In this short blog we will address the general basic cleaning of the Japanese Samurai Katana blade.
It is a relatively small task to keep your blade in A1 condition for years to come and to be completely honest i personally find a great deal of theraputic value to the polishing or oiling of the blade.
So here is a very small guide for those of you with carbon steel blades who are ready to learn the basics of blade maintenance.
Generally, i take a sheet of rice paper and fold it over the back of the blade and slowly begin to wipe off any excess oil from previous maintenance. Always hold the edge of the blade away from you and work carefully as to avoid injuring yourself. (if you need to substitute rice paper, you can also use a soft cotton cloth.)
Upon using your powder ball for the first time, you may need to tap the ball against the blade or hard surface to start the flow of powder.
Lightly tap the powder ball against the blade approximately every 4cm or so along its length, dusting the blade very lightly with powder as you go.
Take a soft cotton cloth or clean piece of rice paper and rub lightly over the powder to polish the blade, being careful that neither the paper or cloth contains debris, as this may scratch your blade. Continue and repeat until both sides of the blade have been polished and the powder removed. (always wear a mask & do not inhale the dust)
When you’ve finished polishing your blade, apply a few drops of choji oil along the length of each side of the blade and use a piece of rice paper or cotton cloth to spread the oil evenly over the blade. ( Be very careful during this process A: For the sake of your fingers so you do not cut yourself and wear gloves B: To not touch the blade before re-sheathing in its saya -as this defeats the purpose of cleaning the blade in the first place.)
Once you have done this you can feel comfortable that your most valued katana will be safe from the elements for a while. Myself personally, i like to clean my katana roughly around once every 2 months or so if it is just being used for display.
Of course if you are using your blade for cutting purposes this should be done after every session to prolong the life of your katana.
Well that just about wraps it up, i hope this helps all of you who have wanted or have requested to know how to clean your samurai swords.
Until next time , respect to those who find beauty in the old ways, and admire these beautiful pieces of art.