Homemade wooden dummy

Written by joe capristo
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Homemade wooden dummy
Train and strengthen fingers, hands, arms and legs with a wooden kung fu dummy. (karate hand image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Build a homemade wooden dummy. Cut the expense of owning a wooden kung fu dummy by as much as 80 per cent. Traditionally used for Wing Chun kung fu, the wooden dummy can be used in almost any training routine to fit any kung fu style. Traditional wooden dummies can retail from £455 to £780 or more. Cut the expense of a wooden dummy down to around £195 by building the main body of the dummy yourself.

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Things you need

  • 22.5 cm (9 inch) diameter rough cut pine log
  • Plans for a wing chun dummy
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper or electric sander
  • Wall space to mount the dummy or an outdoor spot to dig a deep hole

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  1. 1

    Get yourself a plan for a traditional wing chun kung fu dummy. There are many books which contain plans for a dummy, as well as free sources online.

  2. 2

    Buy a rough cut log with a 22.5 cm (9 inch) diameter from a timber yard. If you are making a "live" dummy (wall-mounted), you will need a log with a 1.5 m (5 foot) length. If you are making a "dead" dummy (ground mounted), you will need a log 2.7 to 3 m (9 to 10 feet) long.

  3. 3

    Fill the cracks in the rough cut log with wood putty. The rough log will have many cracks, some of which may run the whole length of the log. Fill each crack thoroughly. When the putty dries, sand the excess putty and the entire surface of the wooden log until it is smooth.

  4. 4

    Send your dummy plans to an experienced woodworker to have the three arms and the leg shaped out of oak. This represents the bulk of your expense on your wooden dummy project and could cost as much as £130. If you have the tools, including a lathe, and the talent, you can shape the dummy limbs yourself, saving even more expense.

  5. 5

    Mark and cut the holes for the dummy limbs into your log according to the plans. If you are making a live dummy, you will also need to mark and cut the holes for the mounting hardware.

  6. 6

    Assemble the limbs of the wooden dummy and mount it to the wall. If you are building a dead dummy, dig a deep hole and bury the base of the dummy so that only 1.5 m (5 feet) of the body are above ground. You are now ready to practice with your training dummy.

Tips and warnings

  • Live dummies move a little bit and react to your strikes. They are the most popular version of the dummy.
  • Dead dummies are firmly rooted and are great for training for strength and conditioning. This dummy is not often used in modern training.
  • The wooden dummy is not just for training wing chun kung fu. Any fighting art or style of kung fu can be trained on the traditional wooden dummy.
  • If you are building a dead dummy outdoors, you will need to protect the wood from the elements with a weather coating or other measures.
  • Mark and measure the dummy body carefully before cutting the holes. You'll want to get it right the first time. The log body is about £26 of your investment in your project.

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