What’s the difference in wood?
Woah! What a strange and technical question right? It may not seem like much of a difference when considering the question at face value, but beyond the visual aspect, the difference can make a huge impact on playability. Though very subtle, the differences between the feel and weight of certain woods can change the performance of a player.
Consider this, if an adult player who is familiar with the traditional beechwood kendamas, buys a purple heart (very dense & heavy) wood kendama and has no issues with lacing his favorite tricks but feels the strain of the added weight. How would a much younger player cope? Not to say the younger player won’t be as capable, but the added weight from the much denser wood can cause some issues with their coordination, stamina, and dexterity. This is only one aspect of how different wood effects kendama play.
Another effect can be the longevity of the kendama itself. If you’re an intensive player that jams for several hours every day certain woods may not be suitable for that kind of wear, this is especially true of exotic woods. This kind of play or even play on rough surfaces such as asphalt and cement can cause your kendama to chip, splint, crack, or even split. So it’s very important to be careful where you play as well. Now, these are simply just warnings the exotic wood kendama surely can be ornamental pieces, but they are best enjoyed when being played.
I have recently gotten a new order shipped which included a Padauk wood kendama and I am absolutely pleased with the way it feels and plays. So try out some different types of kendamas, not all are even made of wood, and see what your favorites are. Don’t forget, Keep on getting good!
My favorite woods ranking
I have my favorite woods in order from left to right in the picture above. I’ve detailed which ones are which below, with the image again.