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  • Shinai care/maintenance

    I wonder how you guys care for your shinais.
    After reading through some guides online and asking fellow kendoka, when I bought my first shinai, I only did the sanding/oiling procedure once at the beginning and it lasted for many months, nearly a year. I thought that was a good lifespan, also because of the somewhat cheap price. The second one (same kind) I bought lasted around the same amount of time, also after only caring for it once before using. After that, I didn't have to buy any shinai because I somehow managed to get used shinai as a present every now and then and never used any long enough for it to break. Anyway.
    Now, a few years later, I finally bought a new shinai last winter and it is already broken(huge splinter, too big to cut/sand out). It was neither cheap nor very expensive and again I only sanded/oiled it just one time. Now I read through the manuals again and it says you should do that every few weeks to prevent damage.
    So, I am curious, how regularly do you care for your shinai, what do you do (eg only oil?) and how long does it last on average?
    Thanks for any input

    Please note that I am not careless about my shinais, I check if they have splinters, etc every time and during keiko, just so you dont get the wrong impression.

  • #2
    How long a shinai lasts varies a good deal depending on the environmental conditions and also the user. Dry winter months are especially hard on shinai. I've had some that have lasted more than 8 months with three times a week practice. I've had others that have broken on the first day of use. Very, very sad. But generally you should be sanding/filing your shinai whenever you see a hint of splinters or rough surface, and oiling it each time.

    Comment


    • #3
      You do not need to sand a new shinai.

      People seem obsessed with this idea! Sanding a new shinai takes away the wax on the take, most people also sand them too much. This idea that the take come such a way that they need to be sanded before being used is silly, if that's the case, STOP BUYING CRAP SHINAI.

      I haven't done it for years. If a splinter shows up, use a knife to cut it away and sand it out. If you live in a dry climate, then sure oil them up a bit but don't go over board.

      I'd say 90% of the time shinai break because we hit too hard, hit the menage, or receive bad kirikaeshi.

      I've used shinai from ebogu, ninecircles, kendo 24, eurokendo, nipponkendo in France, and two or three bogu shops in Tokyo and Ibaraki. And believe me, I have bought ALOT of shinai! And not because they have broken....

      Only in my first year of practicing kendo did I sand shinai like that when new. Since then I haven't done it

      I think practicing to cut with a relaxed feeling in your arms so you can get a nice crisp cut with your lovely new shinai nis a much better investment of your time

      Comment


      • #4
        People seem obsessed with this idea! Sanding a new shinai takes away the wax on the take, most people also sand them too much. This idea that the take come such a way that they need to be sanded before being used is silly, if that's the case, STOP BUYING CRAP SHINAI.
        I only buy cheap shinai. My oldest have lasted 2.5 years so far, but if I didn't sand down my shinai before use I'd have concussed someone by now. I have no idea if it's just the cheap ones I buy, but the shinai are effectively a solid piece of wood until I sand them so the slats can move a bit.

        In regards to oiling, I oil them when I get them, and I oil them around now when autumn hits for winter. No idea if it helps or not, but hey, these ones have lasted long enough so no point changing things

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        • #5
          That's absurd, many (most) machine made shinai that I have seen (from china, korea and japan) that are machine-made come with sharp edges that are prone to splintering, there is definitely no need to sand the hell out of them though. I just give them a quick nce over with the shinai-fixing thing as I learned from a boguya.

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          • #6
            I have never sanded a new shinai. I do spray them with Martin guitar spray pollish periodically. When a take splinters, I cut away the loose piece and sand it if it is small enough; otherwise, I replace the take (I seem to always have at least two or three donors). When I replace a take, both the 'new' piece and the remaining pieces are sanded as needed and sprayed, wiped, left to sit, and sprayed again prior to reassembly.

            So far, it has worked very well.

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            • #7
              I do nothing to the bamboo to prepare the shinai. I take it out of the pastic bag or whatever it's in, cut off the shipping threads and use it.

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              • #8
                Generally speaking unless they are complete throw aways aka under 30-40 dollars with no fittings I've never had to sand or do anything to them. The high end ones I save for tournaments and special occasions are already sanded and come ready to go out of the bag.

                As a side note jd111 do you practice at Meguro-Ku? I had the fortune to visit one of your federation practices when I was in japan, Holy S@#$, comes to mind quick, you've got some really, really good people.

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                • #9
                  I just briefly sand them every now and then put a bit of canola oil on them, sinks in within a few hours

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kizeme View Post
                    I just briefly sand them every now and then put a bit of canola oil on them, sinks in within a few hours
                    I suppose canola oil will do in a pinch, but generally you want to avoid oils that can turn rancid. Depending on the environmental conditions the shinai can turn yellow and give off a not-so-fresh smell. If you can get your hands on some mineral oil, that would be better. Mineral oil is the type of oil used on wooden chopping boards.

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                    • #11
                      Where and how do you guys oil your shinais? Just curious.

                      My sensei does not favor oiling shinais cause it sometimes leaves streaks on the men. My shinais generally last awhile, so I don't worry using oil for longevity; just shaving off the splinters.

                      The only other tip I know is to rotate your shinai to even out the wear on the slats.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        New Shinai: take it apart, unglue the take if they are glued, lightly sand the edges if they are sharp and very lightly oil with mineral oil (on the inside only) and then a wipe down with a clean cloth till it doesn't feel oily, do a once over to make sure everything is in order. I only oil cheaper shinai in the beginning to make sure they have enough moisture.

                        Old Shinai: one every 2-3 weeks (depending on how many practices, etc...), take it apart, check for splinters/cracks, sand/shave/etc as needed, lightly oil the insides and after letting it set for at least a couple of hours wipe down with a clean cloth till it doesn't feel oily, then a light light coat of petroleum jelly (only if it has been really dry) and again wipe off with clean cloth.

                        I try to rotate the shinai every time I clean it.

                        Basically, I oil only the insides of the slats and am super careful to wipe it down after it has set for a while. I use a pretty absorbant cloth.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by degeneral1 View Post
                          My sensei does not favor oiling shinais cause it sometimes leaves streaks on the men. My shinais generally last awhile, so I don't worry using oil for longevity; just shaving off the splinters.
                          Woah. How much oil do you have to use to leave streaks on the men-buton?

                          All you need is a very light coating. Put a little bit of oil on a rag, rub it into the shinai, then rub off the excess with another cloth.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by degeneral1 View Post
                            Where and how do you guys oil your shinais? .
                            My sensei does not favor oiling shinais cause it sometimes leaves streaks on the men.
                            LIGHTLY oil the shinai, on the inside, you have to dismatle the shinai to do this. Wipe down any excess, you shouldn't be leaving steaks on peoples men.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Toecutter View Post
                              LIGHTLY oil the shinai, on the inside, you have to dismatle the shinai to do this. Wipe down any excess, you shouldn't be leaving steaks on peoples men.
                              Or streaks. But especially steaks.

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