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Old 12-22-2004, 12:10 AM   #1
Thomas Ambrose
 
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Oiling a jo

Ok, I read the forum on sticky weapons, but I didn't seem to find exacty the answer I am looking for, so here goes...

My jo is getting dry. I asked Sensei if it needed to be oiled, and he agreed. He suggested using lemon oil or other oil common for wood, not to rub the oil in, but put some on the ends of the jo and let it soak its way through.

This makes sense, but now I realize something. Where does one buy lemon oil? Also, should I store my jo vertically for awhile to let to oil seap through, or will it happen naturally if stored horizontally? I would ask Sensei these questions, but the dojo is on break until January, and I was planning on doing this over that break.

I realize that I know pretty much NOTHING about wood, wood work, oiling, etc other than "wood comes from trees" so I was wondering what experiences other's might be willing to share when it comes to oiling your jos. Mine was made in Japan, and I think it is made out of oak, but I am not positive.

Thanks everyone!

Last edited by Thomas Ambrose : 12-22-2004 at 12:11 AM. Reason: bad grammer and spelling
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:44 AM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Oiling a jo

I've also heard of the "drip and seep" method but never quite understood it. Anyhow, what I do is put a couple of drops--literally just 1 or 2--of light vegetable oil in my hand, rub to warm it, and apply to the whole jo. same w/ bokken. I'm probably doing something wrong though (wry smile)

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Old 12-22-2004, 08:04 AM   #3
Mark Barlow
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Re: Oiling a jo

Oops! I thought you were looking for rude euphemisms. Never mind.

Mark Barlow
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:09 AM   #4
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Re: Oiling a jo

I'm an engineer -- I oil my jo by suspending it in a bath of lemon oil for a few days (picked it up in the furiture polish aisle of the grocery store): I capped the ends of a piece of PVC pipe that either my jo or bokken will fit into, added enough lemon oil to make the wood float, and let it stand in a corner. After a few days, I remove the jo, wipe it down with a dry cloth, polish it a bit with some fine grit sand paper, wipe it once more with lemon oil to remove all of the dust, and it's ready to go. It works great -- kind of like pressure treating the wood, only not as complicated. It absorbs a couple of ounces of lemon oil that way, and is very resilent... I've tried the "drip" method, but it wasn't very effective.
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:10 AM   #5
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Re: Oiling a jo

I periodically use a mixture of tung and linseed oil, or more recently just tung oil. I believe Ikeda Sensei recommends the tung/linseed combination at 50/50 for his weapons. I usually let it dry and then reapply. I have not tried the lemon or vegetable oil. I find the tung/linseed combo keeps the jo in good shape without it slipping through one's fingers and flying across the room (safety).
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: Oiling a jo

Since you seem to have decided not to seal your weapon, look for a "treatment" rather than a "finish" in your local hardware or woodworking store. Lemon oil and tung oil are excellent choices. Linseed oil does a great job of keeping your weapon moist, but smells like sweet sweet death, and turns white weapons yellow. If your weapon has a pre-existing finish, I would take as much off as possible by alternating rubbing it with a cloth and mineral spirits and a damp Melamine foam cleaning pad (Arm & Hammer makes an inexpensive one).
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:14 PM   #7
Amendes
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Re: Oiling a jo

Interesting topic. I been thinking of treating my jo for a couple years now. Soon I really need to do something, as it is definitely not getting any smoother. I think my jo is the most beat up one at the school. I was thinking of even retiring it and getting a new one.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:52 PM   #8
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Re: Oiling a jo

What about teak oil?

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 12-22-2004, 01:58 PM   #9
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Re: Oiling a jo

Teak oil is made for oily wood ,so it may not be "fat" enough.
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:08 PM   #10
Bronson
 
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Re: Oiling a jo

Quote:
Christian Boddum wrote:
Teak oil is made for oily wood ,so it may not be "fat" enough.
Sorry, I don't understand

The teak oil I have (haven't used it yet) says it's for dense woods. My bokken are ebony and hickory...they seem pretty dense to me

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 12-22-2004, 02:22 PM   #11
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Re: Oiling a jo

Teak,rosewood and some other types have a natural high content of oil,so they only need oil for
the dry surface.
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:07 PM   #12
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Re: Oiling a jo

Teak is a maritime oil. Since teak (wood) is going to get messed up by a maritime environment very quickly teak oil is designed to be applied often. Teak is a treatment not a finish, and should work well on weapons, but may be a little on the thin side for these types of projects. That said, I cut my tung oil with mineral spirits, so perhaps teak will work well. I could be wrong but I believe that teak is likely to darken lighter woods, since it is the color of a tropical hardwood. I have never heard of an actual craftsman using teak oil on any wood other than teak. That may just be because tung oil is so common.
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:14 PM   #13
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Re: Oiling a jo

Thanks, that makes much more sense. I'll probably still use the teak oil as it's what I have. If it doesn't work out I'll let everyone know.

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 12-25-2004, 09:18 PM   #14
Bronson
 
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Re: Oiling a jo

From the Maintenance Page of the Kingfisher Woodworks website.

Quote:
On Kingfisher wooden swords, Teak oil has been used. The weapon can be maintained by occasional application of Teak oil, especially where it is handled a lot - but do not overdo it by building up an unnecessarily thick surface coat of oil!

Maintenance: There are several options for maintaining the finish on your natural hickory wood weapon. One of the most important reasons for a finish is to slow down the exchange of atmospheric moisture but also to keep the wood clean and smooth. There are two options for maintaining and enhancing this finish. One is oil and the other is wax. I would not recommend using a surface treatment like varnish, varathane etc.

