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Zoe S Toth
09-30-2013, 02:31 PM
Hey folks,

Alright maybe I'm too much of a DIYer but as I keep having to explain to the college kids that we don't have enough jos for the whole club to practice (huge freshman group this year) I keep thinking about dowel rods.

I mean...it's a stick.

So I am asking for help because I have no clue about wood working/ weapons/ whatever.

By my guess:

1) Figure out how tall I would need it. 5"?
2) Carve off edges?
3) Oil

Any help/ suggestions would be great.

Fred Little
09-30-2013, 02:35 PM
As long as there's never any stick-to-stick contact....

Keith Larman
09-30-2013, 02:52 PM
Zoe, since I know you're in Seidokan, most training in our jogi does not involve any sort of serious contact so the quality of the wood for contact isn't a major concern. Some of us in Seidokan, however, do occasionally get in to that but I'll tend to use my own jo for those demos since some people are so very attached to their pretty pieces of wood. :) I like mine to have dents and bumps -- it shows it's been loved but I also tend to train outside of Seidokan as well. So my weapons are pretty much banged and dinged up. And my favorite Jo for that is one I bought from Bujin trading many years ago -- 3 pieces of wood glued together with the grain opposing to form a really tough composite jo. I've named her Mary Jean... ;) But that said, dowels are fine (in our style), but sand it down and maybe use a light wax (minwax finishing wax is nice) to protect it. If you feel splinters, toss it. It ain't worth the pain of pulling a chunk of wood out of your hand.

Keith Larman
09-30-2013, 02:53 PM
Oops, I forgot. The convention in our dojo is about 50" long. Or if you want to be more precise, the length that will fit under the students armpit to the ground standing straight up.

Best of luck.

Keith

Keith Larman
09-30-2013, 03:00 PM
Oh, and in case it isn't obvious, Fred's point above is that the standard dowels you see in hardware stores (broom handle blanks, etc) tend to be a cheap hardwood that will shatter and splinter on even light impact. Dangerous on many levels for certain types of practice. If you're just "air swinging" (as in solo Seidokan jogi practice), no worries. :)

Andrew S
09-30-2013, 03:23 PM
I'm no expert about wood etc, but here's a thought.
A karate group also uses the dojo I train in. They do some kind of work with a bo, and have half a dozen or so bo stored at the dojo. Only one of these is a genuine oak bo, the rest are all hardware store bought softwood.

As other posters here have already said, if you do any kind of contact, you want real oak or other hardwood jo. If it is a temporary measure for teaching basic suburi etc, softwood may be the way to go for a dojo "pool", while encouraging people to purchase their own proper jo.

All of our dojo have a pool of cheaper red oak jo and bokuto, but folks are encouraged to buy their own weapons, and can do so through the dojo (nice white oak weapons).

Conrad Gus
09-30-2013, 03:37 PM
Wouldn't a piece of dowel be way too light? I think that a person would pick up some terrible habits with a wispy little rod. You could learn forms, I suppose, but trying to do suburi would be worse than useless.

Millsy
10-01-2013, 12:14 AM
As mentioned above, I'd stay clear of cheap hard wood. Back when I trained at hitting weapons hard :) I had the top 9-12 inches of my partners jo shear off while I was blocking yokomen, creating two very sharply pointed pieces of wood. The top 9 inches whizzed like a dagger past my ear and the short spear my partner was wielding stopped near my throat. We were both a little surprised by the situation and realised that could have been ugly. It was made of cheap brittle hard wood.

Funny years latter he still has that short spear as a reminder.

phitruong
10-01-2013, 07:29 AM
get a rod of Appalachian hickory 3/4" to 1" thick about your shoulder height. oil: 1/2 tung + 1/2 linseed. rub it on regularly for the first few months. then twice a year after.

lbb
10-01-2013, 07:32 AM
I think it's important to (at a minimum) use something that has at least approximately the same dimensions as the real deal - so, length and thickness typical of an aiki jo.

