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Particle Board V Plywood for Dance Floors

Recently I did a Facebook post in which I assumed a fairly high ground and stated that; “ At STM Studio supplies we constantly come across people planning to use particle board for their [...]

 

Recently I did a Facebook post in which I assumed a fairly high ground and stated that;

“ At STM Studio supplies we constantly come across people planning to use particle board for their dance floor. I cannot emphasise strongly enough what a bad idea that is. There is no international supplier of performance flooring that will recommend particle board as a sub-floor. By manufacture and intent, chip or particle reconstituted material is very dense and in comparison to plywood “dead” with a much-reduced energy return. Since this energy return and shock absorption is the reason why we are building a sprung floor in the first place, it defies reason to use a material that is going to lessen that.

Plywood, strand-board, sprung battens, or a combination of them are the only way forward. The labour component is the significant cost and this remains largely unchanged. The effective return on the investment in plywood is more than rewarded with the improved quality of the finished floor"

Please listen to those who know rather than builders who profess to know.

This created a bit of a fuss, as many studio owners and dancers, pre-committed to particle board flooring, were naturally defensive and requested I support my claims a little more scientifically.

This created more of a challenge than I anticipated. It seems there is little incentive out there to compare the deflection or bending characteristics of the two different materials in a direct comparison. As a bit of background to all this are the relevant standards, or lack of them, relating to dance or “performance floors”.

Australia and New Zealand have no specific guidelines for performance floors but AS 1702.2 relates to timber properties as being discussed here, as does NZS 3604:2011.Both require a KPa of under 3.

kPa refers to the pascal (Pa) or kilopascal (kPa) as a unit of pressure measurement and is widely used throughout the world In this instance as a measure of ground pressure.


 

So far neither plywood or particle board is offending if it is supported at a minimum of 450 centres as per table 5 In the excellent EWPAA “Commercial and Industrial Flooring Design” article.

The closest we get to a performance floor standard is the Din Standard 1083 part 2 which is the mother of the now widely applied European standard EN1904. As these standards are for sports floors we are only concerned with the elements that directly relate to dance.

One is the area elasticity of the floor which is to do with the area around the point of impact which will, for example affect your partner. Another is shock absorption with a force reduction of between 25% and 75% and in common acceptance regarded as “good” around 53%. Add to this “point load” which is defined as the deflection of a point force only at or close to the point of application of the force. Most relevant to this discussion is “vertical deformation” which indicates the ability of the surface to deform under load.

Obviously as a desirable dance floor is a combination of several factors including thickness, hardness and uniformity of supports but specific to the plywood vs. particle board debate is this issue of vertical deformation.

When tested by the EN 14809 methods, in a general sense, both plywood and MDF fall well below the vertical deformation limit of 5mm. I say in a general sense because there a big range of variables within those two materials. Obviously thickness and composition are part of that difference, however for this application, as dance flooring, we can pretty much limit ourselves to 15-17mm interior plywood and 19mm Yellow tongue flooring whilst not excluding the excellent birch ply products supplied by both Harlequin and Stagestep.

Information on particle board behaviour wasn’t as difficult as plywood, with an article on shelving properties containing most of the required information. Particleboardalso known as chipboard and as yellow tongue when used in flooring, is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even sawdust and a synthetic resin or other suitable binder which is pressed and extruded. Particle board is cheaper more dense and more uniform than conventional wood and plywood and is substituted for them when cost is more important than strength and appearance. A major disadvantage of particleboard is that it is very prone to expansion and discolouration due to moisture. The denseness in this application is also not necessarily a plus as has a lessened ability to return the energy imparted to it.

Particle board is governed by Australian Standards (AS/NZS 1859 Parts 1 and 2 and 1860 Part 1). with testing carried out by Timber & Wood Products Research Centre of the University of Central Queensland, results below were rechecked and updated by additional research projects carried out by the Caulfield Campus, Monash University.

Particle board flooring has a nominal deflection of 1.8mm under a uniform load of 21 KPa.

With the human footprint of a 1.8m male being around 55Kpa this will increase but not necessarily proportionally.

This study also mentions that in tropical areas, with material exposed to the interior effects of weather cycles of temperature and relative humidity, the creep factor is three times initial deflection. If particleboard is exposed to severe tropical weather conditions a creep factor of four should be used. Flooring grade improves on these figures but is still subject to creeping.

