Japanese sword polishing

Published: 25/08/2021 Comments: 0

Japanese Sword polishing is part of Japanese swordsmithing where a blade is polished after forging. When the rough blade is completed, the swordsmith turns the blade over to a polisher called a togishi, whose job it is to refine the shape of a blade and improve its aesthetic value. Meanwhile, a good polish can greatly improve the beauty of a blade. However, improper polishing can have a serious impact on the sword, and may even damage or destroy it. If you changes the geometry of the blade and/or wears the steel excessively, it will destroy the function and value of the sword.

Polishing needs a specialist to give this task

You might assume that polishing a Japanese sword is a quick and easy process, requiring just a few minutes to complete. However, The entire process takes considerable time, in some cases easily up to several weeks. It's a time-consuming and methodical process, which is why there's a specialist who's given this task.

Two Stages

Japanese sword polishing requires a complicated technique using many different stones to bring the shape out of the blade. The use of these special stones fall into two different stages of polishing: Shitajitogi (Foundation polishing) and Shiage togi (Finish polishing).

Shitaji togi: Foundation Polishing

A foundation polish takes at least four to six days to complete, with an average 10 to 12 hours of labor. The steps involved in shitaji are meant to remove heavy rust, restore a blade’s original shape, and remove imperfections.

Shiage: Finish Polish

A finish polish uses tiny, thin stones and may take at least three days to complete. Before the steps of shiage, a Japanese sword will appear to have a matte finish. You could choose to stop at this point with a restored blade. However, for the sake of a collector’s item you will probably choose to “finish” the polishing so that the blade shines and the details of its edge stand out.

When Should A Sword Be Polished?

Noticeable flaws along the blade provide one major indication that you should send your sword for polishing. Flaws include chips or broken tips that noticeably mar the surface of the blade. These flaws should be handled by a professional to prevent further damage.

Another indication that your blade needs service are signs of active rust. This may mean a polish is immediately necessary, in order to prevent further degradation of the delicate layers of metal.

And if you do have the money to spend on a polish? Try getting an evaluation first. Giving your sword a new polish may not add as much value as you put into it.


Polishing a Japanese sword, as well as being an integral step in the creation of the blade, is an art form that seeks to renew beauty and majesty to old, tired blades.

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