SDC Handmade Blades

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I've been using hide glue for some time, but I believe your blade was made with PU glue.

Do you (and your customers) generally have a preference between hide-glue and polyurethane glues? I've been experimenting with hide glue during this coronavirus time period and find it very pleasant to clean up (compared to poly-glue, especially), though the long dry time is less ideal, and the fact that it doesn't permeate into the wood layers makes those blades a bit more fragile than my poly-glue based blades. I haven't had a chance to hit with any of my new hide-glue blades, so I'm still left wondering how the feel differs from poly-glue.
 
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Do you (and your customers) generally have a preference between hide-glue and polyurethane glues? I've been experimenting with hide glue during this coronavirus time period and find it very pleasant to clean up (compared to poly-glue, especially), though the long dry time is less ideal, and the fact that it doesn't permeate into the wood layers makes those blades a bit more fragile than my poly-glue based blades. I haven't had a chance to hit with any of my new hide-glue blades, so I'm still left wondering how the feel differs from poly-glue.

I'll be totally honest here, I do use hide glue if requested, but it's not my favorite glue to use. Hide glue is heavier, so it's only suitable for certain compositions, and it's harder to use. I get a much stronger bond using half the amount of glue with PU. And Forget about using it consistently in lower temperatures...

Hide glue is used in instrument building because of the reversibility. It's mostly used in the neck joint of acoustic guitars and other stringed instruments because it allows for very easy repairs. Every acoustic guitar will eventually need a neck reset, the wood deforms under the string tension and this changes the original neck angle. Just inject some water vapor in the neck joint and the glue melts. But this property of being sensible to moisture is not ideal in TT blades.

Like you said, the glue forms a layer over the material, unlike PU which penetrates the material. Will this cause a difference in feeling? I'm not sure... I've built two similar blades using hide glue and PU, but at different points in time, so I don't have a direct comparison. But I did prefer the PU one. I have to make a more scientific approach on this and build a set of identical blades using these glues so I can directly compare them.
 
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Do you (and your customers) generally have a preference between hide-glue and polyurethane glues?
I have some experience with Bty Primo clones with hide glue. To be honest, I really can't tell why but I really like the feel I got at the handle with that specific composition of the Primo with hide glue. For me this is maybe in the same region why old Stiga blades are popular among some players. The really old ones are also something down the line with Ayous inside and Limba outside and done with hide glue. The "instrument" series from Nittaku also tries to get some $$$ out of it being done with hide glue and a lot of people like them. (Might be also only a psychological effect)
I've been experimenting with hide glue during this coronavirus time period and find it very pleasant to clean up (compared to poly-glue, especially), though the long dry time is less ideal, and the fact that it doesn't permeate into the wood layers makes those blades a bit more fragile than my poly-glue based blades.
THIS really is new to me and thanks for that info! My Western Red Cedar blade was specifically made with epoxy(?) as the blade builder shared some experience with me. He said that with hide glue a blade is normally "softer" and "flexier" which might be too much with something that soft like WRC. A lot of blade builders also told me that hide glue doesn't work that well with fibers. This makes sense for me, hide glue is water based, something like "poly glues" are really often based on organic solvents. The majority of fibers are hydrophobic so a water based glue will not work that well. My thought was that wood is not that "picky" and neither hydrophilic nor hydrophobic. But thinking of it, all paints for wood were made with organic solvents. Only recently, water based paints were developed but still, something like an Alkyd is still superior. So maybe wood is more hydrophobic and yes, there has to be a difference between hide glue and something with organic solvents. I would even tend to say that blade weight can be easily adjusted with organic solvent based glues as you can just add more glue which is absorbed by the wood. This should also give more stiffness to the blade and also more hardness. (Which is indeed the case)
On the other hand, a hide glue blade should be more "woody" feeling wise or the feeling you get from hide glue blades is the way a "woody" blade feels. If you just drown your blade in glue with organic solvent, you are more or less playing with a plastic blade reinforced by wood. :D
Maybe there is a synthetic fiber out there which was specifically made for water based glue. This might be interesting to use with a hide glue only blade.
 
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This was a blade made in collaboration with PingBrothers. Soon they will review this blade on their youtube channel, stay tuned!

Composition: Koto / Innegra-Carbon / Ayous / Kiri / Ayous / Innegra-Carbon / Koto
Weight: 84.0g
Thickness: ~6.0 mm
Freq.: 1400 Hz
Balance: 2.1 cm (Very Low)

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My first Zylon-Carbon blade, Apolonia ZLC composition. I have a hard time finding the right blade for me because I prefer a hard touch on the BH, but a soft touch and high arc on the FH. I've been using this blade for the past few weeks and I think I finally found it, the perfect compromise between speed/spin/control/touch and arc. A subtle homage to the Portuguese flag with the green, yellow and red.

Composition: Limba / Ayous / Zylon-Carbon / Ayous / Zylon-Carbon / Ayous / Limba
Weight: 88.0 g
Thickness: 5.7 mm
Freq.: 1335 Hz
Balance: 2.7 cm (Low)

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I'll be totally honest here, I do use hide glue if requested, but it's not my favorite glue to use. Hide glue is heavier, so it's only suitable for certain compositions, and it's harder to use. I get a much stronger bond using half the amount of glue with PU. And Forget about using it consistently in lower temperatures...

Hide glue is used in instrument building because of the reversibility. It's mostly used in the neck joint of acoustic guitars and other stringed instruments because it allows for very easy repairs. Every acoustic guitar will eventually need a neck reset, the wood deforms under the string tension and this changes the original neck angle. Just inject some water vapor in the neck joint and the glue melts. But this property of being sensible to moisture is not ideal in TT blades.

