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Re: bokken making
Kutaki Postmaster
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well this technique does work no matter how silly it sounds heh heh I use it to put recurves in my all wood bows, I've never used it to make a bokken, but wood is wood, it doesn't matter the ammount of it. It's actually the heat of the steam that makes the wood pliable, not the moisture, heck you can bend wood using an open fire! Of course you have to heat it without scorching it and that is difficult to do... that's why steaming it works better... you can also boil it, but that takes more equipment.
The idea to use metal to back the bend while you are bending it, is an excellent idea, although in such a minor bend as the one in a bokken, it shouldn't be necessary. Bowyers(people who make bows) use that technique when putting severe static(non bending) recurves into their bows. Putting a strip of steel along the outside edge of the curve will prevent the wood from splitting and raising splinters during the bend. anyway that's it from this side of the world! have a wonderful day!

Alan McPherson

Posted on: 2005/2/9 22:49
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Re: bokken making
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From what I've seen Alan, you are absolutely correct about the "splitting" of the wood when the bend is made. If it is just a gradual bend it won't split off, the more severe the bend, the more need for the metal backing clamped to the wood.
Ed Martin aka Papa-san

Posted on: 2005/2/9 23:02
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Re: bokken making
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hahahaha, the bokken i paid $20 for now has a noticable warp along the "blade, this is the bokken ive been using as a template. and all the bokkens i have made have not warped, they are much thicker than my store bought one, is this the reason why they have not warped....im starting to think my homemade ones are better.if i put like an oil finish will this protect against warping, and will it make the grain puff out like other stains and varathanes can?any help will be appreciated.also i want to show you guys my work but dont know if im allowed to upload a picture here.

Posted on: 2005/2/10 10:32
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Re: bokken making
Just Passing Through
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You know, if you want to avoid all the bother of steaming, just select a board from the timber merchant's which has a curved grain along the plank. That way, you'll have parallel grain all the way along the piece, no inherant stress and you're not subjecting the wood to the torment of hot steam.
As for shaping, once you have the basic form jigsawed out, if you don't want the expense of a router, a flat and a convex spokeshave are economical and also real hands on tools. If you use a tennon saw to cut a shoulder and tang, you can put katana fittings on a wooden blade no problem. Yes, it does make it a bit weaker, but if you get a cheap tsuba and fuchi, it can be filed out to take an oblong section tang. Then you just build up the tsuka as you would for a katana hilt. For extra strength, stick the tsuka to the tang with something like Evo Stik Compound W glue or Araldite. It's as strong as the wood.
Aaah, I can smell the shavings already.
Cheers...Jen.

Posted on: 2005/4/1 2:34
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Re: bokken making
Village Old Timer
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hey guy's, i am going to make a naginata for a friend of mine tomorrow. i bought a piece of 35 mm tassie oak dowel and a tin of spray linseed oil today.

my theori is i will roughly shape the blade part, steam to shape using an old kettle some flexible aluminium ducting and tinfoil(more bush style than country boy!)

after looking at a few pics. here and there, my feeling is the staff should be around the 6' mark (1.8 m) and the blade part about a further 16'' (400 odd mm) with the last 3rd of the blade curved to about a good 2' (50+ mm)

does that sound about right ? as i was going to make up a jig of pyneboard and nails beforehand. i traced around my short sword, but it clearly isn't right.

also is a tsuba always fitted or optional?

thanks to anyone who can help with any info, otherwise i'll just take a punt. i will post notes about the success /failure of this project, if anyone is interested.

thanks,

Posted on: 2005/9/2 19:30
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darren stewart

Oldschoolcarpentry.com.au
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Re: bokken making
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I'd say go to it! The one I get the Amish to make for me are 8 feet long and the last 18 inches are steamed and bent, then "shaped" a little like the bokken 'blade' is. Doing that makes it a very durable training weapon. I've never used a tsuba on mine so don't know about that.
Ed Martin aka Papa-san

Posted on: 2005/9/2 23:32
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Re: bokken making
Kutaki Postmaster
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dazza, how did it turn out??

