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Nihonzashi Sword Store & Dojo
 5980 66th St N Suite M
St Petersburg FL 33709
Phone: 727-329-9679 
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DIY Guides

These guides are intended for those who want to maintain, repair, or upgrade their sword.  They are focused on those who study swordsmanship and not those who collect Nihonto.  Please do not make a sword that could be a valuable heirloom your DIY project. You could be destroying an irreplaceable piece of history and costing yourself hundreds of thousands.  We recommend having your katana repaired by an experienced professional and not doing it yourself.  We also offer a wide range of specialty tools and supplies.

Nihonzashi LLC, its employees, and associated companies are not responsibility for any injury, damage or loss incurred by following any advice given on this site.  Katana are dangerous objects and the utmost care should be given when working with them.

Sword Cleaning

You've stepped up and gotten a real sword but don't have a clue on how to maintain it.  We'll let you know what you supplies you need and how to use them.  Unlike most decorative wall hangers - real katana rust!  If the blade is touched - it needs to be immediately cleaned unless you want to personalize your blade with rust fingerprints.

Mekugi Replacement

A traditional nihonto (Japanese made sword) is held together with a single small bamboo peg called a mekugi.  They are not riveted, glued, or screwed together.  A samurai staked his life on that one small peg.  Two or three poorly done mekugi are not as good as a single properly done one.  It is our opinion that mekugi on most production katana (including the ones we sell) should be replaced.

Katana Disassembly

A proper katana can be disassembled for inspection, repair, or a thorough cleaning.  It is also fairly easy to customize you katana by swapping tsuba.  This guide will walk you through the process of disassembling and reassembling your katana or wakizashi.

Is my Sword Sharp?

If you are not sure your katana needs sharpening this is the page for you to checkout.  There are plenty of questionable tests like cutting paper, shaving the hair off your arm, or scraping your thumb on the edge with a sage expression on your face. If you are asking the question, you probably already know the answer. It is important to understand what makes your katana dull. We have found six things you should watch out for. These are Abrasion, Rolled Edge, Flattened Edge, Chipped Edge, Corrosion, and Self Mutilation. We cover each of these in their own section.

Sword Sharpening

Discusses sharpening of katana and wakizashi using Japanese water stones.  This is not a cosmetic polish but intended to make the sword cut better.  Use a series of Japanese water stones ranging from 80 to 10,000 grit to put a razor edge and polished surface on your katana.

Surface Polish

This section discusses the surface polish of a katana and what grit abrasives are used. The surface polish of a katana is as important to cutting as the geometry. It is especially important for the durability of the edge and surface friction of the blade. An edge from a coarse grit stone may feel very sharp and cut well for the first few times, but it will quickly become dull. A rough finish will also bind up in the target. Polishing and sharpening a katana are the same process.

Edge Geometry

This section discusses proper and improper edge geometry for tameshigiri. Knifes are usually sharpened by beveling the edge and leaving the main surface of the blade untouched. A katana should have continuous polished surfaces right up to the edge. The entire surface of the blade must be reworked to sharpen it. A katana might come with a badly shaped edge from the maker or it might be a result of amateur sharpening. Most katana come from the maker with an edge optimized for hard targets. They don't know what you are going to do with it, and this is the most durable