Choosing The Right Blade - It is important when looking to purchase a sword that you get one that meets your specific requirements, a display sword would be unsuitable for use in re-enactment and could break causing a seriously risk of injury, but a re-enactment sword could be used for display, so knowing the purpose you need it for can help decide what swords are suitable. Hitting the right targets - When practising cutting on targets it is important to cut the right targets, some swords are sharpened but made of a lower grade of steel and only suitable for cutting lighter targets like pool noodles and bottles, whereas some are of a higher quality and can cut thick, heavy straw roll targets. Always avoid trying to push your sword to its limits however, trying to cut through thick planks of wood or trees is beyond what a sword can do and is likely to cause damage or break your sword, so always cut responsibly.
Removing Burrs And Notches
When using a sword for re-enactment or for cutting, the blade is likely to get burred and have small (or large) notches out of the blade, these are obviously something that should be removed as they can catch and tear clothing etc when re-enacting and can lead to further blade damage. To remove them takes only a good quality file and some fine sandpaper, start by gripping the sword between two blocks of wood and securing it tightly in a vice, you are then going to want to slowly file at a 45 degree angle to the flat of the blade taking several strokes on each side, alternating to keep the amount filed from each side equal. the angle gives an easier way to get a rounded finish to the blade for safety and reducing future risk of burring (obviously for a sharpened sword the angle would differ slightly and you would aim to sharpen the blade after, not round it). Once the burr has been removed you can use the fine sandpaper to finish the polish of the edge of the blade and smooth off the rounded edge.
Cleaning The Blade
Cleaning the blade of your sword is something key to keeping it usable for a longer time, while maintenance kits are generally associated with Katana, they can be used to clean any type of sword as the kit works well for cleaning any types of steel. After use you should wipe the blade clean with a soft cloth or rice paper and then if using a maintenance kit you should lighter powder the blade before srubbing the power till it is all gone with a piece of rice paper or a soft cloth, after this you should then oil the blade to keep it coated to stop rusting.
Oiling And Storing
Oiling the blade is an important part, and knowing what type of oil to use and how to store your sword or armour is a vital part, while Katanas are usually oiled with Choji oil another good substitute for oiling swords or armour is Gun Oil or Medical Mineral Oil, both of these are oils that dont evaporate quickly and dont damage the steel so are good for preventing rust. For use on armour or swords that are being stored for a long time so are unlikely to see use it can be a better idea to use a product such as Renaissance Wax to protect the metal instead of oil, this is because the light, thin wax will last much longer than oil will for protection and Renaissance Wax will not damage the blade at all. It is worth noting that if your sword has a leather scabbard it is advised to avoid storing it in the scabbard as the leather will draw the oil off and create a damp environment causing rust on the blade quickly.
Blade Steel Types
Below is a table of common steel types and their breakdowns along with a short oppinion on them.