Whilst this increased deflection may seem desirable, remember that, what this is describing includes swelling, softening and a non-returning deflection or slump.

Conversely and significantly, interior grade ply flooring plywood manufactured to AS/NZS 2270 because it’s natural wood structure is maintained during manufacture, all moisture movements for practical purposes can be considered reversible.

Plywood is a sheet material manufactured from thin layers or "plies" of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another All ply woods bind resin and wood fibre sheets to form a composite material. This alternation of the grain is called cross-graining and has several important benefits: it reduces the tendency of wood to split when nailed at the edges; it reduces expansion and shrinkage, providing improved dimensional stability; and it makes the strength of the panel consistent across all directions. There is usually an odd number of plies, so that the sheet is balanced—this reduces warping.

Further, plywood’s cross laminated construction makes panels highly resistant to edge and impact damage. The ability to relocate a plywood floor is also enhanced for this reason, plus the smaller sheet size, weight, and reduced moisture retention.

Additionally, fatigue from cyclic loads is not a problem.

Annoyingly, what deflection information is available was substantially limited to structural plywood, but we could glean that with a uniform load of 3 kPa on 17mm radiata plywood had a nominal deflection of 2mm. Once again there is untested proportional decrease in efficiency but suggests there is potentially a 7x gain on the performance of particle board.

Since we didn’t believe this we ran some tests of our own.

Essentially we supported our materials on the perimeter of a 1200 section maintaining a 1m span.

On this stood a 74kg man and we measured the change in level.

18mm Radiata Ply


Measured 8mm deflection

 

19mm Yellow Tongue Flooring


Measured 4mm deflection

 

15mm Plywood with 5.5mm masonite


 

Measured 14mm deflection

Significantly, the plywood sprang back into position immediately, and remember is supported at 300 centres so that dipping is not going to occur. 

I reached out to Dr Luke Hopper the ballet dancer turned Biomechanist about this issue. He rightly pointed out that more conventional sports floors do not use particle board and tend to use hardwood strip timber. Those of you that have a church hall or similar know well how satisfactory that can be. 

Cost is always going to be an issue. In Australia using Bunnings as a national supplier and as at March 2017, Yellow tongue flooring will cost $13.88m2 and an equivalent ply $26. 04 m2. Although this is roughly double the price on an average 80Mm2 floor this is an added cost of $972.80. Even if the floor should only last 10 years, and expect 20+, then this is $1.87 a week. The other costs such as sprung pads, vinyl and most importantly labour remain constant across the exercise.

The choice is of course yours but here is what a builder in the UK who does know had to say: “Although you may be enticed by the cheaper chipboard flooring, I have to strongly advise you not to be. Chipboard really doesn’t cut the mustard.” He goes on at length and has a good Q &A as well

Finally may I leave you with this thought from Benjamin Franklin;

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

Happy Dancing

Martin O’Neill

APDG


 

The Three Legged Horse

I recently reminded my good friend Peter Gillespie of the adage “quitters never win”. He was in a bit of a bleak landscape at the time but I thought his rather erudite reply was wo [...]

I recently reminded my good friend Peter Gillespie of the adage “quitters never win”.

He was in a bit of a bleak landscape at the time but I thought his rather erudite reply was worth sharing:

 

For the record Martin, I’m more of a Spartans Last Stand at Thermopylae guy, than a quitter.  Sometimes calling it quits is a wise move, but I never learned how to make detached assessments. So I have a long career as last man standing. Not all human stories have happy endings and I remind myself that I have done a lot better in the past than I have recently. Why? Probably just odds on. Not all human stories end happy ever after.” 

 Why you still out there racing that 3-legged horse PG?

 “Well, it was a great horse, it loves to race and it still wants to race and I'd feel like I let it down if I stopped now. So eventually it breaks another leg and they must shoot it and there you are again still on your own two legs, wondering about the justice of it all that a horse couldn't make it on two. Next trick is to not just back any old horse just cos you miss that one.  No sir. But I never learned the trick of that either.”

 Ok PG you got yourself another horse. Did you count the legs on it this time?

 “Aww shit…. “

 PG

 

Gratitude

This week one of my best friends died. Waves of darkness kept dimming my optimism and energy. They tell me gratitude, along with exercise, is one of the keys to escaping despair and depres [...]

This week one of my best friends died.

