This post is about “toys”.
First, I don’t know it all. I do have some strong opinions based on limited experience.
I have made dozens of paddles. Some were discarded after one product test. A few have been in our toy chest for decades. We have been given toys made by other spanko’s. We have been given a few toys made for the discriminating spanko. The ones we like all came from our workshop.
We have all heard others say something like wood is a hard limit for me. And if it’s not wood, it something else that they want nothing to do with.
I think a lot of you are misinformed because you think wood is wood and leather is leather. IT AIN’T!
Wood is highly variable. Length, width, and thickness can be seen. What can not be seen is density. I suggest to you that density has as much to do with how a wood paddle feels as its dimensions, maybe more.
In the following, I have in mind paddles of the same size.
You might suspect that balsa is not dense and you would be right. It’s so light it makes a poor spanking toy. Balsa has a density number of .16. [You don’t need to understand that it relates to kg per cubic meter. Just remember that .16 is very light and it’s not worth much as a paddle] Now consider that Hickory has a has a density number of .83, Oak .74 and Teak .65 to .98. Those numbers friends make heavy thudy paddles. Paddles that can bruise.
A density that would make a paddle suitable for Bacall and I would be somewhere in between.
In alphabetical order, Aspen - .42, Basswood - .3 to .6, White Pine and Popular both - .35 to .5.
We have found that the last three mentioned make paddles that pack a considerable sting. Especially when the length and width are moderate and the thickness is about 1/4 to 3/8.
White pine is the cheapest, but it is so soft, it is difficult to work wth. I suggest any of the other three. None of them have the beautiful grains found in the denser woods, but looks are not everything.
I have an open challenge for anyone that can tell the difference between the same paddle, one with holes and one without holes. Stop by our customer service desk to accept the challenge.
What I said about wood applies equally to leather. Leather is highly variable. Length, width, and thickness can be seen. What can not be seen is how it is tanned. I suggest to you that tanning has more to do with how leather feels as its dimensions.
Two examples. A friend made a paddle for us. On one side the leather makes Bacall go Mmmmm. The other side makes her go ARG! Same physical size, it the way the leather is tanned. Purses can be made so soft that they collapse in a puddle when put down. On others, the leather is stiff and keeps it’s shape when resting. [not talking about an inexpensive purse with cardboard between to give them shape]
Another example would be floggers. They can be so soft, they can not hurt if swung full force. Other have falls that are so stiff they will mark on the first swing.
Same deal with belts. A police duty belt is tanned to be stiff. One wack with one and you will be most impressed. Men’s dress belts are usually on the stiff side, while casual belts tend to be more pliable.
Now you know that wood density and the tanning method determine how a toy feels. Anything else is in your mind and that’s fine too.