What is a good material (natural or synthetic) for a stick weapon that is a good balance of durability and weight? I want to pick up a jo staff and use it primarily as a hiking stick. I don't intend on hitting anything but just in case I need to smack a coyote or stoned hippie up in the hills I don't want it to fall apart on me. I think I am leaning towards hardwood.
Oak or pick up one of Cold Steel's staffs that they have. I believe that it's like White wood or something like that.
These WON'T BREAK if you hit something with it. They busted up cinder blocks with the damn thing!
For your parameters I'd choose Hickory. I have bokkens ,escrima sticks, a jo and a couple of combat canes, made from Hickory, All are tough and durable.
All The Best, Steel
Cold Steel canes and staves are pretty impressive!
Impact-grade Hickory is the strongest wood, IIRC.Ash was the preferred wood for European polearms--it's lighter and far more flexible than oak, making it more maneuverable and less likely to break.Waxwood is apparently the preferred wood for polearms in Continental Asia, and that's what Cold Steel has been using recently--it's supposed to be really good.Don't underestimate Cold Steel's rattan lathis either--rattan doesn't hit with quite the same authority as wood, but you'd be hard-pressed to find something more durable. Cold Steel's lathis are thick, and have the skin left on, for maximum strength.
What is a lathis?
The lathi is an Indian weapon--basically a 4-foot rattan stick. Indian police use it for riot control.
My choice would be the wax wood items from cold steel. My reasons:
1) Rattan is lighter and does not have the life of hickory or wax wood
2) Hickory is not pleasant on the wrist or hands when striking hard objects. (Flesh = No PROBLEM)
3) Wax wood is fiberous and feels close to rattan but has the weight of a hard wood.
I have done FMA for many years now and have gone through 100's of sticks. Rattan has the shortest life, no matter who you buy them from ( I make my own supply). Hickory or ash are nice and heavy, and are perfect for self defense, not practice. My wax wood sticks are a pleasure to practice with, have good weight to hit hard and solid, and have lasted for years.
Bottom line Wax wood is my clear choice
Rattan has the shortest life, no matter who you buy them from ( I make my own supply).Rattan has a "short life" only if your are using it for constant FMA practice; Stevekt, on the other hand, was asking about material for a hiking stick. Rattan would be fine.
I was asking for a hiking stick that may be used to beat coyotes and stoners if the situation arrises.
I was asking for a hiking stick that may be used to beat coyotes and stoners if the situation arrises.I understand that--but unless you are using your stick for constant FMA practice, it will last a lifetime. Rattan softens--takes on a ropelike consistency--the more you bang it against another stick. If you're concerned about that, all you have to do is buy two lathis instead of one--one for practice, and one for hiking/defense (rattan is comparatively cheap).
i'd be interested to see how these stand up against wood...
If you use it for hiking fit it with a crutch tip for
a better grip on rocks and ground and to keep it from
rounding off and wearing down. You can change to a new
crutch tip easily after you have fitted the first one.
For an economically priced hickory one check with a
ranch supply store and see if they can get you a
shepherd's crook. If you don't like the hook you can
simply saw it off. If you do like it you can hook it
over a branch and do pullups much like climbing rope.
Sort of adds to your wilderness workout.
Just go to any cane funiture store & get a peice of rattan. They will cut it to whaterer length you want & you'll be able to choose how thick you want it.
It'll cost next to nothing & last forever.
If you could find blackthorn, that would be a good choice. Looks good as a cane, or in shillelagh form.