How To Sharpen And Polish A Longsword – Beginners Guide
Longswords are divided into types based on their purpose, which can include combat, sports, decorative and more. Every sword has an essential character and the symbol of a blade must always be sharp.
Here are a few ways that you can keep your blades sharp. While swords in the modern age do not necessarily have to be sharp, it is both aesthetically pleasing and more practical for them to be at least moderately sharp.
While most would agree with this assessment (even if they prefer other styles of blade), there are many who neglect the maintenance of their sword. From a safety concern alone, you should always take care of any bladework so as not to affect geometry or temper during practice or battle.
The Basic Do’s and Don’ts of Sword Sharpening
- DO NOT attempt to sharpen antique swords.
- DO NOT use power tools when sharpening knives unless you are experienced. The problem is that not all knives are stainless steel or made of other materials. It’s also dangerous because when you sharpen your knife, the blade can heat up and lose its temper and shape.
- If you are sharpening a sword, be very careful and patient of what you are doing. More accidents happen when performing sword maintenance than at any other time, so make sure that you’re paying attention to what you’re doing and eliminate outside distractions.
- Even if the blade you’re attempting to sharpen is cheap or inexpensive, it’s a good idea to get some practice on a less valuable sword before trying with something more expensive.
What You Will Need to Sharpen Your Sword
- A whetstone
- If using a whetstone that requires oil, sufficient lubrication
- A metal file
- A cloth to wipe back residue and metal
- A block of wood for support
- 400 Grit Emery Paper
Choosing Your Whetstone
We recommend Japanese waterstones for sharpening blades. The key is to know the various grits and which type of blade you are working on. For swords in good condition, we suggest starting at around 800-12000 grit. Using higher gritt stones can help ensure you do not damage your sword during the process – something especially important if this is your first time using it.
The stones from 80 grit to 2000 grit can be used for the blade if it is in bad shape. However, with this in mind, here are our top 3 recommended whetstones. If you are only repairing the edge of a sharpened sword, start by skipping stage 1 and proceeding to either stage 2 or 3.
Filing the Blunt Edge
To sharpen a sword, first wipe it down with a rag to remove any dust, oil, or residue on the blade.
- Be careful and cautious during this step. One wrong move can result in a cut if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing. Use the rag with care, running it very lightly up and down to remove any excess debris that makes it come off as well as being mindful of pressure.
Turn the sword over until the blade is propped up. Use a block of wood to elevate the blade, and place this block near the tip of the sword.
- This table should be sturdy and stable enough to hold your sword while you work. If it is wobbly, tighten the screws and check the legs before any cutting begins.
- Always be sure to use plenty of light in any activity so you can see what you’re doing and avoid cuts.
Hold the blade at a 30-degree angle and tilt it to one side. Apply even strokes with a metal file to move the metal across the blade, maintaining this slant. Shaping an edge on both sides of the blade will gradually smooth out its sharpest points, resulting in a sharper edge throughout.
- After filing the first section, move on to the next until all sections have been filed.
- Keep your fingers safely away from the blade to avoid cutting yourself. Always be paying attention so you know where your hands are relative to the blade.
File the blade by alternating sides. It takes about 25-26 strokes to make a blade sharp, so it’s important that both sides of the razor get an equal number of brushstrokes. Keep track of how many strokes you’re giving each side and make sure they balance out.
To ensure that you don’t overwork one side, count the number of strokes and switch the grip after a certain amount. For example, spend 10 strokes on one side of the sword then swap it to your opposite hand to continue with 10 more.
When you notice an edge appears, stop filing. You should file until you get to the natural edge in the sword, as this will make it easier to sharpen later on.
It’s important not to test the blade for sharpness at this point, as it only finishes after further work.
Sharpening the Blade on a Whetstone
The grit of a sharpening stone is what determines the coarseness of the surface. The lower the number, the rougher and coarser it will be.The range of a medium-grit stone ranges from 1000 to 1500. This should cover the needs for most knives or other items.
- A coarse grit is used to fill cracks or breaks in a blade, while a finer grit would be used to sharpen a cutting knife.
- The section for knives in sporting goods stores will sometimes have specialty tools, such as sharpening stones, that are useful.
If you’re using a honing oil to maintain the sharpness of your blade, be sure to apply it evenly and thinly. A pool of oil at any one point will cause ripples in the stone’s overall surface.
- This type of oil is available in many sporting goods or gun stores. If you cannot find the right product, ask an employee for help.
- Before using a Japanese water stone, wet the stone with water.
Once the blade has been allowed to rest, wipe it off with a clean cloth and move on to honing. Start by holding the sword in front of you at a 30-degree angle against a sharpening stone. Use smooth short strokes, applying constant pressure throughout the process. It will take an hour or more to sharpen the entire blade from start to finish, so be patient and continue until it’s done.
- Focusing on each section one at a time, file down the blade by ½ in some areas and 1/3 in other parts.
- Move the blade from left to right and back again, maintaining an even edge.
- Maintain contact with the blunt side of the blade when rubbing it on the whetstone. If you have a two-edged sword, wear fingerless gloves to avoid cutting yourself.
