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Q: What is HO wood ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: What is HO wood
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: coinflasher-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 21 Mar 2005 05:13 PST
Expires: 20 Apr 2005 06:13 PDT
Question ID: 497931
I have a hand made Japanese Sashimi knife called a Yanagi (or
Yanagiba).  As far as I can tell, the handle of the knife is made out
of HO wood.  I have never heard of this material and would like to
know more about it.  Is HO the japanese name for the tree?  Do we have
an english word for it?  Is the tree native to Japan?  Can it be
bought in the US as a raw material?  I want to make a saya (sheath)
for the knife and would like to match the handle.  I realize there are
multiple questions here.  I'm just looking for as much information on
HO wood as I can find.  Thanks!

Clarification of Question by coinflasher-ga on 21 Mar 2005 06:47 PST
Hello Tutuzdad-ga,
   Thanks for your response.  However, I am more interested in HO wood
as a craftsman's material rather than it's use in oils and cadles.  Is
there a source for purchase?  I want to make a saya for it so I am
interested in buying a small amount.

-- Chad
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: What is HO wood
From: redhoss-ga on 21 Mar 2005 05:41 PST
Could be this:

(Hovenia dulcis Thunb.)


Attains a height of 50 feet and diameter of 22 inches. Wood is heavy
and hard and takes a high polish. Used for ornamental parts of houses,
cabinet making and turning. Prized as a substitute for wood of the

Also known as "Japanese Raisin"
Subject: Re: What is HO wood
From: levia-ga on 21 Mar 2005 06:03 PST
Shalom coinflasher,

Ho wood is also known as Boku or Japanese Magnolia - ?Magnolia Hypoleuca.?

In Japanese : "ho" = fragrant,treatment, method, or way

Since the Heian period, saya have been made from the wood of the "Ho"
tree, or Honoki Tree (magnolia).  Ho wood was used because it is soft
and won't scratch the blade, and when properly seasoned it has
virtually no sap in it.
Ho wood is typically seasoned for about 10 years before it is used for
saya construction.  Our closest neighbor to the Ho Tree on this
continent is the Yellow Poplar.

* Here is an article you might be interested looking at :

* Here is a web-page of a guy that makes Japanese "shirasayas" swords.
He travels to Japan on a regular basis to select all the Japanese Ho
wood himself. I suggest you to contact him:

hope I managed to help a bit,

Subject: Re: What is HO wood
From: tutuzdad-ga on 21 Mar 2005 06:26 PST
According to these sources, Ho Wood is also known as ?Camphor White?
(cinnamomum camphora) ?True Camphor? and ?Hon-Sho?, which is widely
cultivated in Formosa, Japan and, to some extent on the Chinese



Here the wood is described as a relative of the Magnolia:


Please let me know if this answers your question.

Subject: Re: What is HO wood
From: coinflasher-ga on 21 Mar 2005 06:49 PST
  Thank you for your comment and for the link to the saya maker's web
site.  I think that puts me well on my way.  BTW:  how do you know so
much about Japanese carpentry?

Thanks again,
-- Chad
Subject: Re: What is HO wood
From: levia-ga on 21 Mar 2005 08:50 PST
Hey Chad,

All of the information I gave comes from the websites I found on the internet
during my research. I never knew about Japanese carpentry before but I'm glad 
I had this opportunity.

Subject: Re: What is HO wood
From: levia-ga on 21 Mar 2005 08:55 PST
P.s:  just found this now:  >> Saya Components and Supplies <<

I've never tried to order through that site,though.


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