How to Keep the Japanese Katana Sword Sharp?

by Anne B. Robinson
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The Japanese katana sword is an iconic weapon used in battle for centuries. Its design and construction are so distinct that they have led to its widespread use as a symbol of power, authority, and loyalty.

It was designed to be sharp and strong but can become dull if not properly taken care of.

There are many ways to keep your katana sharp; this article will review the most common methods.

Know Your Materials

The first step in keeping your katana sharp is knowing its raw materials. Japanese swordsmiths historically created katana from steel or iron alloys that were extremely hard and durable.

But now, two different types of steel can be used in the blade: carbon steel and stainless steel.

Carbon steel is softer than stainless steel but can be sharpened to a more refined edge and retain its edge longer. Stainless steel has higher corrosion resistance. But you won’t be able to hone it as finely or quickly.

Both types of steel have advantages and disadvantages. So it is with a deep understanding of which blade you have that you would know what kind of sharpener to use.

For example, some katanas are made from high-carbon steel and folded several times to give them strength and flexibility.

Although you can sharpen it when it becomes dull, you should never hone or point it with anything other than another high-carbon steel blade or an oil stone.

Or if your blade is from stainless steel, then it’s probably not worth your time trying to sharpen the edge with an oil stone or other abrasive material like sandpaper.

Once you know what kind of metal your blade is from, you can use an oil stone or whetstone to sharpen it. These flat stones with rough surfaces help grind away any nicks or burrs on either side of your blade’s edge.

You can also use them to polish your blade after cleaning and sharpening so that it looks nice and can cut through things quickly.

Clean Your Sword

When cleaning your katana, there are two main things you need to do because dirt and grease can build up on these surfaces over time, making it challenging to keep them clean with just water alone.

  1. Use warm water and mild soap to clean the blade after each use.
  2. Wipe down the handle and sheath as well.

If you come across stubborn dirt, you may need to use elbow grease to scrub off the grime if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals or detergents in your cleaning process.

Once you clean your sword, you can dry it off completely before returning it to its scabbard or sheath, where it will remain until the next time you need to use it.

You should also ensure that both sides of the blade are as sharp as possible so that when you draw your sword out of its sheath, it will not cause any damage to yourself or anyone else who may be standing nearby at the time.

Sharpen on the Correct Stone

The process of honing a knife or sword involves using both sides of a whetstone in tandem to achieve a sharp edge.

Usually, you start by grinding away any rust or dirt that may be present on your blade with the rough surface of the stone.

Then use the smooth side to sharpen your blade to perfection. You can move it up and down across the surface of your sword. Use long strokes until all visible scratches are gone from its edge.

The whetstone is made from natural stone and is available in different sizes and shapes. The rough side provides a coarse surface for removing material from the blade, while the smooth side provides an excellent surface for polishing the edge.

These are available at many sporting goods stores or online in different sizes and shapes based on your needs. In addition, you can find them in other materials, such as oil stones, water stones, diamond stones, and ceramic stones.

Each material has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your blade type, how much money you want to spend on maintenance, how easy it is to use, how long the stone lasts before wearing out, etc.

When it comes to buying a whetstone for your katana, the size matters, you want a coarse stone that has at least a 35-micron grit to it.

This will enable you to sharpen your blade without damaging the edge or taking too much metal off the sword.

If you have an older katana or one made from low-quality steel, it might be challenging to get it sharp using just a whetstone. In this case, use a whetstone and a polishing wheel to restore its edge.

Use the Right Strokes

The Japanese sword was originally for cutting, so if you want to keep them sharp, use them for what they were made for.

You should avoid using them for other purposes, like banging on things, because this will damage the blade over time.

You may bend or break the blade thoroughly if you hit something too hard or use it as a lever.

You should also avoid hitting other weapons with your katana because this could do more damage than good. Instead of using brute strength when swinging, use finesse and control so that you do not damage your sword too much with each swing.

Final Thoughts

The Japanese katana sword is one of the most famous weapons in the world. It is a very sharp blade you can use for combat and artistry.

However, if you are not careful, it can lose its edge quickly and require frequent sharpening to maintain its cutting ability.

A sharp sword is an essential part of the samurai identity. They were known for their skill level with a sword and often went through extensive training to hone their skills.

So if you want to keep your Japanese katana sword sharp, Use this guide to learn how to do so correctly for maximum effectiveness.

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