Dowel wood seems calculated to raise blisters without a good job of sanding and finishing. Between the effort needed to track down a dowel of that length and thickness, cutting it, sanding it and finishing it, I wonder if you couldn't scrounge through dumpsters for deposit bottles and buy a real jo for less effort ;-)

phitruong
10-01-2013, 09:41 AM
Dowel wood seems calculated to raise blisters without a good job of sanding and finishing. Between the effort needed to track down a dowel of that length and thickness, cutting it, sanding it and finishing it, I wonder if you couldn't scrounge through dumpsters for deposit bottles and buy a real jo for less effort ;-)

some people just like to build things with their own hands. a friend of mine did just that. he could have buy a bunch of nice jo, but decided to make one himself. it's also good that he's a wood worker too. :)

Keith Larman
10-01-2013, 11:16 AM
Yeah, I've made a few myself and a few bokken. Hell, I put together koshirae for swords so why would I want to pay someone else to do it for me with a jo or bokken? And fwiw, I do have some really nice ones bought from various folk out there doing this work themselves because I like to support those who do it. And if someone wants to perform that meditative act of cutting, sanding, and oiling then by all means go for it. Years ago I made a handful of shorter jo so I could start kids off with properly sized jo.

If you can find a white or red oak 1" diameter piece that's relatively straight, go for it. Clean it up, wipe it well, do what Phi suggested up above or go with something like a good minwax finishing wax (you'll need to reapply occasionally).

And to those who worry about stick to stick, there's some discussions out there about how various woods react. Use google and search for it. Kim Taylor has written some good stuff on the topic over the last decade.

And frankly the first thing I do if I get a new weapon from some other place is strip the finish and redo the whole thing. Because it's what I do. And because I enjoy it. And because it's fun. And because I can. And because it makes it more "mine". Hell, I usually reshape bokken I get just to make them a bit more to my liking...

All that said you can also find relatively inexpensive jo if you look on-line in places like karate supply places. They're generally cheap but they work (although with most of those I'd still stay away from any significant contact).

lbb
10-01-2013, 12:57 PM
And if someone wants to perform that meditative act of cutting, sanding, and oiling then by all means go for it.

I understand why you, a woodworker, would do that. OP stated that he's not a woodworker. That changes things.

Keith Larman
10-01-2013, 01:24 PM
I understand why you, a woodworker, would do that. OP stated that he's not a woodworker. That changes things.

Nah, this isn't exactly rocket science and I think that was the point of the question as she was verifying that. A little elbow grease, some sandpaper, a saw and a little wax or oil. Now if she was going to be turning the blanks on a lathe... But if you're buying dowels there's not much left to do...

phitruong
10-01-2013, 02:24 PM
how's about solid oak curtain rod of the right diameter that you can cut down to your size? just a thought.

Janet Rosen
10-01-2013, 02:37 PM
how's about solid oak curtain rod of the right diameter that you can cut down to your size? just a thought.

Ukiah Aikido beginning students sometimes use inexpensive solid hardwood curtain or closet rod they can buy locally for practicing solo at home.

Krystal Locke
10-04-2013, 06:37 AM
If you go with oiling up curtain rods, choose your oil well. This one time.... really, I thought a good dose of lemon oil would help my jo and make it smell nice, because that's important, right? I might as well have slathered my jo with tiger balm, ben gay, napalm, hot lava, antartica, a witch's tit, and the insides of a couple medium sized suns. Apparently, a tiny bit of lemon oil would add some bite to a homemade jow....

Hey folks,

Alright maybe I'm too much of a DIYer but as I keep having to explain to the college kids that we don't have enough jos for the whole club to practice (huge freshman group this year) I keep thinking about dowel rods.

I mean...it's a stick.

So I am asking for help because I have no clue about wood working/ weapons/ whatever.

By my guess:

1) Figure out how tall I would need it. 5"?
2) Carve off edges?
3) Oil

Any help/ suggestions would be great.

Malicat
10-06-2013, 08:40 PM
Zoe, I know you are trying to cut down on money spent with the DIY option, but you can get a 42" staff (called a bo, but hey, that length is doable, if a bit short) for 12.50 online. Bulk orders from a dojo also get a discount, although I'm not sure how much you need to spend to qualify. I'll agree it's tacky and awful, but hey, it's a stick, right? :) Also someone else raised the same concern that I had, which was that a dowel is going to be almost too lightweight to use.

Anyway, hopefully these are in your price range. I order all my gi from this supply place, primarily because their shipping is awesomely fast, and I don't like the ones that my dojo orders.

