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tedehara 11-19-2002 11:34 PM

Hickory Weapons
 
After looking at the cost for a hickory bokken and jo, I decided to search the internet to find a reasonable alternative to "designer" prices. I came up with the following:

Bokken By the Sword #BOKKEN001 This company actually produces wooden weapons used by the Society for Creative Anachronism folks. This bokken is almost 25% thicker since they're used to producing swords that strike. There are several companies that produce bokkens along with wooden medieval weapons. They all seem to be reasonably priced compared to the specialty bokken designers.

Jo Midland Ki Society To me this was a no brainer. I could help a dojo and still end up with a jo way below the average cost. This type of source for wooden weapons is also the hardest to find. People who make weapons on the side, either to help out a dojo or as a supplemental income, are often very good craftsmen. Usually they also practice Aikido and are able to develop a deep feel for what is needed.

There are bokken and jo that are cheaper than the two listed above. However, just like I was unwilling to pay top dollar, I also wasn't willing to let price be my only guide. I am happy with my hickory weapons set. Rather than just ordering a set from a martial arts supplier, searching and find these weapons have made them special for me. May you be also be pleased with your purchases, from wherever you get them.

mle 11-20-2002 02:44 AM

Re: Hickory Weapons
 
Quote:

Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
After looking at the cost for a hickory bokken and jo, I decided to search the internet to find a reasonable alternative to "designer" prices. I came up with the following:

Chuck and I have been very happy with, and unable to break (despite heavy-duty thumping) our hickory jo and bokuto from Kim Taylor.

http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/

mle

ian 11-20-2002 02:51 AM

Thanks for this - I'm getting fed up with the poor quality weapons that seem to be sold in most martial arts shops. I think it would be worth getting one shipped out to the UK.

How do you find the oval shape for kumitachi? Does it feel very different when you are turning the sword for the tsuki or defending from tuski (i.e. 'cos there isn't a turnable blade edge)?

Also, I know that many of the bokkens you can get from Japan seem too short - are these OK length?

Final question - I find the hilt of most cheap bokkens too narrow and give me hand cramps if I do lots of cutting - do these have nice meaty hilts?

Cheers,
Ian

Bronson 11-21-2002 06:40 AM

Quote:

Also, I know that many of the bokkens you can get from Japan seem too short - are these OK length?
If this is a problem you can try

Bugei Trading Co. I haven't gotten one of their hickory bokken yet but I probably will at some point in the future.

Also, if you're thinking of making some jo yourself I've found a supplier of hardwood dowels in various diameters/lengths. For $150 you can get 100, 48" long 7/8" diameter hickory dowels.

Atlas Dowels
Quote:

This company actually produces wooden weapons used by the Society for Creative Anachronism folks.
When I was with the SCA (Middle Kingdom) we were forbidden from using wooden weapons at any official SCA practice or event (which was all of them). The only acceptable material at the time was rattan. The reason was that when rattan finally fails it doesn't splinter. It gets mushy and then starts to get "hairy". No worry about taking a sliver through your visor. Now they allow swords to be made from something called Siloflex, and also rattan siloflex combinations.

Bronson

DaveO 11-21-2002 07:26 AM

A question:

I know almost knothing about wooden weapons; my bokken and Jo are Japanese white pine and I've become quite attached to them. :)

Just curious, then: What advantage do hickory weapons have over other woods? Lighter, stronger, better looking, etc?

Thanx! :)

MattRice 11-21-2002 08:02 AM

Hickory is denser than say the oak we can get here in N. America. The oak from Japan must be different than what we get here, dunno, seems different to me.

The hickory is nice because it isn't so brittle, however it's a little softer, so it dents, and raises splinters around the dent area easily. Hence it requires more sanding in my experience.

I make my own bokken, so the advantage that hickory (hickory heart, or impact grade hickory) has over oak is that they hickory I can get is more suitable to impact weapons than the oak I can get. I think it prettier too. Some of the pieces of white oak I've found are down right ugly. Not that this matters in practice of course, but if I'm spending hours shaping a bokken, and getting the hairy-eyeball from the wife, I want a good looking piece of wood.

The bokken I'm using now is maple, it's a little brittle for impact, but I've laminated two pieces together lengthwise, so hopefully that will help. It will definatley splinter less as it is much harder than the hickory. My last hickory bokken I had to retire: too many splinters and chips for safety. Didn't break though!

tedehara 11-21-2002 04:08 PM

If you want to get technical about bokkens you can read this.

If you want a more mystical approach you can read this.

Dave I'm willing to bet that your weapons are Japanese white oak. Pine is too soft to use.

Emily These guys also seem reasonable. At least you're not paying $100+USD for a piece of wood.

Bronson Yeah. These guys (By the Sword) make wasters or training weapons. I don't think them use them in actual SCA events.

Matt Edward Dix who wrote one of the above articles, also mentioned denting. Both articles mentioned selecting the best wood possible. I have yet to use the hickory bokken in contact. I've managed to dent up a Japanese white oak bokken. Of course the cheaper bokken against it, shattered clean through. :eek:

Ian Let me take a closer look and I'll get back with you on an answer.

DaveO 11-21-2002 04:11 PM

Thanks for the info, friends - and Ted; you're probably right, I know it's Japanese-white-something, anyway. :)

akiy 11-21-2002 04:16 PM

I have an article entitled, "Woods for Training Weapons" here on this site:

http://www.aikiweb.com/weapons/goedkoop1.html

It's written by James Goedkoop of Kingfisher Woodworks and contains a lot of information on the kinds of wood he's used in making practice weapons.

-- Jun

jk 11-21-2002 11:13 PM

For you home-improvement types, here's a nice article by Kim Taylor:

http://ejmas.com/tin/tinart_taylor_1100.htm

Lots of good info in there...

Regards,


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