SWORD AND KNIFE CARE
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STAINLESS STEEL BLADE CARE
Most of Kit's blades are made from Japanese milled 420J2 stainless steel or 3Cr13 stainless. For general display in air conditioned environments, stainless is relatively maintenance free and requires little care other than periodically wiping the blade down with a damp or lightly oiled cloth to remove finger prints or dust. Stainless steel means that it is stain and rust resistant, but it is not stain or rust proof. It can tarnish and rust if not treated or cared for correctly. It is best to keep away from humid or environments or places that are not humidity and temperature controlled, like storing in a garage or attic, or near a salt water environment. If the blade becomes wet, thoroughly dry it. Occasionally stainless steel sword blades will become dull looking from light tarnish if stored improperly. The best compound we have found to polish and clean stainless steel is Metal Glo polishing paste. It not only removes practically anything from the blade surface, but it chemically removes carbon from the top surface of the steel, and micro polishes as it is rubbed. Even polishing a new blade with it will make the blade look better.
For regular maintenance near humid or salt water environments, Kit recommends wiping blades every few months with a light coat of choji (used in Samurai sword care kits), which is basically mineral oil (found at grocery or pharmacies), or light machine oil. We do not recommend oils with detergent or chemicals in them, like 3-in-1 machine oil. Oil collects dust, so if you do not want to clean and re-apply with oil every few months then another great option is a wax sealant. A good car wax will suffice to coat and protect the blade, or a professional sealant like Renaissance Wax. If your blade does become badly tarnished or even rusted from a poor environment, Metal Glo polish will help, but deeply penetrating rust may need to be polished out. See a professional to refinish the blade if you do not want to attempt this yourself.
CARBON STEEL AND DAMASCUS STEEL BLADE CARE
Carbon steel and layered carbon steel (Damascus) by nature is very prone to discoloration and corrosion and requires special care. As a rule, you should avoid touching these blades with bare hands. For regular maintenance Kit recommends coating carbon steel blades in a light coat of mineral oil every few months, and always wipe the blade after touching it to prevent the oil from your skin tarnishing the blade. Never store this type of blade in a damp or humid environment, and if the blade becomes wet, thoroughly dry it and coat with oil.
Traditional Choji sword oil used by the Japanese is nothing more than mineral oil with a bit of clove oil mixed in (1 tsp per liter), primarily for scent, but it also helps thin the mineral oil. That is what usually comes in Samurai sword cleaning kits. It is much less expensive just to buy mineral oil yourself from a grocery store or pharmacy. Most oils meant for human skin, like baby oils or massage oil, are also simply thin mineral oil with an essential oil extract mixed in for scent, so any of them are fine for carbon steel. Unscented baby oil is usually thinner and less gummy than typical raw mineral oil. Machine oils, like 3-in-1 oil, or gun oil, are not recommended. Those have detergents and preservatives in them, and we can tell you from experience, those are not good to leave on a Carbon steel or Damascus blades for long periods.
Rather than re-oil carbon steel blades, you should completey remove the old oil a few times a year and apply new oil. The old collects dust and debris and dries out over time. The traditional way to wipe the old oil off a Samurai blade is to use a lint free tissue, parchment paper, or cotton balls, but you can use anything to remove the old oil, even paper towels. We completely remove the old oil by washing the blade with grease cutting dish detergent, water, and a sponge. If you do this be sure you only wash the blade and don't get water in the handle or fittings, and completely dry the blade before re-oiling. When you re oil, you just need a light coating. You can use cotton balls, a rag, or cloth to apply the oil. Just be sure it is clean.
WHAT IF I ACCIDENTALLY POLISH THE DAMASCUS PATTERN OFF THE BLADE? - The surface of Damascus blades should never be polished with abrasives or polished with steel polishers/cleaners like Metal Glo or Flitz. Damascus is made up of layers of carbon steel, alternating between hard and soft, folded over and over upon itself. The layers are invisible until the surface is treated with acid. The carbon content in the hard and soft steel is different, and the acid removes some carbon from the softer layers, bringing it to the surface, then the layer pattern appears. Polishing can remove the carbon from the blade surface, making all the steel layers look the same and hiding the pattern.