--Ashley

http://www.awma.com/productdetail/3693-proforce-ultra-bo-staff-red-prism.html

Hey folks,

Alright maybe I'm too much of a DIYer but as I keep having to explain to the college kids that we don't have enough jos for the whole club to practice (huge freshman group this year) I keep thinking about dowel rods.

I mean...it's a stick.

jurasketu
10-07-2013, 09:54 AM
Finished wood broom handles cost $5 at Home Depot, Walmart, or hardware store. They come standard at 60 inches so you need to cut them down to 50-52 inches with a saw . Bevel sand the cut end. Great for Jo Kata, Jo Suburi practice and even Jo Dori. I have a couple myself. They are about the same weight as a "proper" jo and I like to use them for practice outside on the concrete patio where I don't want to get my expensive "proper" jo scuffed up.

BUT you cannot use them for anything other than no contact or just light "touching" contact. They will definitely shatter with minimal provocation. You MUST use a real jo for striking stick to stick otherwise someone could easily lose an eye from flying wood shards when it shatters on a hard strike - deliberately or accidentally.

Makes a great walking stick (and hence aggressive-dog self-defense weapon) but rely on poking attacks because it can definitely break if you strike with it and meet hard resistance.

Linda Eskin
10-25-2013, 04:40 PM
I'll second (or third) the admonitions to not use dowels, broom handles, etc. for any contact. I have a couple I turned into jo when I first started, and they are great for backyard solo practice, but I would not allow them in the dojo. They are very nice (beveled, sanded, oiled, and burnished), but not safe. They are also too light, and too thick (which was an advantage when I started, but now feels weird).

Several of us at my dojo have had good luck with oak weapons from NineCirclesUSA.com. Very well made, pretty white oak, reasonably priced. They sell sets of 4 or 10 at a discount. Maybe if a bunch of folks ordered them together...
http://www.ninecirclesusa.com/Wooden_Weapons__Shinai/Jo__Hanbo/Oak_Jo_-_50_-_10_Pack.aspx

ninjedi
09-16-2016, 04:05 PM
Plenty of places selling exotic wood dowels suitable for making wood weapons (ipe, hickory, oak, jatoba, purpleheart, etc), just poke around on google or your local lumberuard

Walter Martindale
09-16-2016, 05:15 PM
Plenty of places selling exotic wood dowels suitable for making wood weapons (ipe, hickory, oak, jatoba, purpleheart, etc), just poke around on google or your local lumberuard

Er... did you notice that the last posting in this thread was in 2013?

Ellis Amdur
09-17-2016, 11:51 PM
Just a parenthetic comment - I've never understood why it's 'wrong' to revisit an old thread. Maybe someone has new information, or a conversation can be restarted. So what if the original poster/questioner is gone, dead or in silent retreat in a monastery0--if the topic is interesting, people will start talking about it again.

And in this case, there is something 'new' - I've also seen sites selling exotic wood dowels. Unfortunately, nothing all that long. Has anyone seen a site selling nine or ten feet long dowels of hardwood?

Ellis Amdur

rugwithlegs
09-18-2016, 11:27 AM
Thank you Ellis. The post is old, the subject is timeless and existed before any of us and will outlive us.

http://cookdingskitchen.blogspot.com/2016/09/all-about-wooden-weapons-for-martial.html

Cook Ding's Kitchen had a guest blogger who has lots of information on types of wood.

The length of the Jo seems to now be standardized. So, 6'8" or under four feet tall, the store sells you the same thing. True of other weapons too, a Bo is six feet long for someone way over six feet even though some okinawan karate masters were under closer to five feet tall which makes the weapon handling and coverage very different. Anyone know the dimensions for the jo as a police weapon in Japan? Does SMR have specific definitions of what is allowed to be called a jo?

The Jo I have that has lasted the longest was sold to me as red oak, but it is slightly shorter and slightly wider than what I see as standard now. I did try to by a dowel, the paste board didn't last long. A replacement shovel handle from Home Depot is very useful for makiwara practice. I have bought the $100 Purple Heart and it was kindling in minutes; never again.

Using O Sensei as an example, lots of evidence that he was comfortable with rifle and bayonet, or a swamp spear. I play with other objects like a broom or an unloaded shotgun.

Ellis Amdur
09-18-2016, 01:53 PM
SMR no is 4 shaku 2 sun 1 bu.

