80: Katana Stand

This past Sunday, I presented the 3rd Annual “Art in the Parlor” presentation with Art conservator Scott Sherwood. (For those not in the know, my day job is curator for the Aurora Historical Society, in Aurora, Illinois.)  It’s one of my favorite presentations all year.  The format is that we choose 4-5 “objects d’ art” from the collection, I talk about the provenance and its place in the collection, Scott talks about art techniques and restoration.  This year, we shook things up by choosing to present a WWII era Japanese katana.

Sword Stand (2 of 36)

This sword has been in the collection since 1948, and was a gift from Alvin Wienold.  It is a type 98 Shin-Gunto, ot new military sword, made after 1938.  It is a  well made piece that belonged to an Army officer.

Scott Sherwood, Art conservator.  He's unsheathed the sword in one motion, as is proper for a katana.

Scott Sherwood, Art conservator. He’s unsheathed the sword in one motion, as is proper for a katana. Photo by Mary Clark Ormond.

As part of the presentation, we set up the artwork in the front of the room, and unveil it as we talk about it.  I really needed a sword stand, and don’t really have it in the budget to drop $30 for one that wouldn’t work well for the museum.  Which made it a perfect 52 Lasers project!

Ryan has been experimenting lately with 1/4″ thick clear cast acrylic.  It’s heavy duty compared to what I’m used to, and it was perfect for an unobtrusive sword stand.  I did a quick google search to see if there were any other laser cut sword stands out there, and Brian Chan, a sword smith, had designed a laser cut sword stand, which you can see on his website.

View of how it sits in the cradle

View of how it sits in the cradle

Our stand used Brian Chan’s base measurements for a start, but for my purposes I wanted something more utilitarian.  I only needed to display a single sword, so we made the sides a simple wedge, with a slightly higher lip in the back than the front.  I also shortened it up so it would fit better in a case that had a lid.  Thanks to Ryan’s tests on the material, the 3 pieces (two sides and a base) slotted together beautifully!  It is a beautiful, and archivally sound, display for years to come!

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