Bokken, Jo and Staff: Hand Cut Information

hand carved bokken point
Hand Cut Grade
Traditional hand cutting defines this category of Kingfisher bokken, jo and staffs. These are selected from a very limited selection of our tough, air-dried L7 Appalachian hickory—material having the highest quality straight grain and tight structure. Hand cut items are produced without the use of abrasives or sandpaper giving the user a unique tactile sensation and torsional grip. Appalachian hickory is also known as "impact grade hickory." Not only is it better mechanically, it's also sourced from well managed domestic forests—not endangered tropical or rainforest environments. The same cannot be said for other species, including Asian white oaks, red oaks, ebony and others.
Hand cutting was common prior to the commercialized availability of sandpaper. In a wooden sword or staff, it produces a unique feeling of torsional grip. A customer once commented, "When you grab a Kingfisher hand cut weapon, it grabs you back."

Hand Cut Grade wood has color variations: sometimes all white, sometimes all red and sometimes a combination of the two. Often the lighter colored wood is higher in quality than the dark wood. Sometimes customers prefer the white and sometimes the reddish wood but we generally choose the wood based on its physical properties not the color. The USDA forest products laboratory doesn't differentiate between the two mechanically.

The hand cut grade would be a good choice as a gift for senior practitioners or for martial artists seeking top quality in an all natural, non-sanded finish.

hand carved aikido jo detail

Ability to Temper

Despite its tremendous shock strength, it's best not to bash your new bokken or jo recklessly but to temper the wood through everyday use and let the surface “run in” evenly. Gradually increase impact energy. If done with reasonable care, the surface will attain a very hard state, while the core will retain ductility.

Ability to Straighten

Appalachian hickory is the only wood that can be adjusted for trueness. While all wood moves in response to atmospheric humidity changes, the ensuing warp cannot be corrected in other species. Air dried Appalachian hickory, however, has a unique cellular structure which allows for the wooden sword or staff to be adjusted for straightness as needed during seasonal humidity swings.