How to Sharpen a Samurai Sword


The samurai sword, otherwise referred to as the katana, is a slightly curved, single edged blade that is renowned for its sharpness and superior cutting ability, especially when in the hands of a skilled sword master. Samurai swords can be bought at most import shops, though these are primarily for decorative purposes and their quality may not be that of a traditional sword. A traditional samurai sword is hand forged over a lengthy process. They can be quite expensive, ranging well above $10,000 for well made swords according to Handmade Sharpening a samurai sword should be performed in the traditional way using a whetstone, but can be done using other tools as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Whetstone
  • Honing oil
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Metal file
  • Place the sword on its side on a flat surface. Set a block of wood under the sword tip to keep it flat and level while you work.

  • Point the cutting edge away from your body, and use a metal file to shape the edge. Push the file over the cutting edge, using slight pressure, while holding the file at a 30-degree angle. Start from the tip and work down to the hilt, then flip the blade over and repeat for the other side.

  • Lubricate the whetstone by placing a few drops of honing oil onto the stone, then rub it over the surface of the stone with your finger.

  • Place the sword onto the stone at the hilt and hold at a 30-degree angle, then drag the blade away from the stone using pressure. Do this about four times, then flip the sword over and repeat for the other side. Stop the process when the blade is sharpened to your satisfaction.

  • Cut a postage stamp sized square out of a piece of 400-grit sandpaper, wet it lightly with water, and begin rubbing the side of the blade at a 30-degree angle with your finger. Start from the tip and glide it down the blade to the hilt using pressure until the blade has been blended into the cutting edge. Repeat for the other side.

  • Apply a light coat of honing oil to the blade and put it in its sheath for storage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use extreme caution when sharpening the sword. The sword is capable of easily cutting your finger to the bone after sharpening with the whetstone.

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  • Photo Credit swords image by Pavel Losevsky from
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