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Old 07-06-2000, 12:30 AM   #1
Shipley
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Way back when I found a nifty web site describing the advantages/disadvantages of different woods used for making bokken. That was a good five years ago and I'm not having any luck finding it again. Does anybody know what happened to this information, or have any insights? I'm not looking for "we all use japanese/white oak" or "Bujin uses hickory", but a more involved discussion, ie don't use ebony, it is very strong but is prone to shattering under shock load (that's about the only thing I remember from the web site a while ago). Any thoughts out there?

Many thanks,

Paul
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Old 07-06-2000, 02:09 AM   #2
Pete
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Talking

Have a look on Aikido FAQ!! I am pretty sure there is a section there about How To Make a Bokken, and if I remember correctly, it covers the advantages and disadvantages of quite a few woods!!

Pete
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Old 07-06-2000, 02:13 AM   #3
Tony Peters
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try this site

http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_bokuto.htm

Personally I use what I can get my hands on however I have had two jo's shatter, on actually in my hands, no I'm not superman there was a flaw in the wood, it is now a nice handbo/tanjo. Hickory is nice so is walnut though not for contact weapons curently I'm crafting a kusarigama from Wenge gorgeous wood, a royal b*^%$ to work though try a wood that interests you. I have a boken I made from Ifit (a western pacific hardwood similar to Phillipean Ifelle that is almost alive

Peace
Tony
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Old 07-06-2000, 08:38 AM   #4
dbgard
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Talking The 2 ideal materials for a bokken

type one...hikari
type two...hokori

Now on a less abstract note,I'd like to give some props (proper respect) to some of my aikido sensei...

Saotome Shihan..thanks for reminding me that sensei are human too "Sensei has to pee too!!!!" 8D.

P. Saotome Sensei..thanks for being a great wife to our Shihan, and for helping me feel relaxed among so many prominent, advanced aikidoka. That smile on your face really kept me feeling comfortable 8).

"Doc" Jones..thanks for delivering atemi to my underarm nerve plex with just the right power to free the blocked ki without causing any pain. 8).

Hooker Sensei..Thanks for joking with me when I stepped off the mat at the FSU seminar to drink some water and catch my breath. If you would have yelled at me, I probably would have never set foot in a dojo again. 8D.

Messores Sensei..I didn't know who you were til after the Orlando seminar, but thanks for being patient with a humble 5th kyu! 8).

Merkle Sensei..Thanks for teaching me the importance of maintaining a beginners heart, in spite of the fact that you have every technique near perfect. 8).

Shihan's primary Uke..How in the hell did you react that quickly to Mitsugi Shihan's swiftness? 8O.

Li'ldim (whatever your name is sempai..8P.

Evans Sensei..Your advice to lose our attachment with life and death (i.e. lose our fear of death I think you mean) saved my life. You are my first Aikido Sensei, and I'm proud to say you're a damn good one at that. 8).

Secret little alien Sensei..You truly are a Tengu Warrior I think, Ten thousand thanks to your guidance and comedy. 8D.

Tobin Sensei..I don't think I've ever met a man at so much peace with himself. Stay that way friend ! If Leslie attacks yokomenuchi, be gentle with the shihonage 8D.

Rene Sensei..RELAXED CALMNESS DAMMIT!! 8D.
-----------------------

Joking around with each other, we feel as though we are all part of a family -- one big happy family if you wish to call it that. There is no room in the dojo for roughness of technique, for the techniques can be very harmful if abused. There is, thankfully, room in the dojo for lighthearted, alert, joyful, no-mindedness.

Sankyo very much and I'll be preparing some new haikus,
Drew

hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-06-2000, 08:44 AM   #5
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The owner of Kingfisher Woodworks (James G?) had an article in Aikido Today Magazine in, if I remember correctly, May of 1999 regarding a discussion on a whole plethora of wood that he's used.

My personal preference is Japanese white oak.

-- Jun

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Old 07-06-2000, 08:53 AM   #6
dbgard
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Talking Forgot some great Sensei

Holiday Sensei..Your Seminar was fabulous. I understand what Saotome means about when he was to attack O'Sensei, and in his place stood a formidable mountain. I still do that jo kata you taught us, well, at least the parts I can remember..THANKS !! Sorry the reimbursement took so long. It takes a live blade to cut throught the red tape sometimes 8) I hope you finally received it) 8).

Page Sensei..Possibly the most dynamic Sensei I've ever learned from, always ready to react, becuse ego doesn't cloud your mind. Thanks. 8)

haiku time:

Sensei and Shihan
Satori no Bonsai
Irimi via SU

hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-06-2000, 10:37 AM   #7
Shipley
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thanks

Thanks for all of your replies, I've found more than I believed possible! Drew, could you please clarify what you meant in your post? The first two lines seemed to be about woods, but I wasn't sure what you meant.

