Kingfisher WoodWorks LLC manufactures wooden weapons specific to the Japanese sword related martial arts - mainly swords and staffs used in the aiki martial arts and selected wooden swords of the old schools (koryu). We work from two facilities in Wilder, Vermont. While small orders for individuals make up our primary business, we occasionally supply the film industry art departments and property master shops including the bokken used in Edward Zwick's "The Last Samurai", props used in GI Joe Retaliation and fighting sticks used in Marvel/Netflix Daredevil series.
Hiroyuki Sanada in "The Last Samurai"
Hiroyuki Sanada and Tom Cruise in "The Last Samurai"
An exaggerated sword stand used as a prop in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation".
Charlie Cox in "Daredevil"
Orders in process
Ben Danaher on a busy Friday morning
"La Nuova Scolpitrice" - an Italian 4 spindle pantographic carving machine, there are only two or three of these in the US. On the right are pictures of the resaw equipment used to cut the ultra tough Appalachian hickory used for martial art weapons.
Making wooden weapons requires unique processes.
First is our custom jo milling machine. In the middle, a mortiser for sword stands. Finally, a tank in the enhancement room for specialty products.
While machines are used for rough stock removal and general shaping. Balancing, tuning and creating nuance are achieved with hand tools. While machines are useful, and we use multiple technologies, machines are not a substitute for a skilled human. The operator of a machine, no matter how inventive, always works within mechanical and practical boundaries established by the machine's designer. Evidence of these limits is not only the hallmark of modern woodworking but the hallmark of mass production as it relates to artistic expression. In the Kingfisher woodshop, the nuances that create the weapon's refined shape, its authenticity and balance are all done by hand.
Below is a L7hc (grade L7 hand cut) Yagyu bokken patterned after the wooden practice sword of the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu of the 16th century. This version is made of ultra premium grade Appalachian hickory wood and completely finished with ultra sharp hand tools without the use of sandpaper or abrasives. We prefer Appalachian hickory over all other wood species. This indigenous wood is tougher, safer and more reliable than all others. Moreover, the lumber, and practically everything in the Kingfisher shop, comes from mills we know personally providing well managed domestic resources.