How (and when) to disassemble a Katana

Almost without exception, all of the katana we sell at the SBG Sword Store can be disassembled. If they cannot be, we say so in the description, so unless it says otherwise, assume it can be stripped down and taken apart.

There are several reasons why you might want to disassemble your Katana. The first reason is that you want to customize it with a different tsuba or tsuka. We sell components here at the store and for the most part they are fairly interchangeable, but require some DIY adjustment to achieve a perfect fit.

The second reason you may wish to disassemble your katana is to inspect the tsuka (handle) core to make sure it is in good condition, or to tighten it up by shimming it if it becomes loose. However, please note you need to be very careful if you do decide to take a Katana apart, it can be damaged during the process if you don't know what you are doing or accidentally force something off too hard. You need to proceed gently and should ideally practice with some cheaper swords to get some experience before attempting to disassemble a more expensive sword.

The video below shows the traditional way to disassemble a katana as well as what to do, as is often the case with swords under the $1,000 price point, when you encounter a sword that is hard to take apart.

At the end of the day, if the katana feels solid in the hand with no shifting or movement at all, there is really no reason to take it apart, especially if you are inexperienced as taking it apart can do more harm than good if you don't know what you are doing. There is NO NEED to oil the tang, over time a Katana's tang (called Nagako) will develop a black protective patina that will prevent deep rusting and oiling or cleaning the tang of an antique will actually dramatically decrease its value.


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