Thanks again,

Paul
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Old 07-06-2000, 11:21 AM   #8
dbgard
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Ai symbol to Paul Shipley (and of course anyone else who wants to read it)

Hokori=Pride in Japanese
Hikari=Light in Japanese (katagana or whatever it's called)

Does it really matter which type of wood the weapons are made of? Yes I think a little, the sword needs to be sturdy but I can guarantee you that any bokken or jo you order from Bujin is going to be of excellent quality. If you would rather not mail order and/or do not live in Boulder CO, then find a martial arts equipment dealer you trust, pound the sword on your forehead a couple times, and you're good to go.

The important thing to determine is--once you have a ken and jo (or a Fred and Ethel) what do these "weapons" mean to you as symbols. Here is what they mean to me in a synopsis:

These weapons of nature were given 'ki' by the trees. The trees were given 'ki' by the Creator. Therefore, whether the trees are Japanese, American, or even if a bokken and jo just happened to erupt from Mt. Erebus in Antarctica 8D, they are gifts. These gifts serve as a constant reminder to me of ushiro waza, the sixth sense--that invisible yet omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Creator who kindly made heaven a place on earth.

On a more superficial, relaxed note...

Take care of your bokken/jo/wakizash/tanto, and they will take care of you 8).

---Drew

hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-06-2000, 11:26 AM   #9
Shipley
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Re: to Paul Shipley (and of course anyone else who wants to read it)

Oh, I see. I actually have a lovely Bujin bokken and a very serviceable jo, I was just interested in making them (for friends as gifts) as woodworking is a hobby of mine.
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Old 07-06-2000, 11:48 AM   #10
akiy
 
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I know a lot of people like Bu Jin Design's bokken, but I find them a bit too club-like for my small hands, even the "small" size.

The bokken I most often use are two I bought from Kiyota Company in Baltimore, MD. One is what he called the "Hombu" style and doesn't have much of a sori. The other, I believe, is a really light-weight Yagyu Shinkage-ryu style bokken which is nice for "quick" work and also for two-sword practice.

The best thing people can do in choosing weapons is to hold them in their hands before buying them.

To bring things back on-topic, I actually do think that the material of the weapon matters. If you're going to be doing kumitachi and kumijo, it's inevitable that your weapons will get hit. I've seen cheap bokken splinter easily before which may lead to injuries.

-- Jun

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Old 07-09-2000, 07:59 PM   #11
Nick
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The substance of your weapon does matter. We can barely begin to compare skill to O-sensei, so we have to rely on our natural and artificial weapons. Tell me, what do you think would happen if you struck at someone with a paper sword, and they parried with a Nagasone Kotetsu blade? IMO, until you reach a critical point in your training, you'd either run or die.

-Nick
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Old 07-09-2000, 08:31 PM   #12
AikiTom
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Thumbs down

I guess it would be redundant to say that dbgard is misguided...(He didn't get enough attention from his parents when he was little - so be forewarned! Your kids will turn out like this if you keep them locked in a closet! )
Yes, it does matter.
There's actually a more-science-than- you-want-article on this, Paul, in a recent "Aikido Today." The hardest, believe it or not, is osage wood, which is extremely common in the Midwest known as "osage orange" or "hedge" trees. Grows very straight and is used for fence posts by farmers. However, don't know where you could buy it.
What's unique about osage is that it's very hard, but also has a good "spring" resilience to it.
Ebony and related woods are actually
a bit down on the hardenss list.
I have a really nice jo that's still going strong after 8 years that I got from bujin - it's made of kurumi wood, and is a laminate which gives extra strength. It has a nice feel to it - strong, yet light, sort of has its own spirit!
Jun, tell me a little about that Yagyu bokken- sounds interesting.

[Edited by AikiTom on July 9, 2000 at 08:38pm]

May the force be with you!
AikiTom
"Be the change you want to see."
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Old 07-10-2000, 10:28 AM   #13
jdsingleton
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Quote:
AikiTom wrote:
There's actually a more-science-than- you-want-article on this, Paul, in a recent "Aikido Today." The hardest, believe it or not, is osage wood, which is extremely common in the Midwest known as "osage orange" or "hedge" trees. Grows very straight and is used for fence posts by farmers. However, don't know where you could buy it.
What's unique about osage is that it's very hard, but also has a good "spring" resilience to it.
Someone makes them. I saw one two weeks ago at ASU's Summer Camp in Washington, D.C. I didn't get a chance to ask the aikidoka where he had gotten it. I suppose I could track him down, since I think he trains at Aikido Shobukan Dojo.

