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Old 04-07-2008, 10:07 PM   #1
marky musashi
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bokken

hello all. I am new to this website and a student of aikido. I have been training in Boston, Ma. for the last 2 years. I currently am a 4th kyu.

I just wanted to talk about my new bokken. It is made from white oak. I sanded the bokken down to remove the varnish on it. I rounded the very end of the tsuka. I was told to do this by a japanese man whos comes from a long line of samurai. he also told me to use bur oil then bees wax to finish. I did what he said and everything is great. just wondering how everyone out there cares for their bokken.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:43 AM   #2
Shany
 
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Re: bokken

hmm,
well.. I sanded my booken and created a hamon line, i sanded the tip of my bokken to create a kissaki.

and while not training with it, its resting with my katana along side.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:28 AM   #3
crbateman
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Re: bokken

Types of wood, open or closed grains, and manner of usage all affect a decision on finish. Many woods, Macassar Ebony for example, are extremely dense, and polish up nicely with little or no additional finish. For others, including white oak, sanding to 600 grit and a few coats of tung oil provide a good finish. For what I would call a "working" bokken, it also helps to burnish, or compress the grain of the wood, prior to putting on the finish. The "old school" way of doing this is to use a large bone to vigorously rub the surface of the wood, but most modern methods are equally effective. One is to use a hardened steel rod (approximately the size of a hanbo), but I prefer to rub the bokken on the rounded lip of a stainless steel commercial sink. You might be interested to know that this process is used in the conditioning of wooden baseball bats. There, it's known as "boning".
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Old 04-08-2008, 06:47 AM   #4
Beard of Chuck Norris
 
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Re: bokken

What i have done: Diddly squat.

Had it for about 2 years using it in kendo and aiki and it's going strong. Not bad for something that cost me under a tenner.

I'll maybe sand it at one point and give it a nice oiling but i certainly wouldn't go to the effort of creating hamon... or any other "mods" for that matter.
Each to their own i guess, my dojo has no special requirements (other than ZNKR requirements for kendo which are 'standard')

peace and love

Jo
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:11 AM   #5
lbb
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Jo Duncan wrote: View Post
What i have done: Diddly squat.
Same here. I've had mine about 16 years, white oak. "Polish it with sweat" my first sensei said
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:39 PM   #6
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: bokken

Just an occasional sanding to smooth out any minor cracks from use, followed by a couple applications of Old English lemon oil.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:18 PM   #7
ChrisMoses
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Mark Manchini wrote: View Post
I just wanted to talk about my new bokken. It is made from white oak. I sanded the bokken down to remove the varnish on it. I rounded the very end of the tsuka. I was told to do this by a japanese man whos comes from a long line of samurai. he also told me to use bur oil then bees wax to finish. I did what he said and everything is great. just wondering how everyone out there cares for their bokken.
Decent advice, I use Howard's Orange oil for my weapons and it works pretty well.

Just a point however, there haven't been any samurai since 1868, so while he may study 'samurai' arts, using a phrase like "coming from a long line of samurai" is a bit odd. During the 30's when Japan was getting expansionist and ultra-nationalist, everybody in Japan suddenly found their "samurai" family roots. It didn't matter that most people actually came from farmers, or that most samurai knew more about storehouse accounting than warfare. He very well might be descended from samurai, but unless he's associated with a ryu-ha it does just as little to validate his knowledge than my relation to Hessian mercenaries during the 18th century would validate my knowledge of muskets.

Really not trying to be a dick, just offering some perspective.

Chris Moses
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:05 PM   #8
marky musashi
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Re: bokken

I didnt ask for a history lesson. Especially one I am versed in. I will ask him when I see him again. .peace to u all
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:11 AM   #9
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: bokken

Also note that 'coming from a long line of samurai' doesn't necessarily mean the individual knows anything about budo. For much of the history of Japan, the samurai were basically glorified accountants and file clerks. Generations of samurai lived and died without ever stepping onto the battlefield, or even, in some cases, into a dojo.

It's probably fairly accurate to say that, today, there are far more Westerners studying budo than there are Japanese ...

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Old 04-09-2008, 08:33 AM   #10
JRY
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Re: bokken

Sanding and application of linseed oil for bokkens that I use for paired practice.

Occasionally oiling the other bokkens that I have for aesthetic purposes :P just to maintain the wood.
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:10 PM   #11
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote: View Post
Also note that 'coming from a long line of samurai' doesn't necessarily mean the individual knows anything about budo.
For all we know, someone could be a *distant* relative of Musashi (several generations removed), but that alone would not make that person a great swordsman.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:21 PM   #12
Eric Webber
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Re: bokken

Back to the topic at hand, a good sanding and liberal application of orange oil works for me. A bokken in my possession usually lasts one to four years depending on the wood and how much of a pounding I put on it. Some years are better than others. I personally like good old hickery, though I've also had good experiences with white oak and osage orange. I train pretty aggressively with some of my chums, so I don't believe in spending a lot of money on a weapon.
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:45 AM   #13
JRY
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Re: bokken

Eric, whats ur opinion of Osage orange compared to other woods?
just bought a jo made from osage orange and cant wait to try it out
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:52 PM   #14
Bronson
 
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Jo Duncan wrote: View Post
What i have done: Diddly squat.
Me too.

