Sword Stands and Holders: Their Pros and Cons
From traditional sword holders to hangers and wall racks, sword stands are a great way to organize and showcase your collection. Some are ideal for displaying a single sword while others show off matching pairs of swords.
Whether you want to hang your swords on the wall or make them a centerpiece at the table, we rounded up the different types of sword stands and their advantages and drawbacks.
1. Upright Sword Holder
Upright sword stands are good for displaying your collection while saving space, especially for long swords. However, many scabbards do not hold their blades securely and may unexpectedly slip when turning the handle down.
To prevent rust, sword owners occasionally re-oil the carbon steel blades before placing them in the scabbard. Unfortunately, upright sword holders tend to pull the oil down the blade over time, and swords may require frequent re-oiling.
2. Single Sword Stand
Resting the sword horizontally is more secure than placing it vertically as the blade will less likely slip out of the scabbard. It will also keep the oil evenly distributed on the blade, making it more resistant to rust. This ideal katana sword stand also allows the viewer to appreciate the finely crafted sword fittings which are often equal to or more than the value of the blade.
When handling the sword to someone, owners often present their sword horizontally while in the scabbard. In Japan, the etiquette dictates that the hilt should be on the left which is a non-threatening position for attack. Your sword can be a stunning centerpiece on a tabletop, though a single sword stand takes more space than an upright sword holder.
3. Double Sword Stand
Ideal for Japanese swords that come in pairs, the double sword stand can enable you to showcase the long sword katana with the short sword wakizashi. In feudal Japan, the daisho set of samurai swords had matching mountings and fitting, from the hilt (tsuka), sword guard (tsuba), lacquered scabbard, and other metal ornaments like fuchi and kashira. Many sword collectors today opt for matching samurai swords, making them perfect for display.
4. Tier Sword Stand
A sword rack that holds more than two swords also makes an ideal samurai sword stand. Apart from the usual pairing of a katana and a wakizashi, it would also allow you to display your tanto dagger or other swords you have.
A tier sword stand is ideal not only for curved blades, but also for straight-bladed swords like the ninjato or ninja sword, Chinese jian, Viking swords, European medieval swords, long swords, canes, and so on.
5. Tier Wall Rack
Avid collectors who own a lot of swords prefer wall-mounted racks compared to the traditional sword display stand as they save space. A tier wall rack lets you utilize spaces above the fireplace and such. Also, hanging several swords as a wall display makes them more organized and presentable. However, they are not ideal for swords that are too long or heavy.
6. Sword Hangers
Sword hangers are economical and sturdy for displaying swords on a wall. Some styles allow the sword to be displayed vertically, horizontally, or at an angle. Many collectors usually present their sword collection vertically, especially medieval swords with crossguards and extra-long swords such as the Scottish claymore and German zweihander.
Some sword hangers are relatively plain, ideal for keeping the focus on the sword displayed. They are also perfect for displaying blunt-edged, flammard, or wavy blades without scabbards. Sword hangers are also versatile for displaying other weaponry such as axes and spears.
How to Choose the Best Sword Stand for Your Collection
Sword stands are a matter of personal preference, but it is ideal to opt for ones that reflect the quality of your collection.
Here are the factors to consider when choosing a sword stand:
Type of Sword
When not in use, samurai swords traditionally had a shirasaya or a plain wooden scabbard and were stored in tansu chests or cabinets instead of displaying them. Some Japanese sword racks, sometimes referred to as katana kake, are often made from lacquered wood.
Most longswords and great swords like the German zweihander are often displayed vertically on the wall, though preferences may vary. However, LARP swords with foam blades are not recommended to be put on a stand but should lay flat on a surface.
Material and Construction
Most sword stands in the market are made of solid wood, though some are constructed from acrylic or steel. However, a sword stand, especially one with an upright design, should be relatively heavy to hold the sword and not easily fall over. Also, the arms of the sword holder should be stable—not loose or shaky.
A good quality wooden sword holder is often heavier and more stable than an acrylic stand. Solid steel sword hangers are more durable than hollow ones, especially for heavier swords. Some collectors also opt for velvet or plastic-covered sword hangers to avoid damaging the lacquered finish of scabbards.
Craftsmanship and Design
Generally, horizontal sword racks are more versatile than the upright designs which can only accommodate blades of particular lengths. Many sword stands come in plain black wood to draw the focus on the sword. Some have elaborately decorated designs such as dragons perfect for Chinese swords and Norse symbols for Viking swords to make your sword collection more cohesive.
Every sword needs a resting place and the proper sword stand would transform it into a stunning display. Collectors have several options, from wall racks to traditional sword holders and hangers. The key is to opt for a high-quality sword stand that can hold the blades properly and bring out the best features in your collection.