Sword Cleaning Kit:
How To Make Your Own

Making your own basic sword cleaning kit is child’s play, and despite what some websites might try to tell (or should I say sell) you, chances are you have most of what you need at home already in the garage.

All you really need to create your own basic kit is:

  1. Some Oil (see below)
  2. Some soft paper towel
  3. A white lint free cloth
  4. A place mat or newspaper

Oh - and I nearly forgot, you'll also need yourself a sword to clean as well... ;-)

What oil to use in your sword cleaning kit

When it comes to selecting which oil to use, personally I like to use basic machine oil (such as 3 in 1, Rem Oil or Sewing Machine Oil). I used to use Hanwei sword oil - however it really isn't necessary and I've never had a bottle with the nozzle that doesn't break before I get half way through it...

How to use your sword cleaning kit

Firstly, give the blade a good wipe down with the soft lint free paper towel to remove any dust and oil. Your sword should be perfectly dry and clean before oiling.

Then simply add a little oil to your cleaning cloth, which in general should be just enough oil to give the sword a slight gleam when held up to the light.

If you apply too much, you'’ll actually end up trapping evil moisture attracting dust particles on the blade and end up with nasty little rust spots all over the sword, so put just enough to give your sword a very light coating - and wipe away the excess with a dry part of your cleaning cloth.

This procedure should be repeated at least monthly, though depending on how humid your climate is you may need to repeat it more frequently (up to once a week). The basic principle is to inspect your swords frequently so you get an idea of when the original application starts to dry up, so many people recommend that you start out oiling more frequently than might be necessary and then you'll have a good indication as to how long the oil is going to last.

Oh yes, and don't forget to give your sword a good once over with your sword cleaning kit after each time it is used! :-)

A note on Japanese Cleaning Kits

Sometimes included a 'free' bonus with a given sword purchase (well, they never are actually free, they are built into the price - personally I would rather the money go into the SWORD) the majority of Japanese cleaning kits, are - in a word - rubbish..

Here's what you typically find in them:

  • Balsa wood box with Kanji
  • An "Uchiko" powder ball thing
  • Some rice paper
  • "Choji" oil
  • A "Mekuginuki" hammer thing
  • A plastic tub

The problem is that the Uchiko ball thing is usually filled with abrasive, low grade talcum powder. A better alternative is some flour from the pantry! Sprinkle a small amount on the blade and wipe it with a cloth - it will soak up excess oil and also finely polish the blade slightly.

As a substitute to rice paper, use a coffee filter! It works just as well and is readily available.

And with regards to the hammer thing - these are just terrible. They are never threaded properly on the cheap sets - the head just spins and spins uselessly. Instead a small hardware store hammer and a flat head metal punch (or a blunted nail!) works MUCH better.

As for the Choji oil, click here for a list of alternatives.

You'll probably find even if you did get a free cleaning kit like this one with your sword purchase you'll want to use these alternatives anyway. But if you want to get a 'proper' kit, avoid the cheap crap and fork out for a Hanwei Forge cleaning kit at the absolute minimum. You can pick them up for as little as $25 here at Kult of Athena

One more thing you might want in your sword cleaning kit...

For longer term protection, you might want to consider stocking a product called "Renaissance Wax".

Renaissance Wax is used by the British Museum to preserve antique swords and works by coating the blade with a micro crystalline layer of wax which prevents rusting almost indefinitely.

It is also an extremely popular choice for sword collectors...

While it is a little bit expensive, a little goes a long way with this stuff, and it is a fantastic choice for long term low maintenance rust prevention.

Renaissance Wax tends to be quite expensive at most online sword sellers, often selling for around $40 for a 200ml canister. However the cheapest place to buy it online is from Kult of Athena where you can pick up a 200ml canister for just US$26.95 (and a 65ml one for $16).

I hope this information on how to make your own sword cleaning kit has been helpful. Click here to return to Navigating the Sword Maze from How to Make Your Own Sword Cleaning Kit

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