Suggestions needed: Wood

tellner

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I've started going to the local Shingon Temple on weekends. There's a group of Koryu practitioners who meets at oh-crap-not-on-a-Saturday o'clock.

Considering the price of wooden weapons I'm making my own. A hickory tamper handle does just fine for nagamaki, bokken and wakizashi. And at $7.50 plus a coat or two of Marine Spar Varnish and a couple hours work it's a lot cheaper than buying one. Hickory has bar none the highest measured impact strength of any wood.

But finding hickory in naginata sizes is more difficult.

Does anyone have suggestions? Ipe? Osage Orange (if I can find it around here)?

And the tsubas are heavy - a bit over an inch thick. Any thoughts on materials I could acquire at a decent hardwood store?
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I've started going to the local Shingon Temple on weekends. There's a group of Koryu practitioners who meets at oh-crap-not-on-a-Saturday o'clock.

Considering the price of wooden weapons I'm making my own. A hickory tamper handle does just fine for nagamaki, bokken and wakizashi. And at $7.50 plus a coat or two of Marine Spar Varnish and a couple hours work it's a lot cheaper than buying one. Hickory has bar none the highest measured impact strength of any wood.

But finding hickory in naginata sizes is more difficult.

Does anyone have suggestions? Ipe? Osage Orange (if I can find it around here)?

And the tsubas are heavy - a bit over an inch thick. Any thoughts on materials I could acquire at a decent hardwood store?


Hey Todd,

Ed Martin uses hickory and all his training tools are amish made and withstand plenty and I do mean plenty of abuse. His tools are found here and he also will make yari, naginata, etc. (can make anything you want he just had his guy's make me bayonet trainers
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)

http://www.pennsylvaniabujinkan.com/Dojo/New Equip.htm

His prices are half of anyone else's.
 

shesulsa

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I'll ask some folks nearby who do woodcraft if they have a good local source.
 

Doc_Jude

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Sukerkin

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I suppose any suggestion of which wood to use depends on what you want to do with them?

If there's heavy contact going on then I would've thought that more than anything else the priority would be for a wood that will not crack or split but will rather dent and hive off fibres.

If you're looking more at mogito than bokken applications (i.e. a wooden simulation for a sword) then hard, smooth, woods are to be preferred (nothing worse than catching a spinter when doing a form involving blade handling :D).
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I suppose any suggestion of which wood to use depends on what you want to do with them?

If there's heavy contact going on then I would've thought that more than anything else the priority would be for a wood that will not crack or split but will rather dent and hive off fibres.

If you're looking more at mogito than bokken applications (i.e. a wooden simulation for a sword) then hard, smooth, woods are to be preferred (nothing worse than catching a spinter when doing a form involving blade handling :D).

Excellent advise Sukerkin!
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Grenadier

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I've started going to the local Shingon Temple on weekends. There's a group of Koryu practitioners who meets at oh-crap-not-on-a-Saturday o'clock.

Considering the price of wooden weapons I'm making my own. A hickory tamper handle does just fine for nagamaki, bokken and wakizashi. And at $7.50 plus a coat or two of Marine Spar Varnish and a couple hours work it's a lot cheaper than buying one. Hickory has bar none the highest measured impact strength of any wood.

But finding hickory in naginata sizes is more difficult.

Does anyone have suggestions? Ipe? Osage Orange (if I can find it around here)?

Ipe (also known as Brazilian Walnut) is a heavy, dense, and very stout wood. It's so dense, that it's one of the few woods that can actually sink in water.

It's a great wood for bokken, but if you're going to work with it, then you need to have carbide blades to cut it, since you're going to dull ordinary blades. Trust me on this...

I own a few wooden Ipe weapons (bo, jo, bokken), and they've all been great for me. I use my bokken a good bit when it came to bokken on bokken drills, but people keep breaking their bokken on mine, even though we weren't going any harder than medium speed. I think I'm at about 23 bokken broken on mine.

Other than a few scratches on the hardened tung oil surface (which are easily smoothed out), the bokken is in great condition, and has been going strong for 3 years. While the grain may not be the prettiest, the wood still looks beautiful with that tung oil finish on it.
 
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tellner

tellner

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Thanks for the replies so far, folks!

There's a fair amount of hard weapon-on-weapon contact, so impact strength is very important.

Grenadier, your experience with ipe is encouraging, and your caution on carbide blades is well taken. A local hardwood place has good prices on ipe at the moment.

I'll look into Pennsylvania Bujinkan's work, but I'm probably going to go with making my own. If nothing else it will give me a reason to complete the shop and finish cleaning out the basement :)
 

Grenadier

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Just make sure that you wear gloves, goggles, and a dust mask, while working on these exotic hardwoods. Some wood dusts can sensitize you, and the allergic reactions can be irritating, indeed.
 

hogstooth

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Does anyone have suggestions? Ipe? Osage Orange (if I can find it around here)?

Ipe is used in commercial decking. You can find it by looking in the phone book and calling commercial carpenters. That is how I found it. The problem you will have with both of these woods is they are very dense and heavy. This will be good for building the necessary muscles to wield the weapon but it will not be an accurate representation of the real thing. This may not be a problem but you should try to get a weapon that is as close as possible to the real deal so you practice the same way you will use the weapon.
Try calling a mill in your area and see if you can get Hickory. You may be suprised to find they have what you need.
 
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