Stained Bo Staff




This instructable will show to make a stained bo staff that is both durable and lightweight, and a great weapon for competing in tournaments with.
I have seen very nice bos with inlaid wood in a light/dark pattern, unfortunately they were VERY expensive. Then I hit on the idea of a very inexpensive, easily made bo made from 4 pieces of quarter round molding. I have used this bo at several martial arts tournaments to good effect - more fancy than just a plain wood bo, but not covered in holographic silver tape like some tournament bos (which does not sit well with traditionalist judges).

1. Determine the height of bo that you need. Traditionally they are one fist height above your head.

2. Purchase 4 pieces of quarter round molding (1/2-in x 1/2-in x 8-ft Stain Grade Pine Quarter Round Molding from Lowe's works great - item #3276, $3.68/each)

2. Experiment with different combinations of putting them together until you get the one that makes for the most smooth circle. Strap them together in this configuration with hose clamps, making sure that all the pieces are flush at the bottom.

3. Cut all 4 pieces as one at the height required. This ensures that the final product is flush at both ends.

4. Now sand the entire bo so that there are no ridges, starting with course sandpaper and working down to fine. Before removing the hose clamps, use a pencil to write 1-4 on the ends so you can get them back in the same configuration later.

5. Stain two opposite pieces of molding (1 and 3 for example), and leave the other two unstained. I preferred a dark stain for contrast, such as Minwax wood finish, English Chestnut 233 (, item # 74469, $4.77).

6. Now Gorilla glue everything together. Be sure to watch it carefully, since Gorilla glue tends to expand and you will need to immediately wipe off any that oozes out as it is drying.

7. Now apply a clear varnish according to the directions on the can. I applied 5 coats to ensure that it was completely smooth all over. I used Minwax polyurethane, clear semi-gloss (, item # 45870, $6.47).

For all steps above. be sure to do them in a well-ventilated area, as the fumes can get rather potent.

Finished! Enjoy having a bo staff that is the envy of every martial artist around!
I hope you enjoyed this, and look forward to seeing you next instructable!




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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Thank you I really needed this for my kobudo class.


    2 years ago

    How does this staff hold up to bo-bo kumite? Is it primarily for kata work?


    2 years ago

    The quartered finish is a great idea, I would never have thought of that. Kudos!


    4 years ago

    One thing sir. Bow staff is the same as saying staff staff and I wouldn't want you to embarrass yourself in a formal hall.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very interesting idea, I'm going to have to try and experiment with this. With multiple people in karate, we all have preferences. One likes oak to practice, graphite to compete, one likes carbon fiber for everything, and one likes hickory. But we all like "pretty"


    4 years ago

    Very cool sir! I don't train with a staff, but I think I'll make one anyway, hehehe.