Buying a bo and a bokken

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by SuperFLY, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2,026
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Yes! they will spontaneously combust!!! so yes the ziplock bag with soapy water, or burn them or other wise dispose of them where they can not do damage if they do catch fire.. I have worked with wood and things so long I forget that a lot of people do not realize this danger. My apology's for not telling you that.

    But I would say a good oak for both weapons is what you want. sand them when you get them first! then use them. if you rub them with oil, well I like to use my hands for that. if you do that you want to do it several times that day as the wood will provably 'drink' the oil in. after that I would do it at least once a week for a month or so. then every month or two rub it down for about a year. then at least once a year. they will last a long time if you keep them oiled .
     
  2. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    for both my rokushaku bo I just bought dowelling in 1.8m lengths, one was 40mm and the other 35mm, I looked up the measurements and went from there. My first one was white pine, which is too light really but good for getting the hang of things.
    All it needed was finishing - the sales lady at the hardware store kept trying to talk me out of linseed oil and push me into a synthetic but in the end I just went home and used some leftover decking oil and some stain I had used from another project.
    My second was a slightly rare and unique timber I picked up on holiday in the south pacific, called rimu, but again it was just milled into dowelling and then I just put a finish on.
    Both (and my red oak bokken which I bought from a MA store) get regular polishing with a linseed-enriched natural furniture polish.

    One thing to note, though, is that the white pine dents up something horrible when you drill with contact against another bo.
     
  3. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,920
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    Please be aware that turned wood ("doweling") often has "grain run-out." This causes a weakness in the wood grain structure at that point (or multiple points) and can lead to catastrophic failure during impacts.

    Dowels are ok to do non-contact practice with (or if experienced users are working, light and controlled contact), but heavy impact can shatter them into flying wooden daggers.

    If you buy dowel for this purpose, inspect them carefully to ensure there is no grain run-out (you can find them sometimes if you're careful). A "hands-on" alternative is to buy planks the width that you want, split them along the grain and then use a draw-knife to shave them down into round. I've done this with hard Ash and it's a pain in the butt, but provides excellent results in terms of durability. (Well, truthfully, I don't have a draw knife so I used a hand plane, which adds to the "pain in the butt" issues.)

    Selecting the proper wood for doweling is important too. Just getting the "hardwood dowel" is not always best. They can be brittle, and seem to have grain run-out much more often then I'd expect. Hickory dowel works a treat. But at this point you might just consider getting natural branches. You can buy hickory branches online. Bois d'Arc/Osage-Orange would work great too because it's a flexible but strong wood which would make it great for partner drills.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  4. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Messages:
    21,555
    Likes Received:
    1,985
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I've used closet poles or cheap bamboo simply to teach forms, with no contact. I'll use dowels (selected) for short sticks -- like 1 to 2 feet. But I would be reluctant to say the least about any beyond that.

    I got very lucky once and bought one of the standard "martial arts staves" that actually lasted something like 20 years. Including impact work. But that was more luck than anything else. If I really want a good stick, I'll go for a walk, and find some ironwood (often American Hornbeam, to be technical) or good oak or ash.
     
  5. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Yep I kind of forgot to mention that you really need to check your timber out throughly before doing what I did lol. Be very selective and only take the perfect piece - I had to search quite a bit to find what I was looking for with the exotic pacific wood. The pine was my first practice bo and as such I was far less discerning - although after a year or so of constant polishing it developed real character!

    There are some products you can use to minimise what will happen when a bad piece of dowelling breaks, such as preventing the shower of splinters and such, but a rubbish piece definitely will break on you no matter what.

    Both of my bo stand up to contact, although to be fair the pine one doesn't get pushed as hard as the other one.

    Osage-orange is great wood for making longbows out of too, although again one needs to be very selective on what piece they will or will not take.

    And Lklawson, I shape and tiller my longbows with hand tools and I definitely know what you mean about it being a pain the butt!
     
  6. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,920
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    Then you definitely qualify as a craftsman. Longbows are much more demanding than staffs. Staffs are demanding in their own right, of course, but bows, even more so.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk123
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

hickory rokushaku