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  • Shinai and Bokuto Craftiness

    Has anyone on here built your own shinai before? How about bokuto? I can't imagine a bokuto would be terribly difficult for anyone with the right tools and such, and it seems really nifty to have training items that you built yourself.

  • #2
    There have been some videos posted that show how much time and labor go into making shinai. I don't have links handy but a search ought to pull them up. Definitely not something I'm interested in trying. Kim Taylor on here makes bokuto and sells them, search for sdksupplies.

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    • #3
      One little piggy, two little piggies...

      Can't say I have seen any homeade products yet. Although, it does sound like an interesting project to pass the time.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by turboyoshi View Post
        There have been some videos posted that show how much time and labor go into making shinai. I don't have links handy but a search ought to pull them up. Definitely not something I'm interested in trying. Kim Taylor on here makes bokuto and sells them, search for sdksupplies.
        Here you go.

        www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onvr1kqrkkE

        The gist of it (for those who can't read Japanese) is that portions of bamboo are cut and dried for an extended period of time before entering the workshop. From there, the logs are sectioned and subjected to carving, shaping, sanding, sanding, and more sanding, until finally being fully assembled. Personally I don't think your average kendoka has the time, equipment, or proper resources to attempt making their own shinai, much less one I'd be comfortable having in a dojo.

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        • #5
          I believe that Kim Taylor sensei has made his own bokuto.

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          • #6
            I have a half finished bokuto in my room. I really need to get around to finishing it.

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            • #7
              Beth, who posts on here as babayaga, makes very nice wooden weapons. Here's a link to her blog ... Beth's Buki.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pgsmith View Post
                Beth, who posts on here as babayaga, makes very nice wooden weapons. Here's a link to her blog ... Beth's Buki.
                Oh wow, that is seriously awesome. Some beautiful work there.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rfoxmich View Post
                  I believe that Kim Taylor sensei has made his own bokuto.
                  Actually Ron, I tend to use whatever is lying around... sometimes something I've made, sometimes an old three dollar special from Pakistan. All the nice stuff goes out the door in cardboard cartons it seems.

                  I once had a really, seriously ugly leopard frog pattern leather sword bag. One of two, I mean ugly but thick and stiff and it would never wear out. Picture fluorescent yellow and black blotches. I figured I finally had something for myself.

                  Got sold right out from under me. I came home to find my poor equipment dumped on the floor.

                  The cobbler's kids have no shoes!

                  So more accurate is that "Kim Taylor has made hundreds of other people's bokuto" but for those who want to give it a try,

                  check here http://ejmas.com/tin/tinart_taylor_1100.htm

                  Kim.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ShinKenshi View Post
                    Here you go.

                    [ Personally I don't think your average kendoka has the time, equipment, or proper resources to attempt making their own shinai, much less one I'd be comfortable having in a dojo.
                    I have made some bokuto, only need a few tools and a bit of hard work but a liitle experience with wood helps
                    especially after you have worked your bokuto into a shape your happy with and its time to get creative with sanding
                    and finishing.

                    In regards to shinai, while I aggree most wouldn`t be up to the challenge of it and after reading on here but a different shinai thread
                    that most have said it to be impossible (or near enough to ) I decided to give it a go. went to my local take forrest cut a few down
                    and am drying it now. naturally will take time so no snaps for awhile.

                    regards to not being comfortable with one in the dojo, I`d think that depends on the knowledge of the person making it regardless of whether
                    its his first aatempt or not. People with experience in woodworking etc and are able to spot flaws in materials etc. I`d trust someone with knowledge to make one.
                    people making bokuto has the potential to be equally if not more dangerous if an in experienced person chose a peice of timber with a fatal flaw
                    then broke during kata.

                    some cheap taiwanese shinai grown in high temps. can be very brittle = dangerous
                    some skill + well selected materials = give it a whirl.

