Will mineral oil hurt your sword.?
How do you remove rust?


Fine mineral oil can be used on swords. So can specialist oils such as choji, camelia oil, and others. This page will look at the reasons for your choice of oil as well as basic day to day sword care. I've sometimes had to remove spots of rust from my cutting swords. The materials we cut leave their mark. Small branches have sticky sap. Plastic bottles have glued paper on the outside. Vegetables and fruit are full of acids. So what do you need to remove rust, and what is the best sword maintenance plan for your cutters? Is there a particular oil that's better than others?

Removing rust

Choji Sword Oil.
Alt Text--sword oil choji
The idea is to prevent rust rather than have to remove it, but if your cutting or training sword already has some rust on it, this needs to be done first.
  1. Wipe your blade carefully with a soft cloth and a little fine mineral oil, to make sure it is reasonably clean.
  2. Assuming this is light rust just beginning to form, wrap some 300 grit sandpaper around a sanding block, hold your sword by the handle, with the blade up on a block, such as a wooden board.
  3. Stroke the sandpaper in the same direction over the rust spot until it is removed. Try not to go too much beyond the spot of rust to avoid scratching other areas of the blade. If the spot is quite small, you can wrap the sandpaper over the end of a pencil.
  4. When the rust is removed, remove the scratches by using a higher grit sandpaper in the opposite dierection ie, if you went down, go across with the next paper, then down with the next higher grade, and then across, etc, until you have polished up to about 600 grit. There should be no evidence of scratches left.
  5. Continue this process on any other spots of rust until the sword is clean again.
  6. Wipe the blade with methylated spirits or some other rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth. This will remove all traces of old oil and any other dust or dirt from the blade.
  7. Use a fine mineral oil or another sword oil on a different soft cloth to recoat the blade. Read on in the next section for a more detailed description.

Cleaning your cutter

Seven Stars Trading Sword Oil.
Alt Text--Sword oil seven stars trading
  1. While using your cutting sword, check it from time to time to make sure it doesn't have any chips or cracks. If you are cutting bottles filled with water, wipe the blade dry from time to time. If you are sharing the sword and cutting for a long time, wipe the blade with a cloth impregnated with fine mineral oil after you have dried it, every now and again.
  2. After the cutting session, the owner of the sword should take care of it while others who were using it clean up the mess in the yard. Use methylated spirits on a soft cloth to remove all trace of grime from the cutting materials.
  3. When the sword is clean, take your bottle of sword oil, choji, or whatever you use, and add a few drops to the blade. Use the same cloth kept in a ziplock plastic bag to oil your swords every time. The cloth will gradually become impregnated with oil, making it unecessary to add extra oil for some time when cleaning your swords.
  4. Make sure all the surface of the blade is covered with a very fine layer of oil. If you see obvious beading, wipe some off. Too much is better than too little, but if there is enough to soak into your wooden scabbard, it will swell the wood over time, making it difficult to draw your sword.
  5. It hardly needs to be said, but I will anyway.... Make sure you are careful with that sharp blade. it can cut right through the cloth into your fingers while you are cleaning the sword. Other people should stay clear in case you slip. Dont get so much oil on your fingers that you leave greasy marks on the wood of your grip or scabbard.
  6. I like to store my swords in their scabbards. The best one I have is the one lined with raw sheep's wool. The natural oil has prevented that sword (a Viking one) from ever having any rust, and it depresses as the sword moves in and out so there is never a problem with it sticking.

Which is the best oil?

Fine Mineral Oil.
Alt Text--fine mineral oil
Any fine mineral oil will do to protect a sword from rust. Sewing machine oil is a good standby if you don't have anything else. A specially made sword oil with an even finer grade such as the one you can get from Seven Stars Trading Co., is better. I wouldn't use gun protecting products on my sword. They smell awful for a start. Also, some products can deteriorate the wood of your hilt and scabbard. If you only want to prevent rust, any water resistant substance will do, but consider the scabbard. On the battle field in old times, it was probable that natural animal and vegetable oils were used.

I do use fine mineral oil on my blades, if I have run out of choji. Choji is fine oil with a few drops of clove oil in it. I love the smell. It feels luxurious to put on my swords. Camellia oil is another good one. Don't take the clove oil out of the medicine cabinet that you have there for toothache. It is too strong and can actually cause damage to your blade.

If the oil you use is too thick, or too thickly applied, it will make your scabbard a sticky, slowly dissolving mess. So it doesn't really matter which you prefer - fine mineral oil or something more exotic. Just don't use too much of it. check your swords often to make sure the oil is doing it's job in storage. Clean your sword if anyone touches the blade. Clean after cutting or after forms that involve skin contact.

Leave mineral oil and sword oil and return to Restoration

Return to Chinese Swords Guide Home

Swords For Sale

Legal age for sword ownership in Australia is 16 but I won't sell to anyone under 18 unless they are training with a good teacher.

Real Chinese Sword for cuttingAffordable full tang
Dao for sale?

Great quality cutting dao to suit your budget.

Click anywhere in this box

Sword For Sale

Viking Sword for Sale

This sword is used but in excellent condition. Del Tin forged full-tang blade, peened pommel, lambswool lined wood scabbard with hand-sewn leather outer.

Click here to contact Linda for more information or pictures.