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 Post subject: Making DHS PF4 032 clone
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2012, 22:58 
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Hi, mates!
Much inspired by extremely effective and spectacular He Zhi Wen's style, i want to clone his blade to use with SP. I googled thoroughly the composition of his old PF4 032 blade, but found some contradictions in different sources. Doubtless it's a 5-plied blade about 7 mm thick with 3 plies of basswood (approx. 1 mm each). The two other plies (approx. 2 mm each) are defined diversely as luan (lauan), meranti, mahogany or hongliu eucaliptus.
Here are some photos of old 032 plies:
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The point is luan (lauan) is the name for some different trees with very vast characteristic range, so i can hardly choose not only the exact but even the similar wood. Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2012, 16:06 
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When I bought mine new, they both had a very distinctive smell, like Chinese incense (sandalwood). Maybe that helps to pick out the right variety of wood (it was not the basswood). There are three other clues to it; first, the blades are very heavy, so you could go for the heaviest variety; second, it always was very cheap, so you might go for the most readily available & cheap variety (in China); and third, the inner plies (probably same as core-ply) are not very hard, about as hard as limba, so that might rule out meranti and mahogany.

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PostPosted: 03 Apr 2012, 06:08 
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Kees wrote:
When I bought mine new, they both had a very distinctive smell, like Chinese incense (sandalwood). Maybe that helps to pick out the right variety of wood (it was not the basswood). There are three other clues to it; first, the blades are very heavy, so you could go for the heaviest variety; second, it always was very cheap, so you might go for the most readily available & cheap variety (in China); and third, the inner plies (probably same as core-ply) are not very hard, about as hard as limba, so that might rule out meranti and mahogany.

Very strange to read it, cause 100% of sources i have googled claim this 3 thin plies to be basswood. Anyway thanks for your concern.

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PostPosted: 03 Apr 2012, 08:48 
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the three plys are basswood...

kees is suggesting that the other two plys are the ones that had the aroma, and that they are notwhat you are suggesting


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PostPosted: 03 Apr 2012, 23:24 
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leatherback wrote:
the three plys are basswood...

kees is suggesting that the other two plys are the ones that had the aroma, and that they are notwhat you are suggesting

Oh, i see now :) So these 2 unknown plies must be heavy, stiff (not flexy), medium soft and have some sandal smell. Any candidates?

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PostPosted: 04 Apr 2012, 00:42 
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Could it be a sorbus variety? It combines well with basswood and is harder, stiffer and heavier.

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PostPosted: 04 Apr 2012, 02:47 
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Kees wrote:
Could it be a sorbus variety? It combines well with basswood and is harder, stiffer and heavier.

Very bright guess, Kees, according to what i've just read about sorbus' properties. I'll definitely keep it in mind, but still eager to hear of some of luan species to make it more authentic.
It would be great to know what blade makers could suggest in this case. Maybe someone could bring them to notice the thread? Their opnion is much appreciated!

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PostPosted: 04 Apr 2012, 03:06 
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You could PM Ross Leidy; he's on the forum here and knows an awful lot...

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PostPosted: 04 Apr 2012, 05:58 
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Kees wrote:
You could PM Ross Leidy; he's on the forum here and knows an awful lot...

?? "The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know."

I can't say I'm familiar with timbers that may be local to where the blade was built (I'm assuming that's China). But, if I was looking for a strongly scented wood that would be suitable for a blade ply (the two thick medials, right?), I'd pick a cedar. Western Red, Alaskan, Atlantic White.

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PostPosted: 04 Apr 2012, 06:40 
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Ross Leidy wrote:
Kees wrote:
You could PM Ross Leidy; he's on the forum here and knows an awful lot...

?? "The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know."

I can't say I'm familiar with timbers that may be local to where the blade was built (I'm assuming that's China). But, if I was looking for a strongly scented wood that would be suitable for a blade ply (the two thick medials, right?), I'd pick a cedar. Western Red, Alaskan, Atlantic White.

Thanks for your concern, Ross!
I've just read some info about WRC and found it to be rather light. I'm afraid it won't provide desired massiveness of the blade for Short Pips compared to woods of higher specific gravity. What do you think?

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PostPosted: 04 Apr 2012, 23:31 
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kuk wrote:
Thanks for your concern, Ross!
I've just read some info about WRC and found it to be rather light. I'm afraid it won't provide desired massiveness of the blade for Short Pips compared to woods of higher specific gravity. What do you think?


Alaskan cedar is a bit harder than WRC and it's very aromatic. You might check with Kevin at American Hinoki - he's has a lot of experience with different species of cedar.

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PostPosted: 05 Apr 2012, 06:44 
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If anyone can work miracles with blades it's Ross!

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PostPosted: 05 Apr 2012, 06:55 
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Ross Leidy wrote:
kuk wrote:
Thanks for your concern, Ross!
I've just read some info about WRC and found it to be rather light. I'm afraid it won't provide desired massiveness of the blade for Short Pips compared to woods of higher specific gravity. What do you think?


Alaskan cedar is a bit harder than WRC and it's very aromatic. You might check with Kevin at American Hinoki - he's has a lot of experience with different species of cedar.


Port Orford Cedar is the hardest of them, about the same as Mahogany

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PostPosted: 05 Apr 2012, 07:22 
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As i have said - it shouldn't be hard, but medium-soft.

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PostPosted: 05 Apr 2012, 15:30 
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I googled luan wood and the upshot of it seems to be that it is not a tree-variety, but plywood or fiber-composite (chipboard or particle board). Looking at my blades pretty much convinced me that it is the latter. That would also explain the heaviness, which in that case results from the amount of glue used to make fibres into a more or less solid mass. Furthermore it concurs with the fact that these blades were cheap even according to Chinese Mao-time standards. Some years ago I bought mine, new, for about 8 dollars a piece. Practically speaking, the PF4-032 was/is a junk blade. So to clone it, 2 plies of particle board would do probably fine. It should be pretty "open" in structure, brittle, and not too fine particle-wise. Old-fashioned chipboard (commonly used before MDF came on the market) should do.
The most interesting thing is, for me, that junk can have superior qualities in play. There are other examples of this in table-tennis stuff; for instance Meteor is a firm making vast quantities of pre-made junk, but all of its "junk" rubbers have outstanding playing qualities.

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