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About Kingfisher WoodWorks
About Kingfisher WoodWorks LLC
Kingfisher WoodWorks LLC manufactures wooden weapons specific to the Japanese sword related martial arts - mainly swords and staffs used in the aiki martial arts and selected wooden swords of the old schools (koryu). We work from two facilities in Wilder, Vermont and serve individual orders without wholesale distribution. Kingfisher produced the bokken used on the set of Edward Zwick's "The Last Samurai". An article about this project and the evolution into the re-development of archaic techniques in weapons production is published in Vol 12 #2 2003 of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.
Finishing shop
Orders in process
Ben Danaher on a busy Friday morning
Roughing shop
To the right: "La Nuova Scolpitrice" - an Italian 4 spindle pantographic carving machine, there are only two or three of these in the US. On the far right are pictures of the resaw equipment used to cut the ultra tough Appalachian hickory used for martial art weapons.  
Making wooden weapons is different from other woodwork and Kingfisher uses processes unique to this specialty. At the right is a vintage 1949 Oliver hollow chisel mortiser used for making sword stand joinery. To middle and far right are pictures in the enhancement room. Here we process wood for our specialty engineered products. The gauge on tank shows 640 microns pressure - deep vacuum.. For this unique class of products, air and water in the wood gets replaced with tough, stable acrylic resin
While machines are used for rough stock removal and general shaping. Balancing, tuning and creating nuance are achieved with hand tools. While machines are useful, and we use multiple technologies, machines are not a substitute for a skilled human. The operator of a machine, no matter how inventive, always works within mechanical and practical boundaries established by the machine's designer. Evidence of these limits is not only the hallmark of modern woodworking but the hallmark of mass production as it relates to artistic expression. In the Kingfisher woodshop, the nuances that create the weapon's refined shape, its authenticity and balance are all done by hand.   hand planed bokken
Below is a L7hc (grade L7 hand cut) Yagyu bokken patterned after the wooden practice sword of the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu of the 16th century. This version is made of ultra premium grade Appalachian hickory wood and completely finished with ultra sharp hand tools without the use of sandpaper or abrasives. We prefer Appalachian hickory over all other wood species. This indigenous wood is tougher, safer and more reliable than all others. Moreover, the lumber, and practically everything in the Kingfisher shop, comes from mills we know personally providing well managed domestic resources.


About Kingfisher

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