View Full Version : Carving a Natural Bokken

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03-24-2005, 06:13 PM
I was thinking about carving my own bokken and I was wondering if one could tree and carve it directly from a young tree or would processed timbre be a better idea? Would a bokken carved direct from the tree be better or worse?

I was thinking about carving one from maple for solo practice and it's much easier to cut a tree for me than to purchase the wood.

Thanks in advance.

Fred Little
03-24-2005, 07:25 PM
If you're going to cut a young maple, there are several things to consider:

1) Maple is not nearly as hard as oak or hickory, so breakage will be an issue

2) If you want to use the wood early, best you have enough for several bokken, since the one you carve from freshly cut wood is almost certain to warp as it dries.

3) A young tree is going to be even more prone to warpage and breakage than heartwood from an old tree.

4) If it's easy you want, your best bet is to buy a good bokken. But if you want to start to develop a craft, carve away.

5) Do trees grow so fast in Newfoundland that cutting them down for bokken is a good idea?



03-24-2005, 08:54 PM
In Newfoundland most trees grow like weeds :D

I'm not too worried about breakage, as I only plan to use it for solo practice. I never really thought about the warping part so thanks for the heads up. I would like to take a go at carving one though just for the experience. I already have a bokken but I'd like one I shaped myself.

I figured I'd cut a section from the truck, skin it and let it dry for a while before even trying it anyway. Hopefully that'll take care of the warping.

03-25-2005, 12:31 AM
I figured I'd cut a section from the truck

Wow a steel bokken - would that be a Chevy or a Ford?

Sorry to put in my unconstructive 2 cents, but I couldn't let it slide. :p

03-25-2005, 04:44 AM
Well it's hard to say about the truck, probably a Chevy. :D

Though carving it might be a chore.

03-25-2005, 07:20 AM
There is a species of maple that may suit your needs for a hand carved bokken. Rock Maple. This is another name given to the sugar maple tree because of the hardness of the wood. Cut a large lower branch near the trunk. Let it sit, off the ground, in a dry sunny place for a few months. This natural drying process will lessen the chance of warping. You may also want to strip the bark as pests that bore into wood and could cause rotting often begin their lives in the bark. Though now is the season for extracting liquid from the sugar maple as the sap is really flowing. So maybe wait another month before cutting a branch. No sense in causing major stress to the tree.

03-25-2005, 10:36 AM
I'm not sure if that species is anywhere around here, though it is entirely possible. Thanks for the tip though.

03-26-2005, 02:19 PM
If you remove the bark from a branch,wrap it in cling film so it doesn´t dry too fast
causing it to crack along the grain.
Let it dry a couple of months and you should be OK.

Rachel Strickman
03-28-2005, 02:49 PM
Another way to avoid the warping and splitting problem is to take a freshly cut branch, strip the bark off it, saw off both ends, and paint them with wood glue. This means that moisture must evaporate from the wood evenly through the sides, and the branch dries at the same rate rather than variably along the natural separations in the wood. Bear in mind that the diameter will decrease and the wood will become denser. On a slightly different issue, be sure not to use metal files to work with wood; this will completely ruin them-- I found out the hard way. Cheers to you and good luck!