Weapon questions

Brian R. VanCise

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Well people do train with Hickory training tools which is heavier/denser than white oak and of course significantly more than red oak. Purple Heart is also heavier/denser and while I do not train with it I have not heard any complaints either. The heaviest sticks I train with are Kamagong which is a very heavy/hard ebony wood found in the Philippines. It is definitely a very heavy hard wood and perfect for self defense but.... what is necessarily always good for hitting someone may not be the ideal training implement. Kamagong is typically thought of as a great tool for self-defense and also for personal strength building but you will not find FMA practitioner's hitting kamagong sticks together in training because the sticks might shatter sending a piece flying. FMA practitioners also do not like hickory all that much on average, etc. This is a potential common problem the harder the wood is. Where as a lighter training wood like rattan is used in stick on stick work. Rattan slowly shreds but does not splinter very often. That is why they are perfect for incredibly hard striking drills that frankly would fry and or shatter many hardwoods. Yet, I would not want a rattan stick for self-defense instead I would want kamagong for it's heaviness and density and of course they are just a substitute for a blade. Japanese white oak is like a perfect blend of hardness and density plus the ability to absorb repeated blows without damage. Hickory is good as well but a little heavier. Many people train with hickory and enjoy it. I have some hickory three foot and four foot sticks and they have lasted a long time. Though I totally prefer my white oak sticks of the same sizes.

What you want to find is the right wood for the tool you are using with the the density and hardness plus weight that you desire.

Personally I do not think you could go wrong with White Oak or Hickory for what it sounds you like you want.


Top Ten heaviest woods: Top Ten Heaviest Woods | The Wood Database

Top Ten hardest woods: http://www.tenorama.com/en/ranking/top-ten-hardest-woods-world

Here is the janka scale for a lot of different wood: http://tinytimbers.com/pdf/chart_janka.pdf

more janka: The Janka Hardness Test for Hardwoods
 

Grenadier

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Yes and thankyou it helped but I only have one last question, what's a good heavier wood

How much are you willing to spend?

For the heavy woods, Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry), Purpleheart, and Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) are probably going to be the best choice for the money spent. Otherwise, you're going to be looking at something far more expensive.
 
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donald1

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For this time I plan on being price around less than $200

What's the average price range of purple heart, I've known several people in my class to be very proud of theirs so I'm considering one too. Later on when I get a lot more experienced i plan on getting one better than that(that one price will not matter i can save up for it)
 

Chris Parker

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Chris,

I do not think it is misleading or inaccurate. The example of "red oak" being crap is pretty standard amongst Japanese practitioners across several disciplines that I personally know. They all favor white oak. Not to hard to understand then. The links I provided showed Hickory being harder than white oak with red oak being softer and that is assuming you can even get quality red oak which quite frankly obviously is a rare event.

Brian, your own comment on your experience with red oak is that it's minimalist… I've been dealing with it (the false substitute "red oak", and the real deal) for 2 decades or more… and I've been pointing out that your limited experience and anecdotal comments from some unnamed practitioners of unnamed systems (with the only proviso being "Japanese") doesn't really give an accurate or informed/authoritative description of what red oak (the real stuff) is actually like… as a result, yeah, it's both misleading and inaccurate. And, one more time, just because the guys you know all prefer white oak doesn't mean that red oak is crap, nor that it's universally not utilised or liked… ask them what their take on biwa is, and we'll see how much they've researched and looked into these areas.

And again, I'm going to state that my personal collection is fairly large… and includes a large array of materials… which I can compare very easily. That's where I'm coming from.

Yes and thankyou it helped but I only have one last question, what's a good heavier wood

Well people do train with Hickory training tools which is heavier/denser than white oak and of course significantly more than red oak.

No, it's not. Red oak is heavier. That's specifically why it's favoured in a number of the systems that use it. The fake "red oak" is quite light… but actual red oak isn't. It's commonly used for suburito over white oak for just that reason. Systems that have a lot of contact or conditioning tend to prefer it as well.

For this time I plan on being price around less than $200

What's the average price range of purple heart, I've known several people in my class to be very proud of theirs so I'm considering one too. Later on when I get a lot more experienced i plan on getting one better than that(that one price will not matter i can save up for it)

Just a heads up, then, weaponry that costs that much tend to be more as show-pieces, rather than usable items… frankly, although I have items that expensive and more, it's not something I'd spend on an everyday usable item. Most of my bokken for regular class use are sent from Japan, and come out at about $75AU with shipping etc… and even that's about as far as I'd go. So, really, it comes back to the question at the beginning of what you're wanting to get it for… if it's a practical, everyday usage training tool, you really don't need to spend anything near that… if it's to be a pretty showpiece, cool… just pick something you like the look of. But in terms of the specifics of the various woods, I'd suggest again reading Ellis Amdur's post on the materials that I linked in a previous post (the Toda-ha Buko Ryu one).
 

Xue Sheng

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Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Common Name(s): Red Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus rubra
Distribution: Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada
Tree Size: 80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall, 3-6 ft (1-2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 44 lbs/ft3 (700 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .56, .70
Janka Hardness: 1,220 lbf (5,430 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 14,380 lbf/in2 (99.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,761,000 lbf/in2 (12.14 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,780 lbf/in2 (46.8 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.0%, Tangential: 8.6%, Volumetric: 13.7%, T/R Ratio: 2.2

White Oak (Quercus alba)

View More Images Below
Common Name(s): White Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus alba
Distribution: Eastern United States
Tree Size: 65-85 ft (20-25 m) tall, 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 47 lbs/ft3 (755 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .60, .75
Janka Hardness: 1,350 lbf (5,990 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 14,830 lbf/in2 (102.3 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,762,000 lbf/in2 (12.15 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 7,370 lbf/in2 (50.8 MPa)
Shrinkage:Radial: 5.6%, Tangential: 10.5%, Volumetric: 16.3%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

Hickory - Various species can be found here for weight and density purposes
 

Chris Parker

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Not those oaks, Xue… check the Toda-ha Buko Ryu link above for the species… it's an important distinction.
 