                    I`ve already designed my tools for bending the slats, will make later.
                    got my burner for heating them etc. just need my bamboo to dry and I`m away.
                    I`m a cabinet maker by trade, and I believe it would be somewhat time consuming, slightly stressful but very rewarding
                    thats the main reason I decided to give it a go. No replys about the various treatment the bamboo needs blah blah, there is always an
                    alternative.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gilligan View Post
                      In regards to shinai, while I aggree most wouldn`t be up to the challenge of it and after reading on here but a different shinai thread
                      that most have said it to be impossible (or near enough to ) I decided to give it a go. went to my local take forrest cut a few down
                      and am drying it now. naturally will take time so no snaps for awhile.
                      I'd be interested in seeing how yours turn out. Nothing wrong with giving it a go if you've done your homework.

                      Originally posted by Gilligan View Post
                      regards to not being comfortable with one in the dojo, I`d think that depends on the knowledge of the person making it regardless of whether its his first aatempt or not. People with experience in woodworking etc and are able to spot flaws in materials etc. I`d trust someone with knowledge to make one.
                      If someone with a strong woodworking background gives it a go after researching it thoroughly, then sure, I'd be willing to take a look at what they make. I'd be very careful in examining ever bit of it before considering whether or not I'd be comfortable striking even a practice target however. If the balance is fine, the nodes line up and are spaced correctly, the weight checks out, and no obvious cracks and/or splits, then sure, I'd give it a go during keiko.

                      Originally posted by Gilligan View Post
                      some cheap taiwanese shinai grown in high temps. can be very brittle = dangerous
                      I'm fairly sure all but one or two of my current shinai are made of Taiwanese bamboo and they're complete work horses. A little of the usual maintenance and haven't had one snap like a twig.

                      Originally posted by Gilligan View Post
                      No replys about the various treatment the bamboo needs blah blah, there is always an alternative.
                      Such as? No pretentiousness here, genuinely curious as I'm not all that familiar with what is traditionally done versus equally good alternatives.

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                      • #12
                        I'll vouch for Kim Taylor sensei's bokuto. Very beautiful! Very functional. Excellent craftsmanship! I have two, and I love them both.
                        Brad

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ShinKenshi View Post
                          Such as? No pretentiousness here, genuinely curious as I'm not all that familiar with what is traditionally done versus equally good alternatives.
                          Red Oak, White Oak? I know some of the naginata weapons are made from white oak (atleast those few I'v seen)
                          I don't know an awfull lot of wooden weapons crafting so I wouldn't be able to tell you about traditional woods and methods, as a child a kendoka was telling me that bokuto take years to make because they are all seperate pieces of wood glued and compressed together, I didn't think that was true and completely ignored it, but like I said, I'v had little if any experianced in that area so feel free to educate me.
                          But from a furniture point of view (had a little bit of a hobby in that area for a few years) oaks and pines when cared for and crafted properly where extremely durable, with the exceptions on a few different timbers and grains, but I imagine weapons would be very different to tables and cabinets so thats probably irrellevant.

                          I have a mate who attempted one out of red gum, heavy as all hell but did the job, it turned out more of a jo-bokuto half breed, not from the material side of things, just he's not too great crafting with wood, the boy is genius with steel though,
                          but he still uses it, put a nice finish over it and it does look great,
                          If I get the chance I'll post a picture of it, despite how in-practical it may be.
                          Or maybe I'll find his "dual bladed naginata" a see what you guys think of that

                          Regards

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scully View Post
                            Red Oak, White Oak? I know some of the naginata weapons are made from white oak (atleast those few I'v seen)
                            I don't know an awfull lot of wooden weapons crafting so I wouldn't be able to tell you about traditional woods and methods, as a child a kendoka was telling me that bokuto take years to make because they are all seperate pieces of wood glued and compressed together, I didn't think that was true and completely ignored it, but like I said, I'v had little if any experianced in that area so feel free to educate me.
                            My comment was in reference to alternative wood types for making a shinai, not a bokuto. I would absolutely never even entertain the idea of using any type of solid wood like oak for a shinai. If there's something out there that has similar properties to bamboo, then I'd be interested in hearing about it purely out of curiosity.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ShinKenshi View Post
                              My comment was in reference to alternative wood types for making a shinai, not a bokuto. I would absolutely never even entertain the idea of using any type of solid wood like oak for a shinai. If there's something out there that has similar properties to bamboo, then I'd be interested in hearing about it purely out of curiosity.
                              Ah my mistake,
                              In the way of shinai, I don't know, there are some companies doing synthetic style bamboos and come out reasonably well, alot cheaper as well.

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