Like you said, the glue forms a layer over the material, unlike PU which penetrates the material. Will this cause a difference in feeling? I'm not sure... I've built two similar blades using hide glue and PU, but at different points in time, so I don't have a direct comparison. But I did prefer the PU one. I have to make a more scientific approach on this and build a set of identical blades using these glues so I can directly compare them.

Interested to know the results, please let us know.
 
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A commissioned combination blade for a short pips pips player. This one was a real challenge because he wanted something solid and hard but not very fast.

Composition: Wenge / Spruce / Glass-Fiber / Balsa / Glass-Fiber / Spruce / Black Walnut
Weight: 92.2 g
Thickness: ~6.0 mm
Freq.: 1400 Hz
Balance: 1.5 cm (Very Low)

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Hipnotic,

I thought this would benefit the larger group.

What is the main difference between Aramid Carbon vs Innegra Carbon?

I believe it was mentioned before that closest thing to Aramid Carbon would be ALC.

What about Innegra Carbon?

I will just add some information to my previous response to you.

ALC is Arylate weaved with carbon. Arylate is what Butterfly uses, the commercial name is in fact Vectran.

Aramid, commercially Kevlar, is used by DHS and many other companies. They call it all sorts of stuff, but it's all essentially Aramid fiber. Well, some use Diolen and call it Aramid but that's another topic... Arylate and Aramid are very similar, and in a TT blade, the differences in properties matter much less than the weave pattern and density of the cloth.

Innegra is a totally different fiber, more like glass-fiber on steroids. It's weight is almost half of arylate and aramid, so it's very light. This means that, for the same density cloth, there will be almost the double amount of fiber in it.

All reinforcement fibers have a role of enlarging the sweet spot of a blade, while at the same time providing more stiffness and hardness without a radical increase in weight.

Both ALC and AC are known for providing a relatively soft feel. For me they are spin/speed oriented fibers. Innegra-Carbon on the other hand, doesn't provide a great increase in speed, it's more a control/spin fiber. The vibration attenuation properties are also different, it feels softer but at the same time crispier. This difference is audible too.
 
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Just information. I am not 100% sure on the science of this. But my memory is that Arylate and Kevlar are both different kinds of Aramid fibers. Arylate is short for Polyarylate. These are polymers. Not too far from the family of Polyesters that made so many super cool (read awful) clothes from the 1970s. :)

Here is a link to a page with information on different Aramid fibers:

https://polymerdatabase.com/Fibers/Aramid.html

Here is a link to a page with information on Arylate/Polyarylate fibers:

https://polymerdatabase.com/Fibers/Arylate.html

At some point about 10 years ago, this site had the Arylate page listed as a subset in the Aramid page. Now they have separated them. If you look at the chemical compounds, you can see the similarities and the differences.

What is the point of me posting this? Information. Xiom for sure uses the same chemical compound as Butterfly and calls it Aramid because, then it seems similar but different. So, for branding, or maybe some other reason, they want it to sound like Arylate, but not to use the same word Butterfly uses. However, Xiom has not found the same spin or weave that Butterfly uses so, even though it is the same chemical, it does not feel quite the same.

And if you look at the Aramid page you can see listed several brands with slightly different compounds all listed as Aramids:

Suppliers or Aramid fibers: DuPont, Toyobo, Aramid HPM, Fiberline + Teijin.

Brands of Aramid fibers: Conex, Kevlar, Nomex, Twaron, Technora, Teijinconex.

From this, you can see, Arylate can only refer to one compound. Whereas Aramid could refer to any number of other compounds. And, at least one TT company uses the term Aramid to refer to a Polyarylate compound bought from a company named Kuraray and sold under the name Vectran (which is also what Butterfly uses).

So......

Hopefully the information is useful. Nice to hear the playing characteristics of Innegra.
 
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What is the point of me posting this? Information. Xiom for sure uses the same chemical compound as Butterfly and calls it Aramid because, then it seems similar but different. So, for branding, or maybe some other reason, they want it to sound like Arylate, but not to use the same word Butterfly uses. However, Xiom has not found the same spin or weave that Butterfly uses so, even though it is the same chemical, it does not feel quite the same.

Thanks Carl, you always step in with interesting information.

All you said is correct, I was simplifying things a bit but essentially the message is the same. The truth is we are dealing with high performance fibers meant to be used in much more demanding applications than a TT blade. For the use we give them, Arylate and Kevlar are similar enough, the differences that matters the most are weave pattern and cloth density.

I'm assuming this, but I believe that Butterfly has a proprietary weave pattern for their ALC. At least I've seen the weave pattern and it's not something you would normally find, that's one of the reason for their unique feel. I don't know if Xiom tried to copy this, but I'm sure they have a full team dismantling Butterfly blades :D
 
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Thanks Carl, you always step in with interesting information.

All you said is correct, I was simplifying things a bit but essentially the message is the same. The truth is we are dealing with high performance fibers meant to be used in much more demanding applications than a TT blade. For the use we give them, Arylate and Kevlar are similar enough, the differences that matters the most are weave pattern and cloth density.

I'm assuming this, but I believe that Butterfly has a proprietary weave pattern for their ALC. At least I've seen the weave pattern and it's not something you would normally find, that's one of the reason for their unique feel. I don't know if Xiom tried to copy this, but I'm sure they have a full team dismantling Butterfly blades :D

This is very much in line with why Xiom has a different weave. So, yeah. That is my basic memory of what an R&D guy from Xiom told me maybe 7 years ago.


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