For the last few months, we have been making and testing boards using the new Solid Birch veneers. We ran a series of tests comparing identical boards made using our standard 1/16” Maple, our new 1/16” Solid Birch and the 1/8” Birch Plywood commonly found in most hardware and lumber stores. The results were really quite impressive.
Strength – We tested the compressive strength, hardness and overall durability of the 3 materials.
1/16” Maple = The strongest of the bunch. Once pressed together, our Maple veneers make for some of the strongest boards in the world. The maple board withstood an amazing amount of punishment, and held its stiffness throughout each of our tests.
1/16” Solid Birch = Tested similar in many ways to the Maple. Overall the material is not quite as hard as the Maple, but it absorbed impact well and kept its shape throughout testing.
1/8” Birch Plywood = The more we tested this material, the weaker it became. We also noticed that during the impact test, the nose of the board actually split quite easily along the factory glue lines.
Flexiness – All 3 boards were tested by standing on the point directly between the truck holes and compared by the distance the board dropped. Our test subject weighed approximately 175 lbs.
1/16” Maple = Dropped 5/8” at the lowest point to the ground
1/16” Solid Birch = Dropped 3/4” at the lowest point to the ground
1/8” Birch Plywood = Dropped 5/8” at the lowest point to the ground
In this test we revealed that the 1/16” Solid Birch was indeed the most flexible of the three building materials tested. We could feel right off the bat that this was the case, and our tests confirmed that the board dropped a full 1/8” lower than the other two boards. It was described by one rider as feeling 'very springy'.
We could also tell that, while the 1/8” Birch Plywood dropped the same amount as the Maple board, it had far less spring-back. As our tests went on, the plywood board actually felt as if it was getting weaker - this is further confirmed by riders who described the plywood board as having a 'dead' feeling.
Glue Lines – We also decided to test the factory glue lines on the 1/8” Birch Plywood to see how they reacted to moisture. To do this we put the unfinished ends of the 1/16” Maple and 1/16” Solid Birch board laminated using our waterproof Titebond III, and one of the factory glued Birch Plywood.
We soaked the boards for 2 hours at a time, twice over two days. Neither board experienced any sort of delamination - which is great – However, we noticed that the exposed end of the 1/8” Birch Plywood actually swelled quite a bit compared to the other boards.
Weight – All 3 boards were made at 1/2” thick and feature an identical shape and concave.
1/16” Maple = 1.8kg
1/16” Solid Birch = 1.5kg
1/8” Birch Plywood = 1.7kg
Our new 1/16” Birch weighed in at 1.5kg, the lightest of the 3 building materials tested, and our 1/16” Maple was the heaviest at 1.8kg - no real surprise considering the extremely dense nature of the material. We also believe that the extra glue lines found in the factory produced 1/8” Birch Plywood, are the reason it tested heavier than the 1/16” solid birch.**
**To further explain – a single 1/8” sheet of Birch Plywood contains three factory laminated layers, held together with two glue lines, as opposed to the one glue line it would take to make 1/8” with our 1/16” solid veneers.
Check back next week for Part 3 of Roarockit's Birch Report! Feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment about any of our posts.