Disassembling a katana
When you want to do some maintenance or cleaning work to your katana, the best practice is to first disassemble the katana.
What do you need?
-Samurai care set
How to disassemble a katana:
Locate the Meguki on the handle of the katana. Most modern katana have 2 Meguki in the handle. They can be difficult to find at times, because they can be (partially) covered by the Tsuka-ito.
Take the hammer and the punch from the kit. Place the katana on the box the kit is in, making sure the Meguki you’re going to remove is not on the box, but outside of it.
Place the punch on the Meguki and tap it with the hammer until it comes free. Don’t hit too hard, otherwise you can damage the Meguki. Multiple light hits work best to unlodge the Meguki. Repeat this for the other Meguki.
Now that the Meguki are removed, you can start removing the handle. This does require you to be careful, as the blade can already be quite loose in the handle. Never grab the blade to pull it out, as this can cause serious injuries.
Hold the katana vertically, with the blade pointing upwards and your hand close to the Tsuba. Make sure the sharp edge is facing away from you. Gently tap the side of the handle with your other hand until the blade is loose enough that it can slide out. When it’s loose, carefully pull the blade from the handle by pushing the Tsuba upwards. When the blade starts sliding out, you can move your hold to the tang of the blade.
You can now remove the blade fittings, meaning the Tsuba, Seppa and optionally the Habagi.
Once the katana is disassembled, you can use the other supplies in the care kit to clean the katana.
Once the katana is cleaned you can put it back together. If you’ve removed the Habaki, place that back first. Followed by the first Seppa with the notched side facing away from the Tsuba. Next is the Tsuba and the second Seppa, again with the notched side facing away from the Tsuba. Lastly, you can slide the handle back in place.
When all the parts are back on the tang, hold the katana vertically again and use your free hand to gently hit the bottom of the handle. This will make sure all the parts are fully back in position.
Place the katana back on the box and use the hammer to tab the Meguki back in their place. If the original Meguki got damaged when removing them, you should replace them with new ones.