goenKendama Philippines

Kendama Comparisons

Written by goenKendama on .


Compare sq

We’ve been meaning to do this for a while but time always seems to sneak away. While not comprehensive it should give a good idea of how various kendama look all in one place. Most of these we carry at the shop but several we do not.  We include them here for reference.  Unless otherwise indicated all kendama are standard (full) sized versions with some minor variations.  We will try to use primarily new kendama so the factory tip profile is evident.  When new versions are not available we will include the best we have at the time and will update, if possible, in the future.  This list will be added to/updated as we are able.  If you don’t know the name of a kendama part see this post or click on the picture below.

kendama parts_mini

Note that while we list specifications here these are single samples and you can be pretty sure that other units of the same model/type will be different one way or another; weight, paint, measurments.  Weight – Wood can be different depending on many factors including what part of the tree is used.  The locale from which tree was harvested can also have a bearing on the density of the wood since weather and climate change how the tree grows.  Sticky/tackiness – Paint is tricky business to get consistent as well. The humidity can effect not only the application to the the kendama but how it plays in different climates. Miscellaneous – Also there is human intervention in production and that can make for differences as well.  Even the change as a tool wears down after thousands of cuts can slightly alter the shape.

Regarding the specifications listed here, we make every attempt to make accurate measurements but they sometimes they might be off a bit; don’t worry, be happy.  We round all measurements to the nearest whole number.  (Remember too that if the ken + tama weights don’t add up to the Total there is also the string included in the totals. i.e. some totals are ~1g different.)

Kendama Wood

The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an 11.28 mm (.444 in) steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter.  The ratings listed below are from various sources and are given for comparison.  They represent a single species and sample.  Hardness will vary depending on species and sample wood.

  • Ash –  Ash is heavy and hard. It has very good strength and stability, comparable to oak. It is tougher than most other woods, and due to its high elasticity and abrasion resistance it is used widely for many different applications.  Janka rating: 1320
  • Bamboo – One of the most unique plants on earth. Unlike trees, bamboo grows initially at full width, with no tapering or horizontal growth. Some species can grow up to three feet a day. Janka rating: 1380
  • Beech – The wood is medium to heavyweight.  It has good strength properties and high abrasion resistance; used in carpentry, furniture, parquet flooring. Janka Rating: 1300
  • Birch – Birch wood is medium-weight and has good strength properties: it is elastic and tough but not particularly hard; used in veneer, carving/turning.  Janka Rating: 1260
  • Brazilian Cherry  is exceptionally stiff, strong, and hard; used in flooring, furniture, tool handles, shipbuilding, railroad ties, turned objects.  Janka Rating: 2690
  • Cherry – The wood is moderately hard, strong and medium weight. It is moderately dense, very pliable used in furniture and flooring. Janka Rating: 995
  • Enjuki – (Japanese Pagoda Tree) The wood is tough, light, strong, and of superior quality.  It is used in carpentry, sculptures (including those for Buddhist temples), and bonsai as well as traditional Chinese medicine.  Janka rating: 1600
  • Japanese Maple – The wood is dense and less pliable.  It is used in cabinetmaking, decorative plywood, decorative veneer, flooring, and furniture.  Janka Rating: 1450
  • Keyaki – (Japanese Zelkova) The wood has a beautiful grain that makes it desirable for woodworking. It is a hard, heavy and dense wood.  It is used often for furniture, such as tansu (mobile storage cabinet), as well as taiko drums.  It is a very important tree in Japan and is the symbol of various Japanese cities and prefectures.  Janka rating: 1040
  • Oak (White Oak) – White Oak is strong, rot-resistant, easy-to-work, and economical. It’s widely used in cabinet and furniture making. Janka rating: 1360
  • Oak (Red Oak) – Used in flooring and is the industry benchmark for comparing the relative hardness of different wood species.  Janka rating: 1290
  • Padauk (African) – Padauk is moderately heavy, strong, and stiff, with exceptional stability. It’s a popular hardwood among hobbyist woodworkers. Padauk has a very unique reddish orange coloration. Unfortunately, this dramatic color will inevitably darkened to a deep reddish brown color. Janka rating: 1725
  • Walnut (American) – Furniture, cabinetry, veneers, flooring, musical instruments, and interior trim. There are many types of Walnut and hardness and color vary widely. Janka rating: 1010
  • Wenge – Usually pronounced WHEN-gii or WHEN-ghay, the wood has excellent strength and hardness properties, and is also dark enough to be used as a substitute for ebony. Used in veneer, paneling, furniture, turned objects, and musical instruments. Janka rating: 1630
  • Zebrawood (Zebrano) – The wood is strong and stiff, with a fairly high density. However, the wood is much more frequently used for its bold and unique striping. Janka rating: 1575

In case you were wondering about the sound differences of various woods here are some common combinations.  All were recorded at the same time roughly the same distance from the mic.  Around Japan was used to get both cup impacts and spikes.

