The scabbard of your sword is finished in many coats of lacquer. In order to preserve the shine, the scabbard needs only to be wiped occasionally with a very soft cloth. In addition, only handle the scabbard by holding the wrapped section. Otherwise, fine scratches caused by handing the lacquered sections will dull the finish.
Make sure the edge of the blade is away from you and work very carefully to avoid injury.
First use a sheet of rice paper to remove the oil from previous maintenance. Starting at the base of the blade, place the cleaning paper on the mune (back of the blade) and fold it into halves toward the edge.
Lightly grip the paper-covered blade with your thumb and forefinger to wipe the blade upward only.
When expertise is attained, the wiping action can also be both ways, up and down. Lack of experience could cause the cutting of paper or even fingers and thus it must be strictly avoided. Be particularly careful in wiping when you reach the tip of the blade.
In case the oil cannot be removed with ease, cotton or gauze soaked in benzene or pure alcohol may be used in the same wiping manner.
Once the oil is removed, use the uchiko (powder ball) and tap it lightly along the length of the blade. (When using the ball for the first time, you may need to tap the ball against the blade a few times to”start” the powder flow through the fabric of the ball)
Next, use a clean piece of rice paper to carefully rub over the powder to polish the blade. Repeat until both sides of the blade have been polished and the oil/powder is removed. Do not inhale the powder.
Apply a few drops of oil along the length of each side of the blade. Then use a new piece of rich paper or clean cotton cloth to spread the oil evenly over the blade. The oil must be spread thinly and evenly so that no excess oil will overflow and harm the scabbard. Make sure not to touch the blade again before re-sheathing.
Always store your sword horizontally with the ha (edge) up. This prevents the oil to go down along the blade surface and make a pool at the kissaki (point). Furthermore, this prevents the edge from bearing on the scabbard and preserves the condition of both.
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