 'shine' you need.

Dan K.

Thanks Dan! I'm calling David McDonald (the Tsuka restoration guy) to consult with him, as well. I'll have him give the menuki the shine treatment, most likely using the method you described. It will look best when the menuki patina matches that of the existing fittings on the restored gunto. I'm excited about the project!

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1 hour ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Be sure to bring us some photos when it's done.  Before & after!  It's a great feeling to hold one of these after they've been restored as much as possible.  Something sad about a gunto with missing parts, or dilapidated condition.

Will do that Bruce. This will be my first restoration project and I'm leaving it to the experts. From what board members have stated, David McDonald has an excellent reputation in Tsuka restoration, so I'm confident he'll do a great job. He wants me to send it to him after the SF Token Kai (unfortunately, I am not able to attend or I would deliver it in person) - David will have a table at the event. He informed me that it could be a month or two before I get it back, but it's worth the wait. Attached is a photo of the sword's tsuka in it's current, unwrapped state - note the missing menuki. Fortunately, the tsuka (the magnolia wood) is solid, as is the same (one small cut to the same in middle of tsuka, but will be covered by ito), so the repair will cost less than it would if I needed a new tsuka fitted. This should be a straight-forward wrap job with menuki added.

Type 97_Unwrapped Tsuka.jpg

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Check it out - I restored the patina on two sets of Type 97 menuki that I recently acquired. I'll need one set for the tsuka re-wrap that David McDonald will do for my Kai Gunto pictured in my previous post above. Here's the super easy technique I used: Distilled white vinegar with Himalayan sea salt (sea salt - very appropriate in this case. Lol). Placed in a saute pan on the stove, added the sets of menuki, brought to a boil, removed them from the pan in less than 5 minutes. Then rinsed in water, and then lightly buffed with fine steel wool. Rinsed again and dried. I'm very happy with the results! Attached are before and after photos. Note: This easy technique will work with Brass, Copper, and Silver. There is an even easier technique where you allow the piece to sit covered in Ketchup for 30 minutes, then rinse and lightly buff with steel wool. Maybe I'll try that technique next time.

Menuki_dark patina.jpg

Menuki_restored patina_Type 97.jpg

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1 hour ago, vajo said:

Geoff no it is not patina. Its only over cleaned. Sorry but it looks terrible now. 

Well, the good news is that aging process can begin again and some years from now they'll appear darker - might take some years. Anyway, I'm fitting them to a sword that I'm planning on keeping, so I'm satisfied. But, I get your point. Next time I do this I won't clean them as thoroughly so they can maintain some of that "aged" look. 

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