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Old 07-20-2000, 03:38 PM   #26
Niadh
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido, MA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 69
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I Have been making Bokken and Jo staffs to sell for about 2 years now. I discovered Ipe or Pau Lope wood a few years ago and am quite satisfied with it. It has a good specific density (weight) and seems to withstand impact well. Unfortunately the article in ATM did not cover this wood, but when I contacted the author he stated that he had had good results with it, but had not tested enough samples for a good cross section. The IPE Boken barely show contact, but it is a very hard wood and takes extra time to work. I like working with Ash, and maple, hickory is pretty good. I have had a few requests for non contact bokken out of Cherry. This is a nice wood to work with and makes for a quick, light bokken, but is not suitabkle for conact. Please conatact me with any questions.
Niadh
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Old 07-21-2000, 10:37 AM   #27
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Tropical Hardwoods

One aspect of the wood question that all of us need to consider is the source of these woods. A number of the woods that we find both strong enough for real training and aesthetically pleasing are fairly rare tropical hardwoods.

I think that we need to excercise some level of consciousness that these woods are from the tropical rainforests which are essentially endangered. It is harder and harder to find these woods precisely because there is less and less of it. That's why a bokken can cost over $100. The problem is that we are affluent enough to cough up that kind of money so the trees are continually being cut down. As much as we like many of these woods we have to ask if it's really ok to keep the market afloat for these increasingly rare tree products.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 07-21-2000, 11:02 AM   #28
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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I agree. I prefer to use oak or maple, which as far as i know are not tropical, but still make nice bokken.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"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 07-21-2000, 07:04 PM   #29
Niadh
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido, MA
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This is indeed a valid comment, however depleting native forests is no less murdering trees thatn rinforset depletion. That being said, I am a carpenter with great respect for the wood with which I work. I like IPE in part because it is a plantation grown wood. Granted that the plantations were once forest, however not buying the plantation grown woods will not make the plantation back into a forest. Sorry folks, it does not seem to work that way. Now the question arises as to how responsible the plantation owners are to the land, trees, etc. Ok, How responsible are we in our own everyday lives? It is very easy to pick one aspect of life and say "here I will be conciously responsible" and yuet ignore the aspects in whci we are not.


Non Satis Scire
Niadh Feathers
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Old 07-21-2000, 11:38 PM   #30
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
Location: Honolulu hawaii
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Woods, tropical or domestic

/i]
This is indeed a valid comment, however depleting native forests is no less murdering trees thatn rinforset depletion. That being said, I am a carpenter with great respect for the wood with which I work. I like IPE in part because it is a plantation grown wood. Granted that the plantations were once forest, however not buying the plantation grown woods will not make the plantation back into a forest. Sorry folks, it does not seem to work that way. Now the question arises as to how responsible the plantation owners are to the land, trees, etc. Ok, How responsible are we in our own everyday lives? It is very easy to pick one aspect of life and say "here I will be conciously responsible" and yuet ignore the aspects in whci we are not.

[/quote]


For many woods it is indeed illegal to harvest the "live trees. The chunk of Ifit that I have was taken from a deadfall. That is the only legal way to get Ifit on Guam. I had a devil of a time taking it off island when I left. There are Rosewoods that are not even legal to take deadfall. I think (though I'm not sure) that Lignum Vitae is this way. If one deals with a reputable lumberyard you will find that there are many hardwoods that you can come by that are geat to work. I got my Wenge from a little place out in the hinterlands of Mass. (no I don't know how to find my way back to it) that is quite famous for its Teak and Phillipean Mahogany. I just went to look but the price per boardfoot on the Wenge was way to good to pass up, something like $5.40 a foot. I still have a bunch of it and I will craft many other things with it. Here in hawaii Koa is grown plantation style and one must get permission to cut any of the OLD trees (usually not given unless it's for artisic purposes). I also have some Virginia Black Walnut that was cut fom my Granddads farm some 25 years ago, I am very carefull of what I do with that (so far just a subrito). Many of the other tropical woods that I aquired have come from being in the right place at the right time when trees were being felled. This same method can be used stateside. Hell even the "prunings" from the trees in your own yard can be used (I have some Pear and Applewood from my parents yard that I have been comished to make tanto's out of once it seasons) Pay attention to grain and enjoy the feel of your new toy, don't fret if it dents and if it breaks? well you learned something from it anyway.

