Here I describe the method for making a bokken, which is a Japanese wooden sword.

The skill level required using this method is relatively low. A more challenging option would be to do this only using hand-tools.

Take nothing for granted and keep safety as the most important aspect of the project. Make sure you are comfortable with the use of all the tools you use.

Step 1: Overview

Basic dimensions
Making the Boken
Notes & Cautions

I suggest that you borrow or buy a boken before you start, so you can get the feel and see the details of what you are making. It will also help you set up the curvature of the one you create. Hopefully you are already training with one at some level, so you have an understanding of the balance it should have.

Ganbate kudasai (Japanese for good luck)
hiya, im just starting with kendo, so as i dont see any information about shinais, could you tell me if its possible to make one bokken lighter than normal?? (problably with another kind of wood of something?) i just want it for training at home (i borrow one for class) so i dont mind if it doesnt look real enough (just b safe). Thanks for your advices, you did a great job. x x
For light weight wood, I suggest using pine. It will get dented up, but still be useful. You could also cut away the center wood on this design. It would be a bit tricky, but possible. A good medium weight wood is alder - strong, but lighter. Best of luck!
<p>Purchase four large bottles of vinegar and soak it in you bath tub while at work. When you get home wipe it down and allow pine wood to absorb dry and wait to be amazed! This can only be done after all wood shaping,cutting, sanding are complete so that when it dries all it needs is the finish of your choice</p>
you can rout out some of the hardwood from the middle of the blade before you put it together and fill it with pine or even balsa. Ive seen it done on pool sticks and they take a pretty hefty beating.
Yes, you can make a lighter one from a wood such as pine. It will get dented a bit, but should work well for practice. Also, pine is very easy to work with if you are new to woodworking. Best of luck / ganbate kudasai
Do you think drilling holes into or through the blade and handle would reduce the weight enough and not make it too weak?
first of all; light enough for what? and secondly, that depends on wood type, grain direction, whether it is made from two pieces like the one in this instructable or one piece like a normal one, and also on its intended use.
I was referring to the post above about making it lighter for kendo. I don't know how light it would need to be or what kind of construction would make it work. I was just trying to suggest that putting some holes in it could make it lighter while noting that it would weaken the blade.
I see your intent now. It is an interesting idea but kind of counterproductive. If it is for single training then heavier is better because you get more exercise and it would be closer to the weight of a real sword. If it is for sparring then the last thing you want is a bokken more likely to break . (splinter+eye=very very bad) And although lighter can be a good thing, if it is too light relative to that of your partner then you will be able to move faster but it will be harder to block anything you cannot sidestep.<br/><br/>just to sum up this whole sequence:<br/>you can (faster, looks kooler)<br/>you shouldn't (breaks, breach in tradition, and not enough excercise)<br/>
Just a note, a bokken are made intensionally heavy, or at least heavier than a true katana in order to train the individual to be over qualified so to speak. The idea being that if you are skilled with a weighty piece of wood, you'll be more than proficient with a light strip of carbon steel.<br /> <br /> Lighter alternative would be bamboo which is often used for practice swords
To quote you:<br/><br/><em> just to sum up this whole sequence:</em><br/>you can (faster, looks kooler)<br/>you shouldn't (breaks, breach in tradition, and not enough excercise) <em></em><br/><br/>I agree on most of it, but I don't think drilling holes to a Bokken makes it look &quot; kooler &quot;, to me it looks more like &quot; garbage &quot; :P<br/>
You are allowed your opinion. I made no claim that everyone would think it is cooler, only that I thought it might look cooler. I wouldn't do it because I am a stickler for tradition in the martial arts. If you don't think it looks cooler don't do it. There is no need to make a comment with the specific intent of insulting me. We on instructables encourage constructive criticism among Makers and proffesionals, not baseless insipid conjecture from children who don't like others' opinions.
Heyheyhey, I'm not insulting you in any way, I'm just voicing my opinion. If you like your Bokuto drilled, then you can do it for all I care, I'm not insulting your opinion, I'm just voicing mine.
Your word choice displays a disdain for my opinion, which would be why I took offense. But it's okay.
Good. I'm glad we both understand.
nice pic (wissle)
<p>Kinda new to this, did try wood carving before, but a few questions:</p><p>1) I'll be hand-carving this out of &quot;Poplar Hobby Board&quot; from Home Depot w/ a knife (probably Ontario Rat 1), about how long will the whole project take?</p><p>2)Mine won't be as nice &amp; I'd probably skip a few steps but I just want to know what will be the dimensions if I want to carve one to something like a wakazashi.</p><p>Thanks!!</p><p>-Kenji</p>
