Repairing a katana

by Jessica Ross
(Ontario Canada)

I have an old katana. The blade is a bit wobbly in the handle and the end of the sheath has what I think is a split in the wood which makes the sword not go into the sheath fully sometimes. The handle and sheath are copper clad. Are these things repairable?

Comments for Repairing a katana

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Should be fairly easy to fix
by: Paul

The scabbard (saya) is probably the hardest bit to fix - the easiest way is to simply tape it up, binding it with some duct tape or similar, though it does not look attractive.

A better way would be to use some wood glue and fill in the cracks - one young gentlemen on YouTube takes it a step further with epoxied wire wrap:

Now for the loose hilt (tsuka) you could probably simply take the sword apart and 'shim' it with some wood veneer slivers to get it to sit in place properly. In some cases, simply taking the sword apart and putting it back together can fix the problem - but usually it will need to be shimmed.

Here is a video detailing how to take it apart:

And one on how to shim it:

If all else fails and you wish to get someone else to do it, Nihonzashi in California offer relatively affordable services.

Hope this helps and best of luck fixing your sword!

by: Anonymous

I did take the sword handle apart and shimmed it with some bamboo, so that problem is fixed. The sheath has wood on the inside, but it is completely covered in copper. (look up copper saya katana on google and you'll see something of what mine looks like) The tip of the sheath has a little cover that looks like it could come off, but I don't know how to get it off or if its welded back on. The split in the wood is right now inaccessable to me :(

Possible fix
by: Anonymous

If i understand right your problem is far down in the sheath. Try this ... take a long thin rod or heavy wire and bend a small angle less than 90. Make sure it is small enough to go in the sheath easily. Use it like a locksmiths feeler pick to map out your problem. You can trace your sheath on a piece of paper so you can mark out any obstructions. Then take a dowel or thin piece of wood and glue some sandpaper on it to smooth out any irregularities. Be gentle, if you break the dowel your problems get worse. If that is not enough you can get a piece of mild steel similar to your blade but smaller all around. You can sharpen the front to make a chisel or cut teeth to make a rasp depending on your need. ( you are basically making a custom tool to fix your sheath) If you do this go very slowly and gently, if it is cracked this tool can make it worse. I have fixed two sheaths with these techniques... I also busted on wide open so be careful and good luck.

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