Just a parenthetic comment - I've never understood why it's 'wrong' to revisit an old thread. Maybe someone has new information, or a conversation can be restarted. So what if the original poster/questioner is gone, dead or in silent retreat in a monastery0--if the topic is interesting, people will start talking about it again.
And in this case, there is something 'new' - I've also seen sites selling exotic wood dowels. Unfortunately, nothing all that long. Has anyone seen a site selling nine or ten feet long dowels of hardwood?
FWIW Hickory might make a good jo but the hockey stick industry beat the heck out of hickory supplies quite a while ago.