1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Old tanto

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by samuraistuart, Feb 25, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. samuraistuart

    samuraistuart KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 21, 2006
    I bought this about a decade ago. It's apparently a 17th century piece (350 year old), as best my memory serves. It had a little corrosion on the blade and the tang had (and still has...I didn't touch the tang) rust on it. There is no maker's signature or any marking on the tang whatsoever, just old dark brownish/black colored corrosion. Something tells me this may have been a longer piece that was cut to make the tanto. To me it seems long for a tanto, about 16" from the end of the tang to the tip, and about 18" with the tsuka on it. Blade thickness at the habuki is just over 1/4". The spine of the blade has what looks like a blade strike on it. I can get pics of that if it interests anyone, but it looks exactly like someone hit it with another blade. There is a very thin, small crack (not photographed, but I can if any interest) on the blade edge. It has a nice black wooden saya, I didn't bother taking pictures of it. After learning to make and polish knives the past few years, I finally mustered up my courage to polish the blade. It was taken to 1500 grit, buffed, and then re-etched to show the hada and hamon. I was simply stunned at the result. The hada and hamon really came out. (I did NOT do anything whatsoever to the tang, it looks like it's a few hundred years old!). The habuki and handle fittings were buffed a little bit, but I was too chicken to unwrap the ito cord and polish the menuki. Maybe at a later date. The tsuba has ornate decorations on it, what appears to be flowers, and a gold plated animal of some sort. The menuki appear to be either an octopus or some sort of sea monster, very hard to tell what they are without unwrapping the ito cord. Anyway, just wanted to share it with you. If anyone has any thoughts on it's history, I am all ears. I guess it goes without saying that photos of the tang would help in that regard, and I can provide them if anyone is interested. Also posted is a pic of my latest project, a tanto/kwaiken with W2 steel, hamon, same' sting ray skin/ito wrap, turks head knot. (always taking orders if you want one!) I have always been an admirer of the art of making Japanese swords and knives, and thought you'd enjoy the photos. Thanks for looking!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Cryptyc, john april, KingMC and 3 others like this.
  2. Rich S

    Rich S

    Sep 23, 2005
    I mean no offense, but as a long time Nihonto student and collector, by polishing the hilt fittings (fuchi/kashira) and attempting to polish and etch the blade, you have removed any collector value to the item regardless of whether the tang (nakago) is signed or not. At least you didn't clean that.

    Rich
    The Japanese Sword Guide
    http://www.japaneseswordindex.com/nihonto.htm
     
    Lapedog likes this.
  3. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000

    I wondered about that and thought it likely. Could a good polisher return it to life or is that the end of it in terms of historical value?
     
  4. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    It is not about how good a job the polishing job on it was. It’s like any other historical item, restoring it removes the history behind the item.
     
  5. Rich S

    Rich S

    Sep 23, 2005
    Yes, a qualified polisher and a qualified fittings restorer could return the tanto to a collectible condition.
    Rich
     
  6. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    I hear you, I tend to think of it in terms of someone refinishing a piece of antique furniture and thereby removing much of the historical value. I can't help thinking that Japanese swords are a little different though because a good polisher can restore a sword without hurting the value.... I think. I am certainly no expert, but Rich is.
     
  7. samuraistuart

    samuraistuart KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 21, 2006
    It's never leaving my hands, and it looks 10 times better than when I received it, so I'm not worried about any of that. I could care less what it's value is.
     
    boring, Cryptyc, fonedork and 2 others like this.
  8. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort

    422
    Dec 8, 2011
    I am sorry to say, that anyone who appreciates history or Japanese swords would only be appalled by your photos and your blatant disregard or respect for Japanese swords or history. It is not about value, it is about preservation / conservation of historical items.

    I wouldn't worry about removing the ito, it is a horrible amateur job. But please don't buff the menuki.
     
    Bigfattyt likes this.
  9. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    I certainly understand the attitude. On the one hand you purchased it so I suppose if you want to use it for clearing brush or dismounting tires or whatever else you want it's yours. That would certainly have been my attitude years ago. Over time however, I have come to recognize that we don't truly own antiques / history but rather we care take them for a while. The fact of the matter is that eventually the tanto will leave your hands as part of your estate if for no other reason (hopefully not any time soon, I'm just explaining). At that time someone else will become its caretaker.
     