The kendama listed:

  • Bahama Kendama – Bimini
  • Catchy Kendama – Street
  • JAC Kendama – 3mm Purpleheart line
  • Kendama USA – Kaizen
  • KROM – Red Oak
  • Ozora – Premium White (1st Gen)
  • Shinfuji – Keyaki
  • Sol Kendama – Walnut Stripe
  • Sunrise – Neon
  • Sweets Kendamas – 2014 Pro
  • Sweets Kendamas – F3 aTack
  • Sweets Kendamas – Homegrown (Original)
  • TK16 – Master
Specs: Bahama Kendama
Total Height – 182mm
Ken Height – 158mm
Tama Diameter – 59mm
Sarado Width – 68mm
Kensaki Length – 37mm
Kensaki Diameter – 10mm
Total Weight – 137g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 67g
Tama Weight – 70g
Paint Type – glossy
Wood – Beech
Special Features –
Bahama full (Large)Bahama ball (Large)
Specs: Catchy Kendama
Total Height – 180mm
Ken Height – 161mm
Tama Diameter – 59mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 41mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 163g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 78g
Tama Weight – 84g
Paint Type – tacky
Wood – Beech
Special Features – oversize
cups and hole in the base
 Catchy Street full (Large) Catchy Street ball (Large)
Specs: JAC
Total Height – 181mm
Ken Height – 163mm
Tama Diameter – 60mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 42mm
Kensaki Diameter – 10mm
Total Weight – 149g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 74g
Tama Weight – 76g
Paint Type –
Wood – Beech w/ 3mm Purpleheart
Special Features –
 JAC full (Large)JAC ball (Large)
Specs: Kendama USA
Total Height – 183mm
Ken Height – 159mm
Tama Diameter – 59mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 38mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 127g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 65g
Tama Weight – 62g
Paint Type – Translucent gloss
Wood - Birch ken, Sassafras tama
Special Features –
 kaizen full (Large)kaizen ball (Large)
Specs: Shinfuji
Total Height – 179mm
Ken Height – 160mm
Tama Diameter – 59mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 39mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 133g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 66g
Tama Weight – 67g
Paint Type –
Wood – Keyaki ken; Cherry tama
 Shinfuji full (Large) shinfuji ball (Large)
Specs: Sweets 2104 Pro
Total Height – 179mm
Ken Height – 161mm
Tama Diameter – 60mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 44mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 136g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 64g
Tama Weight – 72g
Paint Type – glossy
Wood – Beech
Special Features –
 Sweets Pro full (Large)sweets pro ball (Large)
Specs: KROM
Total Height – 183mm
Ken Height – 161mm
Tama Diameter – 60mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 40mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 158g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 82g
Tama Weight – 75g
Paint Type – glossy
Wood – Oak
Special Features –
 KROM full (Large) KROM ball (Large)
Specs: Sol
Total Height – 181mm
Ken Height – 160mm
Tama Diameter – 59mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 40mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 140g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 66g
Tama Weight – 73g
Paint Type –
Wood – Walnut with Maple stripe
Special Features –
 Sol full (Large) Sol ball (Large)
Specs: Sweets F3 aTack
Total Height – 181mm
Ken Height – 161mm
Tama Diameter – 60mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 41mm
Kensaki Diameter – 10mm
Total Weight – 148g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 68g
Tama Weight – 80g
Paint Type – tacky
Wood – Beech
Special Features –
 F3 full (Large) F3 ball (Large)
Specs: Premium Ozora (1st Gen)
Total Height – 181mm
Ken Height – 160mm
Tama Diameter – 59mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 39mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 148g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 70g
Tama Weight – 77g
Paint Type – tacky
Wood – Beech ken; Cherry tama
Special Features –
 Ozora full (Large) ozora ball (Large)
Specs: Sunrise
Total Height – 182mm
Ken Height – 162mm
Tama Diameter – 61mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 42mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 141g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 70g
Tama Weight – 71g
Paint Type – glossy
Wood – Beech (?)
Special Features –
 sunrise full (Large) sunrise ball (Large)
Specs: Sweets HG
Total Height – 184mm
Ken Height – 161mm
Tama Diameter – 60mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 38mm
Kensaki Diameter – 10mm
Total Weight – 207g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 104g
Tama Weight – 103g
Paint Type –
Wood – Brazilian Cherry w/ Maple
Special Features –
 homegrown full (Large) homegrown ball (Large)
Specs: TK16
Total Height – 181mm
Ken Height – 161mm
Tama Diameter – 60mm
Sarado Width – 70mm
Kensaki Length – 42mm
Kensaki Diameter – 11mm
Total Weight – 152g
Ken/Sarado Weight – 74g
Tama Weight – 78g
Paint Type –
Wood – Birch
Special Features –
 tk16 full (Large) tk16 ball (Large)

References: