Field Sharpening Swords

How to restore antique arms & repair practice swords.

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Scott M. Rodell
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Field Sharpening Swords

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:08 am

There are several common types of damage that those practicing test cutting will need to learn to repair. They are straightening a bent blade (see: http://www.grtc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=269), Re-wrapping the grip, completely rehilting the sword, & sharpening the blade. This spring while Paul was visiting, Gman shot a demonstration video on how to field sharpen a blade. You can view this video at:



http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 7838&hl=en



Please use caution when learning the techniques Paul presents. Remember many areas of the blade will be quite sharp & even a dull blade can cause person injury or property damage. Swordsmen should understand that only they are responsible for their actions & behave accordingly.

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Linda Heenan
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Post by Linda Heenan » Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:42 am

Paul, I just discovered this video. Thank you for showing us how to clear up nicks in a sword. My Kris Cutlery jian has a small nick - probably from hitting a nail in the cutting post as one of us went through a bottle with a Pi cut and split the platform. We've cut with it since but after listening to your commentary on the video, I think it would be a good idea to file it out in case it is a weak point that will cause further damage.



How rough was that file you were using? This will be my first attempt. I have to find one of those kevlar gloves first, as well.



Also, I'd like to make that particular sword a little sharper. I have another sword - a Zhengwuteng one, that is on loan for a year, and I don't share around. It is sharper and cuts better. I'd like to learn how to sharpen better so that the Kris Cutlery one will slice effortlessly through the rigid type of plastic bottles, as my other one does. Do you have any more advice on sharpening? How often would a blade need to be sharpened? How can you tell if it is being done on the correct angle? Can I expect to be able to put a good enough edge on the KC blade to cut rigid bottles? What about bamboo? Or should I just stick to the soft bottles which it handles easily?



Linda

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Post by Dan Fleet » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:59 pm

Those kevlar gloves, if I may pun, are handy. I had a pair around for kitchen knives before I bought my sword. They are useful for all maintenance: cleaning, oiling, etc.



Great video, too -- very informative :)

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Post by PaulC » Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:41 pm

Hi Linda, I'm glad you liked the introduction to field sharpening.

the file I used was a single cut.. I think. you dont really need a rough double cut, but its not critical. the file technique will work on all but the very hardest edges.



Good call about filing out the damage, it doesnt do any good being left in there and can only cause harm.



Resharpening a blade to make it cut a particular way is quite an undertaking for a first project. Its a good idea to practice on some cheap chefs knives to get a feel for putting an edge on or repairing edge damage. You will have to determine if the edge geometry is at fault or if the edge is just too dull. I would keep the edge geometry as it is at first and try refining the edge with finer and finer stones. Dont be surprised if it doesnt work well for you on the first try. Sharping is an art as much as a science.



Remember a few things to make your job easier.



You are not re-polishing the entire blade. That is nothing to be taken up lightly, but you also dont have to be a professional polisher to field sharpen the edge of your blade. This is a skill all swordsmen/swordswomen would have to know.



For your first try just follow the existing edge geometry. Use a very fine polishing stone to help develop the feel and technique without doing any damage to your sword.



Try using a black permanent marker to line the last 1/8-3/16" of the edge before you work it with the file or stones. This will show you exactly where you are working. You might be surprised to see what you think you are sharping is not even being touched by the stone at all! This is a very good tool for immediate feedback.



Work slowly and carefully in sections. Do not rush, for the sake of safety and results.



Work with good lighting. its very tough to focus on the edge in poor lighting.



Work both sides evenly



Dont focus on the very edge too much. its easy to do this in the begining and 'over roll' it, making it duller.



And always, always use caution and proper safety equipment. Control the sword, your tools and your surroundings. Dont allow yourself to be startled when so focused on the task at hand.



Feel free to ask any questions once you start in on the process. It can be very rewarding but also frustrating.

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better than files

Post by Philip Tom » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:57 am

Many of the blades used by serious Chinese martial artists (both higher-quality reproductions and most antiques) have pretty hard cutting edges. My experience as a sword polisher has taught me that steel files can be ineffective on really hard edges. The swordsman who wants a highly efficient and easy to use medium for field polish should consider pocket sized diamond honing tools.



My favorite is the type sold under the brand name Eze-Lap. The diamond-impregnated matrix is 2 x 3/4 inch, mounted on a 6 inch handle. The handle is a great safety feature, it keeps your fingers away from the edge. It comes in coarse (approx. 220 grit, appropriate for fast stock removal, say, if you have a nick that needs to be polished out), medium (approx. 360 or 400 grit), fine (600 grit, good for finish edge), and x-fine (about 1000, nice to have but not essential). Coarse can be had for about $12, and the others retail for between $7-8 each. Stores that sell hunting and camping gear usually carry these, or you can order from www.japanwoodworker.com .



There is another brand called DMT, which is similarly compact. The diamond matrix covers the entire 5 x 3/4 inch surface, but you have to watch your fingers when using one, and I find that the "dimpled" surface is not so good when working a fine point. Also, these cost from 2 to 3x as much as the EzeLap.



On both of these, you can use them either dry, or with water as lubricant. I prefer the latter.
Phil

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Re: Field Sharpening Swords

Post by christopher1 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:15 pm

There's a big damage of the blades of my scottish claymore, I really want to fix it, do you know where is the right place to fix this ???

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Re: Field Sharpening Swords

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:37 am

[quote="christopher1"].. big damage of the blades of my scottish claymore, I really want to fix it.../quote]

You need to be more specific about the damage. I hope you also realize that some damage can not to repaired so that a sword may be safely used again & it must be retired.

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