Oil Finish: The existing finish can be improved by regular handling of the weapon and routine reapplication of suitable oil finish. Oil finishes give a feeling of control but also allow the wood to slide somewhat through the hand which is especially important for Jo and staff techniques. In the Kingfisher shop, we use Teak Oil almost exclusively. Other common choices for oil finishes are Tung oil, Boiled Linseed oil, and commercially available mixtures like Watco Danish Oil. Teak oil and Watco Danish Oil are preferred because the mixtures have a low viscosity and will penetrate the wood more easily. When applying oil, rub in a thin coat. Wait 15 min. Remove and excess and let this dry overnight. Finally, buff out with a cloth
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 12-26-2004, 02:02 PM   #15
Chris Li
 
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Re: Oiling a jo

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
I've also heard of the "drip and seep" method but never quite understood it. Anyhow, what I do is put a couple of drops--literally just 1 or 2--of light vegetable oil in my hand, rub to warm it, and apply to the whole jo. same w/ bokken. I'm probably doing something wrong though (wry smile)
The problem with vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) is that it spoils - goes rancid. Any kind of mineral oil should be OK - even baby oil, which is just mineral oil with a little fragrance.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-27-2004, 05:09 AM   #16
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Re: Oiling a jo

Thanks for all the replies! I ended up using lemon oil. I am wondering how long it will take to "seep." Anyway, I will let you know how it turns out!
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:12 AM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: Oiling a jo

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
The problem with vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) is that it spoils - goes rancid.
ah. thank you, Chris.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-29-2004, 05:55 PM   #18
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Re: Oiling a jo

Hi, I have a question for Peter Zalinski...

when you pour the oil into the capped pvc pipe does that mean you use about 1-2 gallons of oil to float the jo? I assume you stand it up vertically to soak for the few days, is this correct? I'm tempted to try your method, although my own habit of periodically oiling with boiled linseed oil until slick and letting it dry over a period of a few days (to allow the oil to soak in) seems to have worked for me so far.

On a further note, our dojo uses walnut oil, but I can't say I see any benefit to it as the bokken have been beaten into smithereens over a period of less than three years (when they were placed new on the racks). They are not Japanese white oak, however, I believe they are American white oak, with a wide grain.
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Old 01-25-2005, 07:41 PM   #19
Brion Toss
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Re: Oiling a jo

Hello,
About, oh, 35 years ago I had my first jo made, at a cabinet shop. Koichi Tohei sensei was in Seattle at the time, and I asked him what I should oil it with. "Your hands," he said. "If you are practicing enough, your hands will oil it just fine." I did, and it was.
I've had a couple of jo's since then, and never oiled any of them. They stay fairly glossy. Do I just have particularly sweaty hands?
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:49 PM   #20
Amendes
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Re: Oiling a jo

What kind of wood are you using?
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Old 01-26-2005, 11:48 PM   #21
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Re: Oiling a jo

So far, the lemon oil I put on the ends seems to have seeped through and appears to be working!

Brion: That is interesting. How often do you practice with your jo?

Andrew: I think that my jo is white oak, but I am not positive about that.
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Old 01-27-2005, 08:35 AM   #22
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Lightbulb Re: Oiling a jo

Quote:
Linda Morimoto wrote:
Hi, I have a question for Peter Zalinski...

when you pour the oil into the capped PVC pipe does that mean you use about 1-2 gallons of oil to float the jo? I assume you stand it up vertically to soak for the few days, is this correct? I'm tempted to try your method, although my own habit of periodically oiling with boiled linseed oil until slick and letting it dry over a period of a few days (to allow the oil to soak in) seems to have worked for me so far.

On a further note, our dojo uses walnut oil, but I can't say I see any benefit to it as the bokken have been beaten into smithereens over a period of less than three years (when they were placed new on the racks). They are not Japanese white oak, however, I believe they are American white oak, with a wide grain.
Well, since the pipe I use is only slightly bigger than my Jo/bokken are in diameter, I can float it with less than a 16-oz bottle of Lemon Oil. (I took my jo and bokken to Home Depot and found the smallest diameter pipe that they'd both fit into... Yep, that got a few odd looks from the employees.) Then I cap the other end (avoid spills & dust), and stand it in the corner for a few days. I've also removed and rotated the jo, submerging it the other way, for a few additional days -- but I don't think it really affected anything. Nicely enough, it's a very lightweight oil, so it penetrates well, and does not require a long drying time -- I usually wipe it off with a rag, and then run it through my hands until it is dry.

I do this about once or twice per year, to all my weapons, all Japanese white oak. I have 2 sets of weapons, and treat both sets the same (newer bokken has tsuba, newer jo is slightly thicker and an inch or so longer). They get banged on, but not banged up, in practice -- we do frequent weapons classes, with lots of wood-to-wood contact. My wood never splinters, it's not tacky, not slippery, and not warping.

One word of advice : PVC caps do not "seal" without assistance -- epoxy the permanent cap on, or you'll find your jo-oiler standing in a small puddle of lemon oil the next day
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:42 PM   #23
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Re: Oiling a jo

Try safflower oil. I've been using it for years. No smell, no stickiness and very in expensive. Available at any grocery store.
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:11 PM   #24
Brion Toss
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Re: Oiling a jo

Hello,
Thomas Ambrose asked how often I use my jo. Most days.
I don't have any idea what minimum number of hand passes per month are required to keep the average jo from drying out. But maybe Tohei sensei assumed a certain level of use...
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:51 PM   #25
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Re: Oiling a jo

Very interesting to read about everyone's methods. I did put a few drops of lemon oil on each end and let it seap through. It seemed to work pretty well. I actually haven't made it to a "jo" class for over a month now, but I am trying to use the "natural oils" method on my bokken. Thanks for the input!
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