It is a terrible feeling when I see people walk into a sword shop, or a friend's house, ask to see a blade, and the first thing they do is touch the blade. How rude! How ignorant! How insulting!
Never, ever touch the blade of a sword or knife. Sure, you might think you know what your are doing, but touching a blade shows your true ignorance. Using the back of your hand, or just your fingers, even the back of your fingernails -- is touching the blade.
Please, do not touch the blade. Follow these simple rules of etiquette and never embarrass yourself, or others.
1. Back of fingers, hands, etc. on back of blade is still touching the blade. Please, be considerate, touching another person's blade is considered rude! In fact, in many cultures touching another man's blade is like touching his woman.
2. Please, do not draw or swing another person's blade. It is dangerous to others and to yourself, and very inconsiderate.
3. If you have not purchased it, it is not your blade!
4. Please, do not slam or snap blade into the scabbard! It may look exciting and debonair in the movies. However, slamming the blade into the scabbard will simply damage the scabbard and create a lose fit. A lose fit contributes to rattling and the sword or knife possibly falling out unintentionally.
5. Always ride the back of the blade. This means that you should use the dull back of the blade to guide it back into the scabbard or sheath. Not paying attention to this will cause the sharp edge to come in contact with the scabbard or sheath. This will dull the blade prematurely, and most likely damage the scabbard or sheath.
6. Please, do not demonstrate your "iaido" in the store or person's home when you are a guest. Iaido is the Japanese art of drawing and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. When iaido is practiced correctly the blade makes contact with your skin. Please see rule #1.
7. Scabbards and Bamboo shims wear out. Please do not ask to see high carbon steel blades unless you have the serious intention to purchase or have asked for permission.
8. Touching any blade, even your own, is a bad habit as skin oils are acidic and can etch the blade and do promote oxidation.
The person you are buying your sword from should be able to answer your questions and help you through this process. Seek and get help from professionals that know what they are talking about and can help you.
If you have any doubts on any of this, you are more than welcome to call us at 1-800-508-0825 and we will do our best to answer your questions. A good sword does not have to be expensive, but a cheaply made sword can be very dangerous.