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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Durability of Wooden Cups (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of wsgumby
I was over at the Five of Hearts website lusting after cups. They have some very beautiful(and pricey) wooden cups. A wooden chop cup if not abused should last forever but what about a regular set of cups and balls. Just through normal use, with all the stacking and unstacking, there must be a great deal of wear and tear. It doesn't seem like it would take long before they look they've been nibbled on by a rabid beaver. Or am I wrong? If they are kept waxed and polished will they last longer than I think? Has anyone out there used a set of wooden cups for any length of time?
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Profile of Bapu
Termites could be an issue. Smile
Bapu practices law and conjuring in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
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Profile of panlives
Ambient and variable temperature, humidity, barometric much to consider.
I once stored my Dube juggling clubs for a few years in a very dry environment. The wood dowels split badly.
Does anyone use soothing oils to help prolong the lives of their wood Cups?
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Profile of malaki
Wood, even though separated from the tree, continues to move and react to the environment in which it exists.
This is due to the wood consisting of microscopic fibers, much like tiny drinking straws, which in the tree, circulates the sap through the tree. If left unsealed, the cut wood will take on and lose moisture, according to what is in the atmosphere at the time. Because of the swelling and reduction, this can break down the bonds between these microscopic straws. This eventually results in dry rot.

If properly sealed, these straws are sealed off from taking on moisture. The ideal set of cups would be impregnated with an acrylic resin (Cactus Juice) under a vacuum. This replaces the air within the wood (formerly occupied with sap) with the acrylic resin, toughening the wood and making it impervious to humidity. This is the means used to strengthen wood prior to doing ornamental turning.

It also depends greatly upon the type of wood that you use to make the cups. Heavier, denser woods are the best choice, for they will resist abrasion from use. Wood such as Lignum Vitae (aka Tree of Life) is so hard that it was used in WWII as ball bearings in submarines, for they wore as well as steel, but ran much quieter. Lignum is a very waxy wood that acts as a form of self lubrication in the case of ball bearings. It is also so dense that it will sink in water, so don't use them where they might be lost overboard!

Properly sealed wood will isolate the cups from the atmosphere. Some finishes work better than others. If you go about banging on them like some C&B workers do with the metal cups, you will have problems. Treat the wooden cups like fine furniture, and they will outlast you.
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