Japanese Sword Polishing and Restoration BEFORE and AFTER

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This page shows blades polished by Japanese art sword polisher David Hofhine both before and after polishing.  Click on the Recent Work or Facebook link for lots more pictures.

Kunimichi wakizashi before and after
Before and after pictures of a 22 1/4" wakizashi signed "Dewa Daijo Fujiwara Kunimichi".  This one started out so bad, that I was concerned that it wouldn't be salvageable.  It was a very strong and well forged blade that came out nearly flawless.  See online comments for this blade here.

  See BEFORE and AFTER pictures of another Dewa Daijo Fujiwara Kunimichi blade I polished here.

Kanetaka Before and After photos

A very hearty 28 1/2" Mino katana signed Kanetaka. This blade wasn't rusty or damaged at all. It just had a tired, worn out looking older polish. After just a Finish polish, it looks like new!
See online comments for this blade here!

Nobukuni tanto before and after
Before and after of a very early Nobukuni tanto.
More information about this blade here!

Oei Bizen base beforeOei Bizen base finishOei Bizen kissaki beforeOei Bizen kissaki after
This is a 28.5" orsuriage Oei Bizen masterpiece.  All four of the above photos are of the same blade. This blade has great choji utsuri which unfortunately can not be seen very well in the photos.  I spent a full month working on just this one blade, confirming my status as a starving artist.
See online Facebook comments for this sword here!

Early Kaneuji tanto
Early Kaneuji tanto, before and after photos.
See comments and feedback for this blade here!

Koa Isshin Mantetsu Before and After
Before and After of a WWII era Koa Isshin Mantetsu katana.  I usually don't work on showato, but this was an important family heirloom blade and the owner wanted the very best possible finish.  I am always honored to work on family heirloom blades.  See comments and feedback for this blade here!

Kaneyoshi sashikomi before and after
This 27 1/2" osruiage blade signed Echizen Kuni ju Kaneyoshi with double grooves on both sides polished in a sashikomi style.  This blade has 4 peg holes and was originally 6 1/2" longer!  This was a pretty tricky polish because of the bad pitting rust in the grooves.  Also, this type of sashikomi finish is actually more difficult to do well then the more typical keisho style finish.  See this page for more information on the difference between keisho and sashikomi finishing.

Yosazaemonjo Sukesada Before
This is the Before image of mumei wakizashi with papers attributing it to Yosasaemonjo Sukesada circa 1504.

Yosazaemonjo Sukesada
This is the same Sukesada blade after full traditional art polish.  See the Recent Work page for more pictures of this blade!  This is finished in a light keisho style.  See this page for more information on the difference between keisho and sashikomi finishing.

wakizashi before imagewakizashi after image
This is a before image of an unsigned 15 7/8" wakizashi.  The starting condition is pretty terrible.
This is the same blade after full traditional art polish.  An unsigned, ruined condition little blade like this has very little chance of ever making it to Japan for restoration due to the high cost, complexity and risk involved with getting a blade over there and back safely.


27 5/8" Hida no Kami Fujiwara Ujifusa
See online comments and feedback for this blade here.
Ujifusa katana after repolish long view
Here is a head to head comparison of the 27 5/8" katana signed: Hida no Kami Fujiwara Ujifusa.  This blade had a recent top quality professional polish in Japan. The owner was unhappy with the Japanese polish which had a pretty heavy keisho finish that hid all of the details of the hamon (temper line) and hada (grain pattern). He sent it to me to redo the finish polish and this is the result.
See online comments and feedback for this blade here.

This ia a 10 3/8" osoraku tanto by the modern era smith Kato Kanekuni.  It was a little scuffed up, but still had most of its original modern polish from Japan.  The problem was that the origianl polish did not do a good job bringing out any of the detail in the kissaki (point) and very little of the hamon (temper line) and hada (grain structure).  The owner sent it to me hoping that I could imporve on the original Japanese polish.
Kato Kanekune modern tanto before and after.
Kato Kanekune modern tanto before kissaki detail
Kato Kanekune modern tanto after kissaki detail.
Kato Kanekune modern tanto overall after.
Kato Kanekune modern tanto detail after.
See online comments and feedback for this blade here.

Fujiwara Takata by other top American polisher
This is a 26 1/8" osuriage mumei katana with a Fujiwara Takata attribution.  This was polished by one of the more well known professional Japanese sword polishers working in the United States. The owner was unhappy with the thick and muddy appearance of the hamon and kissaki and sent it to me to see if I could improve on this other polisher's work. This blade had also been sent to Japan for shinsa and was somewhat scuffed up in the process.

David Hofhine's polish
Here it is after I redid the finish polish.  I had to take the ji all the way back to the chu-nagura stones to completely remove the heavy keisho finish.  This blade was actually pretty tough to improve on because the hardness contrast between the temper line and the body was very subtle.  It took a lot of meticulous work and my finest hadori stones, but I think the results speak for themselves.  I also repaired all of the scuffing along the edge and near the point.  A more precise attribution may be possible now that you can actually see the temper line.

Tango no Kami Kanemichi BEFORETango no Kami Kanemichi AFTER
This is a BEFORE and AFTER comparison of a 29 7/8" katana attributed to Tango No Kami Kanemichi. This blade started with a high quality 1970's vintage polish from Japan along with a little tip damage.  The hamon detail was very hard to see and it had what I felt was an excessive amount for grain showing in the shinogi-ji.

The original Japanese polish was very good.  All of the lines and geometry (most important part) were perfect.  It just needed a new finish that was up to modern standards.  I fixed the point and re-did the entire finish polish.  I kept the camera settings the same so it would equally represent both finishes.

Kanemoto before
Here is an interesting example of a FINISH polish only.  Please do not let this blade give you the wrong idea about finish polishes.  Someone had used fine finger stones to clean this blade, so it looks pretty gray, but other than that it had a basically smooth clean surface.

Kanemoto wakizashi finish
Note the deeper scratches and small chips it had could not be removed with just the fine finishing stones.  I can't even tell you how many times people have sent me a rust spotted sand papered mess and expected super fine finishing stones alone to somehow clean it all up.  This is frustrating on both ends, so please read the description on the SERVICES page carefully about what can and can not be fixed by finishing stones alone.

Nagamitsu before finish polish
This is a 25 1/8" gendaito by Nagamitsu.   It suffers from a low grade early Showa era polish and a rather badly chipped kissaki.

Nagamitsu after finish polish and point fixing
Here is a nice example of fixing a broken point. This is the same blade with the point re-shaped and just a finish polish.
KaneIye Before pics
These are some BEFORE pictures I received from the owner of a 27 1/4" osuriage blade with a two character tachimei signature of Kaneiye.
KaneIye after pics
Here are some full length pictures of the same blade after polish.

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Please note, the blades featured on this web site are not currently in my possession, do not belong to me and are not for sale as far as I know. An absolute minimum number of blades (usually just one or two unmounted and unpolished) are kept on hand at all times to minimize liability.  -David Hofhine

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