  10. samuraistuart

    samuraistuart KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 21, 2006
    You people are unreal. Seriously. Unreal. Blatant disregard and respect? Where do you get off? Appalled by my photos? What...my photography is THAT bad? I thought some would enjoy the post......man....did I make a mistake. I should have known better. Some people on this forum (the whole forum) act as if they're some sort of god.

    Clearing brush/dismounting tires? I am simply left jaw dropped by the comments here. Un freaking believable.

    I paid $150 for this thing, which looked like total crap when I bought it, and you people are acting like I sawed a Masamune in half because I had a chop saw laying around.

    Please, if all you want to do is trash me for making it look decent, please refrain from posting. Please.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  11. Rich S

    Rich S

    Sep 23, 2005
    samuraistuart -

    Sorry about some of the critical/exaggerated posts. But Nihonto students/collectors are a very picky bunch (fanatical) especially about amateur "restorations". We've all seen historically importance swords ruined beyond repair by amateur attempts at restoration. I've been studying/collecting Nihonto for about 40 years with a library of over 100 reference books and am just a beginner. IMHO, the cost of professional restoration would be considerably more than your tanto would be worth. I've two katana and a tachi in my sword safe that I can't afford to have restored so I just keep them from further damage and pass them to the next generation of Nihonto students/collectors.
    Rich
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  12. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort

    422
    Dec 8, 2011
    No, if you are not open to critical feedback or if opinions which differ from your own offend you, perhaps YOU should not post on a public forum.

    Triton's post merely pointed out that the sword is yours, and that you are free to do whatever you wish with it, even if it is not the right thing.

    I don't feel you were trashed for making the sword look decent, because in my eye at least, you didn't.
    If you were admonished, it was due to your treatment of the sword, nothing more.

    Let me ask, if you had an antique painting, would you touch it up with a little Rust-oleum?
     
  13. KingMC

    KingMC The Pun-isher Platinum Member

    Jul 25, 2014
    In my eyes what you posted was not critical feedback but aggressive criticism with no feedback at all; being a dick and giving criticism are two separate concepts and your post felt uncalled for and dick-ish.
     
    whtshdwwz and Cryptyc like this.
  14. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort

    422
    Dec 8, 2011
    Feedback: It is not about value, it is about preservation / conservation of historical items.

    And I didn't call anyone a dick, dick.
     
  15. KingMC

    KingMC The Pun-isher Platinum Member

    Jul 25, 2014
    You don't need to call someone a dick to act like one, your post was aggressively critical and would have been better off unposted as it benefited nobody.
     
    Cryptyc likes this.
  16. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort

    422
    Dec 8, 2011
    Blunt and to the point, yes. Aggressively critical? UH, No, not even close.

    If my post serves to prevent one other person from doing what the OP did to his sword, then my post was extremely beneficial.

    Just because you can make or polish a knife, does not qualify you to polish (ruin) a Japanese sword / piece of history.
     
  17. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000


    It's an unfortunate fact of life on a forum that the way something is "said" can't be conveyed. Believe it or not I was trying to NOT be critical. As was noted above I was trying to point out that as the owner of the object you are certainly free to do whatever you want with it no matter how extreme. I didn't mean to imply that what you had done was anything like that extreme.

    Also I'm not a katanaphile by any stretch of the imagination, however I do appreciate history and know enough to know that someone who knows nothing about polishing Japanese blades shouldn't get out the buffing wheel anymore than someone who doesn't know anything about antique furniture should break out the Valspar so that they can make that old desk look better.

    All I'm saying is that you made a mistake. It happens to everyone. It sounds like not an egregious mistake from what Rich is saying and if it makes you or others that read this thread not do the same thing in the future to more valuable pieces then it's a positive thread where maybe lots of people have learned something.
     
  18. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    What he said.--KV
     
  19. stlbob

    stlbob

    37
    Mar 2, 2018
    wow....first day here and i am taken aback by the attitude of some people..i am certain your pinky sticks out when you drink your coffee and you know what forks go on which side of the plate.This guy took ' HIS ' sword and made look better to him.After looking at the sword i DO NOT see it being rare or old enough to warrant the tighty whitey response this guy got..there are many many ways to say the same thing and after reading what was said ( typed ) i can see several other options that would have been less confrontational..again just my .02
     
  20. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    Dont think that emoticon is the done thing here ...
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page