Re: Dowel Rod ----> Jo?
Finished wood broom handles cost $5 at Home Depot, Walmart, or hardware store. They come standard at 60 inches so you need to cut them down to 50-52 inches with a saw . Bevel sand the cut end. Great for Jo Kata, Jo Suburi practice and even Jo Dori. I have a couple myself. They are about the same weight as a "proper" jo and I like to use them for practice outside on the concrete patio where I don't want to get my expensive "proper" jo scuffed up.
BUT you cannot use them for anything other than no contact or just light "touching" contact. They will definitely shatter with minimal provocation. You MUST use a real jo for striking stick to stick otherwise someone could easily lose an eye from flying wood shards when it shatters on a hard strike - deliberately or accidentally.
Makes a great walking stick (and hence aggressive-dog self-defense weapon) but rely on poking attacks because it can definitely break if you strike with it and meet hard resistance.