bokken woods for friends
I still have the first bokken and jo that I made 8 or 9 years ago. They're both soft maple, nicely dented but sound.
Subsequently I made most of the weapons now residing in the weapons racks as at the dojo as well. Not all of the weapons after those first two have fared well. After shattering during class some of them made nice tanto, some of them made BTU's.
I still make weapons, but after a somewhat dangerous learning curve I've learned that, gee, not everyone behaves with their weapons the same way I do! So, mine are all of laminated construction now.
If you're making weapons for others, remember that you cannot dictate how they will practice with them. Choose a strong, tightly grained wood and_look carefully_at the grain direction. Get 4' of straight grain for jo and, for bokken choose pieces with curved grain direction--wood whose grain curvature most nearly follows that of the weapon. A weapon will usually fail along the line of its grain. Try to accomodate that weakness at the lumber yard.
Have fun, though! Making your own weapons is akin to darning your gi with needle, thread and patience rather than patching it with duct tape (not that there's anything wrong with that!).