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Dealing with a tight shirasaya


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Hi all. I'm glad to say i got my sword. And it was absolutely worth the wait and hassle. Breathtaking to hold a koto blade. 

 

How do we deal with a tight shirasaya,  removing the sword was not easy and it seems that being in a plane and going to the other side of the world had its toll. 

I watched a video on how to use thumbs and with some effort it came apart. But I've never had an issue like this before. 

 

I've now oiled the blade and put it back into shirasaya, however not fully locked in. It covers 60 percent of the habaki but not tight fit as I don't want to play tug of war with a razor blade. But I belive enough to stop air.

 

Any suggestions? Or will this subside, We are In current cold weather. 

 

Any suggestions thanks. 

 

And once again thanks to this wonderful community for helping newbies like me. 

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I'm also dealing with this where my Toku Hozon blade is almost impossible to get out of the shirasaya handle.  I was hoping to figure out some kind of technique to help with this but haven't yet.  Right now I have to put on gloves, wrap a microfiber towel around the blade and pull...hard....with the pointy and sharp bits kind of under my arm...makes me worried ill hurt it everytime I have to clean it.

 

Mind sharing that video you found?  I feel like I need a little wedge thingy to use as a fulcrum under the habaki but it's pure silver and I don't want to hurt that either...

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In some climates, you''ll find it tight during one season, and loose in the next.
I have swords I can barely separate, and then 6 months later they almost fall out. And it isn't humid either. Don't adjust anything. Just give it 6 months and see what happens.
I use the 2 fists tight against each other, and then tighten the grip hard. Usually works. But have seen swords that refused to come out, and it was a waiting game.

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Adam you'll find it on youtube just search for tight shirasaya. 

 

Alex and Brian. In this case do you suggest I close the shirasaya completely as meant to be, or leave the small gap with the habaki showing. 

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If the habaki is firm in the saya and 2 fists next to each other and squeeze doesn't work, try the 2 fists next to each other behind your knees and hunker down. As you squat your knees will push on each other and force your fists apart. This problem is avoided if you are careful not to shove the blade too firmly into the saya. It is necessary only that the habaki be seated, not that it is all the way in; no problem if it leaves a small gap. Whenever I return home from a sword show, I check all blades to make sure none have been seated too firmly.

If the nakago is too tight in the tsuka, use the hammer and block tool made for this.

Grey

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Leave a gap, force it and you might crack the saya.

 

This advice from a guy that makes shirasaya, just leave it as Brian mentions, see how it turns out.

 

Ive had this and it sorted itself out in a matter of weeks, eventually just goes in easily.

 

 

Adam, for an handle that wont come off. Hold blade with a towel, find heavy square table leg, gentle tap backwards.

 

Never failed

 

Or use the proper tool Grey mentioned!:laughing:

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What I generally do with a tight shirasaya is to put one hand on either side of where the two parts meet, each hand firmly against each other, but not tightly clenching the shirasaya and then I clench both hands at the same time and the action of my fingers clenching forces the shirasaya open. Pretty much as Brian described.

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You'll find that over time, as you unsheathe the blade for re-oiling, the fit will adjust and hopefully become less tight and more of a gentle grip. If it becomes even tighter, then you might have an excess moisture problem. Wood tends to swell when there's too much moisture about; but be wary of it being too dry! You don't want to crack that new shirasaya along the seam and let outside moisture on the blade!

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For people who are having problems getting the Tsuka of the shirasaya off, you need to buy a set like this:

 

666721298_TsukaRemovalTools.jpg.941ebbc17d910cd7efea663a952447fd.jpg

 

It is called an Ategi-Zuchi kit (disassembly tools). I got mine at http://samuraisword.com. It's a bit pricy at $65.00 plus shipping, but it comes in really handy when you need to get a stuck tsuka off. It works on both shirasaya and on koshire

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Does this tool work only for tight tsuka as when I'm removing the blade entirely. Or are these tools also used for tight shirasaya aswell,  bit confused. 

 

Do people here also oil the blade by removing the blade entirely from shirasaya tsuka , as they would to examine a signature mei ? 

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You should absolutely remove the blade from the tsuka when oiling so as to minimize the amount of oil inadvertantly getting into the tsuka. Be sure to remove excess oil, you don't want any beads of oil.

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3 hours ago, Paz said:

Does this tool work only for tight tsuka as when I'm removing the blade entirely. Or are these tools also used for tight shirasaya aswell,  bit confused. 

It is used from removing tsuka only. Use it as shown in the picture below. A few gentle taps are all it should take. 


0EEA6AEC-DB9C-41EF-8455-9890D8C1539B.png.8246fc096e915cacc4fc52f4da6435d1.png

 

To remove a blade from a tight shirasaya, try the advice of Grey written above. 

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