SDC Handmade Blades

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Another one of my experiments, trying to achieve that holy grail blade, the love child of W968 and Viscaria. Inner/outer combination blade that emphasizes a soft FH and a direct BH.

Composition: Limba / Ayous / I-C / Kiri / Ayous / A-C / Anigre
Weight: 92.2g
Thickness: 6.0mm
Freq.: 1335Hz
Balance: 1.7cm (Very low)

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That's a very nice looking blade! In theory having an inner/outer blade makes much sense.
I really wonder how such blade would play. choice of composition could be something I would choose as well :)
Please let us know your thoughts after some time playing with it. Really curious. Thanks.

I've made this one some time ago so I had time to test it. My experience with asymmetric blades is that the difference in composition between sides must be really high, in order to get just a bit of difference in performance. The difference between sides in this blades is perceivable, but not extreme. There is mostly a difference in hardness (and dwell if you want to call it that) with the outer side feeling a bit harder and more direct than the inner side, but speed-wise I would say they are similar. Overall the character tends to be more of an outer fiber blade because of the kiri core which is associated with these types of blades, giving it a medium to medium low throw.

This one is available by the way, if anyone is interested.
 
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Apparently there's nothing really special about these blades, but this was one of the most difficult challenges I had so far, but also one of the most fulfilling given the successful outcome.

This is what the customer wrote about his experience:

"I've been using a custom Kevlar blade that was made back in the 90s that I like better than anything I've ever used. Aside from the great feeling and playability of it, what's really special about it is the handle. It was made using the ORIGINAL prototype of the ASTI Carboflex Lillieroos model that was introduced in the 90s and has long ceased production.


Being a one-of-a-kind blade, I figured I'd better see if I could get a decent replica made because if I were to end up breaking it or losing it, I'd have no chance of getting a decent replacement. My initial search led me to a custom blade maker here in the US and I shipped my blade to him to try to replicate. Long story short, it just didn't work out and I resumed my quest to find someone else who was willing to try. Here on this forum I discovered SDC Blades.


Now Sergio (of SDC) is in Portugal so shipping my blade to him was not a practical option. So relying solely on photographs from various angles and specific measurements he asked me for, he felt that he had everything he needed to proceed. We communicated via email frequently throughout this process and I quickly became confident that he was up to the task. Since I was not certain of the particular woods that were used to make mine (aside from the single ply of Kevlar), I asked him to make two different variations in hopes that at least one of them would end up with similar playing characteristics to mine.

Upon completion he sent me photos of the finished products and it looked like the handles were very, very close to that of mine. But how would they feel and play? I'd have to wait about nine more days to get them in my hands to see for myself.


When I received them, I extremely impressed with the end result. The craftsmanship and attention to detail was just exceptional. And then I put some rubber on each of them to put the to the test and was pleasantly surprised to find that both of them played so similarly to my own that I know I could use them interchangeably without any concerns. And on top of this, his price was extremely reasonable. Including currency conversion and shipping fees, the final bill was just a bit over $200. I couldn't be happier with the end result.


So if you're considering having a custom blade built, SDC should be on your short list. Sergio is a master at his craft and goes the extra mile to make sure his customers get exactly what they want."

Just to add a bit of information to his post, when he came to me he had almost no information on the blade composition other than the obvious central Kevlar layer. So I had to rely on photos to guess the composition. To make matters worse, the blade is over 20 years old and fairly used so the wood layers were not clearly visible. Apparently it looked like a 4+1 composition, with two thick Ayous medial layers and maple top, but something was off because the layers were all aligned vertically. This means that the only layer with significant lateral stiffness was the Kevlar, but being placed in the center this contribution was really small. So I suggested that we might try incorporating two horizontal plies by subdividing the thick medial layers in the second blade, which would help stabilizing the blade and give it a bigger sweetspot. After building the blades, to my expectation, the first one warped. This confirmed my initial suspicion, and with a closer inspection of some new photos I discovered what seemed to be a really thin fiberglass layer under the top ply. I wasn't sure that this would be enough to give the blade sufficient lateral stability but tried it anyway. It turns out it was, making it a 4+3 composition, which is even more uncommon. So these were the two blades I sent him:


Blade 1: Maple / Glass-fiber / Ayous / Kevlar / Ayous / Glass-fiber / Maple
Blade 2: Maple / Ayous / Ayous / Kevlar / Ayous / Ayous / Maple


Since the beginning, the customer's biggest preoccupation was getting the handle right. In the end I understood why, this asymmetric semi-anatomic handle is one of the most comfortable I tried so far.

