SDC Handmade Blades

There is a lot of talk about hide glue and the great feeling it provides. I’m always skeptical of this kind of claims so I decided to test this myself by building two exact blades, with the only variable being the glue used. First I will give a brief description of these two glues:
Hide Glue: This is an animal protein based glue, which is water soluble. Because of this it is vastly used in instrument building and repair. The ease of reversibility allows luthiers to perform repairs without damaging the instrument by simply injecting moisture into the joint. The glue doesn’t penetrate the wood, instead it forms a layer over the material and bonds to it. This glue is hard to work with because it has to be applied while still hot. Because of this it has a very short open time, and if the layers aren’t clamped within this time frame a poor bond can be formed.
PU Glue: Polyurethane glue is a polymer based adhesive with great strength. It is waterproof once cured and it penetrates the pores of the wood forming a great bond. It is easier to work with because it has a relatively high open time.
Building procedure:
I decided to perform this test with a 5 ply composition similar to the perhaps most famous hide glue blade out there, the Nittaku Acoustic. But instead of using a Limba medial ply, I chose to use a harder but thinner Sycamore Maple layer. So, the composition is Limba / Sycamore / Kiri / Sycamore / Limba.
All the plies were carefully selected so that the weight before the glue was applied was the same. The method for applying the glue was the same on both blades, a layer of glue on both sides to be glued, and the blades were clamped at the same time, using the same pressure. The weight difference after the plies were glued and the shape was 0.6g, with the PU blade being the heavier. It wasn’t possible to keep the handles with the same exact weight but the difference was very small. The final weight of the blades was 89.5g for both.

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Results:
These were my findings after testing both blades. The first difference I noticed was on the pitch while bouncing a ball on the bare blades. The Hide glue blade possessed a lower pitch, which was corroborated by the measured peak frequency. The Hide glue blade measured 1205 Hz while the PU measured 1227 Hz, a small but noticeable difference. This immediately told me the PU blade would be a little harder and stiffer. These were also the impressions I got during play. The Hide glue blade provides a slightly softer feeling, while the PU feels just a little harder and faster.
Conclusion:So, is there a difference? Short answer: Yes! But is one better than the other? Not necessarily…I have a preference for softer blades so in this case my vote goes for the Hide glue blade, but I’m sure that a lot of people would prefer the more solid and direct feeling of the PU blade. This decision is very subjective and would depend on the player. Keep in mind that these differences were very small, and in a blind test some might not even notice the difference. There is also the matter of the amount of glue used. With hide glue a layer on each side is needed to have a perfect bond, but with PU glue I normally just need one layer to have a strong bond. So in the case of this test I used more glue than needed, which exacerbated the feeling. In retrospect, I should’ve built a third blade using this method...

Many thanks to share your opinions, really appreciated.
 
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A little experiment I did using two bouncy woods, Hinoki and Fineline. Don't let the relatively low frequency fool you, this thing is soft but fast!

Composition: Hinoki / Fineline / I-C / Ayous / I-C / Fineline / Hinoki
Weight: 95.8g
Thickness: ~6.0mm
Freq.: 1290 Hz
Balance: 2.9cm (Low)

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Sergio send me a PM with quote with specs for limba-ayous-ayous (core)-ayous-hinoki. Thanks in advance.

What we think in our heads and the reality of things are not always the same.

With a 6 ply blade, how do you expect to have a core that is not the 2 middle-most plies and only one of the two?

would that mean that the 2 plies (Hinoki-Ayous would be the same thickness of the 3 plies on the far side of the core (Limba-Ayous-Ayous)? Because, if you had a core that was not in the CENTER, it would only be the core in your imagination but it would not actually function as a core.

But maybe you have a plan. So, I am curious how a ply that is not in the center would be the center. Or, if that ply would actually be in the center.
 
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Sorry I'm asking a 5 ply all wood blade.

Limba out
Ayous medial
Ayous core/center 3mm
Ayous medial
Hinoki out

Now?

I want like a Stiga all round but in place two limba outer layers, one limba & one hinoki to attack better.

Okay. That construction would work. Which side do you think you will be able to attack better with? So, on the side with the Hinoki top ply you feel you will attack better? Have you used Hinoki before? I am just curious.
 
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Composition: Fineline / Sucupira / European Spruce / Kiri / Ayous
Weight: 91.7g
Thickness: ~6.2mm
Freq.: ~1180 Hz
Balance: 3.1cm (Medium)

Hello, let me just say, this blade was made by Hipnotic and its not a sponsored review.
Now lets get right into it. This blades finish and craftsmanship is of the highest level, the plies used are fineline(poor mans hinoki), sucupira, spruce, kiri, ayous. I wanted one defensive side and one offensive side and this combination gave me right what I wanted. The hard sucupira second ply is acting like some kind of "carbon" ply giving the forehand side speed.
The handle was made a little thicker and wider at the end for added stability.

I have been playing omega 7 china ying on forehand and TSP Spectol Red on softer backhand side.

I would rate this blades speed at OFF- to OFF for forehand side and about ALL for backhand side. The throw angle is medium. Sucupira ply gives the blade speed even away from table and the fineline gives it a nice low to medium arc full of spin. The blade gives of a slight vibration for added control and feel.

Blocking with this blade is nice. I had no problem blocking with short pips nor with the xiom rubber, just a little closed angle sufficed.

Close to the table play was a little harder to adjust only because of the different natures of different sides but the felling was crisp and the ball only had a little stronger bounce on the backhand side.

All in all, definitely a blade I'll be playing for a long time. Thank you Hipnotic for making this blade for me, really nice customer service. Absolutely recommend.
 
Okay. That construction would work. Which side do you think you will be able to attack better with? So, on the side with the Hinoki top ply you feel you will attack better? Have you used Hinoki before? I am just curious.

Yes used before Hinoki.
 
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A fine example of how a good balance can make a heavy blade feel lighter than what really is. Owner was very aware of the importance of a good balance so he intentionally asked for a heavy handle, despite the increase in the total weight. The result is a 100g plus blade that feels much lighter in the hand.

Composition: Ovangkol / Ayous / ZLC / Ayous / ZLC / Ayous / Ovangkol
Weight: 105.3g
Thickness: ~5.75mm
Freq.: 1360 Hz
Balance: 2.2cm (very low)

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A fine example of how a good balance can make a heavy blade feel lighter than what really is. Owner was very aware of the importance of a good balance so he intentionally asked for a heavy handle, despite the increase in the total weight. The result is a 100g plus blade that feels much lighter in the hand.

Composition: Ovangkol / Ayous / ZLC / Ayous / ZLC / Ayous / Ovangkol
Weight: 105.3g
Thickness: ~5.75mm
Freq.: 1360 Hz
Balance: 2.2cm (very low)

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+100g!! watch out for D_E and the goon squad.
 
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Combination blade for an attacking chopper. Probably the most difference between sides I could get on a blade with the BH side close to ALL- and OFF- for the FH side.

Weight: 89.7g
Thickness: 6.4mm
Freq.: 1184/1140 Hz
Balance: 2.6cm (very low)

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