Bokken, Jo and Staff: Hand Cut Information
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.
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.