Introduction: Wooden Tonfa.

This is my 'ible on wooden tonfa.  It is also my entry for the Epilog Laser contest.  There are already several instructables on tonfa, but they were either PVC or steel. 
 
***UPDATE*** I have since made another pair of tonfa, this time out of oak plated particle board tabletop. MUCH heavier; I can only imagine how painful this would be it you were hit.
P.S. Pics coming soon

Step 1: Supplies.

Materials

2x4.
Dowel that you can get your hand around.
5/8'' thick wood.
Screws.
Scrap wood (to practice on).
Drill/drill press.
Drill bits.
Coping saw.
Hand saw.
Jig/band saw.
Power sander.
Hammer.
Rasp.
Sandpaper.
Wood glue.
Brass pin (optional).
Epoxy (optional).

Step 2: The Design.

To determine the length of the blade of the tonfa, measure from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger and add one inch.  Mark this on the 2x4.  For me, that's 18".  Now, lay your arm on the wood so that your elbow is about 1/2 inch from the end. From there, make a fist  and mark where the center of your fist is.  This is where the handle will go.   The blade's width is equal to the 2x4's thickness.  If you measure it, it's not 2 inches by 4 inches, it's closer to 1.5" by 3.5''.  When I was done measuring, mine was18"x1.5"x1.5". 

Step 3: Cut, Cut, Cut!

If you are using a jig saw, set it on the smoothest cut setting.  This will lessen the sanding time.  Cut out the blade just outside of the line.  This will leave room for sanding.  Try and get the line as straight as possible.  Once you have finished the cutting part, use the power sander to smooth it out.  Once smooth, use a combination of power sander, rasp, and sandpaper to round the edges. 

Step 4: The Handle.

Time to get out that dowel!  I used a 1" dowel because it fit my hand pretty well.  The length should be 2 1/4'' longer than the width of your hand.  For example, my hand is 3'' wide, so the dowel should be 5 1/4'' long.  Use the hand saw to cut the dowel at the mark that fits you.  Once the dowel is cut,  measure 1 1/2'' from the end and make a mark that goes all the way around.  Now comes the hard part.  On the bottom, draw 2 lines approximately 1/2'' apart.  Then continue the lines up to the mark you made earlier.  Make sure they are still 1/2'' apart at the mark.  Look at the pics.    

Step 5: Cut Again.

Put the dowel in a vise and use the coping saw to cut along the lines until you get to the         1 1/2" mark.  Then turn the dowel so it's horizontal and cut on that mark.  Repeat for the other side. 

Step 6: Drill the Blade.

You might want to practice on scrap wood until you get it right.  Measure 1/2'' in from the edge at the point you already marked as your handle position and mark on each side.  Trace the bottom of the handle onto the blade so it looks like the pic.  Use the 1/2'' bit to drill 2 holes within the marks.  Now use the files to shape the hole until the handle fits tightly. 

Step 7: Head of Handle.

Before you start this step, find something round that you can get your thumb and forefinger around so that the tips touch.  Get your 5/8'' wood and trace your round something onto it.  Then use the jigsaw to cut it out, again on the smooth setting.  This is not the most efficient way to do this, but it works.  Take the power sander and smooth the disk down.  Once this is done, drill a hole through the center. 

Step 8: Attaching the Head to the Handle

First, center the head on the handle.  Use the 1/8'' bit to mark where the hole should be by putting it through the hole in the head and running the drill slowly.  Drill about a 1/4'' into the handle.  Next, line up the hole in the handle with that of the head.  Screw the screw through the head and into the handle.  Leave a small gap so you can spread wood glue on the handle.  Tighten the screw completely.  Let the glue dry for at least 18 hours.

Step 9: Putting It All Together.

Dab some wood glue on the flat part of the handle.  Push it into the hole in the blade.  If it sticks, use the hammer to help it along.  Allow it to dry 24 hours.  Once the glue is dry, sand down any of the handle sticking out of the blade. 

OPTIONAL:
For added strength, drill a small hole through both the blade and the handle.  Cut the brass pin to just over 1 1/2'' long.  Stick it in the drill and rough it up with some 100 grit sandpaper.  Epoxy it into the hole.  The pin should be slightly larger than the hole and should require gentle tapping with the hammer to get it in.  Once the epoxy is dry, sand the pin down so it is flush with the surface of the wood.   WARNING!  EPOXY IS HIGHLY TOXIC.  USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Have fun with your tonfa!

Comments

author
Bban (author)2015-04-11

Great. If you have a lathe you could make the round variey

author
SamuraiSpirit (author)2013-03-04

The "blade" part of it is rather large. Usually, tonfa are tapered out from the handle, so that could make it lighter, too.

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Bio: As you have perhaps noticed, I have a fascination with weaponry. I particularly enjoy making and using old martial arts weapons, especially the meteor hammer ... More »
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