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Why Retread Rubber Works Better

People get confused sometimes by the recycled aspect of the paddles and assume that I'm cutting up old tires to make them. Well, actually that was what I originally intended to do, but I found that it didn't work very well. I ordered a bunch of pre-cut used tire rubber for the first prototypes and found that it had a bunch of problems that made it unsuitable:

  1. The tread isn't deep enough to leave marks.
  2. The rubber is too thick, making it really heavy.
  3. The rubber curves both ways… it won't lay flat for paddles, and doesn't have enough flex for floggers.
  4. The reinforcing wire sticks out the sides and is likely to cut into people or leave slivers.
  5. Cutting through the reinforcing wire was extremely difficult.
  6. I thought people might be concerned about dirt and grime, even if the rubber was clean.

So that kind of stalled the whole project for a while. It was several months before it occurred to me to look for retread material and see if that worked better. It turned out to solve all my problems! It's flat, clean, thinner and lighter, has brand-new tread and comes without steel belting in it. It was kind of an added bonus that the company offered to give me a discount on their scrap rubber. Since the material was waste that would otherwise go to a landfill, I was still able to use "recycled rubber" without having to use rubber that was worn and dirty. Bueno!

Here's a few photos so you can see the difference. The smaller piece of rubber is the retread material I use now, the other is a piece of used tire rubber.

Tirematerial_01    Tirematerial_02    Tirematerial_03    Tirematerial_04

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