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Very nice! Figuring out a comparable composition with little information to go off of (and without the blade in hand) must have been quite a fun challenge.

Do you know if glass-fiber was commonly used in blades from the 90s? I haven't used many fibers in blade-making, so I have zero practical knowledge for what it plays like.
 
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Very nice! Figuring out a comparable composition with little information to go off of (and without the blade in hand) must have been quite a fun challenge.

Do you know if glass-fiber was commonly used in blades from the 90s? I haven't used many fibers in blade-making, so I have zero practical knowledge for what it plays like.

I actually had to make a couple of blades before coming up with one that seemed reasonable. I have no idea if glass-fiber was commonly used, but from what I could gather the production version of this blade didn't had it, so they must've only used it in the prototype.
 
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Interesting backstory with this one. The owner wanted a blade similar to his Acoustic and after a brief discussion we settled on a thinner but harder medial ply, Sycamore Maple instead of Limba, while also opting for hide glue. After trying the blade he stated the feeling was very similar but the sound was different, in a video we could hear this blade making a deeper sound, which indicates that the blade was a bit softer and less stiff. After a couple of weeks of playing with the blade he sent me another video and this time we could hear a distinct higher pitch produced by the blade, much closer to his Acoustic. He also stated that the blade felt stiffer and faster. So this corroborates my findings with the hide glue test, this glue takes much more time to cure and optimal feeling will only be felt after some time. Logo is also custom and drawn by his daughter which adds another level of personalization to this blade.

Composition: Limba / Sycamore Maple / Kiri / Sycamore Maple / Limba
Weight: 86.1g
Thickness: 5.6mm
Freq.: 1205Hz
Balance: 2.7cm

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Are the jointed cores attached using the same glue as between regular plies?

Hypothetically, how would you think a 5 ply with a thick 7-piece jointed core compare with a 7-ply conventional blade of the same total thickness? Which would be harder/more solid?
 
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Are the jointed cores attached using the same glue as between regular plies?

Hypothetically, how would you think a 5 ply with a thick 7-piece jointed core compare with a 7-ply conventional blade of the same total thickness? Which would be harder/more solid?

No, I use PVA to join the boards.

I never done with that many pieces, normally I use 2, maximum 3 when I have to get around a knot or something, but I've seen some old Butterfly blades with that many pieces. It won't make that much difference, the glue joint only adds stiffness (if any) in the longitudinal direction, maybe if I used PU it would add more but it would be too insignificant to be noticeable. A 7 ply has more horizontal layers that add lateral stiffness and torsional stability so it will always feel more solid than a 5 ply of the same thickness.
 
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This blade is definitively in the top 5 of the most complex requests I have gotten so far. Combi blades are hard, that's a given, but this time the owner presented a full professional project for the blade and handle design! I had to scratch my head a few times to make this one happen, but in the end it turned out great :)

Composition: Hinoki / Spruce / IC / Ayous / Ayous / Maple
Weight: 83.6g
Thickness: 5.4mm
Freq.: 1162 Hz
Balance: 2.4cm (Low)

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This blade is definitively in the top 5 of the most complex requests I have gotten so far. Combi blades are hard, that's a given, but this time the owner presented a full professional project for the blade and handle design! I had to scratch my head a few times to make this one happen, but in the end it turned out great :)

Composition: Hinoki / Spruce / IC / Ayous / Ayous / Maple
Weight: 83.6g
Thickness: 5.4mm
Freq.: 1162 Hz
Balance: 2.4cm (Low)

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Wow. These pattern of the handle are wooden poetry. Have seen this with olive. But this is something else?

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Hi hiptnotic,

thanks for all these interesting information and wonderful work. Your craftsmanship is really impressive. Being a custom Golfclub maker myself, I really learned to appreciate abilities like yours a lot. Keep up the wonderful work. I might have to get in touch with you in the future to discuss an idea, that I have in the back of my mind.

Cheers,
Golf_and_TT
 
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Hi hiptnotic,

thanks for all these interesting information and wonderful work. Your craftsmanship is really impressive. Being a custom Golfclub maker myself, I really learned to appreciate abilities like yours a lot. Keep up the wonderful work. I might have to get in touch with you in the future to discuss an idea, that I have in the back of my mind.

Cheers,
Golf_and_TT

Thank you for the compliment and encouraging words!

Sure, I would love to hear it, I always welcome new challenges.
 
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