By the time of The Force Awakens, the Skywalker lightsaber is at least 50 years old. This suggests that lightsabers are extremely long-lived and durable and, considering that it spent most of those years locked away in storage, require nothing in the way of maintenance.
But if lightsabers are built to last, it does raise an interesting question: where are all the other lightsabers?
I mean, there used to be quite a few of them around. Prior to the Clone Wars there were apparently some 10,000 Jedi Knights, each of whom had their own lightsaber. After they were massacred—and at the time of The Force Awakens Order 66 is still within living memory—what happened to their weapons?
Presumably the Empire confiscated most of them—as we learned in Rogue One, the kyber crystals that power lightsabers were needed for the Death Star’s superlaser—but they would almost certainly have become a valuable black-market commodity. Even leaving aside their highly sought-after power source, lightsabers are extremely useful tools in their own right, good for slicing open tauntauns and a million other household uses—though it wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea to use one openly, unless one wanted to attract some ominously heavy-breathing attention. And for historical and nostalgic reasons any lightsaber would have an enormous collectible value, though few could command the price of the lightsaber wielded by both Skywalkers.
Small, easy to conceal, and nearly priceless, lightsabers would be a favourite cargo of smugglers and pirates. I wouldn’t be surprised if Han Solo ferried a few of them in his career. Several of them might well have passed through Maz Kanata’s hands before the Skywalker blade turned up. But you’d think she’d have tighter security on such a valuable item. It’s like any scavenger could just waltz in and touch it …