Re: bokken comparison (long post)
Have to put my .02 in here. A guy at our dojo bought one of the Kingfisher bokken. Now they come in different wood grades, I'm not sure which one he purchased, but it looks like on of the high end ones. He brought it to class, and sensei proceeded to beat the snot out of it with a regular old white oak bokken (not on purpose mind you, just doing kata). The thing was badly dented up and splintering in some places. Dude was a little ticked after having paid 100+ bux for it. Oiling it up would have helped the splinters, but it didn't come anywhere close to breaking the plain old off the shelf bokken.
Having said that, the Kingfisher products are gorgeous and this is just one experience. It just seems the hickory is a little soft on that one at least.