Introduction: How to Make a Japanese Bokken

This instructable will teach you how to make a good japanese bokken.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Two 3/4-by-1-1/2 inch white oak or maples, cut 42 inches long
Wood glue
Planer or sand paper
Wood chisel

Step 2: Make the Blade

Join the 2 pieces of wood together on their 1-1/2-inch sides with wood glue. Coat the wood with wood glue so they are connected all the way down the blade. Clamp the wood together until it dries. Let it dry for about 4 hours. Remove any excess glue around the edges.

Step 3: Sand the Edges

Plane or sand the wood until you have a 1/8-inch bow in the center of the board. Cut the sides of the boards down to 1 1/8 inch. Plane or sand the Bokken until the sides are smooth.

Step 4: Make the Edge on the Blade

Cut the sides and ends of the sword with the router to make a 1/2-inch round edge.

Step 5: Angle the Blade

Use the chisel to angle the end of the blade to 45 degrees. Sand the rough edges until the wood is smooth.

Step 6: Stain and Let Dry

Apply 2 coats of stain and allow it to dry. If there are any rough edges after the first coat of stain, sand them down before applying the second coat.


Necrojoker made it!(author)2009-05-14

Agreed, more pictures would be nice. Also...why did you glue two pieces of wood together? I know wood glue is strong, but I would think that having a glue core would weaken the blade considering the striking direction... Yeah...Not so sure about this one. I'd think it would be much easier to use a 1" thick piece of wood that has been planed, draw the shape of the blade, cut with a jigsaw, router all the edges needed, sand to a smooth finish, then stain or oil the entirety of the bokken for the perfect finish. NEVER use a laquer or paint unless your bokken is for show. The oil strengthens the wood and allows it to breath. Using a paint or other such finish will cause the bokken to be less than durable for 2+ person kata.

StephanS10 made it!(author)2015-09-14

it seems most bokken made to represent katanas are made with two pieces of wood. i assume it's just tradition.

jmscnny. made it!(author)2016-10-28

I have had a bokken for about 30 years that was made from a single piece of Japanese white oak. It is pretty banged up, but still in one piece. I have never encountered one made from two pieces of wood, I have to admit that I have never made a study of the traditional manufacturing techniques, but it was made in Japan.

Camisado made it!(author)2008-08-06

This is a very good I'ble! 5 stars! P.S: Although the method you used in describing this is cool and all, but try not to use boards for your bokken. That thing is so fragile and sucks more than pine ( well, the bad ones ). Bokkens are meant to be used for full combat practice or Kendo, so use hardwood instead of boards. But, nice job!

Rye2121 made it!(author)2008-08-06

k thanks! i'll change that.

Camisado made it!(author)2008-08-20

Tight-grained pine will also work, but since most pines are not tight-grained, this can be hard to fine. Although Oak, Maple, Balsa, Hickory and all other hardwood works better, I just made a European Knight sword Bokken using tight-grained pine, and it works pretty well, and it also lasted a good couple of hard whacks. It will be dented a bit, but most of my pine swords recover from their dents when exposed to sandpaper ( I wonder why ).

raven0811 made it!(author)2010-04-17

did you say... BALSA? as in lightweight, flexible BALSA used in making model airplanes BALSA??

Camisado made it!(author)2010-04-21

Umm... sorry, that was a mistake on my part. Don't use balsa.

Lethis195 made it!(author)2015-09-08

The irony is Balsa is a hard wood...

Camisado made it!(author)2008-08-06

You're welcome. Here's a tip: Hickory works best for bokkens.

Green+X made it!(author)2014-04-17


Mr.+tony+stark made it!(author)2012-10-05

cool bokken, how did you make the scabbard in the last pic

GINJA+NINJA made it!(author)2010-04-17

nice, but I don't understand why you use two bits of wood, it would be stronger if it was just one piece wouldn't it?

greenjedi made it!(author)2010-01-06

wouldnt planing make it easier to break than if you had curved the wood? with a curved one the grain of the wood flows from end to end. with this method it's just cut, i could see half of it snapping off after striking something. unless of course you just intended this as an aesthetic piece, in which case, nevermind, lol.

lollerskates made it!(author)2009-10-21

nice instructable man.
real sexy

yourworstnightmare made it!(author)2009-09-17

could u plz add how to make the wrap that is around the handle anda sheath?also very nice instructable!

hobzez made it!(author)2009-08-24

how do you curve the wood?

mettaurlover made it!(author)2009-08-25

it isn't curved, it's carved.

hobzez made it!(author)2009-08-26

thanks for the info, i was thinking it was carved to

mettaurlover made it!(author)2009-08-25

that's what the planing does.

hugger567 made it!(author)2009-06-13


hurakan made it!(author)2009-05-14

As a iaido and kendo practitioner I think that probably the use of this bokken could be dangerous. The clash of two bokkens one made of one piece of solid red oak against one made of two plies could result in injuries if this last one brokes in pieces.

noah1r made it!(author)2009-04-24

it is called a katana.

dasta made it!(author)2009-04-27

"Bokken" is a combination of 2 japanese words. Bo, meaning wodden staff, and ken meaning sword. therefor bokken means wodden sword, as it can be used as a jo (short staff) or a katana.

BgRdDragon made it!(author)2009-04-26

No,This is a bokken a katana would one of metal for REAL combat. a bokken is for practice.

Montsombre made it!(author)2009-03-20

needs more pictures

Keira_Yagami made it!(author)2009-02-05

I wanna make a ....simple one (if that is even possible.) but can you make a Bokken out of ,um, 2x4? I wanna make it just to play around w/.

fireblast_1212 made it!(author)2008-11-01

Nicely done! 5/5 stars from me!

gezortenplotz made it!(author)2008-07-30

I believe white oak is the preferred stock as it can take the shock of impact with other bokken longer without splintering. Great instructable. Nice to know somebody else is out there is training with bokken. Iaido? Aikido? A very inventive friend of mine wanted to install some sort of accelerometer on his bokken to ensure that his shomen cuts were accelerating behind the head, instead of 'hacking' at the finish of the cut. If he does it, I'll document it and put it up here.

Cmos4081 made it!(author)2008-07-29

domo arigato gozaimas!

bytowneboy made it!(author)2008-07-29

this has already been done.

No offense meant, but they put a bit more work into theirs.

Weissensteinburg made it!(author)2008-07-29

That's alright. Doing the same project a different way is encouraged here.

codester made it!(author)2008-07-29