WWII Katana

Grizzly Bear

Well-Known Member
I bought a WWII Katana that was an officer's sword from an antique dealer. I hope it is real because I paid $300 for it.

My question is to you experts is: Have you ever seen a WWII katana that has a brown, grooved (around the handle to enhance grip) hardwood handle with metal pegs (screws) to hold it on? The fittings are all steel/iron and the sword is heavy when compared to wall hangers. It does not have the usual handle wrapping and wooden pegs. No blood groove.

The saga was crushed so I fixed it by wrapping it with a continuous layer of twin, no over lapping of the twine; it looks fantastic. I did this so that you could still see the original saya by taking off the twine.

The blade had rust and pits with deep scratches. I completely hand polished the blade to a mirror finish and got it to easily cut paper.

If this is an authentic sword, did I ruin it by refurbishing the blade? I saw how many of the ancient swords were refurbished by the seller for the client if he wanted him to, so I thought it would be alright.

Please comment. It is important to me.


Grizzly Bear
We needs some pics! If its a stamped Officers sword in bad shape from WWII you paid about market rate. If its a forged blade you may kick yourself for "Restoring" it.

Very few people know how to policy those blades correctly and from the sound of it pal, I don't think you are one of them? Was there any Kanji/ Script when you hand the handle off?
I f you changed the grind on blade it reduces the blade value by quite a bit. Japanese blades are some of the only weapons that can be restored to enhance value . If not properly done it looses it's value and becomes a wall hanger. You are correct ,
Many swords have been restored without any loss in value. But , then again it all depends on how well the blade was polished. good luck Bubba
I could not get the handle off because of the tightness and the old condition of the screws (metal pins) that were holding the handle on. If I had forced them I was afraid of breaking the handle. The wood of the handle was very dry and was starting to crack a little.

As far as my polishing job goes, I used diamond stones (not water stones) and went through course down to extra fine then used sand paper down to 3,000 grit. I did final polish with green compound. All scratches are gone, I was careful to keep the blade geometry the same.

Again, I got a mirror polish that is as good as a highly mirror finished blade that I bought. It took me months to go through all of the hand work to keep the geometry the same and to get out every scratch. There now are no scratches on the blade and it looks better than the current wall hangers that I have.

Yes I hope that I didn't ruin a folded sword it does not look folded. I have looked at many pictures of real katanas. No fold lines could be seen on my sword. From what I read, by the time the war was coming to an end, the steel became inferior and many of the swords were made by the Chinese who were under the control of the Japanese at the time. They kept on producing these swords, even though they were inferior so that their officers could still have the symbol of a sword as a status symbol. Non officers could not were swords except for sergeants. They wore a sword with a blood groove. I may be full of crap on this but this is what my research told me. (and I did a lot of reading).

I hope that I didn't get taken by the antique dealer and bought a fake sword. Even if I did, I got an expensive wall hanger that if better looking than any wall hanger that I have bought yet.

I will send a photo when I learn how to do it.

Thanks to your input. I hope I don't have a bitter pill to swallow if I screwed it up. Thanks for your input.

Grizzly Bear.
Hey grizz why don't you send me some pics . What is the blade cutting edge , measured from the ha machi to the kissaki (tip) . I doubt if its Chinese . Its probably an Armory sword . If blade is folded , it could be atame grain very fine. It may be very hard to see without an etch of some kind . That's why Japanese togishi use waterstones because, they are very alkaline and etch the steel as you polish. good luck . Send pics to shinken@gobrb.com try and get some closeups of tang and blade. Bubba
Hello Bubba-san,

It has taken longer to get back to you then I had anticipated. I got some more info for you. I will send a picture as soon as my wife can show me how to post pictures. I'm not that good at such things.

Length of katana from Ha Machi to Kissaki = 67 cm, 26 3/8"

Sori = 16 mm, 1 5/8"

Tsuka = solid brown wood with grooves for grip, no Tsukamaki-ito

Fittings = all iron/steel

Habaki = brass

Menukii = iron/steel bolts or penned pins

Kashira = iron/steel with lanyard whole

Hamon = none visible

Saya: brown painted wood with military hardware. Has a clasp to hold sword in saya.

I will get you a picture when I can. I am very interested in knowing what this sword is.

Thank you so much Bubba-san

Grizzly Bear
Sorry for taking so long to respond. Lot of sori ? normal Katana are usually about 28" Does it have 2 pins ? Is sword curve near the tsuka ? or in middle . When you get time send to my address. Bubba