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donald1

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Brian, your own comment on your experience with red oak is that it's minimalist… I've been dealing with it (the false substitute "red oak", and the real deal) for 2 decades or more… and I've been pointing out that your limited experience and anecdotal comments from some unnamed practitioners of unnamed systems (with the only proviso being "Japanese") doesn't really give an accurate or informed/authoritative description of what red oak (the real stuff) is actually like… as a result, yeah, it's both misleading and inaccurate. And, one more time, just because the guys you know all prefer white oak doesn't mean that red oak is crap, nor that it's universally not utilised or liked… ask them what their take on biwa is, and we'll see how much they've researched and looked into these areas.

And again, I'm going to state that my personal collection is fairly large… and includes a large array of materials… which I can compare very easily. That's where I'm coming from.





No, it's not. Red oak is heavier. That's specifically why it's favoured in a number of the systems that use it. The fake "red oak" is quite light… but actual red oak isn't. It's commonly used for suburito over white oak for just that reason. Systems that have a lot of contact or conditioning tend to prefer it as well.



Just a heads up, then, weaponry that costs that much tend to be more as show-pieces, rather than usable items… frankly, although I have items that expensive and more, it's not something I'd spend on an everyday usable item. Most of my bokken for regular class use are sent from Japan, and come out at about $75AU with shipping etc… and even that's about as far as I'd go. So, really, it comes back to the question at the beginning of what you're wanting to get it for… if it's a practical, everyday usage training tool, you really don't need to spend anything near that… if it's to be a pretty showpiece, cool… just pick something you like the look of. But in terms of the specifics of the various woods, I'd suggest again reading Ellis Amdur's post on the materials that I linked in a previous post (the Toda-ha Buko Ryu one).

That's good news, ill be sure to check the link
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Hey Chris,

A lot of people seem to have differing opinions. Me for practice with the Bokken, Hanbo, Jo, Rokushaku Bo, yari, naginata, etc. I am either going to use white oak, rare occasions hickory or fukuro shinai. That is me. I feel that red oak is crap.


I'm not the only one though. Meik Skoss on another forum mentioned this:

Hardness is not the only factor one looks for with a wooden weapon; elasticity or resilience is also very important. Japanese white oak (shirogashi) is easily the best for training in a Japanese weapons art. Akagashi, or Japanese red oak is a lot softer and splinters more easily.

Ipe and ebony are not very good choices: ebony (J: kokutan) is brittle and shatters after a short time; ipe is hard, to be sure, but it's really heavy. One of my students has a naginata made of ipe, I believe, and I don't like the feel of it. It does not have the "live" feeling I feel in white oak; waza done with the weapon aren't dynamic, leading to a very unsatisfactory practice.

Biwa, or loquat, is another wood to avoid. Several of my teachers would not allow people to train with a weapon made of biwa if they were working with a partner; they said that injuries incurred with such weapons would never heal. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is what they said. Maybe there's some truth to the idea.

Hope this helps,

Meik Skoss
Shutokukan Dojo
Koryu.com

Taken from here: Best wood for bokken
(note Mr. Skoss doesn't appear to like Japanese Red Oak)



Here is a very reputable manufacturer whose products people really like. His opinion are that only two woods are suitable Japanese White Oak and Hickory. (specifically Appalachian hickory)

What are the differences between Japanese White Oak (Shiro Kashi) and Appalachian Hickory? The US and Japan are fortunate to have indigenous woods with high impact strength. There is a huge amount of erroneous information available concerning the strength of various kinds of wood. Despite innumerable claims, of all of the thousands of wood species worldwide, two are generally suitable for martial art weapons subject to heavy contact - Shiro Kashi and Appalachian Hickory.

In comparison, Shiro Kashi, like all oaks, slowly gets brittle over time where hickory retains its springy resilience. If warpage occurs in oak due to humidity swings, its permanent but Appalachian hickory can be straightened quite easily. Shiro Kashi might be a bit heavier on average and perhaps a bit harder. Appalachian hickory can be tempered so despite its initially softer state, it can be "run in" to achieve a superb hardened outer surface with a tough, ductile core. Japanese White Oak is uniformly light in color whereas Appalachian hickory includes both reddish and cream colored wood. Appalachian hickory has a long history in the United States of being the preferred wood for striking tool handles and as such, has an established reputation for safety.

Taken from here: Kingfisher WoodWorks LLC: FAQ
Note his opinion that only two woods are suitable for hard contact and that is Japanese White Oak and Appalachian Hickory

I literally could find ton's of people on the internet talking up white oak and deriding red oak but I tire of this.

Hopefully we have given donald1 plenty to think about and he makes a purchase that he truly enjoys working with!
 
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donald1

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My instructor let me borrow a sample kit there was 11 kinds of wood in it ash, yellowheart, cherry, jotoba, bloodwood, purpleheart, bubinga moradillo, mahogany, cocobolo, and bocata

I like the bubinga cause the wood looks like a nice color it looks like it almost changes colors when reflected at the light :) but that's the biggest reason why I like it so im not going to get it, yes I know not all the woods are good for bo materials. Also I'm thinking about moradillo doesn't look as good looking as jotoba or bubinga but seems like a good bo material
Thanks for the advice everyone it helped a lot :)
 

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