View Full Version : Custom Bo Staffs, and types of wood

5th December 2014, 12:44
Im aware that this is probably the 4,00 time someone is asking this question.
But does anyone have a place where they like to buy their Bo's from?
A decent amount of the posts currently say "Kingfisher" (Which does not currently sell any 6' weapons).
Raven studios, and a few others I have looked at. Most of my weapons are Kingfisher and I would buy one from them in a heartbeat if they sold them. Now, is there any recommendation on types of wood? From what I understand with the smaller staffs you basically want the hardest of the soft woods to prevent full contact splintering. Again, my stuff is Kingfisher so its mostly Appalachian Hickory and I do have some white oak. Which really isnt as nice as the hickory. From what im seeing, Im thinking about just looking for a good piece of Hickory and doing it myself.. Which might be a bigger task that I can handle...

So where have you bought your Bo's from and do you like it?

5th December 2014, 13:04
SDK Supplies (https://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_bokuto.htm) aka Kim Taylor will build you a bo in whatever wood you like.

5th December 2014, 13:08
Are you happy with the quality of his work?

8th December 2014, 13:53
Are you happy with the quality of his work?Bought a few cheap bokken from him years ago and they were fine, can't speak to the bo from experience but I'm sure it will be fine. It's not like it's rocket surgery making a round stick - mostly comes down to wood selection. I know Kim personally, he's a good guy. Wood-working is his hobby. He's one of the senior guys in iaido and jodo in North America.

8th December 2014, 16:07
Shushin Kobudo. Traditional karate and kobudo practitioner who understands the weapons. Also, a good friend of mine that's doing it on the side and is making some superb quality weapons.
I not only ordered a bo, but an eku, and kama as well.
Ask for David Williams.

8th December 2014, 19:13
I appreciate the quality and service of Crane Mountain. As stated, it does come down to the wood, and when my new hickory bo broke they were good about replacing it.


Ellis Amdur
9th December 2014, 01:15
Regarding wood for weapons (http://arakiryu.org/wp/?page_id=544)

Cady Goldfield
9th December 2014, 01:39
Regarding wood for weapons (http://arakiryu.org/wp/?page_id=544)

I didn't see yew (genus Taxus) on your list, Ellis. Have you had any experience with the wood for weapons?

Black locust grows like a weed out here in eastern Massachusetts. I'm constantly weeding seedlings out of my clients' gardens, and it is so abundant in roadside woodlots here that no one objects to letting us harvest jo-sized saplings. Local archaeologists have found quite a few remnants of Native American fish weirs made of black locust pales, ranging in age from 500 to 1,000 years old, still unrotted and in recognizable condition even after having been submerged in estuarine muck for all those centuries!

Joseph Svinth
9th December 2014, 05:46
Here is Kim Taylor's (SDK Supplies) essay on making wooden weapons.


Ellis Amdur
11th December 2014, 20:06
Yew is highly flexible, and great for bows, but not impact resistant or really, all that hard. I'm always looking for new information on useful woods. Currently awaiting some info on mesquite.

Dean Whittle
17th January 2015, 21:56
Just to add to the list of suppliers I've bought a hanbo and tanbo from Bujinkan Weapons (www.bujinkanweapons.com). The weapons are very high quality and the service was great.

I hope this helps.

With respect

David Norton
29th January 2015, 13:07
I'm not sure about bos, but I've bought a number of jos from dowelsondemand.com. This guy has more types of wood than you can shake a stick at (sorry). And at really good prices. His Japanese white oak and hickory are ideal for jo. Other really good woods are purpleheart and ipe.

Ellis Amdur
30th January 2015, 01:57
I checked on the dowelsondemand website. Everyone of the woods for sale is reviewed on my webpage (http://arakiryu.org/wp/?page_id=544), so you should be able to get a good idea of what might be best for you. I'm really interested in getting more information on performance of osage orange, so I do hope someone tries it out in the bo practice.

12th March 2017, 01:58
Dowels on Demand


Should be called "No dowels on demand." I ordered a single dowel from this guy. Doesn't really have an ordering process, just e-mail.

He responded, accepted the order, and then radio silence. Two weeks passed, I sent a follow up. No reply. Another 2 weeks, another follow-up. No reply. Another week, another follow up, and guess what? Yup - no reply.

The website has an extensive list of hard-to-obtain woods, but I suspect this guy's "inventory" is mostly in the form of trees growing in a forest on some distant continent that just MIGHT be harvested someday.

Don't waste your time. Zero stars out of ten.

12th March 2017, 02:08
"I checked on the dowelsondemand website. Everyone of the woods for sale is reviewed on my webpage (http://arakiryu.org/wp/?page_id=544), so you should be able to get a good idea of what might be best for you. I'm really interested in getting more information on performance of osage orange, so I do hope someone tries it out in the bo practice."

The direct link to your website seems to be broken. I've been doing some research on this topic, and I'd be very interested to read that review. Of the various exotic hardwoods that seem promising based on basic data, it's obvious that some are very poor choices in practice, while others are quite good. Given that some of them are very expensive, and almost all are hard to find in the form of staffs or even unfinished dowels / rods, I'd like to narrow my search as much as possible before going to the trouble of acquiring actual samples for testing.

The unreliability of dowelsondemand unfortunately removes what would otherwise be an excellent source for many of these less-common woods. There are a few other options available, but lacking a lathe or dowel-maker of my own, the hunt becomes a bit more frustrating.

I'd very much appreciate a working link, and any other advice about sourcing staffs or dowels of exotic hardwoods.


Ellis Amdur
12th March 2017, 04:44
This is the updated link - I made a dedicated website - http://www.zaimoku.org

12th March 2017, 07:14
This is great! I had found your "Not Suitable Woods" page before, and that was very helpful by itself. The other pages add a tremendous amount of useful data, including anecdotes of yours and others' experience, as well as what is in today's world a very refreshing embrace of uncertainty. Extraordinarily more useful than a set of dry, "Yes / maybe / no" lists. Many thanks!