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Grade L5 wood has color variations. Sometimes all white, sometimes all red and sometimes a combination of the two; the color has no bearing on its mechanical properties and shown here only to demonstrate natural variations, any of which may be present in the weapon. Any marks on L5 wood add to the aesthetic appeal of the weapon. Level 5 is strong and serviceable but not excessively heavy. It would be a good choice for martial artists seeking speed and maneuverability in paired practice.
Grade L7 has color variations. Sometimes all white, sometimes all red and sometimes a combination of the two; the color has no bearing on its mechanical properties and shown here only to demonstrate natural variations, any of which may be present in the weapon. The defining characteristic of L7 is its beauty, strength and higher density. Its weight gives it a feeling of substantial presence and its fine grain gives it a superb tactile smoothness. Weapons of grade Level 7 would be a good choice as a gift for a senior practitioner or for a martial artists seeking top quality.
Grade L7hc is selected from the most premium L7 Appalachian hickory (see the L7 grade pictures above) but the L7hc category weapons are not sanded but instead finished with traditional methods. We often think of fine woodwork as being smooth sanded, and indeed, accurately sanded work is beautiful to the eye and hand -the finest woodwork however, including Japanese wooden weapons prior to the early 1900s ,were finished with very sharp hand tools, not sandpaper. To produce the L7hc finish we first shape and rasp the weapon to exacting proportions from the highest L7 wood. Then, exceedingly thin shavings are cut from the surface with razor sharp spokeshaves, drawknives and planes to create a surface that is both very smooth but made up of multiple tiny facets of cleanly severed facets. The unique tactile feel of L7hc cannot be superceded in it's feeling of torsional grip and direct connection to the weapon. Moreover, cleanly cut wood pores absorb finish oil and provide an exceptional finish. Weapons of Hand Cut grade Level 7 would be a good choice as a gift for a senior practitioner seeking the best quality with an authentic cut finish.
"Enhanced" refers to L7 grade wood engineered for greater weight, stablility, toughness and hardness due to a process where we draw acrylic resin completely through the pores of the wood. The enhanced grade uses L7 Appalachian hickory with a polished finish (sorry, we can't hand cut the enhanced wood!) Enhanced weapons have limited availablity and not all items or custom projects are possible, however, we regularly offer one of a kind specials.
Kanji are ideographs and pictographs used in written Japanese. On Kingfisher Swords, Staffs, Hiking Sticks and katana kake (sword stands), inscriptions are oriented vertically and read top to bottom. The characters are burned into the wood by hand with a calligraphy stylus. The bokken, shown above with and without tsuba, is inscribed with the word "randori", which is made up two kanji. The first, ran, means chaos. The second, dori, means to seize or capture. Randori refers to the martial practice of freeform attack and defense practice. On the Jo staff to the right, is the kanji "masagatsu agatsu"which means - true victory is self victory. The Kingfisher kanji archive is an unusual window into esoteric kanji and uncommon phrases that could be inscribed into your wooden weapon or hiking stick. They are compiled from arcane classical sources that relate to the Japanese martial arts, natural phenomena and Zen thought.
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