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Kendamas Not "Made in China"?

Discussion in 'The Sesh' started by BrettFromTibet, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. Emil Apostol

    Emil Apostol DS Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Philippines
    Just making it clear: This thread isn't necessarily all about kendamas "Made in the US/China/Canada," but about kendamas not made in *mainland* China. I think Mr. @BrettFromTibet's sentiments are as much about principle as they are about the quality of the finished product.

    That being said, a lot of countries next to or near China have very strong manufacturing industries as well.

    Check out Thailand and Vietnam; just to illustrate, Samsung have completely moved their cellphone manufacturing out of mainland China and into these countries. Maybe other kendama companies can make similar moves if they so desire.
     
    May 7, 2020
  2. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver
    It isn't easy. Kendamas are a tricky thing to manufacture, because of the tolerances demanded by modern players, and the complexity of the piece itself. It obviously isn't the most difficult thing to make out there, but getting it right consistently takes a good process, tooling, and operator skill.

    There are exceptions, but broadly speaking, a lot of woodworking shops that do spindle-work make products that have fairly high dimensional tolerances (think: stairway bannisters, furniture legs, that sort of thing). So retooling to make a kendama isn't that simple for those shops. Think about the quality of a novelty-dama you'd find in a Japanese market for $4. Thats maybe about what we're talking about, despite being a N American shop.. they just serve markets with different demands.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have specialty CNC shops, but usually shops like that will do metal-work pretty exclusively. Simply put: you can charge a lot more to the sort of clients you'll get for metal-working projects, and metal is a lot easier/less messy/more consistent of a material to work with in many ways. Wood makes a mess and defects can lead to broken machinery, so a lot of shops won't touch it.

    So its this tricky thing, where you have to find someone that has capability to hit the tolerances, cares enough to do so consistently, and has prices reasonable enough to still have a marketable product at the end of the day.

    Going the DIY route to build up your own shop is a more ambitious route, the real question there is whether the market can sustain such a thing. RWB made the first serious stab at it (within N America, of course, manufacturers like Yamagata Koubou have been going for decades), but they eventually decided to move on and close down shop. Craft is the current front runner for N American dama-specific production, outside of craftsmen and businesses that are hand-turning kens old-school style (ie, hand-held chisels).

    @Emil Apostol ah, actually I believe the krom deluxe series was all made in Vietnam, and then some of the earlier Sol hardwood stuff... the product name of which I'm forgetting now. Sol Flow? I don't believe anyone is manufacturing there now though
     
    May 7, 2020
    Jewbacca, KeeganS and Emil Apostol like this.
  3. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

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    ^^ I guess TL;DR: it is certainly possible, people just have to want it enough (ie, vote with their dollars)
     
    May 7, 2020
  4. Emil Apostol

    Emil Apostol DS Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Location:
    Philippines
    Yes, those were the Sol Flows! Anyway, that might be a nice compromise for OP. Not necessarily in China nor the US/Canada, but countries who have strong manufacturing industries.

    Of course in terms of sheer volume, no one can beat China. Expect an increase in product price should a company move manufacturing to another country due to a lower level of supply, as well as the costs that come with changing parts of one's supply chain.
     
    May 8, 2020
  5. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
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    Vancouver
    Yea, and additionally: trying to get a shop up to speed on the particulars that kendama players care about isn't easy. Working with a shop that already knows how to make a decent dama is a LOT easier than working with a shop that has never produced a kendama before. As a business, its a MUCH larger risk that you'll get something that fails QC checks, working with a brand new shop.
     
    May 8, 2020
    slothymane and Emil Apostol like this.
  6. BrettFromTibet

    BrettFromTibet Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2019
    If anyone has not tried Legaxis kendamas, made in Japan, I would highly recommend checking them out. I have two of them and the quality of the maple wood, the woodworking, the laser cuts, the paint is all very fine. They have the real 'wabi sabi' zen of traditional Japanese design and quality. This one, the Sanshoku is a whirlwind machine and the tracking is incredible, a split w/ a ringed "bullseye" bevel. 71g ken, 77g tama.

    IMG_5278.JPG
     
    May 11, 2020
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  7. htimSxelA

    htimSxelA Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I like the legaxis paint, very playable without being overtly 'sticky', its nice
     
    May 11, 2020