Many practitioners of fencing get so caught up in the glory of using a polished steel sword, that they forget a blade is a tool just like any other. So like all other tools, a sword requires special care.
The first step is cleaning. To do this first take an old rag and coat it in linseed oil, then draw the blade, and lay the flat of it against your legs. Run the oily rag over the blade and go back over places that have extra build up from whatever the blade was used to cut last. Turn the sword over and repeat the process.
The next step is sharpening. First grab a whet stone and add a dab of linseed oil to the surface of it. The next step depends largely on the length of the blade you are sharpening. If it is a knife or a small dagger then lay the whet stone on a table or another sturdy, flat surface, and lay the knife on top of it so that the edge is parallel to the surface of the stone. Next drag the blade toward your body, keeping a moderate amount of pressure on the point of contact with your other hand. Make five passes along the edge on one side then flip the knife and do the same amount to the other side. This keeps your edge even and at a constant angle. If you happen to be working on a blade exceeding one foot long then you should consider the next technique. to sharpen a Sword or long dagger, place the oiled whet stone in your palm and then lay the flat of the blade across your lap. Align the stone so it is parallel to the edge of the sword just as you would have if it were a smaller knife. Keep your wrist stiff as you pull the sword across you lap to make the first pass. Make four more passes and then flip the blade over and repeat the process. Sharpening only needs to be done once every two months if the blade is not in use, however if it is used often then this should be done after every three to four uses depending on the amount of stress put on the edge.
For those who truly want to go overboard in their knife care can polish them as well. To polish a blade first you must acquire some high grit sand paper (400 grit or higher) and cotton balls, these are the most cost effective tools to use since they do not require bench grinders or polishing wheels. Take a sheet of the lowest grit paper you have (starting at 400) and begin running it along the blade, always going from the base of the blade to the point to ensure a smooth and even look. Continue this step until you see a noticeable difference. Next take a higher grit sheet and begin polishing the same as in the previous step. Then take the cotton balls or a similar tool and repeat the same step. Note that if you haven’t exceeded 1000 grit sand paper on the previous steps then cotton balls will do very little to help the shine. Lastly grab your linseed oil rag from the cleaning step and apply a thin coat of oil. The oil is only to prevent airborne moisture from getting on your blade and ruining the beautiful shine that took you so long to achieve.
Higher Grits of Sandpaper