Alan McPherson

Posted on: 2005/10/3 15:11
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Re: bokken making
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Dazza,
Naginata can vary in size. I have seen the shorter battlefield versions that are roughly 6 feet in length overall with a much shorter staff on them of about 4-5 feet long.
The ones I make for sale are around 89 inches long with a 6 ft. staff (72 inches)and a 17 inch blade. I tend to use modern materials like delrin for my blades as I feel they woudl simply hold up better and not have the risk of splintering or breaking. delrin is REALLY tough stuff.
If you wanted to stay with all wood you will have to carefully examine the wood you are getting. Easy way: I recommend 5/4 size in 8 feet length. HEre is the tricky part- you will have to find a piece with the grain curved at the last 16 to 18 inches. you can cut it to the shape you need and shape it with a spokeshave and drawknife. You do not need a concave spokeshave by the way. A regular SHARP spokeshave will do the trcik just fine for rough shaping.
To do it an easier way but requiring a bit more time: use the steaming method. I have done this both ways and either method will work. The steaming method takes roughly 2 hours of steam time per inch of thickenss of the wood. In the case of 5/4 x 8feet long- roughly 4 to five hours of steam time- your mileage may vary.
A simple piece of equipment to fabircate will consist of a 6 inch diameter piece of piping long enought o accomodate your piece + 6 inches., two end caps, a picec of high heat flexible tubing, a rubber stopper, a small electric tea kettle. drill a hole in the pipe just big enough to accomodate your flexible tubing. drill another small holeor series of holes on the other end(to allow for a small amount of venting). Stick your tubing in the hole drill a hole in your rubber stopper to accomodate your tubing. Stick the tubing in. Start up your tea kettle (with water in it of course). Stick your piece in the pipe. apply the end caps. stick the rubber stopper with tubing in your tea kettle and wait. You'll have to watch it periodically to make sure that you have good water supply.
While you are waiting for this to happen make the jig for your blade end of the naginata.using a piece of THICK oak hardwood like 8/4 draw the curve. Now using thick wooden dowels (approx 1 inch in dia.)drill holes around your curve at three inch intervals that will be big enough to snugly fit your dowels. Or you could just find two trees close together and place it between them and bend around them(ask them first though if you can use them for that purpose). Then find a way to secure the other end so it would move(put a stake in the ground and tie a rope to it's end. this owuld be the "bush" method if you wanted to forego the jig.
A jig would only be useful if you plan on doing them over and over again with any consistency of shape.
Once your piece is steamed (wear gloves when you remove it from the steam tunnel it will be HOT!), remove it from the steam tunnel and now you must work quickly berfore the lignum begins to set again.
Set your blade end on the jig and starting from the end begin to slowly apply the pins and bending the piece ever so gradully. apply one pin on the open side of your jig, bend, apply another pin, etc. be carefully to listen for cracking etc. that would indicate the piece hasn;t steamed sufficiently or you could end up with a nice end check on the piece. After you have finished pinning the piece walk away for a while (about two to three hours). When you come back you can start releaseing the pins one at a time. The wood will not keep the exact shape when you release it the wood will spring back a bit. That is why in the beginning you have to over compensate the curve when making your jig.

This whole business of making weapons by hand is nmot an easy one but someting that I highly recommend to anyone just to see exactly what goes into it. If it doesn't turn out exactly as you would like then you will understand why those of us that make them for sale charge so much for them.
I have countless pieces of wood and metal that I have had to discard due to inherent problems with the wood or metal during certain process.
For more information on tsuba's or other koshirae application you can contact me privately. I will be happy to share my knowledge.

Have fun!!

Ed Green

Posted on: 2005/10/4 1:02
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Ed Green
www.Budo Weapons.com
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Re: bokken making
Kutaki Postmaster
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hi there folks, just thougth I'd at to Ed's post, the bending technique works great, just an added piece of insurance to the bending technique, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the more extream the bend the more likely you are to pull splinters up on the outside edge of the curve. a piece of metal strapping clamped into the jig along the outside curve of your piece of wood will virtually eliminate the risk of splinters being raised... of course this does add an extra step to a process that is very time dependant, as the temperature of the piece will drop very quickly and with it the flexiblity of the piece... anyway just more food for thought...
Alan McPherson

Posted on: 2005/10/4 10:32
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