Maintenance and Use
A little maintenance (and common sense) goes a long way. Keep your swords, edged weapons, armor and shields in better shape for longer by understanding your purchase’s capabilities and learning care techniques.
Proper Sword Usage
We offer three basic types of swords: Decorative, Functional (Battle Ready) and Sport Combat (Stage Combat).
Decorative swords are typically made of stainless steel. These types of swords should never be struck into anything, as stainless steel is very brittle.
Battle Readyswords are made with carbon steel and can withstand some cutting. Do not strike hard objects, including other swords, with Battle Ready swords.
It is important to remember that swords were never used the way we see in movies. A swordsman (or woman) would never try to block another sword with the edge of their blade. This would damage the sword’s cutting edge and puts the defender in a poor position to counter attack.
Sport Combat swords are the only ones you can (not should) strike together. Sport Combat swords are made with extra thick edges to survive sword-to-sword combat. But don’t overdo it. This activity will wear out the sword after time.
If Sword-on-Sword may compromise your blade – then testing its strength on a hard object is a bad idea. No matter how tough or strong the steel is in any sword, it will nick when struck against something equally hard. It may break. Please don’t strike hard objects.
If you would like to use your sword for cutting, use a properly sharpened Battle Ready sword and use soft targets such as rice mats, cardboard tubes or water jugs. We have plenty of rice mats in stock and use them ourselves.
Practice safety when using your sword. Sharpened swords can be very dangerous. Remember, swords were designed for one purpose, to kill. Seek proper training before engaging in this type of activity.
Do not attempt to chop down a tree with your sword.
This is guaranteed to damage your sword. Axes and machetes are well designed for this with the weight of the steel concentrated over the point of percussion. When you strike a firmly fixed object like a tree or a thick branch with a sword, a great deal of the blade projects past the object being cut, causing the blade to bend or torque.
It should be pointed out that the Japanese, who believe in a great deal of practice with the sword, used thick bamboo as a target, and not trees. The bamboo was resistant to a cut, but didn’t have the rigidity of a tree, and so it would not have damaged a valuable blade. For a Japanese warrior to cut into a tree would have been unthinkable.
Many swords are made the same way they were hundreds of years ago, and are vulnerable to the same problems – mainly rust.
Sword blades traditionally come in two types of steel: stainless, or high carbon. Stainless steel blades are very rust resistant. Lower grade stainless may develop a bit of rust, while higher grades are completely immune. Remember that stainless steel is used in decorative swords.
High carbon steel – used in Battle Ready and Sport Combat swords – can rust easily if not properly maintained.
Here are some tips:
- Do not store your swords in leather scabbards for long periods of time. The moisture in the leather will cause them to oxidize rapidly. Storing a sword in a wood core scabbard is sufficient as long as you oil the blade before prolonged storage.
- In an effort to avoid rust, keep a light coating of oil on the blade. Hanwei Sword Oil is specifically made for use on swords. You will find some of our items already come shipped in an oil or grease coating but it is important to continue this practice.
- Avoid excessive handling of the blade, the oils in skin are damaging to the metal. If they do come into contact with hands, be sure to wipe off any fingerprints.
- Instead of oil, you can use Renaissance Wax. This will give the blade a waxed layer of protection.
- To clean a rusty blade, WD40 is great. For deeper rust, try a synthetic sanding pad such as the ones available from 3M. Use the finest grade, as to not scratch up the blade. For very stubborn rust, the Rust Eraser works well.
With a little preventative maintenance your sword collection will stay looking new for a long time.