how would you make this by hand? i don't have practically any of the tools. nice bokken though i really want to make it.
I guess you could use just a planer, some files and lots of sandpaper as well as even more patience.
whats the maximum size that you would recommend building?
hi, hmmm i don't know quite how to ask but, is it possible could i make a sheath for my bokken? because i really would like to train seriously but all the trianing swords i have made were crummy and way to light weight to get some serious training in. what kinds of wood could i use that would be best for making a bokken. and also what would be the bokken's length? or could it be just made longer with the same steps? <br>but how hard would it be to make one without the actual thing with you? cause i can't buy one or barrow one ^_^;;
You probably need two bokken! <br> <br>One thin one with a saya (scabbard / sheath) to practice drawing your sword and one solid one for hitting things with. <br> <br>If you try to build a saya around a normal bokken it will be far too thick and round, it will be too heavy and cumbersome. <br> <br>If you try and hit things with a thin bokken the thicker things will win.
I just bought a bokken but I was thinking of making one that looks a bit nicer.<br> <br> I was thinking, if you had two planks of wood of different colours and you put one on top of the other and did a wavy line cut down the middle of both of them, could you reassemble the two parts to make two bokken(s)(?) with a hamon?<br> <br> I understand there will be some wastage caused by the blade of the saw.<br> <br> I don't have any tools so I am going to head to the wood working club and I don't want to be laughed out of town if the idea is completely stupid.<br> <br> Would you laminate two woods with different properties, e.g. a hard wood to take the knocks without denting and a soft wood for flexibility or is it just a colour aesthetic thing?<br>
Excellent article! I'm building two bokken right now out of ebony, blood wood, and american holly. I don't practice any sort of kendo, so I plan on these being ornamental. Thanks for the instructions!
Post a picture. I'd love to see them.
Here are my finished bokken based on your instructable. Like I said earlier, they're made of ebony, bloodwood, and american holly. I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to make the tsubas, but I had a lot of bloodwood left, so I thought "what the hell." Handles are wrapped in white and black suede. I'm more than happy with the way they turned out, and it's all thanks to you!
OMG I WANT GIVE ME please :) oh wait i mean PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ cause extra z's r better :) lol but seriously i want
Wow.... O_O that is beautiful! I'm so going to have to make one for my boyfriend, well another bokken that is. Seeing as I've already made him 3 ^-^'<br />
Thank you so much :D
&nbsp;Nice job!&nbsp;
Great instructable! I made mine out of one plank of oak. Here it is:
Nice job!
I'm trying to find a way to successfully use bamboo to make a bokken... So far, no success. Do you have any techniques that might make this possible? Thanks
what you want to do is make something else entirely its called a kendo shinai stick and they're made by taking strips of bamboo and binding them at the base middle and with a rubber or synthetic ferrule at the tip they're easy to make and very durable
I don't know why I didn't look this up first... I tried making some before and I put in so much more effort to model it after my katana... This is so much simpler and more elegant looking
Could someone please explain to me how to mount the Tsuba on this bokken? I dont undestand the instructions given here. I also looked on another instructable specifically for a Tsuba, but he just glues it directly to the bokken. PLease help, thx :)
take the tsuba, and gasket maker (you can get it from a do it best store)<br>then slide on the tsuba, and apply the gasket maker, and smooth it out with a<br>popsicle stick, and..... voila!! you mounted it!!!
I'm about to try making one<br>for exercise out of summer boredom<br>anyways<br>what's the different between:<br>If you cut a wider piece into a bokken<br>you bend it with clamps/ heated watter?<br>will it affect the hardness?<br>I want to make the easy one since i never did any works with woods and any tools like that (including the saw or routing)
How would you do this using only 1 piece of wood?
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This instructable is amazing!! Im busy following this and making 3 bokkens for cosplay/display purposes. i will post pictures of the process and upon completion :)
what are the measurements in?
If you were to use just one length of wood instead of two... that'd be pretty much the same right? You'd just have to bend, not glue? Or am I totally wrong?<br />
&nbsp;Yup - you could just bend it with heat and water
cool, thanks... if you don't mind, may I ask how you would go about that? and what kind of wood would be good to make a single piecer from?<br />
&nbsp;Bending something that thick would be very difficult. &nbsp;It would be easier to cut it from a single wider piece with a bandsaw or bow saw. &nbsp;
what do &quot;ripping&quot; and &quot;routing&quot; mean, and any other way of bending it apart from using 1,000,000 clamps, I don't usually ask for them for my birthday and I only have 2. I'm stuck. =(
here is my finished product

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