Jim Singleton
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Old 07-10-2000, 12:11 PM   #14
Tony Peters
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wood

[quote]jdsingleton wrote:
Quote:
Someone makes them. I saw one two weeks ago at ASU's Summer Camp in Washington, D.C. I didn't get a chance to ask the aikidoka where he had gotten it. I suppose I could track him down, since I think he trains at Aikido Shobukan Dojo.

Jim Singleton
I know that Osage orange is one of the woods Unka Kim offers...it is quite a bright yellow when it is brand new, I've heard that it fades to a brown/yellow over time.

Peace
Tony
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Old 07-10-2000, 04:38 PM   #15
karl grignon
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wood for weapons

I also got interested in making my personnal bokken.I first sarted with purpleheart ,very easy to work,get a beautiful finish and just shows impact marks.Also tried osage orange,very hard to work,hard to find a nice piece,beautiful finish.My personnal favorite is cocobolo easy to work ,come in nice strait piece beautiful finish.I know bad english ,but i'm french.
Good luck
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Old 07-13-2000, 11:10 AM   #16
akiy
 
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Quote:
AikiTom wrote:
I guess it would be redundant to say that dbgard is misguided...(He didn't get enough attention from his parents when he was little - so be forewarned! Your kids will turn out like this if you keep them locked in a closet! )
I just wanted to pipe up and ask that people keep the personal barbs, whether serious or tongue-in-cheek, to a minimum here. The tone on these Forums has been getting a little bit disrespectful in my own eyes. I'd like to ask people to treat everyone as though they were a fellow member in your dojo in the presence of your teacher.

Sorry about the lecture...

Quote:
There's actually a more-science-than- you-want-article on this, Paul, in a recent "Aikido Today."
Are you talking about the "Woods for Training Weapons" article by James Goedkoop (of Kingfisher Woodworks) in the May/June 1999 issue? It's a good article.

Quote:
I have a really nice jo that's still going strong after 8 years that I got from bujin - it's made of kurumi wood, and is a laminate which gives extra strength. It has a nice feel to it - strong, yet light, sort of has its own spirit!
Kurumi is walnut, right? These days, Bu Jin Design uses hickory for all of their weapons, if I remember correctly.

Quote:
Jun, tell me a little about that Yagyu bokken- sounds interesting.
It's a really light bokken that I like to use for "quick" stuff or when I do two-sword practice (which is mighty rare, I'll admit). It's basically the same size as a "normal" bokken, only thinner. It has a slight sori in the blade, but not a whole lot. It often gets "crushed" by the heavier bokken that people use, though.

I currently have three or four bokken of various weights -- a light one (mentioned above), a medium-weight one, and a heavier-weight one with a hand guard (tsuba). I sometimes ask my partner what "weight" bokken they're using during kumitachi so I can get the "right" weight from my weapons bag.

-- Jun

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Old 07-13-2000, 11:55 AM   #17
AikiTom
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Smile

Thanks! All good points.

May the force be with you!
AikiTom
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Old 07-13-2000, 01:35 PM   #18
Nick
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Jun-

thanks for stepping in to stop the beginning flame war. I can imagine that in trying to tone things down, I just threw more wood on the fire (or flame, if you will).

-Nick

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"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 07-19-2000, 07:46 AM   #19
Horselord
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Smile Purple Heart

Try to find a type of wood called Purple Heart. My sensei, who is a wood worker by trade, makes all our weapons, bokken, jo, tanto, and he uses a wood called purple heart. It is extreamly hard and tough, but light as well. I'm not sure where he gets it from. It is easy to maintain as well, just polish with mineral oil about once a month. Hope you can get your hands on some. Good luck!

All the best.
Horselord
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Old 07-19-2000, 01:56 PM   #20
George S. Ledyard
 
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Kingfisher

Kingfisher is indeed the place to go for info. ph. 802 295 9908
The article James G. did for ATM was fantastic. They shold offer reprints. One of the main factors to consider is the proper relationship of the different factors. A weapon should be hard, have flexibility, and be stable. the hard weapons tend to be a bit brittle. I would not spend a lot of money on a beautiful hardwood bokken that you are going to use in hard practice. Purple heart is a good material for heavy bokken but I think in a jo it is a bit too brittle. The white oak weapons from kiyota company are real workhorses and they offer the most extensive set of designs apart from the custom makers. but the white oak is not stable over time. As the vibration from repeated impact effects the cell structure it breaks down resulting in a spot that you can't sand down to solid wood. For most of you this isn't much of a problem as this takes a long time to occur for the average user. But I run through a bokken each year when I am using white oak.

I am currently enamored with Kingfisher's "Impact Grade Hickory" It has fine hardness (a bit lower than some of the tropical hardwoods)but has great resilience and is very stable. According to the tests Kingfisher ran on the different materials this was one of the most stable of the woods. I have been giving mine a workover and it keeps on cooking. Definitely more stable than the white oak but a bit pricier. You can save money on these if you don't insist on getting wood that is uniform in color (I prefer wood grain myself).