Waves of darkness kept dimming my optimism and energy.

They tell me gratitude, along with exercise, is one of the keys to escaping despair and depression.

That makes sense to me. After all, thinking about things that we are grateful for is a one-way ticket to our happy places.

But hell, what is to be grateful for about death?

It isn’t fair, is it?

Fairness doesn’t get to play here, although it does remain a recurring conundrum for me. What does work for me is reversing the perspective and realising that I am very grateful for the good times I shared with, and the person my friend was.

I am grateful for being best man at her wedding, for the shared houses and travels, for her beauty of spirit, generosity of self and extraordinary empathy and kindness. I am grateful that she didn’t suffer any more than she did and how she remained unflaggingly optimistic until the end. I am grateful I knew her as long as I did.

As my friend was dying she was constantly saying how lucky she was. Lucky that the diagnosis was early, lucky that a new medication was available, lucky that she could get to her favourite location to finally leave us.

My friend was a giver and a carer. She always saw the good in people and was discreet with the bad. If gratitude is truly exemplified in the readiness to show appreciation and return and give kindness, then my friend was a master.

JFK famously said “as we express our gratitude we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them”, that was my friend.

Reciprocation is the key. Not the writing of or lip service to some morning or evening affirmation, although here is no harm in that practise, it’s the giving back.

To make that your default setting is one of the noblest goals.

As Elaine St James said,  “the more gratitude you have the more you have to be grateful for”

Get Comfortable

Get Comfortable Feeling Uncomfortable. This week I went to a Seminar. Seminars are like going on holidays, if they are any good, they are things you promise yourself you will do agai [...]

Get Comfortable Feeling Uncomfortable.

 

This week I went to a Seminar.

Seminars are like going on holidays, if they are any good, they are things you promise yourself you will do again, soon and more regularly. This one under the proud banner of National Achievers Conference was one of the better ones.

There was the inevitable Tony Robbins inspired Ra Ra and fist pumping, a lot of formulaic chest thumping, rising from the ashes tales of historical lows, and compulsory favourite charity references but there were equally  some pieces of gold (literally!) and great advice mixed in.

Most of the speakers were seriously wealthy in their own right and didn’t get that way just  by chance.

Gary Vaynerchuk   gave a great simple “just do it ‘message about not over finessing your social media posts.

He appeared as a hologram, believe it or not which was wonderfully 21st century, Daymond John of Fubu and American Sharktank fame was simply very cool but for me the standout comment was from Lisa Messenger an Ozzie made good with her magazines and books. Just back from a 14 days meditation retreat in India, Lisa nailed a lot of the irritation business owners feel when describing her own rise with “get comfortable feeling uncomfortable” As business owners we become the go to person not just for clients but even more so for our own staff. We become the parent, mentor, arbitrator and final decision maker for everyone in our eco –system and basically have to just suck that up.

From the moment we get up we are under that gun. The Roman Stoic and Emperor Marcus Aurelius put it even more brutally and advises to tell your self, “The people I deal with every today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

It is up to you to rise above this, to see the good and find ways to delegate that vision.

 

How to Kill a Dancefloor

How to kill a dance floor. After murderous tap shoes with loose screws ripping and gouging into your unsuspecting floor, the next major villain is the sun. Direct sunshine onto your dance  [...]

How to kill a dance floor.

After murderous tap shoes with loose screws ripping and gouging into your unsuspecting floor, the next major villain is the sun.

Direct sunshine onto your dance floor can affect your vinyl surface with a result similar to throwing a brick into a swimming pool, a mess of wave like ripples. You can see these horrors rising and falling in tune with the passing rays.

Gluing the floor down might slow this, but old Mr Sun is a vindictive chap.

The UV component in sunshine attacks and breaks down the plasticizers in the vinyl, the bits that make it supple and alive.

Without these plasticizers, the floor becomes brittle and prone to cracking when the floor is. Once this happens the results are irreversible. You can assist the faded colour but you can’t bring these dead friends back to life.

There is also the potential to drown your floor.

Large or regular amounts of water can cause your sub floor to delaminate, swell, create soft spots and ultimately fall apart. It can cause glued vinyl to develop bumps, ridges, peaking, curling and bubbles.

We are talking flooding here not about your regular cleaning with a relatively dry mop, but even a dripping air-conditioner can cause isolated injuries over time.

