pole for martial arts

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Forum topic by RickB posted 01-26-2010 06:47 PM 2045 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RickB's profile


48 posts in 3164 days

01-26-2010 06:47 PM

Just brainstorming here…

I am a martial artist. One style which I have practiced uses a pole as a fighting tool. This pole is not like you might see in the movies with the dude holding it in the middle and flipping around both ends. Instead, this is held at one end and the other end is the striking surface… good for keeping someone with a blade at bay (but still horrible at blocking bullets :) ).

Anyway, what I’ve used is about 6 feet long, and about 1.25 – 1.5 inches in diameter. Think 6 foot long rod used to hang clothes on in a closet. These are usually made of oak. Problem is, after a couple of weeks of heavy use against another pole, the thing breaks.

How would one go about making one of these?

A lumber yard near my home has Lignum Vitae for sale, and I have read somewhere that that is the hardest wood that is out there. So I was kicking around making a pole out of this wood.

Would you glue up a blank from thinner boards, or would you look for a solid piece for the blank?

After knocking off the corners on the table saw, how would you go about round the thing off?

Again, just kicking around an idea and am curious as to y’all’s thoughts.



9 replies so far

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3270 days

#1 posted 01-26-2010 07:06 PM

Lignum is a heavy wood, it doesn’t float. Also kinda pricey. After a point I don’t think it’s hardness, but the ability to recover/absorb the blows that matters. You might try ash, it’s kinda springy. It should hold up better than oak. You can knock the corners off with a table saw, then put it through a router table to finish rounding it.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Triman's profile


50 posts in 3606 days

#2 posted 01-26-2010 07:21 PM

I buy quite a few smaller size dowels here:
He also sells poles for martial arts, so if you decide against making them yourself, he’s a good source to buy from.

-- Bruce, San Jose, Ca

View jtpark's profile


19 posts in 3261 days

#3 posted 01-26-2010 08:19 PM

Hickory or Ash would good bets if you can find them in the right size. Both are better suited than oak. Don’t know how the more exotic woods would hold up. Sometimes harder is not always better.

I would think if you wanted to laminate a few thinner pieces it would be really strong and resilient as long as done properly.

View firecaster's profile


573 posts in 3442 days

#4 posted 01-26-2010 09:01 PM

Aren’t baseball bats made from ash? I would try that. Lamination should increase the strength.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View alby's profile


8 posts in 3092 days

#5 posted 01-27-2010 01:48 AM

Rick B.

Why don’t you wrap it with something. That’s what we do with ours. We tape a foam pipeing cover over them. It doesn’t stop them from breaking, or marking but it does slow it down. If you are just practicin, who cares what it looks like.
With the amount of speed and power those things can produce, I don’t think any wood will last. I have heard of people using fiberglass, but when the power comes on they have a tendance to flex.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#6 posted 01-27-2010 02:06 AM

Hey Rick
I made one for a customer out of oak. You have to be very selective in the oak you select. and if you can rive it instead of sawing it, it will be much stronger. If you choose to use another wood think about Ipe it’s as tough as Iron and so dense it sinks in water.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MikeS's profile


92 posts in 3871 days

#7 posted 01-27-2010 03:33 AM

Due to its durability and resistance to splintering, sections of rattan can be used as staves or canes for martial arts – 70-cm. long rattan sticks, called baston, are used in Filipino martial arts, especially Modern Arnis and Eskrima. Rattan is generally the only material accepted for the construction of striking weapons in Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) martial combat.[1]

This is a link on rattan

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 3459 days

#8 posted 01-27-2010 03:33 AM

I think traditionally their made of oak, bamboo, or rattan. If you’re wanting a lasting one, have you tried soaking it in water at all? I think that’s how they treat the bamboo and rattan ones, not sure what that would do to oak. Are you going to be putting any weight on the end?

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 3321 days

#9 posted 02-04-2010 01:37 AM

Ash is used for baseball bats. It is hard yet has some give to it. Another thought is bamboo. Saw it in half and clean out the webs. Clamp it together and fill it with two part foam. Should be light but strong.

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