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  • bokuto maintenance?

    Is anyone is willing to share some bokuto maintenance tips?

    I've just recently sanded mine down a bit as some of the grain was becoming uneven and a couple spots on the mune have started to splinter (very lightly), I then cleaned it with a damp cloth, let it dry and then hand rubbed a couple light coats of canola oil on it (that's what I use on shinai and that worked fine so far). I'm working on a couple assumptions here (please correct me if I'm way off base):

    (A) That I should be sanding down the bokuto when needed.

    (B) Some form of 'sealer' should be re-applied to it after sanding.

    I've been referenced to using tung/linseed oil as a sealer/protectant for bokuto. But the only stuff I've seen is at the home improvement type store in the paint section and the only tung oil I've seen has that nice little danger/skull/poison sign on them which makes me weary of applying them to something I will have frequent contact with. Any suggestions on where to procure such oils that are safe for this use?

    This bokuto I tried this on is of the el cheapo, mass produced variety (possibly cheap red oak, 40 inch long, and probably 4 or 5 years old by now) so I'm not worried if I've already ruined it. Although I doubt if vegetable oil would render it useless... It just has a distinct new aroma to it

    I'm not even sure if all this work is necesssary, I'm probably overdoing it. So what are your bokuto care and maintenance habits?

    Cheers,

    Ian R.
    Last edited by Ian Russell; 5th July 2002, 12:13 AM.

  • #2
    Greetings Ian,

    I have made a few bokuto and suburito and feel that they need to be treated as anything else that is wood. Ocasional sanding, - sand, dampen (which will raise the grain), and sand again dry with 400 paper. I use linseed oil exclusively in finishing furniture and anything else. It is not dangerous stuff. Heat it - not too hot as it will catch fire - and apply with a soft cloth. After a half hour, wipe off all excess as this will never dry and the wood will remain sticky. After a day you can sand this lightly and repeat if you want. Not only does this protect the wood, the wood shines from within and doesn't reflect light as varnish does.

    Let me know how it goes.

    Richard

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    • #3
      Forgot this: make sure you open out the cloths used with linseed oil and let them dry out. They are quite prone to spontaneous combustion.

      R.

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      • #4
        Thank you kindly Mr. Haly. Good tips to try. One of my next projects is to make myself a tarenbo / suburito. I'm certainly no woodworker so this advice is much appreciated. I've been checking out the wood supply in town trying to find decent stuff. I'm mostly using Kim Taylor sensei's info on his site and at ejmas.

        I'll most certainly keep the flammable advice in mind

        Thanks.

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        • #5
          Thanks Ian,

          The suburito(s) I have made are the octagonal ones (I think there's a picture of a similar one somewhere on Tozando's website). They are much heavier than the simply larger bokuto. I use a Guatemalan wood called "Purpleheart" which has the advantages of 1/ straight grain 2/ hardness 3/ weight (much heavier than oak) 4/ appearance (when oiled it turns a wonderful deep burgundy 5/ availability (I'm in Colorado and it is not difficult to find at fine wood stores, and 6/ price (while it costs more than oak or ash, it is still not at all expensive. I made four and the wood for all of them came to $35 US.

          Gambatte. And if you mess up on saw, make sure the fingers you lose are not those you need to hold a shinai.

          Comment


          • #6
            My bokuto are also made of purple heart. In my case there is a lot of contact and I always wonder how long they are going to last. The kodachi has to take a lot of damage. With not having the luxury of linseed oil I just sand them down occasionaly with the electric sander and slap on the cooking oil. Seem to be holding up quite well.

            Used oil gives them that nice fishy aroma (joking of course)

            Hyaku

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            • #7
              Hmmm, no linseed oil? Is there no flax in Japan? Is it really unavailable? Even so, given the Japanese woodworking culture, I would look for the oldest technique possible. What do/did people put on dojo floors before varnish and polyurathane?

              Best,

              Richard

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              • #8
                Im sure they have it if I looked for it I could find some linseed. But its not readily available. They dont use things like putty for windows here either. The amount of contraction and expansion here between seasons is tremendous. Even paints if they use them are mainly plastic based.

                The cooking/salad oil works fine. I just want to keep my bokuto clean and servicable to try and hit somebody with it. Not looking for a work of art.

                Dojo floors are not coated with anything. That's why you guys are getting all these blisters. The high shine we have is from people running up and down over the years. Its seems that wood polished with skin gives a better finish than sandpaper

                Regards Hyaku

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                • #9
                  purpleheart

                  Originally posted by richard haly
                  I made four and the wood for all of them came to $35 US.

                  This is a little off topic, but reading this thread reminds me of being in the shop at home with my dad...

                  Where did you manage to find purpleheart that cheaply? I used it for an accent in my canoe (on the gunwhales) and it almost bankrupted my father and I. in canada, or the region from whence i cam at least, purpleheart is terribly expensive. i've never even seen a piece of it large enough to make a bokuto. where did you buy it?

                  c

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                  • #10
                    My purpleheart Bokuto's come from Canada.

                    Kim Tayor at Guelph makes some excellent weapons.

                    Hyaku

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                    • #11
                      Confound,

                      Confound et al.

                      As I live near Denver (alas not completely by choice as there is no ocean here), my kendo is at Den Wa Kan and my woodworking is at Paxton's
                      http://www.paxton-woodsource.com/
                      I bought 8/4 and made octagonal suburito.

                      PS. how did you straighten things out with the "abusive" sensei? I am still interested in his intentions and/or his perceptions/representation of his intentions.

                      Best,

                      Richard

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        purple heart

                        Originally posted by Hyaku
                        My purpleheart Bokuto's come from Canada.

                        Kim Tayor at Guelph makes some excellent weapons.

                        Hyaku
                        I'm looking forward to studying with Mr. Taylor, if guelph accepts my application in 2 years' time. (barring any superior scholarship offers from other universities to which I will be applying.)

                        I am from further east than Guelph, quite a bit actually. i'm from qiute a rural backwater, and getting exotic woods isn't easy. I sometimes forget that in larger areas of Canada, it isn't so hard to find imported things, or items that would be unusual where i'm from. still, that's an excellent price on purpleheart, and it's one of my favourite woods, not so bad to work with either...

                        c

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hyaku
                          My purpleheart Bokuto's come from Canada.

                          Kim Tayor at Guelph makes some excellent weapons.

                          Hyaku
                          I second that, I have white oak bokuto from him that are very nice to use.

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