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We make a variety of wooden swords at Hickory Arms, including gladii, bokkens, longswords, Viking swords and more. The names might not mean a lot to you unless you are already familiar with the different kinds of swords, so we put together this overview of several types of wooden swords, including their history and uses.


A waster is a wooden practice sword. Popular in medieval times, knights, men-at-arms and fencing students typically trained with wasters. Not only was it safer, it also saved the valuable steel weapons from wear and tear, since frequent training would fatigue the blade and make it a less sharp and effective weapon. Most modern wasters are made, like ours, from Hickory, an extremely hard and resilient wood.

Medieval longswords are the classic hand-and-a-half sword that were frequently used for battle during the 14th and 15th centuries and are the most common type of waster used today. Longswords are typically straight, double-edged, with a simple cruciform hilt. They evolved from the older, single-handed sword, as a way to more effectively pierce heavier chain mail and reinforced chain mail armor.

Other common waster styles include:

  • Viking Sword
  • Scimitar Cutlass
  • Great Sword


Bokkens are wooden practice swords used for training in Eastern martial arts such as kendo, aikido and kenjutsu. They stand up to heavy abuse and allow martial artists to safely train. These are definitely not toys! At Hickory Arms we offer both traditional bokkens, which are a Japanese sword roughly the same size and shape as a katana, and jians, which are a double-edged straight sword used during the last 2,500 years in China.


Dussaks are a practice sword with a broad, curving blade and a simple oval grip. Czech in origin, the dussak is has a short, thick, single-edged blade measuring between 25 and 38 inches long. They typically do not have a hilt. Instead the handgrip is a hole cut inside the blade.

There are many more types of wooden swords that can be used as practice weapons, including Spartan, Greek Hero, Celtic and Gladius. If you have a question about a particular sword style, or want to know which would be the right choice for you, contact us and we’d be happy to guide you through the process of choosing your next wooden practice sword.