[Edited by Tony Peters on July 21, 2000 at 11:40pm]

Peace
Tony
Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
That's what makes my Thumper go
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Old 07-23-2000, 07:42 PM   #31
jblack
Dojo: Reno Aikido
Location: Reno, Nevada
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wood for bokken

For wood and how to make a bokken check out Kim Taylor's pages.
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~kataylor/bokuto.htm

A lot of good information.

Be of good cheer,

Jeff Black

"Between Reality & the Dream"
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Old 07-24-2000, 08:44 AM   #32
JO
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Université Laval
Location: Sainte-Catherine-de-la-J.-C., Québec
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Canada
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A quick ecological note on the difference between a temporate forest and a tropical rain forest. If you clearcut a northern forest, chances are a forest will grow back eventually, clearcut a tropical rain forest and you may vever see anything resembling it again because the soil is so poor not much will grow back. That said, it is still important to consider the management of the forests that are the source of ones material, whether it is the structure of your house, the paper of your books or the hardwood of your bokken (not exactly a major market compared to the two previous). Saying it is all the same so it doesn't matter makes one a bad consumer. We probably all need to start paying a little more attention to how we spend our money.
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Old 07-24-2000, 10:00 AM   #33
Shipley
Dojo: UBC Okanagan Aikido Club
Location: Kelowna
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Canada
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THANKS!

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to give such informative answers to my question. I'm looking forward to researching some of the woods that you have mentioned, and will do my best to not impact sensitive ecosystems if that is possible (it is hard to imagine using any wood without some impact somewhere).

The bokken that I use (the one that I am making is for my wife who has had to stop aikido for the next couple of months until our twins are born) is hickory (Bujin) and has stood up to several years of use nicely, but it is difficult to get hickory of that quality. I'll look into the high impact hickory that has been brought up. I have used purpleheart in a few projects recently and enjoyed the feel of working it, so it is good to hear that it holds up well to use. I'll look into some of the more exotic woods that you all have mentioned, they sound very interesting.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to help me out!

Paul
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Old 07-24-2000, 12:27 PM   #34
ScottyC
Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA
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Quote:
Shipley wrote:
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

Trying to pull this thread back to the original topic... Perhaps you're referring to Kim Taylor's site. He has an excellent listing of various woods and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

You can find it at http://www.uoguelph.ca/~kataylor/bokuto.htm

Good luck!

Scott
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Old 07-26-2000, 11:07 PM   #35
sori-head
Dojo: AoP
Location: Pittsburgh
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Do symbol bokken woods for friends

I still have the first bokken and jo that I made 8 or 9 years ago. They're both soft maple, nicely dented but sound.

Subsequently I made most of the weapons now residing in the weapons racks as at the dojo as well. Not all of the weapons after those first two have fared well. After shattering during class some of them made nice tanto, some of them made BTU's.

I still make weapons, but after a somewhat dangerous learning curve I've learned that, gee, not everyone behaves with their weapons the same way I do! So, mine are all of laminated construction now.

If you're making weapons for others, remember that you cannot dictate how they will practice with them. Choose a strong, tightly grained wood and_look carefully_at the grain direction. Get 4' of straight grain for jo and, for bokken choose pieces with curved grain direction--wood whose grain curvature most nearly follows that of the weapon. A weapon will usually fail along the line of its grain. Try to accomodate that weakness at the lumber yard.

Have fun, though! Making your own weapons is akin to darning your gi with needle, thread and patience rather than patching it with duct tape (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

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Old 07-27-2000, 01:48 PM   #36
Guest5678
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 135
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Re: bokken woods for friends

Quote:
sori-head wrote:
I still have the first bokken and jo that I made 8 or 9 years ago. They're both soft maple, nicely dented but sound.

Subsequently I made most of the weapons now residing in the weapons racks as at the dojo as well. Not all of the weapons after those first two have fared well. After shattering during class some of them made nice tanto, some of them made BTU's.

I still make weapons, but after a somewhat dangerous learning curve I've learned that, gee, not everyone behaves with their weapons the same way I do! So, mine are all of laminated construction now.

If you're making weapons for others, remember that you cannot dictate how they will practice with them. Choose a strong, tightly grained wood and_look carefully_at the grain direction. Get 4' of straight grain for jo and, for bokken choose pieces with curved grain direction--wood whose grain curvature most nearly follows that of the weapon. A weapon will usually fail along the line of its grain. Try to accomodate that weakness at the lumber yard.

Have fun, though! Making your own weapons is akin to darning your gi with needle, thread and patience rather than patching it with duct tape (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Good post! I (wood) just add to ensure that the grain runout does not occur on the HA (or edge) of the bokken.........

Regards,

Mongo
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