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#212245 - 12/06/05 06:30 PM Making Tonfas
Da_Man Offline

Registered: 03/05/05
Posts: 105
Hey I was thinking of making tonfas for a friend of mine for his birthday. He had always wanted one, but never got around to it. Mu question is this:

- What type of wood should I ask for at Home Depot?
- How much would it cost?
- Can I use a large dowel for the gripping part?
- What could I use to secure the handle/gripping part to the rest of the stick? (glue/screw/nail)
- What is the dimensions of a typical pair of tonfa?
- How long do you think it would take me?

Thanks, I really want to know this ASAP. I would like to be able to make this cheap and fast, because I have other presents to work on.

#212246 - 12/06/05 07:35 PM Re: Making Tonfas [Re: Da_Man]
WuXing Offline

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
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)

#212247 - 12/07/05 12:39 AM Re: Making Tonfas [Re: Da_Man]
swseibukan Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 196
Loc: Lakewood, Colorado
American made tonfa. I've got a pair that I made from two old baseball bats about 25 years ago. Yep, did it all buy hand. Used a workmate bench, handsaw, plain and bit and brace.

Removed finish with laquert thinner and steel wool. Cut off approximately 8" off the grip and about an inch or two off the fat end at a slight angle. Placed each of the larger pieces in a clamp and plained off about 1/2" of material and created a flat surface about 2/3 the width of the bat. Took the smaller pieces and cut the down to the width of my hand + the depth of the larger section measured from the inside of the knob. Drilled holes in the main section approximately 6" from the fat end, hand sanded the handle ends, glued and pressure fitted. Finish sanded and ailed the whole kit. Took me maybe 8 hours total in my apartment kitchen. So if you have a shop and good tools nat you disposal, it'll be a snap.

Eventually had to replace the handles, but the tonfa are still in service.

Pat O'Brien
Southwest Seibukan

Patience my ass Iím going to kill something


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