After looking at the cost for a hickory bokken and jo, I decided to search the internet to find a reasonable alternative to "designer"
prices. I came up with the following:
Bokken By the Sword
#BOKKEN001 This company actually produces wooden weapons used by the Society for Creative Anachronism folks. This bokken is almost 25% thicker since they're used to producing swords that strike. There are several companies that produce bokkens along with wooden medieval weapons. They all seem to be reasonably priced compared to the specialty bokken designers.
Jo Midland Ki Society
To me this was a no brainer. I could help a dojo and still end up with a jo way below the average cost. This type of source for wooden weapons is also the hardest to find. People who make weapons on the side, either to help out a dojo or as a supplemental income, are often very good craftsmen. Usually they also practice Aikido and are able to develop a deep feel for what is needed.
There are bokken and jo that are cheaper than the two listed above. However, just like I was unwilling to pay top dollar, I also wasn't willing to let price be my only guide. I am happy with my hickory weapons set. Rather than just ordering a set from a martial arts supplier, searching and find these weapons have made them special for me. May you be also be pleased with your purchases, from wherever you get them.