By: Dan Blizniak
The bokken we produce at Blizniak’s Bokken are created from high quality exotic and domestic hardwoods. It is in your best interest to take good care of the wood properly. You have the ability to refinish your bokken on your own. Refinishing the wood will extend the life of your bokken as well as make it look great. We have many years of experience working with all types of woods; this article explains how we finish our bokken and how you can refinish yours.
There are various ways to finish wood projects but we will discuss what we have found to be the best for martial arts training weapons. Start by using a low-grit sandpaper (30-60) to sand out any dents and marks. Make sure you sand in the direction of the grain of the wood. You want to progressively increase the grit of your sandpaper each round of sanding. A general rule of thumb, start with 60-grit sandpaper and end with 400 grit sandpaper. You can go as high as you like, we typically finish sanding with 400-grit paper. Remember as you are sanding it is best to go by feel. You want to feel with your hands for any blemishes to sand out. Completely sand the bokken during each round of sanding; using the low grits for shaping and the high grits for finishing. Once you get your bokken smooth it is time to apply a finish.
All of our bokken are treated with natural oils that provide a beautiful finish. We recommend using a natural oil to finish your bokken. We use boiled linseed oil or pure tung oil. The reason you want to use these natural oils is because they do not coat the wood, they absorb into the wood. This provides a nice finish and is better for an object that will be handled a lot. All woods have different absorption limits. Depending on the characteristics of the species of wood, the bokken can only absorb a certain amount of oil. Soaking the wood in oil overnight is not going to make the wood absorb more oil than it will naturally allow. The best way to finish a bokken is with multiple light coats of oil. Apply a light coat let the wood absorb it, repeat until the wood will no longer absorb any more oil. You will be able to tell this because there will be oil puddle up on the bokken. This may take a couple of days depending on the wood. Some people use a rag or nylon to apply oil, or if you are meticulous like we are, apply the oil with your bare hands. You can better work the oil into the wood this way. The body temperature from your hand can help open the pores in the wood to allow for a little more absorption. Then wipe the remaining oil off and you are good to go. Most of the exotic woods we work with do not absorb much oil because they are so dense.
By following these simple techniques you can help maintain your bokken for years to come. If you have any questions please post a comment below or contact us through email or our contact form.