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Old 02-24-2004, 03:33 AM   #1
Mark Williams
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18
Bokken repairs

Hi everyone

I bought myself a lovely bokken a few years ago, it was only cheap (20 or $30) but has a much better feel to it than the more expensive bokkens that I've played with.

Although I don't use it for a great deal of impact practice, I've noticed that it has started to split from the tip. At the moment this isn't a problem but I'm concerned that, left untreated, it will get worse.

I don't want to replace my bokken as I've trained with this since I was a beginner and (whether you believe this or not) feel that I have put some of my Ki into it.

Can anyone suggest how I can repair this before it gets worse? I'm not too concerned about cosmestics, I sanded and teak oiled the bokken some time ago and it still has some sandpaper marks which I think add to its character.
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:09 AM   #2
Jack Robertson
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 64
Depending on how bad the split is, you can put some wood glue into the split and get a metal clamp to hold it. Leave it like this for a long time. In about a day or two, the glue should dry.

Good luck.
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:22 AM   #3
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Mark, please get rid of it or give it an honorable retirement and only use it for solo practice outside of the dojo. I've seen "slightly foxed" weapons cause the worst injuries, yours sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
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Old 02-24-2004, 07:00 AM   #4
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 152

I agree with Ian. I witnessed a bokken, that had no outward signs of damage split with near disasterous results.

The energy that comes from a bokken strike to another bokken is tremendous. And if yours has a visible split, then there probably are invisible weaknesses in the wood that could cause a break.

There is no sense in taking a chance with a fellow student or yourself. Also, if you know there is a possibility of breaking your weapon, you may not practice correctly to protect the weapon.

Ian was correct, retire this weapon in a place of honor. Allow your next bokken to also experience yur Ki.

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Old 02-24-2004, 08:46 AM   #5
Dojo: Shoshikan
Location: Tennessee
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16
Mark, retire the bokken. Put in a rack and buy another. I to have witnessed "bokken shrapnel" because it looked OK. Even glued you have a place that may not be noticed and could break away.

Gary Chase
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:39 AM   #6
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 208
Hi Mark,

I have to aggree with the last few responses, it's time to turn it into wall decoration, it's just not worth the risks if it should fly apart while practicing with it ...even doing just suburi could be dangerous to the students around you!


Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 02-24-2004, 11:56 AM   #7
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 632
Either make it into a relic for display or cut it down and make it into a shoto. The maximum length will be determined by the depth of the crack.

Cracked weapons are not allowed on my mat under any circumstances, for the reasons given by the previous four posters. In fact, if somebody walks on with a piece of wood that looks (think "red oak" from Taiwan) or sounds dubious for any reason, it's subject to fairly severe testing prior to any practice in kumitachi or kumijo.

As a result, I've got a nice collection of shoto and some good clave (www.congaplace.com/instrument/ clave/clave.php) too, since I prefer reuse to memorialization.


Fred Little

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Old 02-24-2004, 02:13 PM   #8
Jack Robertson
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 64
Yeah, you should definately retire it.

In my first post I mentioned how to make it look nice again, but I failed to mention that a cracked bokken will be seriously DANGEROUS to practice with.
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:14 PM   #9
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Retire that puppy before a shard breaks off and impails a partner-it could cause a serious eye injury if it breaks free. I have seen these suddenly split off a jagged chunk-fortunately no one was injured. It's simply not worth the risk to yourself or your partners. I'd even be cautious about using it for solo practice. Doctor it up, glue it, sand it; whatever, and then find a place of honor on your katanakake.
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:36 PM   #10
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
You definitely need to put it up on the wall or only use it when you are alone. My first bokken (red oak) was snapped in half and the piece nearly hit someone during a parry exercise. If you're concerned about a new one breaking, try to make sure you get a durable wood such as white oak (I have been banging my white oak itto ryu bokken for about a year now, probably around 100 - 500 full force parries / strikes a week and it has barely any noticeable dents)


offer an incredible wide variety of woods and styles. I would definitely recomend them for strong implements.

Best of luck,

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 02-27-2004, 05:45 AM   #11
Mark Williams
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18
Thanks for the advice chaps.

It will be hard to retire the Bokken, it's the same feeling you have with your first car - it's always a little special.

As far a replacements go, most are White / Red Oak. Ideally I would like some Hickory or Brazilian Blackwood, something that you'd need a nuclear bomb to dent!

I was lucky with the crush resistance of this Bokken, although it was red oak it didn't get the serrated edge that you often get from bokken practice. Hopefully I'll get lucky with the next one too.
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