Wood Choice

Wood Selection

Information on the wood species available for use in your kobudo equipment.

The history of seaholme tonfa: from the very first test piece through to recent examples of working tonfa.


Ash – A weapon wood with pedigree; Hoplite and Viking spears were made from this. Modern uses range from axe handles to baseball bats.  As strong as oak, but much lighter in weight and with great shock resistance.

Average Dried Weight: 680 kg/m3
Janka Hardness: 6,580 N
Modulus of Rupture: 103.6 MPa
Crushing Strength: 51.0 MPa

Hard Maple

Hard Maple – With a tight grain structure and high hardness, maple has become popular in baseball bats, though it has been known to shatter under extreme stress.  Due to this it is not recommended for long weapons such as staffs.

Average Dried Weight: 705 kg/m3
Janka Hardness: 6,450 N
Modulus of Rupture: 109.0 MPa
Crushing Strength: 54.0 MPa


Oak – The traditional material for Kobudo equipment; European oak is similar to the red oak that would have been used by Japanese weapon makers.  This wood is the standard against which others are judged; strong and heavy with an attractive figure.

Average Dried Weight: 755 kg/m3
Janka Hardness: 5,990 N
Modulus of Rupture: 102.3 MPa
Crushing Strength: 50.8 MPa

Black Walnut

Black Walnut – the softest of the woods currently available, also the most distinctive due to the natural dark colour.  Weapon on weapon contact will leave dents due to lower hardness compared to other woods.

Average Dried Weight: 610 kg/m3
Janka Hardness: 4,490 N
Modulus of Rupture: 100.7 MPa
Crushing Strength: 52.3 MPa

numerical data kindly provided by The Wood Database.