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  • Bokken

    I bought a white oak bokken with grooves (hi) from ninecircles, and currently use it for practice, due to my lack of an iaito.

    I was just wondering how to best take care of my bokken. The grooves on the sides have fairly sharp edges, and so tend to splinter off a bit after tachi uchi no kurai and bunkai practice. I have been sanding down the bokken every two weeks or so, and rubbing in several coats of raw linseed oil to hopefully keep the wood nice and healthy. Is this the best way to look after the bokken?

    I heard that boiled linseed oil or tung oil was better than raw linseed oil because it is less sticky.

    Or maybe I should just purchase a bokken without hi on the sides for ease of care?

  • #2
    Hi,

    Originally posted by ZealUK
    I bought a white oak bokken with grooves (hi) from ninecircles, and currently use it for practice, due to my lack of an iaito.

    I was just wondering how to best take care of my bokken. The grooves on the sides have fairly sharp edges, and so tend to splinter off a bit after tachi uchi no kurai and bunkai practice. I have been sanding down the bokken every two weeks or so, and rubbing in several coats of raw linseed oil to hopefully keep the wood nice and healthy. Is this the best way to look after the bokken?
    Every two weeks may be overkill, but at least you sand and oil your bokken regularly. Good!

    Originally posted by ZealUK
    I heard that boiled linseed oil or tung oil was better than raw linseed oil because it is less sticky.
    I don't have any experience with raw linseed oil or tung oil, but I do use boiled linseed oil and it works very well...not very sticky at all when wet.

    Originally posted by ZealUK
    Or maybe I should just purchase a bokken without hi on the sides for ease of care?
    Though I've never seen or worked with a bokken with hi, I don't really see any reason to have the hi on a bokken, especially since you're having a splintering issue. Ascetically, I think the hi would just take away from the "clean" lines of the bokken. I would consider buying a new bokken.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would not use this bokken for tachi uchi no kurai, it is a little on the lightweight side. Shame you damaged it, they are nice iaido bokken! if you are doing tachi uchi against beginners, they do tend to hit harder than necessary, at the wrong angles etc so it will get damaged. Personally I prefer to use the solid type, again japanese oak, although I am making one from willow at the moment to see if it will take impacts better....it should if it can take a cricket ball.... The one I use is also slightly thicker than regular bokken so can take accidental side impacts from beginners a little better. I bought it in Japan a while ago and it is lasting quite well, a little oil now and again keeps it in good shape.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by chidokan
        if you are doing tachi uchi against beginners, they do tend to hit harder than necessary, at the wrong angles etc so it will get damaged.
        I'm only a beginner myself

        I think the idea behind the grooves it to get the whoosh sound that people get with iaito. Its a bit misleading though I think as the shape of the bokken and depth of the grooves differ greatly to that of those on an iaito.

        I'll buy another bokken for tachi uchi no kurai I think. Its easier to sand down one without grooves as well I guess.

        Thanks for the advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi and oil on Bokken

          Originally posted by ZealUK
          I'm only a beginner myself

          I think the idea behind the grooves it to get the whoosh sound that people get with iaito. Its a bit misleading though I think as the shape of the bokken and depth of the grooves differ greatly to that of those on an iaito.

          I'll buy another bokken for tachi uchi no kurai I think. Its easier to sand down one without grooves as well I guess.

          Thanks for the advice.
          Hi on Bokken are more trouble than they are worth - constantly repairing the splinter damage. I do have a Bokken with Hi made by Kingfisher in laminated rosewood but the laminating material is a polymer so I don't have to worry about splintering.

          Also, with a good hardwood Bokken, there is not need to oil it. Sweat and natural oils from the hands are the traditional method of application. There is some sort of feeling in the West here that Bokken must be oiled. If you feel that you must oil your Bokken, then just oil the blade portion and not the Tsuka area.

          Comment


          • #6
            I forgot to say that....now I have visions of oiled bokken flying across dojos!

            Comment


            • #7
              Ouch.

              Originally posted by chidokan
              I forgot to say that....now I have visions of oiled bokken flying across dojos!
              ROTFLMAO! That makes for quite the visual. Thanks for sharing that thought.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ZealUK
                I bought a white oak bokken with grooves (hi) from ninecircles, and currently use it for practice, due to my lack of an iaito.

