Usually the tonfa handle is actually stuck through the main shaft. That main shaft should be wider than the handle. Really traditional Okinawan versions had rectangular shafts. Where the two sticks interect, they can be fastened with glue, and a small dowell drilled through both. The mass produced ones often just use glue, but I've reinforced mine with small nails because they often become loose after some use.
They should be made from oak, or maybe ash if you can find it. Definately hard wood, that is heavy and strong. You need momentum behind those swings to break things, and be able to strike other weapons without breaking.
For the dimensions, it's really depends on how long your friend's arms are. She short end of the shaft should extend around 6 inches from the handle. The longer end of the shaft should extend about an inch or two past your elbow, when held. Handle should be the height of the shaft, plus enough to extend over your fist by an inch or so. I'm sure there are websites that cover these things, too. The width of the shaft depends on preference, more traditional ones will be the same width for the entire length. Newer machined versions, or specially crafted ones may slightly taper at the ends, and are round rather than rectangular. Sometimes you see the corners cut off, giving an octagonal look.
Edited by WuXing (12/06/05 07:48 PM)