Ensure that you go over the same places with the blade on both sides. This will make sure that your even and sharp edges remain so by giving each side equal strokes. Count how many strokes you put on one side of the blade, and do the same for another before rolling it over to get a consistent cut when slicing food into thin strips or other cuts
- Sharpening a sword can take anywhere from 3 to 20 strokes, depending on what kind of sharpener you’re using. Check periodically to see if an edge is forming for an indication as to how the sharpening process is progressing.
- To test a blade, swipe it across a piece of paper and see if there is ripping. If the blade cleanly cuts through the paper without any tearing or ripping, then you’re good to go!
To keep the stone smooth and shiny, periodically re-oil it. As you sharpen your blade, bits of metal will oxidize on the stone. Clean it off every time this happens to keep the surface pristine.
Use 400-grit sandpaper to blend the edge of your sword. Tear a small 2 in x 2 piece of sandpaper and run it up both sides of the blade at a 30 degree angle. The last step can give your flooring its final appearance and is the part that looks clean.
- The blade is now sharper and slip-ups during this step could result in a serious injury. Investing in gloves will help you maintain your safety during the next steps as well as after using the knife.
Clean the blades with a damp cloth before storing to remove any oil, residue, or metal shavings.
Leaving old layers of rust on your blade for too long may lead to more surfaces becoming rusty, so be sure to thoroughly clean it.
Using a Blade Sharpener for a Shortcut
It is important to keep the blades of your knives sharp so they’re more efficient. If you don’t have time or want the relief, invest in a blade sharpening tool for a virtually identical result as if you manually sharpen your knife from scratch.
- There are various ways to sharpen your skates, so start looking for different tools online or at your local sporting goods store.
- Many restaurants will use these items in their kitchens, and you may find them helpful if you are encountering any difficulties.
- If you are unsure about which product is best for you, consult with an employee at a sporting goods store.
When sharpening tools, put them on a firm surface to avoid injury. If the tool moves while you are using it, there is a chance you might slip and cut yourself. Before you sharpen anything, make sure that both the sharpener and its surface are secure.
- There are two different ways to sharpen a blade: clamping down on your table or applying it to a vice. The instructions will tell you which is best for the sharpener being used, but be sure to follow them exactly.
Always hold the knife sharpener in one hand and use an upward motion with even strokes to sharpen.
- Different sharpening tools require different amounts of time per side, but it is typically recommended to spend 10 minutes on each side.
When sharpening your sword, prevent injury by keeping your fingers away from the blade. Although a double-edged sword is sharper on one side than the other, you should wear gloves so you do not inadvertently hurt yourself while sharpening it.
Before returning your blade to its casing, be sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth, removing any left over oil or metal shavings. A clean dry cloth can then be used for the final step of drying your blade after washing and water spinning it.
- Leaving any residue behind could result in rust forming on your blade, so make sure you have thoroughly cleaned it.
- Be careful when wiping the blade off. It’s sharpened, so you could injure yourself if you apply any pressure while wiping it. Just run the cloth up and down the edge of your knife to wipe away gunk while being careful not to put too much pressure on the blade.
Methods to Sharpen and Polish Longsword
Developed over 50 years of experience with blades and edges weapons, this tutorial is an easy way to polish and sharpen a Japanese sword.
Sharpen and Polish Longsword Method 1
File, Whetstone & Sandpaper
One of the most basic methods by which to sharpen a sword is what I call the “file and whetstone” method. While this may be time-consuming, it also typically yields the safest result. Naturally, as this is entirely by hand done, you need to practice some before getting it down pat. Sharpening a sword is as much an art as it is the science; therefore we recommend that first you try it out on a cheap machete or knife (heaven forbid) from stainless steel el-cheapo wall hanger.
Sharpen and Polish Longsword Method 2
Tom Kinders Methods – Universal Sharpening by Hand or Sanding Belt
Method two describes several techniques for sharpening a sword – from Japanese katana to medieval – by hand with sandpaper, files or whetstones as well as using a sanding belt. Power tools should not be used casually because the blade will heat up. But there are certain techniques you can use to prevent this issue or minimize it, which is explained in this article.
With Tom’s bold style, the result is always a scary razor sharp blade – so if you want to take your knife-handling skills to new heights, use Tom’s methods.
Sharpen and Polish Longsword Method 3
‘Poor Man’s sharpening rack’
It is possible to make a sword sharpening kit at home for pennies on the dollar with a few clamps and one or more assorted blocks of wood. Using nothing more than a sharpening stone and some patience, it will get your blade very sharp in a short amount of time.
Sharpen and Polish Longsword Method 4
Lazy Way to Sharpen a Sword the
Some would call this technique cheating, but it is fast and simple- a handheld sharpener called an “accusharp”. Nearly all swords are made with a primary bevel, but this technique will create an inferior blade. Sharpness can take a toll on the edge of your knife and make it dull, so you may choose to use this method if the blade is heavily used or low quality.
Using power tools by carelessly striking a blade can lead to ruining the temper. To reduce the frequency at which the blades heat and cool, you can follow some tips from an article such as the ones in this guide. The terrifying result is always a razor sharp blade, so you may want to take Tom’s methods on the extreme.
You can use a number of techniques to sharpen a sword, but the most important thing to remember is that different skills may be more appropriate for different types of swords and the same technique may work better on some individuals.
Sword sharpening is a personal journey that usually takes time. The key to mastering the craft is consistency, and one word can sum it up.