                I was just wondering how to best take care of my bokken. The grooves on the sides have fairly sharp edges, and so tend to splinter off a bit after tachi uchi no kurai and bunkai practice. I have been sanding down the bokken every two weeks or so, and rubbing in several coats of raw linseed oil to hopefully keep the wood nice and healthy. Is this the best way to look after the bokken?

                I heard that boiled linseed oil or tung oil was better than raw linseed oil because it is less sticky.

                Or maybe I should just purchase a bokken without hi on the sides for ease of care?
                Bit off topic here but what exactly is tachi uchi no kurai and bunkai? I'm only three lessons into Iaido and have not come across them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  bunkai is the explanation of why you do a particular technique...it helps visualise what you are doing and gives a target to aim for, albeit only in your minds eye.
                  Tachi uchi no kurai is partner work from the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, usually taught after you have a good basic control of the sword. There are three levels, however there also a set of seven by Oe Masamichi that is based on the original three sets.
                  I cannot see a grooved bokken being used as a contact sword, just for iaido only. I had one made for me by my father in law who died about 5 years ago, so its a sentimental piece which I am ultra careful with. Its quite useful for teaching with, as I can show how part of the technique works without fear of accidentally cutting the guy I am using as the enemy. I would recommend them as initially the student does not need to use the saya, then can transition to using the saya, then when confident can start using an iaito.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    bokken news

                    I find one website about quality Japanese wood weapon, www.e-bokken.com ,I think maybe you can find some quality bokken on the company system .. I think that is the world system...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just use a cheap $10 Red Oak bokken when i practice...

                      It's a bit heavier than usual...hence a sword is lighter.

                      BTW..don't use the linseed oil for bokkens, use raw linseed oil...I head the ones they make for bokkens, the chemicals they use for processing cause cancer. Obviously, this is bad. But again, it's just something i heard.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Question for Chidokan (Tim)....or anyone else who knows the answer. Sorry to wander off topic slightly.....
                        I know you used to practice kendo, but now don't cos of your knees. Are the tachi uchi no karai forms similar to the kendo kata? I've been practising kendo now for 3 months, and after getting over the usual n00b hurdles, i'm finding that kihon no kata and kendo no kata are coming quite natural to me, due to my iai study (with Brian), but i was wondering if there is any similar crossover with iai and kendo kata.

                        Cheers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I find kendo no kata easier to do, the techniques are really simple nowadays in comparison to TUNK. Sometimes I forget about height of stance for the kendo kata and drop low though! Nowadays in england it would probably fail me a grade if I could be bothered to do them, but old japanese sensei always smile and say something like 'thats how we used to do it in the old days'.
                          If you are ever given the chance to practise with Sumi sensei dont miss out, he is really keen on kendo kata. If you like I can give you my slant on them at the next seminar we are on. I am off down to Brian's in December when he comes back from Japan, so can show you what beginners do and how to progress from there, and also the bits they dont do any more!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by chidokan
                            I find kendo no kata easier to do, the techniques are really simple nowadays in comparison to TUNK. Sometimes I forget about height of stance for the kendo kata and drop low though! Nowadays in england it would probably fail me a grade if I could be bothered to do them, but old japanese sensei always smile and say something like 'thats how we used to do it in the old days'.
                            If you are ever given the chance to practise with Sumi sensei dont miss out, he is really keen on kendo kata. If you like I can give you my slant on them at the next seminar we are on. I am off down to Brian's in December when he comes back from Japan, so can show you what beginners do and how to progress from there, and also the bits they dont do any more!
                            Cheers Tim,
                            look forward to seeing you. I first learned the tata hiza no bu under your tutorledge (sp?). Although my knees only allow me to do everything tachi nowadays. Kendo doesn't hurt my knees at all. Are you going to Japan this weekend? I heard that Iwata sensei has taken ill.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              just to say for oils if you are going oil your bokkens, oils are a good way to ensure that it becomes water proof this helps prevent warping so you dont get a wonky sword, all oils help stabilty and gives it a better look, it just depends what kind of oil you are looking for, tung oil from china are used for salad bowls and chopind boards so that can't be too bad.

                              Comment

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