How to use a Japanese cleaning kit

Some swords come with cleaning kits, though the majority of the cheap ones aren't actually very useable and usually just end up adding to the final cost of the product.

Here’s what you typically find in them:

  • Balsa wood box with Kanji
  • An “Uchiko” powder ball
  • Some rice paper
  • “Choji” oil
  • A “Mekuginuki” hammer
  • A plastic tub

The problem with the cheap kits is that the Uchiko ball thing is usually filled with abrasive, low grade talcum powder. A better alternative is some flour from the pantry! Sprinkle a small amount on the blade and wipe it with a cloth – it will soak up excess oil and also finely polish the blade slightly.

As a substitute to rice paper, use a coffee filter! It works just as well and is readily available.

And with regards to the hammer thing – these are just terrible. They are never threaded properly on the cheap sets – the head just spins and spins uselessly. Instead a small hardware store hammer and a flat head metal punch (or a blunted nail!) works MUCH better…

You’ll probably find even if you did get a free cleaning kit like this one with your sword purchase you’ll want to use these alternatives anyway. But if you want to get a ‘proper’ kit, avoid the cheap crap and fork out for a Hanwei Forge cleaning kit at the absolute minimum."

Also, in many instances, the “choji” oil they have in there isn’t really choji oil. Not that it matters all that much… choji oil is really just mineral oil with some clove oil spun in for scent. You can easily make your own. Here is a link to how to make one on the main site… Sure it’s not traditional, but it will work just fine. If you must have one, then I have to agree with him and say that it’s best to go with the Hanwei one for an actually usable version.

Hanwei Japanese Sword Kit

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