Picture of How to make a Tsuba for a wooden Bokken
This is a how-to guide that I made when constructing my own wooden bokken. I read a great how-to on this site, but it didnt show me how to make the Tsuba(or guard) So I had to make one up myself.
For the Sword how-to, the link is here:
I will also make a sword guide similar to TTF's method in the future
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Step 1: Making the Notch

Picture of Making the Notch
For the tsuba to fit into the handle nicely, you must first construct a notch. This can be done with a dremel tool, or by had with a chisel.

The first step is to mark where the notch will be on the bokken. If the bokken is katana length, use 4 hand over hand measures. Wakizashi, 2 and a half. Tanto, one and a half. Judge the hand method to the length of the sword.

The second step is to take your handle material(any kind of wood is ok. But it must be 1/4" or larger. Anything thinner will break.) and trace the outline on the bokken.

Afterwards, take your chisel or dremel tool, and cut out between the markings. using a wood rasp also works.

Step 2: Cutting the Tsuba

Next, you have to cut the material for the tsuba. I myself used Oak Screen Moulding, which is 1/4" thick, and has one rounded corner. Measure out the length you want the tsuba to be, and make sure its a bit larger, and cut it. place the cut piece onto the rest of the stock, then mark and cut.

Step 3: Measure the notch length

Picture of Measure the notch length
Place the cut piece along the notch. Then mark the area from the inside of the notch to the outside of the bokken. Once you mark the first piece, take both pieces together, and place the bokken cross-section in the center and mark a square around it.
GINJA NINJA4 years ago
those are some pretty close up pics; i thought the tsuba halves were about a foot long until I saw your thumb in one of them!!!!!!  =|8)  (man with a top hat on)
kimro7 years ago
I can tell you don't practice with a ken (Japanese term for sword) because you put "wooden bokken", bo means wood in Japanese and ken of course means sword so that is a redundant statement but other then that nice job
bowmaster kimro5 years ago
ATM machine all over again.;
Stick4444 (author)  kimro7 years ago
I do in fact practice with boken. Kata most of the time, but I merely wrote wooden bokken, for some folks don't know what "bokken" means, and it slipped my mind. By the way, I have made some very high quality bokken which I will post later
bowmaster6 years ago
Can someone post a sheath for these swords?
there is how to make a duct tape sheath
zanshin8 years ago
i don't know wether you train a martial art where bokken is used. i'm not trying to disapprove your work, but your bokken and shoto (or wakizashi) look too straight, and you would be needing the curve, for kendo and iaido at least, since several katas rely heavily on upper curve slide thrust. do you have a regular bokken at home? use it next time as a stencil.... all being said and done, it looks nicely crafted, just as long as you use it properly (i.e. hang it on the wall)
I might also add that my Iwama style bokuto for Aikido is almost entirely straight and has no point on the end. It gets a lot of strange looks. My "standard: bokuto has a lot of curve to it, and my Bugei katana has somewhere in between, if not on the curvy side. There's a lot of different styles of bokuto, so it's interesting to see what other people are using.
Stick4444 (author)  zanshin8 years ago
They are actually curved to the specific curve of a Yagyu bokken, the picture is just a trick of the eye. Ill get a more accurate picture up soon. This method for Tsuba's is more of an ornamental thing. They can take a beating, but only for so long. And I have trianed in kendo and Iaido under Stephen Moses
please do post them, from this angle they look pretty much straight. one other thins, i've seen some time ago the bokken instructable (two color one) which i saw you used to make yours. how strong has it shown up to be??? i thought of making it as well, but i didn't know if it was worth the trouble, since im not that versed in woodwork
when i see this, i have a feeling it might feel awkward moving from this bokken to a metal sword, just because of weight alone. Also take into consideration tsuka thickness. Or maybe its just me. Anyways, the resemblance to a real katana is remarkable. good job. does anyone know how to wrap a tsuka?
A good sword has a weight of 2.3 lbs. to 3 lbs. (katana)
If you want to learn some sword techniques click on my name and then on Iaido techniques.
Stick4444 (author) 8 years ago
Criticizm accepted. Normally thats what I would have done(if you look closly at the oak-fir compositem you can see the little notch you described)but I couldnt get the mortise right. THAT, and I didnt have any prope Tsuba material at the time.
Visitor8 years ago
Please see pictures is steps 6 and 8 in the bokken instructable you linked to. The original, store bought bokken, on the left has a small notch where the handle ends and the blade starts. A proper tsuba is not glued to the bokken. Instead it is slid over the blade towards the handle until the notch stops it. The white band in step 11 is there to keep the tsuba from flying off when the bokken is used. The band is a round piece of slightly elastic material with a hole that is slightly smaller than the outer diameter of the blade. It can be made of rubber or leather, for example.