View Full Version : Hickory Jo

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11-10-2009, 02:57 PM
Hi all,

I recently got an Iwama bokken made by Kingfisher woodworks using L7 hickory. I was very impressed with the quanlity and craftmanship and already thinking about ordering a handmade jo using the same grade of hickory.
I found out that hickory does splinter a bit and requires frequent sanding from reading about weapon materials in the forum. Just wondering if it's the same for the Kingfisher L7 grade hickory? I don't mind a little splinter on the boken but i'm a little worry about the jo since there's quite a bit of sliding in its usage.

Has anyone ever got a handmade jo from Kingfisher? Any feedbacks would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

11-10-2009, 03:16 PM
I had a hickory jo (not from this company) and it tended to get harder as it dried and it did get splinters, but by oiling it I never really had much of a problem with it.

Michael Hackett
11-10-2009, 04:28 PM
I have a Kingfisher hickory jo and haven't experienced any problems at all with it. I did take the time to "hammer forge" it - several hours of banging away with increasing impact with a plastic hammer. I got into the habit of always checking my wooden weapons by looking at them and carefully running a thumbnail the length of them to feel for invisible imperfections.

11-10-2009, 04:43 PM
I have been using a kingfisher jo for over 6 years and never a hint of damage. I also have two of his bokken and have used them for a few years also. I agree with the suggestion to keep your weapons oiled.


Janet Rosen
11-10-2009, 04:50 PM
I have had my hickory jo and bokken from sei do kei for over 8 yrs, maybe 10, and they are dented a bit from strong blows but never a splinter and yes I do oil them from time to time.

11-11-2009, 01:27 PM
What kind of oil do you guys use? Boiled Linseed oil? Tung oil?

Thank you for all your feedback!

11-11-2009, 01:44 PM
Since you got a weapon from kingfisher, here is a link to his suggested maintence. I'm sure he would answer any questions you have about other oils that could be used.


Janet Rosen
11-11-2009, 02:00 PM
I confess I take the lazy way, just grab whatever good quality cooking oil is on hand in the kitchen, literally put two drops in one palm, rub thoroughly into palms and fingers to warm and spread the oil, then essentially massage the wood. I don't think I've ever done this more than once a year. As noted, the hickory weapons are 8 - 10 yrs old at this point and in excellent condition.

Jon Shickel
11-11-2009, 03:11 PM
I gave mine a few coats of Danish Oil when I first got it and haven't maintained it in the year or two since. No problems, no splinters, no sanding. But as mentioned above, it's always good to inspect any weapon before use.
(I had different instructions than the ones posted above that specifically mentioned Danish Oil.)

They are very nice sticks with a very lively feel. Everybody who uses mine in training comments positively on it.

11-11-2009, 03:30 PM
Also, bujin has a nice weapon maintenece kit as well.


11-11-2009, 04:39 PM
Also, bujin has a nice weapon maintenece kit as well.


Exactly what i was looking for. Thank you very much!:D

11-11-2009, 05:47 PM
Glad I could help someone out for a change. :D

11-16-2009, 02:41 PM
I've had my Kingfisher jo and bokken for over ten years and have never had any problems with splintering. I have used tung oil to treat my weapons. You can call him if you have questions on maintenance, and he is usually happy to offer advice.

11-20-2009, 01:48 PM
You guys are awesome, thank you all!

I'll put an order in for the jo. I really like the look and feel of hickory, the bokken i got from Kingfisher is actually heavier than the white oak bokken from e-bogu. I always thought that white oak is a bit denser:confused: . Strange!

The reason i inquired about hickory splintering that because I had a cheap hickory jo that dented and splintered after one practice session, and the contact made was not that hard. The hickory wood used for the Kingfisher bokken is night and day comparing to the cheap hickory jo.

Rob Watson
11-20-2009, 02:20 PM
... cheap hickory jo that dented and splintered after one practice session...

There are several different types of hickory and even different species of trees are still called hickory wood. Impact hickory is used to make tool handles (As Clint Eastwood says 'there's nothing like a nice piece of hickory').

At the risk of the moderators wrath I offer these posts about wood over on e-budo.


Also see the following websites for more info on wood.
http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_bokuto.htm at the bottom of the page


From Joseph Svinth "For background on all this, you might take a look at Seasoning of Wood, 1917, by Joseph Bernard Wagner, and American Civil Engineers' Pocket Book, 1916, by Mansfield Merriman, both available via Google Books."


p.s. I've gotten many compliments on my Kingfisher jo and bokken. Not so much on my abilities to wield them ...