Newbie help, euro sword sharpening/polishing
Hi guys,

Totally new here, after purchasing a first sword, though I've been lurking and reading for a while. I recently purchased one of VA's Castile/crusader hybrid swords and pretty much love the look of it. It didn't seem quite sharp when it arrived, however, so I am setting about to put a good edge and finish on it — always liked to tinker with things.

I've done a lot of searches about *how* to sharpen, but still have a few questions about doing so:

1 — how sharp should a period-accurate Oakeshott type XII blade be? I know that it shouldn't be razor sharp, and that it should maintain a good convex edge. I've heard of the "paper cutting" test, but what does that mean exactly? I've gotten the blade to cut paper, but it doesn't exactly do it easily. Half the time, the paper just seems to buckle and fold. I assume this means that it fails the paper cutting test? It certainly doesn't seem to want to cut water bottles or cardboard (it's more like playing baseball, in fact)…but maybe that's more a problem with my swing than with the blade?
2 — It seems like there are a lot of ways to sharpen… It's a bit daunting for a beginner, and everybody in the threads all seems to have their own opinion about which is best. I suppose that's normal. I don't want to try a belt sander. The blade has a good edge, it could just stand to be sharper I think? So I'm looking at a diamond hone or sandpaper. What's a good method, and about how long should it take? I keep thinking I'm doing it wrong…but maybe I'm just not doing it long enough?
3 — how shiny should the sword be finished? As delivered, it looks to be finished at about a 400 grit. How would the finish have likely looked on an actual period piece? 400? 600? Or should I take it up to the 1200 range or higher?
3 — blending the finish back in after sharpening: if running the blade back and forth perpendicular to the sharpening surface, then I will invariably get crosshatch scuffs on the blade. I've seen tips for blending this back in, where a folded piece of sandpaper is used and run lengthwise down the blade until the scuffs are removed. Does this work? Will it dull the edge?
4 — direction of sharpening. Is there any advantage to holding the blade perpendicular to a surface and working it back and forth, versus moving the sanding/polishing surface lengthwise along the blade? IT seems to me like the latter would produce less scuffing, but maybe it is also less effective?

Thanks for the help, guys!
Hello and welcome to :) You're asking some great questions. I can tell you that all of them have been addressed to some degree at some point in the past here, but unfortunately, I don't have time to track them all down at the moment.

I'd suggest you start our Spotlight Topics. I'm hoping other people will help point to way to some of these older threads

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