View Full Version : Macassar vs Hickory

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07-30-2003, 02:31 PM
:D :confused: :cool: :D

One of my fellow Aikidoka is looking to buy a new Bokken/Jo set and is mainly interested in the Macassar Ebony and the Kingfisher Weapons Grade Hickory.

We've compared the relative strengths on this site. But we really want to know about feel, weight, control, stickiness (do your hands sweat on this and then stick or slide), etc. Does anyone have any experience with either of these? Or both? Could you share what you think?


07-30-2003, 03:13 PM
I like white oak for my jo.

But, since I don't allow such hard direct contact on my bokken since it is a representation of a real blade, I like hickory alot. Great, feel and will let you know when you aren't doing things correctly.

All the best,

Ron Tisdale
07-30-2003, 03:35 PM
The ebony is a little heavier, and the jo can get a little tacky feeling in high humidity (because of the finish and me sweating a lot). I like to train suburi with heavy buki, so I use my ebony jo and bokken for that.

The hickory bokken is a little lighter, but still heavier than the standard bokken low end most beginners get...doesn't feel quite as hefty as some of those huge white oak ones you see though. It seems more streamlined than those when I'm handling it. So far, the impact hickory from bear woods products has held up extremely well in both my jo and bokken. And I occationally dabble in stuff that requires a bit of good contact. And they also haven't torn the heck out of my partner's buki, either. Another important factor for partner practise. If this set gets old or beat up sometime, I;ll probably get another to replace them.

Ron T.

Ron Tisdale
07-30-2003, 03:39 PM
Oh, I've heard that the maccascar can tear the heck out of other people's buki. I used to hate it when other people brought in their fancy hardwood buki, and ruined a good days work finishing my own buki. I'd hate to turn around and do that to someone else.


07-30-2003, 03:51 PM
We just purchased some white oak jo/bokken/tanto for a couple of our aikidoka. (Congratulatory gift on passing their dan tests!!!) And I liked the feel and weight (holy light!!) of them. The new owners are quite proud of them!

We're in a very dry climate so tackiness due to humidity might not pose a problem, unless we travel with them. But sweating might. Hmmmm....

The hard contact does come into play every once in a while. For the most part it is light or just the katas.

Do the ebony tear the heck out of other weapons in paired training? Or are they like the Hickory in that respect?

Thanks for the responses!!! Hope to get more of your opinions!

07-30-2003, 03:53 PM
Sorry Ron, I should've refreshed before posting!

heh heh


07-31-2003, 03:36 AM
I've been wanting to buy a jo - and perhaps a new bokken from Tozando. They basically have red oak and white oak. Any thoughts on what to get ?

I would prefer a sturdy weapon that can last me a while. With regards to weight they seem to be about the same.

with regards to bokken they have a large variety of actually, but i'll probably just get the one that looks the most like a regular blade.

07-31-2003, 11:53 AM
In the weapons section on this site there is a study done on the relative strengths of the woods. I'm not sure how much I would trust it. The person who did the article also makes weapons from the strongest (according to him) wood. So there might be some bias on that account. Also he states that some woods were tested that were fairly old (Kashi white oak in particular). Which brings into question on how well they were taken care of, and were there other woods tested that had the same relative age, and so forth. It's an interesting read.

Jorgen, about the jo and bokken. I really like the japanese white oak. We have some of the red oak (they might be the asian kind) and we tend to break those a lot. So that might be a better choice.

Good luck

Larry Feldman
07-31-2003, 05:39 PM
Red Oak will break with any contact work.

White Oak or Hickory should last you many years.

I bought some Ebony weapons from Artha Gallery and the pricing (on a wholesale order) was close enough to the White Oak that I use it now. They will all get 'dinged up' with contact. The Ebony is beautiful, and a little heavier/denser than the white oak.

I have VERY limited experience with a Katana, but the ebony feels much closer to a live blade than the white oak does.

08-01-2003, 12:23 AM
I have both the ebony aikido set (bokken, jo, and tanto) from Artha Gallery and an impact grade hickory bokken from Kingfisher. I love the ebony jo. The weight, length, balance and finish are all very nice. The ebony bokken is good too but I find the weight to be a bit much for extended use...a bit tip heavy if I remember correctly. Still a beautiful weapon. Well made and high quality.

Recently I purchased the hickory bokken from Kingfisher...WOW! The weight, balance, look, everything are top notch. The feel of the wood is unique since he doesn't sand them. The surface is open grain from shaving and planing. I believe the only coating is some teak oil, so there's no annoying finish to sand off. I love it.

The service I received from both places was great. Steven at Artha was very patient with me while I learned about international shipping and bank to bank fund transfers :rolleyes: I know some people won't deal with him because he sends out unsolicited emails (spam) but if you want some nice macassar ebony stuff you might want to contact him. Brad at Kingfisher was also very professional and good to deal with. He was able to get me a customized bokken in about two weeks and was very good at answering questions and such in a timely manner.

Hope this helps.


08-01-2003, 03:57 AM
Red Oak will break with any contact work.
Interesting. I own what I think is a red oak bokken, and it has lasted me for about six years of kendo-kata, iaido, aiki-toho and ken-tai-ken/ken-tai-jo. Granted neither of the first three contains much impact on the weapon (except when I drop it on the floor :D) but ken-tai-ken and ken-tai-jo does occasionally put a strain on my bokken. The only marks on the bokken though are where my fingers have rubbed off the varnish. It must be a lucky piece of wood :p

Anyway - I'll go for the white oak. It'll give me something to compare with.

Thank's for the reply.