View Full Version : Non-wood cores?
November 9th, 2003, 08:11 PM
Sean's offhand remark about injection-molded wood got me wondering... I had a foam-core K2 Gyrator back in the 80s, it turned to crap after the foam broke down. Has foam technology improved to where such boards might actually last for a while? I notice wakeboards are using foam cores, but I doubt they have to flex like snowboards.
Or some other non-wood core material... How about a many-layered sandwich of glass/carbon/kevlar/tyvek?/whatever-fiber interleaving with some kind of plastic?
What's so unique about wood? It's kind of interesting to me that it hasn't been replaced (successfully) by something cooked up in a 3M or DuPont laboratory.
Pre School Rider
November 10th, 2003, 05:58 PM
Jack,The T-6's core is indeed an active structural member;It flexes,but(and Ask TB about this!)like all metal(Even Stainless Steel,Eh Todd?)it can kink.It's not easily done,as the Burton guys wrapped that pup with some nice glasswork.Same is true with the other Honeycomb Cores out there,although Arimid Fiber does stretch,and twist(why it's in tires,for instance),even when structured into 3-d hexagons.This is why certain boards made this way don't keep their inserts,while others have been more thoughtfully made with Wood in the insert and sidewall areas.Realistically,man hasn't even come close to creating a material that keeps it's memory and integrity like Hickory does,but we do make stuff that's lighter that flexes.I mean,how long does a board have to last,anyway?You can bet your bottom buck that 60-100 days is longer than what most board companies actually expect for the life of their product.One of the reasons I ride Rad-Air is that many of my boards from them have lasted,one has over 700 days on it,another at least 300,and a newer one(3 years old)has 267 days on it,logged in my teaching journal.All those boards have hardwood cores.Hmm,coincidence? I think not.. One of the Local (insert big-name company here) Reps actually keeps me off his boards at Demoes,as I've tweaked a few in a day's riding.So,for the foreseeable future,I can't imagine that board companies that make quality products would Not have wood in their lineup.Even Rossi took a step back away from foam on many of their boards,despite having figured out how to use foam well in their skis.Wood is the right stuff,and I doubt man will beat it in my lifetime.
November 10th, 2003, 09:56 PM
If you've ever done any framing or built a fence, you'll have noticed that your hammer puts a nice dent in the wood. When you return a could of days later, the dent seems to be gone. Wood is very resilient. It can handle a lot and still come back for more. Hit some of that honeycomb or foam with a hammer and it's done for. Now compare the hammer with what happens when you hit a rock. It's not that much different. I'll bet on wood every time.
What a lot of other manufacturers have done with exotic materials is pretty cool. It sounds impressive and even looks cool. 99% of the time the exact same result can be achieved in a simpler way. The only problem with it is, that the marketing department doesn't have anything new to talk about. I prefer the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principal. Keeping the construction simple and focusing on the engineering, allows you to really address the most important issues at hand. I design around the problem, not some marketing departments goofy ideas.
Exotic materials are great for their appropriate application, but most of the time, it's not snowboards. I design for durability and performance, and I use less exotic materials with great success.
November 10th, 2003, 10:38 PM
K2's Piezoelectric boards always astounded me. That anyone bought into that is just incredible. Talk about marketing-dept. driven. When are you going to make one of those, Sean? :p
November 10th, 2003, 11:42 PM
I saw a friend while riding my new skateboard the other day. My board has clear grip tape, and my friend was amazed that it was made of wood. "Aren't they made of something else," she asked, and she looked highly skeptical when I told her that virtually all skateboards are made of wood.
Similarly, a work colleague didn't want to believe that snowboards were basically made of wood. "You'd think they would be made of some high-tech carbon fiber or something," he said. He was skeptical that wood would provide better performance than something "high-tech".
And its pretty understandable why people think like this - look at something like tennis rackets (or squash rackets) - carbon fiber has completely replaced wood, and is far more powerful and durable. Why should snowboarding (or skateboarding) be any different?
November 11th, 2003, 02:01 AM
Well tennis rackets aren't that elastic are they....
Carbon is a wonderful "bumpy"material when laminated but it has no vibration absorbing capability which makes boards that are using too much of it very hard to ride on icy snows..Then people mix it with kevlar that does have absorbing abilities etc....
Wood does all this alone when properly laminated with fiberglass for strengh, and its also cheap...
Like Sean I believe that the keep it simple philosophy is the right way... marketers think every year needs its improvement, and its funny to see good models go wrong after a few seasons when they decide to improve something in it by adding marketed devices...Why brands cannot keep the good working boards/improved designs the same for many years is always fascinating...(self destruction its called no?).
