How to pyromark your jo, bokken, or tanto

By Dmitry Kann 2 min read This post in Russian 0390

It’s a short how-to on inscribing your jo (wooden stick), tanto (wooden dagger), bokken (wooden sword)—or anything else made of wood—with an arbitrary text or image.

When practicing aikido you often face the situation when everyone’s wooden weapons look exactly the same. It aggravates during seminars, when numerous people armed with bokkens gather in one room.

People conventionally address that by writing their initials on the butt-end using a marker. But that’s an easy and a non-elegant way.

For those who really want to stand out and display their commitment to aikido, there’s a relatively simple way of beautifully pyromarking their wooden possessions.

What you’ll need

  1. A laser printer
  2. A solid-point burner
  3. Tap water
  4. A bit of assiduity

Step one: print the text

It all starts with printing your text or image on a sheet of paper.

Important: the printed out text must be horizontally mirrored!

Text flipped horizontally.
Text flipped horizontally.

Step two: apply the text to the object

You’ll need to cut the sheet to only keep the printed part. After that you put the piece of paper onto the object face-down and gently and slowly rub it with the side of the burner.

Rubbing with the burner.
Rubbing with the burner.

When you’re rubbing the paper with a hot object, the toner on the paper melts and sticks to the wood. This is similar to the process of fixating the text inside the printer.

Step three: remove the paper base

If you completed the previous step properly, the toner should now be affixed on the wood marking the future image.

Now there’s the time to pour some water on it. The paper base will soak and can be easily removed by rubbing it with the hand in circular strokes.

Removeing the paper.
Removeing the paper.

The print on the wood isn’t perfect but that’s fine:

The transferred text.
The transferred text.

Step four: burn it!

That’s the moment you grab your assiduity and the burner again. You’ll need to follow every printed bit with the burner’s tip.

Burning in the toner.
Burning in the toner.

Multiple tips can come in handy.

Burning in the toner.
Burning in the toner.

The result

Here’s how the final result looks like:

Tanto reading 合気道.
Tanto reading 合気道.

It look a bit burnt, but good enough for the first time.

With bokken, which came second, I believe I did do better:

Bokken reading 合気道.
Bokken reading 合気道.

I find that oakwood, which most for aikido weapons are made of, suits best for the pyromarking. When you have to deal with a softer type of wood, you need to be very careful, both when marking and when using it. ■

See also

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Second dan Aikido Aikikai
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Now official: Shodan
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Shodan: 11 years on the way
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Aikido demo at Vathorstdag 2014
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Aikikai Amersfoort website
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Report: Eonics Hack Night — Static Site Generation

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