Pic 1 Top: SDK
Pic 2 Top: Kingfisher
Pic 3 Top: Kingfisher
Pic 4 Top: Kingfisher
Pic 5 Right: SDK
Pic 6 Right: Kingfisher
Pic 7 Image showing handle on SDK
Pic 8 Right: Kingfisher
just thought would share some pics of 2 of the most popular bokken suppliers as always mentioned on the forums.
When I was looking for a comparison of bokkens I could never find any actual pics so I hope these help
The kingfisher bokken is the standard sanded bokken they do but at the highest wood grade (L5) The other is a standard SDK supplies hickory bokken. They don't grade their wood but I believe Kim personally selects the best timber for the bokkens. I've only just received the Kingfisher bokken and have been using the SDK bokken for about a month.
Aesthetics wise both bokkens are obviously quite different. Bokken from SDK supplies has a few swirls on the handle and colour variation throughout the bokken, which I quite like and believe adds character to the bokken. The one from Kingfisher has a constant straight grain but with straight colour variation running down the blade end (as per pics). The kingfisher bokken is slightly stouter in profile but I believe slightly less than an Iwama bokken. Obviously any bokken that you order will have different characters.
Balance on the Kingfisher bokken is simply spot on. It is very close to that feeling when you're holding a katana. The SDK bokken I feel is very very slightly towards the tip heavy. I have another purpleheart SDK bokken and it doesn't feel as heavy towards the tip as this one.
A major difference which I've noticed on both bokkens is the texture (not sure if right context?) of the wood. The kingfisher bokken is very finely sanded and very smooth. The SDK bokken isn't sanded down as smoothly and the wood gives a nice grip/feedback when you hold it. I guess this would be similar in the higher-end hand-cut kingfisher bokken?
you simply can't go wrong when you order from either one. The Kingfisher bokken actually costs abit more because I added the inscription in my order.
PS. apologies that the pics aren't that great. am a really really bad photographer. I'll also eventually label the images to make it clearer which is the SDK and which is the Kingfisher bokken.