I have seen a Nitro rep in a huge shop the other day, with all boards of this season , explaining what the boards where etc... The demo models where laminated with clear topsheet and base so you could see the carbon /kevlar fibers here and there...
The funniest part was what he was saying about the technologies, explaining the huge price differences because that board b. had one more carbon fiber than model a. and it made the board this and that...using marketed names on some boards he didn't even tried..
Shop owner said finally: I'll try them all and this is going to be the real explaination: please save us time !
November 11th, 2003, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by Donek
Hit some of that honeycomb or foam with a hammer and it's done for.
Many (if not all) helicopters (either military or not) have hoenycomb in their propellers due to elasticity, durability (high G-force when it spins) and low weight. I understand that abuse may not be sudden as hittiing with hammer, but certainly use of wood in helicopter propellers is not usual. Honeycomb seems to give some good directional charcteristics of durability and flexibility. Perhaps those do not work well on boards, but if you hit honeycomb from the top it will not dent that easily in the first place. Once it is dented it will not come back to original state as wood that seems to be true.
November 11th, 2003, 10:58 AM
I bought a Rad Air Tanker Khc "carbon honeycomb core" 192 off ebay last spring new for $125. I have never riden it yet , does anyone have any experience with these. I plan to use it as my powder board this year ? Will it last ? I think it has a combo wood-honeycomb core ....but it is sure a lot lighter than my Nitro fury 176 (my old powder board).
Any comments helpful .....
Jim in PDX :
Pre School Rider
November 11th, 2003, 11:20 AM
Jim,I've got a 200cm,same thing.It's doing fine,even with a few seasons on it (not a whole bunch of days yet,maybe 70-60) it's in decent shape "except" for one insert. It seems that the inserts on these weren't glued+pressed in,but threaded into pre-set holes.The outer of the inserts is a left-hand thread,and mine had gone too deep when a stubborn binding screw wouldn't loosen,resulting in a slight bulge in the base.There's good hardwood ((three main stringers,1 at each edge,one bigger beam down the middle,solid hardwood-the 'fluffy' stuff is out by the nose/tail about 1/2" inboard of the edges)) around the inserts,and that's not been affected structurally.I screwed+glued the insert back in once the inner threads were de-burred.I'm always a little bit worried that I might impact on a spot that's not so well 'padded',but it hasn't happened yet.I say Ride It,and don't worry.Hey,for the $$ you paid,why not?
November 12th, 2003, 08:50 AM
I think there is a huge difference in a helicopter blade and a snowboard. While the honeycomb works very well in the helicopter blade, you would probably never agree to ride in that helicopter after the blade hade struck a rock or even a tree. If the terrain seen by a snowboard was a pristine and consistent as the air a helicopter blade sees, I would probably be using many of the more exotic materials. The problem is a snowboard strikes rocks every day it's on snow. It also sees impacts with very hard ice. This abuse is very hard on the materials. If a helicopter blade were to hit a flying bird, I have little doubt the helicopter would be grounded until the blade was replaced. A snowboards impact with a rock is just a daily occurance. If it hit a bird while on the roof of your car, it would cleaned off and put right back into use.
November 12th, 2003, 04:46 PM
I try to demo every board possible and I have come to the conclusion that I demand two things in a board ABS sidewalls or Ptex like never summer uses and wood cores
other types of cores either do not hold up like the old rossi decks or in the case of honey comb they tend to chater and feel like you are riding a peice of paper in the case of the Palmer board you are
I did like the Sims honey comb boards a little better as I understand it they only used HC in the nose and tail somewhat basicly the same idea as burton is using now and that they use aluminum instead of paper which I am willing to bet is way stronger
November 12th, 2003, 05:00 PM
A race board that was totally used used up at the end of a run is an interesting idea, but I don't think we'll see one anytime soon. The main thing you get when you optimize somthing to last exactly one race is weight savings, and in an F1 engine every gram you save has a direct effect on the power you make. I don't think the consequences of a slightly heavier snowboard would be as bad as a slightly heavier connecting rod. I've even read that some people prefer a slightly heavier board to cut through chopped up snow.
I would also note that wood is actualy some pretty rad stuff, nature at its finest. It's basically a very very fine directional composite sandwich, with some pretty amazing properties. My college textbook on materials devoted quite a few pages to the compustion and characteristics of wood. The main problem with wood from an engineering standpoint is non-uniformity, a little knot or dry-rot in your helicopter blade and you've got a big problem. However wood has been used in things like airplane propellers (and to my knoledge still is in some applications) for a long time, and generally works pretty well.
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