How to Treat Escrima Sticks

Written by rachael vondracek
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How to Treat Escrima Sticks
Escrima sticks are made from rattan. (palm image by Horticulture from

Escrima, also known as kali or arnis, is an ancient Filipino martial art involving the use of weapons such as machetes and sticks. escrima sticks are traditionally made of rattan, a vinelike palm indigenous to Asia and South East Asia. The escrima stick is heat treated for use in martial arts. Heat treatment hardens the rattan and makes it more durable and effective for use in combat. Most escrima sticks sold on the market are already heat treated. However, you can make your own escrima sticks with untreated rattan for a customised touch.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rattan pole
  • Hand saw
  • Sander
  • Propane torch
  • Hot pads

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  1. 1

    Cut the rattan to the desired length using the hand saw. Escrima sticks are generally between 27 and 29 inches in length.

  2. 2

    Sand down the edges and nodes on the rattan stick. This must be done to smooth out sharp edges and prevent splintering.

  3. 3

    Hold the rattan stick in one hand with a hot pad. With the other hand, burn the stick using the propane torch. Rotate the stick to burn the surface evenly. By evenly burning the stick you are bringing the oils to the surface of the rattan.

  4. 4

    Make your burn pattern using the propane torch. This step is for appearance only and can be done in any pattern you choose.

  5. 5

    Light the ends of the stick with the propane torch. Rotate the stick so that the end burns evenly, then blow out the flame.

Tips and warnings

  • There are several different methods for heat treating escrima sticks. Refer to the Resources section for other methods.
  • If your stick is crooked, you can bend it into shape while it is hot to perfect the form.
  • Be careful not to over-burn your stick. This can cause weakness in the structure.
  • Use proper safety precautions and protective gear when working with dangerous equipment.You should wear goggles and a mask to protect the face and lungs.

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