Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?
***WARNING: SCIENCE AHEAD***
In order to determine whether or not one stick transfers more shock than another, we must look at both the sticks density (weight, if you will), as well as the sticks hardness. We shall assume that all uncontrollable factors (velocity of hit, dryness of wood, straightness of grain, etc.) to be equal for our purposes. So here we go:
Take your favorite stick, I'll pick a 2B. Now envision the same stick in maple, hickory, and oak. Maple is the lightest, and oak is the heaviest. Therefore, by definition, maple is the least dense, and oak is the most dense, with hickory somewhere in between. This is not the only factor in shock absorption. We must factor in the hardness of each different wood type. According to the Janka Hardness Rating of wood (widely accepted hardness test, I'll explain at bottom), hickory is harder than maple, and maple is harder than oak. So now we know that the heaviest stick is also the softest, the least dense stick is middle ground in hardness, and the hardest stick is middle ground in density. We know that the harder something is the more energy it transfers (think bricks vs foam), and the heavier it is the more energy it produces (again, bricks vs foam). So if each stick were to hit the same head at the same velocity, we can conclude that:
1. The oak stick, being the heaviest, will produce the most energy upon impact, but being the softest it will absorb the most energy of the three.
2. The hickory stick, being the middle weight, will produce more energy than maple but less than oak upon impact. It will transfer the most amount of energy being the hardest.
3. The maple stick being the lightest will produce the least amount of energy of the three upon impact. Being in the middle in terms of hardness, it will transfer less energy than hickory but more than oak.
In conclusion, the harder stick transfers more energy, but the heaviest stick produces more.
So do maple sticks reduce shock? Sure, compared to hickory. But lets not forget how hard you play and the weight of the stick most definitely come into play. And lets not forget that ALL sticks transfer energy to your hands as long as you are holding on to them, no grip exceptions to this either. If it vibrates and you touch it, energy will be transferred.
As I promised, the Janka Hardness Rating is measured by determining how much pound force (lbf) is required to embed a .444" (11.28mm) diameter steel ball halfway into a piece of wood (half the ball, not halfway through the wood). The harder the wood is, the more force is required. Hickory, hard rock maple, and white oak have hardness ratings of 1820lbf, 1450lbf, and 1325lbf respectively.
Okay, I promise, no more science for today :)