If you accidentally removed the pattern from the Damascus surface, or from polishing needed to remove rust or corrision, it can be brought back by treating with ferric chloride acid (like PCB Etchant Solution sold at RadioShack) but do so at your own risk and follow all precautions. Ferric chloride is toxic, can damage the surface other parts of the knife it contacts, and must be neutralized after application to prevent corrosion. We suggest reading up on this process, or watching youtube videos by knife makers showing the process before attempting.
HANDLE AND HILT CARE
Most of the metal hilt parts on Kit's swords are already coated with a sealant to protect them. Periodically wiping them down with a damp cloth is all the maintenance they require. Do not clean with detergents or household cleaners. They could damage the protective coating and allow the finish to tarnish. Leather wrapped grips should be cleaned with a good leather cleaner, but only if they have become soiled or stained by accumulation of natural body oils by handling. Otherwise, a periodic wipe down with a damp cloth is all that is required for routine cleaning. To preserve the leather, do not use petroleum basedoils or mineral oil. Use a proper leather conditioner, like Lexol or Neatsfoot, but this is not needed unless the leather becomes dry and cracks.
If the metal hilt parts become tarnished or rusted due to poor storage or long exposure wet or humid envoronments, it is almost impossible to restore them to their original state. Lightly polishing them with fine abrasive pads or papers may help, but this will also remove some the plated surface treatments, so use caution.
Kit's wood wall and table top displays are coated with a clear sealant. A periodic wipe down with a damp cloth is all that is required for routine cleaning and removing dust. Do not clean with detergents or household cleaners. They could damage the protective coating. Spray on household wood polish is acceptable and should not harm the finish.
SHEATH AND SCABBARD CARE
Nylon sheaths, for Kit's throwers and axes, can be cleaned with a damp cloth, or if they become extremely soiled can be washed with water and soap. Let air dry. Leather scabbards should be kept away from damp or wet environments. These should also only be cleaned with a damp cloth. If the leather cracks over time if can be repaired or maintained with mink oil or leather cream (not polish). Follow the instructions for the specific product you intend to use. Some scabbard parts are genuine leather and some recycled leather, depending on the construction, so always test a small area first before treating.
BLADE TANG CONSTRUCTION and SHARPENING
STAINLESS STEEL BLADE TANGS AND BLADE EDGES
First and foremost, keep in mind that Kit's fantasy swords and knives with stainless steel blades are collectibles, not intended to be fully functional combat ready swords. Most of these are sold with unsharpened edges for a reason. While stainless steel will hold up to some abuse, and the blades can be sharpened, these are not recommended for martial arts practice or live combat. The tangs on these swords extend 1/2 to 3/4 into the handles where they taper to a threaded tail into the pommel. The blades are secured to the handle by the pommel threaded onto this tail, or a nut threaded to the tail, then the pommel attached to the nut. By design, these swords are not made to be disassembled.
SHARPENING STAINLESS STEEL BLADES
Some people prefer to sharpen their sword blades, but we do not recommend this for many of Kit's fantasy blades. Some of the curved and hooked blade shapes can be very dangerous to sharpen. However, these are stainless steel blades and can be sharpened if desired. Be aware that improperly sharpening the blade can cause steel discoloration and ruin the temper if the blade becomes too hot when using power driven grinding wheels.
CARBON STEEL AND DAMASCUS STEEL BLADE TANGS
Kit's carbon steel or Damascus sword blades feature a tang that tapers all the way to the pommel where it forms a threaded tail. The pommel, or nut sleeved into the pommel, is tapped, threaded and secured to this tail. Kit's carbon steel bladed samurai swords have full tangs secured the traditional method by a wood dowel running through the grip and tang.
SHARPENING CARBON STEEL BLADES
Some of Kit's carbon steel blades do not come sharpened. Some people prefer to sharpen their sword blades, but we do not recommend this for many of Kit's fantasy blades. The curved and hooked blade shapes can be very dangerous to sharpen. However, these are high carbon steel blades that will hold an edge, so theycan be sharpened if desired. Be aware that improperly sharpening the blade can cause steel discoloration and ruin the temper if the blade becomes too hot when using power driven grinding wheels.
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