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Old 04-27-2001, 02:57 AM   #1
jk
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Question SE Asian wood for training weapons...

Hi folks:

I realize there's plenty of information on wood for training information in Aikiweb, but my problem is a little more specific:

For some aikido practitioners in SE Asia, the cost of importing Japanese white oak training weapons (or hickory ones from North America) may be prohibitive. I'm in Indonesia right now, and our dojo experimented with bokuto made out of a local wood by the name of "bengkire" <sp?>; results were not good as there was too much splintering. Any suggestions as to type of locally-available wood from my fellow aikidoka in Southeast Asia?

Regards,
John Kuo
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Old 04-30-2001, 09:09 AM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
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Woods

I don't know if they have these woods in SE Asia but you might look for Purple Heart, Cocobola, or Anjinko. They are all very hard but are used in weapons regularly.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 05-01-2001, 09:16 PM   #3
jk
Location: Indonesia
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Re: Woods

Thanks George,

I think purpleheart and cocobolo are from the Americas...haven't heard of anjinko, though.

I think we MAY be able to get our hands on Macassar ebony (very pricey), Indonesian rosewood (pricey), and teak (may be affordable depending on grade). Just wondering if anyone's used teak in a training weapon before... Although teak makes for some pretty nice Arts & Crafts furniture.

Regards,
John Kuo
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Old 05-05-2001, 06:36 PM   #4
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Re: Woods

Quote:
Originally posted by jk
Thanks George,

I think purpleheart and cocobolo are from the Americas...haven't heard of anjinko, though.

I think we MAY be able to get our hands on Macassar ebony (very pricey), Indonesian rosewood (pricey), and teak (may be affordable depending on grade). Just wondering if anyone's used teak in a training weapon before... Although teak makes for some pretty nice Arts & Crafts furniture.

Regards,
John Kuo
Most of the woods you name are too brittle and will break if hit very hard. I have found very few woods that are stronger than the white oak weapons Kiyota Company has or hold up over time the way the impact grade hickory weapons that Kingfisher Woodworks sells.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 05-11-2001, 09:48 PM   #5
jk
Location: Indonesia
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Re: Re: Re: Woods

Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard


Most of the woods you name are too brittle and will break if hit very hard. I have found very few woods that are stronger than the white oak weapons Kiyota Company has or hold up over time the way the impact grade hickory weapons that Kingfisher Woodworks sells.
Just what I was afraid of. Some other dojos here use rattan...cheap and disposable, but WAY too light. Guess we'll have to bite the bullet and order some from Japan (or Uncle Kim Taylor). Alternatively, anyone consider commissioning an order of carbon fiber jo and to? Figure any Taiwanese bicycle or golf club manufacturer could give it a go...

Regards,
John Kuo
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Old 06-09-2001, 02:38 PM   #6
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
Location: Honolulu hawaii
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Wood

Since you are in SE asia there are a nomber of woods that will work for weapons. Unfortunatly asking folks from N.America who aren't woodworkers this question isn't likely to give you an answers you can use. I lived in Guam and used many "local" woods for weapon the easiest to find for me was Ifelele/Merbau (Intsia biunga) whitch is a bit harder that Oak but is roughly the same in all other respects. Here are some other woods you may want to try
Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginiata)
Rosewood, Indonesian (Dalbergia latifolia)
Kamarere (Eucalyptus deglupta) might be a bit soft
Narra (Pterocarpus indicus) might be a bit soft

As this list was made from a company that deals mostly in S.American woods there are likely more in your area. Experimant and pay attention to the condition of the weapons as you train with them.

Peace
Tony
Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
That's what makes my Thumper go
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Old 06-10-2001, 10:07 PM   #7
jk
Location: Indonesia
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Re: Wood

Tony,

The reason I posted this question to Aikiweb is to get the input of a ready pool of aikido practitioners, versus woodworkers; but yes, it may be better to ask my friendly neighborhood woodworker. We've taken a look at some local woods; the typical plant material of choice for martial arts training weapons here seems to be rattan, which may be a bit light for our purposes. However, your mention of "merbau" has certainly piqued my interest; there seems to be a wood of the same name around here...hopefully it's the same stuff you're describing. I'll also take a look at eucalyptus and the rosewood (although rosewood may be too pretty to abuse). Thank you, Tony.

Regards,
John Kuo
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Old 06-11-2001, 11:52 AM   #8
Liz Baron
Dojo: Bury Aikido Club
Location: Lancashire
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United Kingdom
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Far Eastern woods...

As a newcomer to Aikido, but perhaps a little more familiar with wood, have you thought about Teak (Tectona grandis)? I don't know what it's current status is in the wood world - some species are restricted for export / import in some countries - but having worked with it in the past I can vouch for it's durability and strength. Its somewhat lighter than the average oak though, coming in around 40lbs/cu. ft. whereas oak seems to be around 45 to 48.
Some of the Pterocarpus species might turn out to be suitable also.

Just a thought.

...ooops, just spotted the comment that Narra may be too soft...mea culpa!

Last edited by Liz Baron : 06-11-2001 at 11:57 AM.