Hope this helps.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-19-2000, 02:01 PM   #21
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Re: The 2 ideal materials for a bokken

Quote:
dbgard wrote:
type one...hikari
type two...hokori

Now on a less abstract note ......
Sankyo very much and I'll be preparing some new haikus,
Drew
I admit to being a bit baffled. The topic was I beieve woods appropriate for weapons. Isn't this post a fair bit off topic. I am sure all these teachers would be flattered but postings like this should be in another part of the forum.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-19-2000, 02:16 PM   #22
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Re: to Paul Shipley (and of course anyone else who wants to read it)

Quote:
dbgard wrote:
Hokori=Pride in Japanese
Hikari=Light in Japanese (katagana or whatever it's called)

Does it really matter which type of wood the weapons are made of? ...
The important thing to determine is--once you have a ken and jo (or a Fred and Ethel) what do these "weapons" mean to you as symbols.
Here is what they mean to me in a synopsis:
These weapons of nature were given 'ki' by the trees. The trees were given 'ki' by the Creator. Therefore, whether the trees are Japanese, American, or even if a bokken and jo just happened to erupt from Mt. Erebus in Antarctica 8D, they are gifts. These gifts serve as a constant reminder to me of ushiro waza, the sixth sense--that invisible yet omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Creator who kindly made heaven a place on earth.

On a more superficial, relaxed note...

Take care of your bokken/jo/wakizash/tanto, and they will take care of you 8).

---Drew
OK AikiTom got chewed out for responding too personally. But I am getting drawn in myself here. I don't care what type of weapon you have and how you care for it, invest your ki in it, "feel" its connection with the great Oneness and the universal path of light etc. It may be a gift from God but if it isn't the right wood and design for the type of practice you do it's going to break. Then you have a broken gift from God. At $60 to $100 a crack you can run through a lot of God's gifts if you don't know what to look for which is precisely what I thought the original; intent of this thread was about. Let's not let enthusiasm for the art and our teachers take us too far into La La Land. Just my preference. Hope this isn't too disrespectful Jun. I usually try to behave.

[Edited by George S. Ledyard on July 19, 2000 at 11:07pm]

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Old 07-19-2000, 04:19 PM   #23
Nick
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Re: The 2 ideal materials for a bokken

Quote:
dbgard wrote:

Now on a less abstract note,I'd like to give some props (proper respect) to some of my aikido sensei...

Saotome Shihan..thanks for reminding me that sensei are human too "Sensei has to pee too!!!!" 8D.

P. Saotome Sensei..thanks for being a great wife to our Shihan, and for helping me feel relaxed among so many prominent, advanced aikidoka. That smile on your face really kept me feeling comfortable 8).

"Doc" Jones..thanks for delivering atemi to my underarm nerve plex with just the right power to free the blocked ki without causing any pain. 8).

Hooker Sensei..Thanks for joking with me when I stepped off the mat at the FSU seminar to drink some water and catch my breath. If you would have yelled at me, I probably would have never set foot in a dojo again. 8D.

Messores Sensei..I didn't know who you were til after the Orlando seminar, but thanks for being patient with a humble 5th kyu! 8).

Merkle Sensei..Thanks for teaching me the importance of maintaining a beginners heart, in spite of the fact that you have every technique near perfect. 8).

Shihan's primary Uke..How in the hell did you react that quickly to Mitsugi Shihan's swiftness? 8O.

Li'ldim (whatever your name is sempai..8P.

Evans Sensei..Your advice to lose our attachment with life and death (i.e. lose our fear of death I think you mean) saved my life. You are my first Aikido Sensei, and I'm proud to say you're a damn good one at that. 8).

Secret little alien Sensei..You truly are a Tengu Warrior I think, Ten thousand thanks to your guidance and comedy. 8D.

Tobin Sensei..I don't think I've ever met a man at so much peace with himself. Stay that way friend ! If Leslie attacks yokomenuchi, be gentle with the shihonage 8D.

Rene Sensei..RELAXED CALMNESS DAMMIT!! 8D.
While we're talking about off-topic... enough said...

-Nick


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Old 07-20-2000, 03:04 PM   #24
Tony Peters
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exotic woods

I finally finished the KusariGama that I was working on, it looks gorgeous, the grain is incredible. I'm probably going to make a shoto out of this wood as well. For those that are considering weapons building I discovered that Wenge sawdust and me do not get along(it makes my skin itch) many hardwoods contain resin's that can be irritating and/or cause an alergic reaction so beware. Impact grade Hickory is nice but I personally can't stand the feel of hickory

Peace
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Old 07-20-2000, 03:06 PM   #25
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Tony, you'll have to send us a picture of your new kusarigama, huh?

-- Jun

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