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Source for Quality Uchiko Ball + Powder


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I know there is quite a bit of debate on the use, usefulness, potential harm, and so forth regarding Uchiko balls and powder. There are plenty of cheap "Japanese sword care" kits which are probably full of corn starch or something worse, so I'm not looking for anything like that. I'm trying to see if there is a source for actual quality ones, as well as rice paper or something similar that is supposed to be used. I'm aware that it is an abrasive, and that misuse can cause damage to swords.

 

Also please note this is not any attempt to "polish" swords. This will only be used on swords that are not in good or even fair polish, which is the a minority of what I end up dealing with. And of those probably only ones where cleaning with the usual solvents and a microfiber cloth isn't quite cutting it.

 

If there isn't any suitable source now, that's ok as well.

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You can check out the cleaning kit on Mr. Bensons site below, I believe the ones they actually produce are sold out most of the time. I keep checking but no luck yet. The kit he sells is nicer than the Chinese kits primarily found on the web. I use it for my abused blades. I am in the no uchiko camp for blades in polish.

 

Supplies (bushidojapaneseswords.com)

 

Seth

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I use a kit from here:

 

http://www16.plala.or.jp/katana-iimura/index2.english.html#Care tools

 

This one specifically:

 

http://www16.plala.or.jp/katana-iimura/kiriteiregu-e.html

 

But I only use Uchiko on shinken (swords for martial arts use).

 

They also sell the supplies and tools individually.

 

Edit: Seth linked to the same kit, being sold by a different seller. It's a good kit, I'd go with whoever is more convenient for you.

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Can I just ask. Can we use not normal cleaning kits with standard choji oil? These are the kits that are usually sold on blades uk, or amazon. Which contain cleaning paper and standard sword oil. 

 

 

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Japanese steel is more sensitive than regular monosteel and requires better quality items to care for it. I wouldn't trust the quality of any 'care kits' sold on Amazon. You'd likely just end up ruining the polish using that stuff.

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The received wisdom is to not use uchiko on a blade that’s in polish as it can damage it. I’d be a bit cagey as to where I got my oil from as whatever is added to it to give it the scent might stain a blade. Clove oil can oxidise apparently.
 

That said, it doesn’t need to be choji  oil, light machine or gun oil is fine, do a search on here it’s been discussed often. 

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1 hour ago, Paz said:

Can I just ask. Can we use not normal cleaning kits with standard choji oil? These are the kits that are usually sold on blades uk, or amazon. Which contain cleaning paper and standard sword oil. 

 

 

 

I always buy my supplies from the site I linked above:

 

http://www16.plala.or.jp/katana-iimura/kiriteiregu-e.html

 

I go with the Extra special : domestic "Kozo"

 

I don't think the cost difference is enough to justify the use of lower grade niguiami.

 

Abrasives in the paper could easily damage the polish, so it isn't worth skimping to save a few $.

 

As for oil, I buy it from the same place, but you can also use pure mineral oil (the type you can buy from pharmacists in the UK).

 

Choji is a mineral oil and clove oil blend. Mineral oil works just as well but it's unscented.

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2 hours ago, Shugyosha said:

The received wisdom is to not use uchiko on a blade that’s in polish as it can damage it. I’d be a bit cagey as to where I got my oil from as whatever is added to it to give it the scent might stain a blade. Clove oil can oxidise apparently.
 

That said, it doesn’t need to be choji  oil, light machine or gun oil is fine, do a search on here it’s been discussed often. 

Yeah, this is not going anywhere near the nearly unissued ICHIHARA NAGAMITSU Type 98 Shin-Gunto we just got, or anything in remotely good polish. In general if I can see a hamon, even if it requires looking in the reflection, all it gets is cleaning and oiling. I've read all kinds of discussions on the different oils that people use for their Japanese blades, including several here. I've had good luck with the Choji oil from "tinyroots", a Bonsai supplier, who claims it is 100% Japanese choji Oil.  Blades I oiled 4 years ago haven't shown any noticeable oxidation or changes. 

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4 minutes ago, Stephen said:

David be careful with bonsai choji oil. I bought a bottle once and it was like 50 wt. oil.

Even with thin coat it may come off in your saya. 

 

Do you have any suggestions? I also play various brass instruments, so I have an extensive collection of various viscosities of synthetic and mineral oils. I've also got some Renaissance Wax, if I wanted to put any on display.

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Yoshihiro TSOIL 100% Pure Tsubaki Japanese Knife Maintenance Oil With Complimentary Sabitori Rust Eraser, 3.4 oz, Large, Golden Yellow https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AZ6SYSY/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_4ZNNXWQK4466ESEPMQ81

 

Or you can buy just the oil. This is handy because you get just right size microfiber.

Do not I repeat do not be tempted to use that little rust eraser LOL on anything except your kitchen knife or bonsai tools.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00362HBPQ/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_JRX6AMDBSAT5P6E88FS5

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So I gather that mineral oil is best for blades. I'm looking at pure high grade mineral oil which is easy to get hold of.

 

Otherwise I have read that uchiko is bad. Which is very surprising to me as some of the books I have show uchiko powder balls being used to clean swords or residue oil. 

 

All in all it saves me money just buying the Mineral oil. 

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This is one of those regular questions, and we all have our own opinions. Best general supplier of sword care products is https://www.namikawa-ltd.com/  if it's good enough for the imperial family, then it's good enough for anyone.

Regarding oil, I use Kurobara, there are various suppliers of it, and it's the oil used by https://www.aoijapan.com/ in their sword care videos.

 

 Uchiko is "one of those things", and I heard it recommended by collectors, up until a few years ago, but not any more. The backyard cutters use it to clean their blades of sticky residue from plastic bottles and ties etc, but they are a special case. Otherwise received wisdom is don't touch a blade in polish with it, but uchiko the hell out of a blade in bad condition as opposed to using any other abrasive.

Just my two-penny-worth.

 

 

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Well, I use Fujishiro sensei oil. If it is good enough for him, it is good enough for me :))

Never asked the family for uchiko, but it might be that they also sell uchiko? After all, it is a residue of their normal polishing process, and the so-called 'polisher uchiko' (I still have one ball left) is the best one can buy. However, I do not use uchiko any more, after I scratched some blades, so cannot comment on sources of uchiko.

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6 hours ago, Dave R said:

Uchiko is "one of those things", and I heard it recommended by collectors, up until a few years ago, but not any more. The backyard cutters use it to clean their blades of sticky residue from plastic bottles and ties etc, but they are a special case. Otherwise received wisdom is don't touch a blade in polish with it, but uchiko the hell out of a blade in bad condition as opposed to using any other abrasive.

Just my two-penny-worth.

 

I remember reading some guides that said to oil the blade, and then use the Uchiko to spread powder, followed by wiping off the blade. My first thought was "that will just make a mess". You end up with oil on the ball, which ruins it's effectiveness, and you end up with a mess on the blade too. I remember seeing pictures of a blade with marks where an oily uchiko ball had been used, as the powder was stuck on the outside.

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It just makes sense. If you are not cutting people with your sword and need to clean off blood and guts do not use uchiko or any substitute. Good quality oil for knives and good quality microfiber cloths to apply and clean it off is the way of the 21st century. If Musashi and friends were around today they would embrace it too, it is just better for the blades which is all that should matter. Unless a qualified polisher who worked on a blade personally tells you to use it for a while nothing but oil, microfiber and the inside of the saya should touch the steel.

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