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Old 06-14-2001, 05:51 AM   #9
adriangan
 
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Thumbs down tried kamagong?

hi john,

in the philippines we have a local hardwood called 'kamagong' (philippine ebony), the same material used in the artha gallery bokkens, you can also check out the reviews they got from sword forum. unfortunately, their kens are bit expensive.

i got a ken made from 'kamagong' and it cost me about $15, it's not from artha gallery but it suits my needs haven't had any regrets about getting one.

hey, if you could get your hands on one i'd highly recommend a 'kamagong' ken.

cheers,
adrian

"Masakatsu Agatsu"
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Old 06-20-2001, 06:29 PM   #10
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
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Teak

Teak is a good wood but not in an impact use. It splinters...alot and over a very short time will shatter (I've done that) not fun.

Peace
Tony
Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
That's what makes my Thumper go
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Old 06-20-2001, 09:11 PM   #11
TomCat
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polycarbonate (Lexan)

I am using a polycarbonate jo. It is a bit "whippy" but is almost unbrakeable. To test it, I struck a 10 inch pipe gate-post as hard as possible several times. The surface was a bit scared, but the jo held up. The material is a bit heavy (sp. gravity about 1.15-1.22).
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Old 06-20-2001, 09:20 PM   #12
Niadh
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido, MA
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Hi,
I don't know S Asian woods, but I do Make Jo & Bokken. One of my favorites, although not for all, is a brazilian plantation grown wood, Ipe ( Also PAu Lope and a few other names). Hard, Dark Strong, Great Density, and Fairly durable. My testing has not been as scientific as Kingfisher woodworks on impact strength, but I was quite impressed. Taking a shaped but 2nd Ipe bokken I broke across two saw horses, 2 pieces, 5/8" x 4" fir, 2 pieces 1" x 4" cherry, 2 pieces of 1 " x 4" oak flooring. With no damage to the Bokken it went through the fir, cherry and one piece of oak. The first blow on the second piece of oak ( not my blow) cracked both the oak and the bokken. the final blow shattered the oak, the bokken broke cleanly off at the impact point. To clarify, I was breaking only 1 piece of each wood at a time. The fir barely slowed the bokken, the cherry was almost a resistance, the oak was an effort in centering to break well.
I wrote to Knigfisher woodworks, re: Ipe. The response was," I have not done much testing, but it looks quite good for some weapons."
Contact me if you would like more details.
Niadh

Last edited by Niadh : 06-21-2001 at 05:21 AM.

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Old 06-21-2001, 03:22 PM   #13
Liz Baron
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Re: Teak

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Peters
Teak is a good wood but not in an impact use. It splinters...alot and over a very short time will shatter (I've done that) not fun.

Thanks for this info...I'll take this as fair warning...


Liz

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Old 06-22-2001, 07:36 PM   #14
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
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Woods

Niadh...I'm envious, Ipe along with Purpleheart are some of those woods that I have wanted to play with for some time. I finally got a scrap of Purpleheart and love it but to have a regular supply of such a wood. Below is a good link for comparing woods

http://www.woodworkerssource.com/frames/Default.htm

Peace
Tony
Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
That's what makes my Thumper go
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Old 06-22-2001, 08:16 PM   #15
Niadh
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido, MA
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Tony,
Purpleheart is a pretty neat wood, but like Ipe it is a task to work with it. I almost think that Ipe is easier to work with. At least in the sanding. It is much more visible, due to the nature of purplheart, to sand evry part of the PH well. Not quite as noticable on the Ipe. One warning. This stuff is not good for you. After shaping Ipe without a mask, your nose will burn. I Highly recommend all the proper safety equip.
Niadh

Non Satis Scire
Niadh Feathers
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Old 07-05-2001, 12:28 AM   #16
jk
Location: Indonesia
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SE Asian wood

Hello all,

Thanks for all the helpful replies to my original post. Here's an update of the candidates for my neck of the woods (ouch):

1. Merbau/ifelele. The supply seems to be somewhat constrained (not readily available) on the island of Java, but I managed to get a sample (scrap stairway railing). Tony's right, this is very tough stuff, and doesn't seem to be too expensive, IF you can get it. Will attempt to get a bokuto made out of it.

2. Macassar ebony (otherwise known as Coromandel ebony). The information was right under my nose in James Goedkoop's article on wood for training weapons (posted in this very website); serves me right for just skimming the article. Seems to be very tough stuff as well, and not brittle like African ebony. I've heard it's pretty expensive here, but I'll also check this out. Either that, or Adrian can send me his kamagong bokuto...

Regards,
John
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Old 07-10-2001, 12:37 AM   #17
Tony Peters
Dojo: Mt Tantalus, Kaimuki Judo club
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Ifelele

Jon,
you can do really cool things with ifelele as far as finishing it. One of the simpler things is to soak plain nails (iron) in vinegar for a few days and then rub the liquid onto the wood. This will stain the wood almost black if you use enough of is otherwise it will "weather" it nicely with a light coating then just oil (my favorite is simple mineral oil) and presto. I did this to a handbo and is turned out so nice my Jodo teacher eyes it everytime I bring it to class.

Peace
Tony
Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow
That's what makes my Thumper go
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