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Old 01-17-2011, 05:57 AM   #4
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Re: Making your own bokken/tanto etc.

Hello again.

It seems that the local shops selling woodstuff have really crappy selection for this use. They mostly have just typical building/furniture woods and not many tougher ones... One place had only red oak, which isn't going to help me much. Other place had some kind of special tree which is close to hickory. The name escapes me. That one would have been great for making training weapons but it costs around 3000€ per cubic meter so its way too much.

I thought i will try to look for some good maple and maybe birch. There's one special kind of birch found in north Finland which is extremely damage resistant and tough. It could be hard to find though.

I read from an Finnish Aikido forum that anything special enough is really hard to find here and/or very expensive.. It seems to be so.

Well, my search for suitable material continues and i'll keep you guys updated about my progres.

I read post from one guy who made bokken from finnish birch, he mentioned he made it just for fun and not real training, but he never mentioned how damage resistant the birch was etc... From what i know, slowly grown finnish birch is very tough, it's used as axe handles and for making various tools and in that use it's good for years. Ofcourse it doesnt take much direct damage when used as an axe handle.

I have one of those at home and that same birch handle has been in use for more than 20 years. It's still in good shape. But how would it work as training weapon, i'm not sure. Birch might be too hard and shatter. But then again it doesnt get any worse by time, it tightens a lot when dried slowly enough.

Damn, this showed to be harder thing to do than i thought. Decent birch at least is easier to find, the person in the other wood shop told that i'll find it few other wood retailers near by, maybe i'll pay those places a visit.
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