Introduction: How to Make a Japanese Bokken

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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 (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 (author)Necrojoker2015-09-14

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

jmscnny. (author)StephanS102016-10-28

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 (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 (author)Camisado2008-08-06

k thanks! i'll change that.

Camisado (author)Rye21212008-08-20

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 (author)Camisado2010-04-17

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

Camisado (author)raven08112010-04-21

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

Lethis195 (author)Camisado2015-09-08

The irony is Balsa is a hard wood...

Camisado (author)Rye21212008-08-06

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

Green X (author)2014-04-17


Mr. tony stark (author)2012-10-05

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

GINJA NINJA (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 (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 (author)2009-10-21

nice instructable man.
real sexy

yourworstnightmare (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 (author)2009-08-24

how do you curve the wood?

mettaurlover (author)hobzez2009-08-25

it isn't curved, it's carved.

hobzez (author)mettaurlover2009-08-26

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

mettaurlover (author)hobzez2009-08-25

that's what the planing does.

hugger567 (author)2009-06-13


hurakan (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 (author)2009-04-24

it is called a katana.

dasta (author)noah1r2009-04-27

"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 (author)noah1r2009-04-26

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

Montsombre (author)2009-03-20

needs more pictures

Keira_Yagami (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 (author)2008-11-01

Nicely done! 5/5 stars from me!

gezortenplotz (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 (author)2008-07-29

domo arigato gozaimas!

bytowneboy (author)2008-07-29

this has already been done.

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

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

codester (author)2008-07-29


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