I have Japanese white oak, hickory, and macassar ebony weapons. They all live in my weapons case in my car all year long and have for several years. No problems yet

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:56 PM   #15
Nick P.
 
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
...Really not trying to be a dick, just offering some perspective.
Whew, that was close!

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Old 04-10-2008, 04:39 PM   #16
Eric Webber
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Jerry Teo wrote: View Post
Eric, whats ur opinion of Osage orange compared to other woods?
just bought a jo made from osage orange and cant wait to try it out
Hi Jerry,

I had an osage orange bokken. I liked the feel of it in my hand, has a very tight grain, very dense wood. I understand from the maker that it is very difficult to work with, so finishing it may be a bit of a task. It did not last as long as I would have liked, it got hit on an angle that compromised the grain and it developed a nice split down the length of the blade. Overall it is a lovely piece of wood to swing, but high impact practice may not be a great idea. As far as full impact practice, I'm sticking to white oak and hickery.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:01 PM   #17
JRY
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Eric Webber wrote: View Post
Hi Jerry,

I had an osage orange bokken. I liked the feel of it in my hand, has a very tight grain, very dense wood. I understand from the maker that it is very difficult to work with, so finishing it may be a bit of a task. It did not last as long as I would have liked, it got hit on an angle that compromised the grain and it developed a nice split down the length of the blade. Overall it is a lovely piece of wood to swing, but high impact practice may not be a great idea. As far as full impact practice, I'm sticking to white oak and hickery.
Thanks Eric.
really appreciate the valuable info.
I have a white oak Iwama bokken which I use for heavy contact.
really like the feel and weight and has been excellent so far.
after sanding and applying abit of linseed oil its ready for another workout
might invest in white oak jo too this time
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:11 AM   #18
M Butt
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Re: bokken

I've had 2 white oak bokkens (always nice to have a spare) for about 7 years now and I've never done anything to either of them. They're still going strong which is good considering they weren't at all expensive.
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:22 AM   #19
dragonteeth
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Jerry Teo wrote: View Post
Eric, whats ur opinion of Osage orange compared to other woods?
just bought a jo made from osage orange and cant wait to try it out
Glad to see I'm not the only oddball with neon yellow weapons! I love my osage orange bokken and jo. They are light enough to make long practice sessions not quite so grueling, but solid enough to take hard whacks from anything else I've seen this side of lignum vitae. While its hardness rating is not as high of a value as impact hickory, its ability to flex actually takes it a little past hickory in terms of being able to take an impact. Kim Taylor has a wonderful article on different species...I'll see if I can dig it up.

I have gotten one or two minor spots along the surface of the jo - by minor I mean a little tiny rip no more than 1 mm but something I feel during jo kata. I picked up a wooden weapons care kit from Bujin, and give it a little lovin about every 6 weeks. That seemed to take care of things.

The other nice thing about osage orange is that no one at a seminar ever mistakes your weapons for their own! =)

Last edited by dragonteeth : 04-22-2008 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:39 AM   #20
dragonteeth
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Re: bokken

The link to the article I read when bokken shopping is dead. However, there is a useful little graph here on Aikiweb. Take a look at the relative hardness, and note the footnote about the range of values for the different hickory samples tested.

http://www.aikiweb.com/weapons/graphics/graph.gif

That came out of a nicely written article which you can read here.

http://www.aikiweb.com/weapons/goedkoop1.html

Hope that's helpful!
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Old 04-26-2008, 03:10 PM   #21
Alexander Vanyurikhin
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Re: bokken

At first, I sanded my bokken. Later saturated it with mordant, and after dry up I covered bokken with wax.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:24 AM   #22
Eric Webber
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
Glad to see I'm not the only oddball with neon yellow weapons!
Yeah, they're kinda hard to miss in the flurry of swinging wood at a seminar. The first time I pulled it out at my home dojo one of my beloved training partners told me that Big Bird had called asking for his bokken back. Someone then asked me where I got the wooden Crayola Crayon. Nonetheless, the osage does make for a nice weapon, unique in color and feel.
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:06 PM   #23
Michael Douglas
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Alexander Vanyurikhin wrote: View Post
At first, I sanded my bokken. Later saturated it with mordant, and after dry up I covered bokken with wax.
Can you explain 'mordant' please?
Maybe it's a translation gone awry.

I use very little raw linseed oil with a bit of turps-substitute rubbed on by hand once a week for a few then once a month on unvarnished woods. The trick is to use very little at a time. After some months they become deeply glossy and nice. *sniff*
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:06 AM   #24
Alexander Vanyurikhin
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Re: bokken

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
Can you explain 'mordant' please?
Maybe it's a translation gone awry.
Maybe. It's substance which after steep protect wood from moisture.

P.S. Sorry for my English))
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