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topic 10342

Refinishing a sai (karate weapon)



I am having a bit of a dilemma, and was hoping someone may have some advice. I study karate and have two pairs of sai that have developed a bit of rust. (They were not being taken care of...I know) I am not sure what process would be best to remove the rust, and then reapply some sort of finish to them. I suspect that a process used on a gun barrel may be similar, though I am not sure. Does anyone have any ideas? What materials shoudl I use to take down the rust, and then what to apply over? There is a wrapped cord about the handles of both, and taking that off is not an option (one pair is from Okinawa, and is very valuable to me). I guess I will leave it at that. I know how to use them, but not make them look better!

Thanks for any help.

Jeremy Lesniak
- Randolph, VT


If it were my sai, I would just use steel wool to abrade away and remove the rust. After cleaning them very well, I might use a commercial spray lacquer on them to protect them, or else store them in an oily cloth to inhibit further rusting.

Patricia Frisch
- Rochester, New York


When I was in the Military, we had a unique method of de-rusting our equipment. After a muddy excersize in the field we used to take our gun barrels into the hot showers with us, we'd wash them with soap & water and a wash cloth. You wouldn't believe how much surface rust would just wash right away. If there were residual spots of rust, then we would break out the fine (0000) grade 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] and lightly polish those areas with oil. (Of course we would dry them very carefully after the shower routine.)

Best of luck,

Jim Brent
- Silver Spring, Maryland


My black iron sai just started rusting for the first time in two years -- first time I stored them indoors but outside of the sai case which I guess has been helping to keep them dry -- and left two nice handle-tip rust spots on my Gi. I used this orange-based Goo Begone product that I normally use to clean tough house spots away and that seemed to do the trick to remove the rust. A master at our school who makes burnished steel sai (I have a pair of those, too) said he could have my black iron sai black chromed. I am thinking about it.

Jeffrey D. Modell
- Bingham Farms, Michigan

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