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About Kingfisher WoodWorks
About Kingfisher WoodWorks LLC

kingfisher shop

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). The company's primary focus is serving individual orders. In June of 2002, 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.

On the left, is a picture of the finishing workshop. Below are some images of our roughing facility at 36 A Street, Wilder VT 05088
Making wooden weapons is different from other woodwork and Kingfisher uses processes unique to this specialty. The following is a brief view into the making of a wooden sword.
Machines (some fairly sophisticated) are used for rough stock removal and general shaping. Balancing, tuning and creating nuance are achieved with hand tools. While machines are useful, they 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 cuts that create the weapon's refined shape, make it unique, authentic and properly balanced are all done by hand.   james goedkoop in workshop
bokken making tools

Kingfisher offers both standard weapons and premium process hand cut weapons. Both are shaped to exacting specifications but the economical standard weapons are made of grade levels 3 through 5 wood and sanded to a smooth finish - these are intended as reliable practice weapons at affordable prices.

The hand cut weapons group are made of ultra premium grade level 6 and 7 wood and completely finished with ultra sharp hand tools without the use of sandpaper or abrasives. In natural wood, a cut surface gives a clean hand worked feeling without any loss of fine detail. These weapons are made for those seeking the finest in hand worked wooden weapons - see the pictures and descriptions below -

In the picture to the right, the bevels on a sword back (mune) of this hand cut weapon are cleanly severed, leaving the grain wide open. The wood is able to deeply accept many applications of oil finish which can then be rubbed to a spectacular finish. The cleanly cut surface, finished with a hand rubbed oil, is better protected and elevates the wood to its most beautiful appearance and authentic tactile feeling.
  hand planed bokken


Unlike most creations in wood, the success of the products described here depend on their actual feeling when held.

On the left is a grade 7 Yagyu bokken. The completed weapon has the effect of being both brand new and hundreds of years old at the same time.


About Kingfisher

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