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How To Sharpen A Katana Samurai Sword Like A Swordsmith

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  • Digital Team 

Keeping a katana sword is worthwhile but hectic enough due to its high maintenance. Its resilient and iconic razor-sharp edges need attention to maintain their sharpness after every regular interval. In Japan, they refer to polishing a katana and have unique artists known as Togishi to deal with the sharpening process. However, if you are a simple samurai sword enthusiast, you can sharpen your katana quickly and conveniently at home or in a garage.

So, let’s start exploring the technique, and by the end of the article, you will know everything like which tools are needed for this process, as well as multiple techniques and preventive measures about how you can sharpen your katana and maintain its sturdy design.

Preparation for Sharpening

The procedure requires sharpening stones and some unique elements to ensure it is carried out efficiently. 


The foremost thing is to have a whetstone which is the sharpening stone required to maintain a sturdy blade. There can be multiple sharpening stones of different sizes and raw materials, but a flat whetstone is all you need. It should be of 1000-1500 grits to ensure a razor-sharp edge.

Special Oil

Besides stone, oil is also needed. Please don’t use regular vegetable oil; it will ruin your blade. Instead of it, we advised you to use a special 3-in-1 oil to make sure the process runs smoothly.

Work Board

During sharpening, a flat workboard must be used to ensure safety. Katana nagasa (blade length) will rest on that board.


Another essential tool is sandpaper. 3M emery sandpaper is preferred to maintain the durability of high stainless steel.

Spray Bottle

A spray bottle filled with clean water is required to keep the stone’s surface sharp and edgy.

Cloth and Paper

You will need a clean cloth and a piece of paper or foam. You will require two clothes. One is for wiping the blade, and the other is for holding the sword. At the same time, a foam is needed to perform the sharpening test

Best Sharpening Techniques for Katana Sword in the UK

After gathering all the essential tools, all you need is to focus and pay attention to every detail so you don’t end up damaging the cutting edges of the blades. 

Safe and Distraction-Free Environment

Blades of Japanese swords are sturdy and sharp enough to cut your finger. To ensure safety, look out for a quiet, distraction-free environment that is safe for the procedure.

Remove the Dirt

After sitting in a secure environment, take a thick cloth and wipe out all the surface contaminants, oil, and dust particles that may have stuck to the blade from the previous sharpening process or have stuck to the surface while using it.

Don’t put pressure on the sides of the blade. Do it precisely and gradually move the cloth to ensure proper safety.

Wet the Sharpening Stone

Before sharpening, put the whetstone under deep water for 15 to 30 minutes, as it will allow the pores on the surface of the whetstone to maintain their function. Since sharpening on a dry surface can damage the blade length. 

Sharpening the Katana

You can either use a 3-in-1 oil or wet whetstone

If you are using oil, put 2 to 3 drops on the sandpaper and fix it on the workboard so it doesn’t slip away. If you are using whetstone, place it on a workboard after wiping it. Place your one hand on the blade. Wear cut-resistant gloves for safety, take a cloth, wrap it on the tang part (extension of woody handle part) for stability, and be good to go.

Place the katana on its length surface and raise the angle about 15 degrees to get the perfect sharpness. Face the cutting edge towards yourself and the flat surface on the other side. Move the blade in a lone diagonal stroke and repeat the process 3 to 5 times on each side. You should not put more than 4 to 6 lbs of pressure because it could ruin the process.

Final Touch Up

With each passing step, water or oil the surface after every three passes, and if you are using sandpaper, move to a higher grit with each passing time. After that, blend the edge to ensure the proper fine-cutting of the curved edge.

Perform the Sharpening Test

After the procedure, perform the sharpening test to ensure you have succeeded. Take a foam or a piece of paper and let the sword fall on it. If it cuts the material into 2 precise edges without squishing it, know you have done the job.

Some Other Methods to Sharpen a Katana

The method mentioned above is a decent procedure for a beginner to start with. However, if you want it done by some expert, you can hire a swordsmith, who will get the job done and charge the money depending on how much sharpening the sword needs.

Otherwise, if you are an expert, you can use a sanding belt or other powerful tools to save time and complete it much faster.

Safety Precautions to Follow

Before starting the sharpening process, it is also essential to take some precautionary measures:

  • Safety should be your top priority. So, it is better to have a distraction-free and safe environment.
  • You should handle it carefully and wear good-quality, cut-resistant gloves.
  • Pay attention to every detail and follow the procedure in a precise manner.
  • Remember, over-sharpening can ruin the blade, so you should carry out the process for 2-3 hours at a time.  
  • Don’t hurry; give it a proper time, or you might end up hurting yourself or the blade.
  • Lastly, ensure the workboard is placed on a hard surface; otherwise, it can slip due to the pressure.


What Is The Best Angle To Sharpen A Katana?

The best angle to sharpen your katana is between 10 to 20 degrees. It is recommended to sharpen at 15 degrees. You can hold it with a thumb. Although, it can be challenging to keep at an accurate angle. But with time, you will get used to it.

How Often Should I Sharpen My Katana?

You should sharpen your katana two to three times a year, carrying it out for 2 to 3 hours each time. Sharpening depends on various factors, including the condition of the blade or your usage frequency. Also, remember that it should not be treated like a kitchen knife or any ordinary tool.

Is It Possible To Over-Sharpen A Katana?

Yes, you might over-sharpen your katana. Your sword can be too sharp, which will ruin its body. So, it is good to take caution and avoid excessive sharpening because doing unnecessary sharpening will imbalance the blade edges and damage the structural integrity of the katana.

Best Place To Buy Katana Sword

We hope, by following these tips, you can sharpen your sword efficiently. But anyway, if you need assistance, feel free to contact us.If you want a katana sword, you can check out the best Samurai Swords collection. We offer premium quality katanas with great affordability.

Categories: Life