Jonathan wrote a fine article. Let me add my website on wood for Japanese wraponry www.zaimoku.org

Bruce Bookman and I are engaged in the development of a new approach to aikijo- currently working on a set of 5 kumijo. Using 5 shaku (feet) hickory JO.

rugwithlegs
09-19-2016, 08:58 AM
SMR no is 4 shaku 2 sun 1 bu.

Jonathan wrote a fine article. Let me add my website on wood for Japanese wraponry www.zaimoku.org

Bruce Bookman and I are engaged in the development of a new approach to aikijo- currently working on a set of 5 kumijo. Using 5 shaku (feet) hickory JO.

A very good article by you.

I am very interested to see what you two develop!

Larry Feldman
09-19-2016, 04:28 PM
Ellis - Try Kim Taylor (or speak to his wife Brenda) about your 8' or 9' weapon request.
http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_bokuto.htm

Walter Martindale
09-20-2016, 09:36 AM
Just a parenthetic comment - I've never understood why it's 'wrong' to revisit an old thread. Maybe someone has new information, or a conversation can be restarted. So what if the original poster/questioner is gone, dead or in silent retreat in a monastery0--if the topic is interesting, people will start talking about it again.

And in this case, there is something 'new' - I've also seen sites selling exotic wood dowels. Unfortunately, nothing all that long. Has anyone seen a site selling nine or ten feet long dowels of hardwood?

Ellis Amdur

My bad.
FWIW Hickory might make a good jo but the hockey stick industry beat the heck out of hickory supplies quite a while ago.

Janet Rosen
09-20-2016, 04:05 PM
My bad.
FWIW Hickory might make a good jo but the hockey stick industry beat the heck out of hickory supplies quite a while ago.

Kim Taylor makes excellent hickory weapons. I treasure my custom hickory bokken and jo from him.

jurasketu
09-21-2016, 08:10 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyjrUAimzZg

ninjedi
09-22-2016, 01:10 PM
[QUOTE=John Hillson;348268] I have bought the $100 Purple Heart and it was kindling in minutes; never again.

Dang, what were you training against? I have a purple heart (1-1/8 inch diameter) and it was withstood the test of time against oak, ipe, hickory, other purple heart, and even the maple tree in my front yard.

rugwithlegs
09-22-2016, 10:35 PM
[QUOTE=John Hillson;348268] I have bought the $100 Purple Heart and it was kindling in minutes; never again.

Dang, what were you training against? I have a purple heart (1-1/8 inch diameter) and it was withstood the test of time against oak, ipe, hickory, other purple heart, and even the maple tree in my front yard.

Perhaps most accurate to say he took my money and he said, "this is Purple Heart." I found it very light in my hands and it just seemed to have no flex. I did nothing crazy with it, just basic paired practice.

For the wood workers, my jo that lasted the longest but has inferior wood has a bigger diameter than standard and that feels nice in my hands. Shorter also seems more durable.

Cold Steel was making a polymer jo - has anyone tried those?

Fred Little
09-28-2016, 10:15 AM
Has anyone seen a site selling nine or ten feet long dowels of hardwood?

Ellis Amdur

Yes, someone has, Ellis!

Can't yet vouch for their products but there's this:

https://www.bairdbrothers.com/Hardwood-Dowel-Rod-C95.aspx

But at $35 for a 12' length of 1 1/14" ash, or $52 for a 12' length of white oak, it may be worth checking out. And I do need a yari, so there may be a review soon.

FL

lbb
09-28-2016, 11:45 AM
But at $35 for a 12' length of 1 1/14" ash, or $52 for a 12' length of white oak, it may be worth checking out. And I do need a yari, so there may be a review soon.

I wonder where they're getting the ash. The emerald ash borer is why you see so many maple bats in baseball these days, and also why you see so many flying splinters.

jurasketu
09-28-2016, 04:23 PM
While the emerald ash borer is a very serious threat to the White Ash that is commonly used to make wooden bats, there is still plentiful ash (for now). Major League baseball players use sugar maple (hard maple) because they believe the bats give them better results (not easily proved). Hard maple is harder but heavier and so to achieve the same bat weight (generally 32oz to 34oz) - the bat is thinner and so subject to breaks more often than a thicker ash bat of the same weight [unscientific explanation].

https://rundown.maruccisports.com/2015/07/08/maple-vs-ash/