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Old Japanese Sword Missing Handle
Old 05-18-2019, 03:08 PM   #1
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Default Old Japanese Sword Missing Handle

I'm hoping some of the sword experts can help me out with this sword. It is signed and appears to have a temper line. How old? I dont know. What kind of handle should I get for it? It looks like some of the leather was cut off long ago and cloth is blood stained. If it could only talk... Thanks in advance for any help. Cliff
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:10 PM   #2
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:14 PM   #3
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:15 PM   #4
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:16 PM   #5
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:17 PM   #6
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The tang looks old ... do not attempt to clean it at all!! The black rust will help the experts to guess its age. Your blade is signed


兼長
Kanenaga


But which one?


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Old 05-18-2019, 10:00 PM   #7
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Cliff,

I can comment on the fittings. There were thousands of family swords donated to the war effort, and just as many bought outright by the government due to the shortage of blades for officers. These swords were most commonly fitted with wooden scabbards (saya) covered in leather. The leather often didn't survive the war or the travels through collectors' hands. The handguard (tsuba) is Japanese army. The handle (tsuka) was often the civilian one it came with but was sometimes replaced with a standard army one.

So to answer your question about what kind to replace it with - it's really up to you as there's no way to know how this one was fitted out.

Good discussion of the purchase of family swords here: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/japane...-gunto-688110/

Good images of proper army fittings here: http://ohmura-study.net/934.html

And the combat saya: http://ohmura-study.net/727.html

Last edited by BruceP; 05-18-2019 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:55 AM   #8
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Thanks for the help guys. So, I shouldnt clean in order to see more of the signature? Would the hole line up if I get a standard Army handle? AS you can see, I know little about these swords...
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:25 AM   #9
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Right, clean the blade all you want, but never clean the black age-rust off the nakago. Red/orange rust can be removed, it is active rust.

The handle question is a tough one. You might try contacting Dave Rushworth (DaveR at Nmb). He does a lot of restoration work and might have some advice: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/user/2218-dave-r/

You can get replacement mekugi (bamboo pegs) online. I got a couple for $4, and there is someone selling them on fleabay now for $8. Some guys simply cut and shape a chopstick tip.

Care and cleaning tips here: http://japaneseswordindex.com/care/handling.htm
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceP View Post
Right, clean the blade all you want, but never clean the black age-rust off the nakago. Red/orange rust can be removed, it is active rust....
Bruce means oil the blade!!! Do not attempt to clean it with sandpaper, scouring pads, buffing wheels, etc.!!! If determined to be a low-quality gunto, then you could use something like "Pikal" -- which is a Japanese "non abrasive" abrasive. Your blade is in too rough a shape to use the uchiko (powdered polishing stone) "pom-pom" ... It won't hurt, and I doubt it would help much.

Red orange rust can be gingerly removed with a penny -- copper is softer than the black rust .... maybe even put on a light coat of oil, but remove all oil residue.

I've never seen a hole match up with "empty handles" .... each sword handle was tailor made to the blade. You can probably find a mate where the tang slides on somewhat securely, but it will take lots of time and probably the hole will not sync.


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Old 05-19-2019, 04:43 PM   #11
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I dont know how you guys can read or date any of these swords but I did manage to uncover what looks like more of the signature with a copper penny and by using a little talcum powder. Looks like a little slash on other side of hole. Very hard to photograph and I dont know if its enough. Next, I'm taking a wire wheel to it [just kidding] .Again, thanks for all the help, Cliff
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:44 PM   #12
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:30 PM   #13
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Thanks Guy, I knew in my head what I meant, but I didn’t quite say what I meant, did I?!
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