Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?
After further investigation, the way maple, hickory, and oak form may have a lot to do with the way they act.
Maple is diffuse-porous. This means that the pores in the ring growths are the same size throughout the rings. As a ring forms in the beginning of a season, it contains pores for water dispersion throughout the tree. These pores remain the same size throughout the season and the life of the tree. In a maple, the pores are rather linear and are spaced fairly far apart, with tightly packed wood fiber and linear cells that radiate from the center of the tree surrounding the pores. This repeats every season and gives the wood its strength. The pores cannot be seen without high magnification.
Hickory and oak are ring-porous. This means the pores at the beginning of the season are much bigger than at the end of the season. In hickory, the pores are large in the beginning of the season, but are very limited in number. The end season pores are very tiny, and there are very few of them. The pores are fairly linear, and like maple, are surrounded by tightly packed wood fiber. The cells radiate laterally, unlike the maple.
The oak is a totally different story. The beginning season pores are huge, and there are tons of them. They aren't in any linear pattern, rather a random array of placement, practically one on top of the other. They radiate out to about half of the ring, then the pores suddenly become smaller but are still bigger than the maple's. This creates weak spots in the wood. The area of pores to wood fiber in an oak is about 50/50. So half the oak is actually randomly spaced pores, or air if you will.
This is probably why oak sticks suck. They are half air! While the wood itself is more dense, giving the stick its weight, the vibration that the stick endures doesn't know where to go because it has to deal with all of the voids in the wood. The maple and hickory, on the other hand, are almost all wood, allowing the vibrations to freely pass through them.