More sinister however is the “Black Death”.

This is mould, those smelly black spots that find a warm moist spot and start breeding and inviting their friends to the party. This disgusting orgy has been long established as a health problem and can include upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughs, and wheezes in otherwise healthy people not to mention children.

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.h

Burn baby Burn.

Straight out heat while not necessarily fatal is an excellent torture. It can, like an Irish kneecapping, result in a long-term disability. To lock up and leave your studio during the hottest months can lead to a lot of the symptoms of direct sunlight: shrinking, gapping and rippling, not to mention tapes and even glue losing their grip on things.

So get your Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Sherlock or Poirot and investigate any damp smells, aging guttering and dodgy plumbing. Get your Watsons, Lewises and Johnos to arrest any attempts by tap criminals to start a dance class without having their shoes checked and make sure there is a cover up of curtains blinds and at least some film on any windows. Look at running your air conditioning out of hours and ways generally to limit the build-up of excess heat.

Happy Dancing!

 Martin

Tango by Moonlight

Picture this dancers everywhere………………… A balmy evening, a beckoning to a secret rendezvous to tango the night away. “Just bring [...]

Picture this dancers everywhere…………………

A balmy evening, a beckoning to a secret rendezvous to tango the night away.

 

“Just bring yourself, your dancing shoes, (oh and a USB!)”

 

Find yourself by a river in the moonlight on an old timber wharf, the timber aged and warm with the souls and memories of the past.

He brought little speakers and we danced by the light of the moon, with lights from the boats and houses twinkling in the background.  

At some point people passed by, spilling into the moonlight from a nearby theatre at intermission, but nobody minded us.  

Then they were gone. Leaving the moonlight the dancers and the dance.

Where in the world could you just do this - what a wonderful country we live in.

 

Happy 2014

A belated welcome to 2014! All New Year’s promises to blog and post early and often have already been broken with the rush of the New Year I hope that you are not too sad and sore after  [...]

A belated welcome to 2014! All New Year’s promises to blog and post early and often have already been broken with the rush of the New Year

I hope that you are not too sad and sore after the first few grueling classes back from that loooong summer break!

I had been trawling the net for informative sites to share with you on how to cope with the inevitable muscle aches & pains when one of those serendipitous moments occured! An enquiry from the delightful Annie from “Performance Medicine” in Melbourne led to a chat about her work with all sorts of performers from musicians to dancers and circus performers. Please do check out her website, (http://www.performancemedphysio.com.au/) and if you are lucky enough to live in Melbourne you will have access to the practice. Anyone know of anything similar in Sydney?

Also found this site http://hjd.med.nyu.edu/harkness  very informative and interactive.

Hope you all have a fantastic year and hope to speak with you for your studio needs during the year.

Linda

                                                                                      

Did you know ….......the foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and over 100 tendons and ligaments!

(Feet - noun – a device for finding Lego blocks in the dark!)

Reminiscing

Hello again! I have spent some time recently thinking about my past! Nothing sordid or morbid I can assure you! This reflection was prompted by catching up with some of the gang from days at t [...]

Hello again!

I have spent some time recently thinking about my past! Nothing sordid or morbid I can assure you! This reflection was prompted by catching up with some of the gang from days at the SACAE in Adelaide, (the first Tertiary dance course in Australia). We chatted and reminisced about the old days, as you do, and did the “whatever happened to so & so?!” thing. Fabulous!

So on return home I did what we all do in these situations, I Googled! One thing led to another and I found an amazing site, http://danceinperformanceandrehearsal.blogspot.com.au/2006/09/rex-reid-my-teacher-at-aus_115816170556115480.html

 

Amazing for me as Mr Reid was my first Artistic Director and the woman they are describing is exactly as I remember her!

I was a scared 17 year old, my first professional gig with The Dance Centre Company and terrified of everything & everyone. It was an exotic world full of larger than life characters even in the dingy studios at Whitmore Square in Adelaide. Freezing cold winters, a slight rake to the floor and nobody wanted to stand in front of the “fat” mirror! Everyday class started with Mr Reid’s warmup and dear old Roger banging away on the piano all the while pulling faces and being generally, well, naughty!

 

Mr Reid would sometimes bring Madame Kirsta to watch class. A tiny terrifying woman with a strong (and glorious!) Russian accent, bright red fingernails, a cane, a grey streak in her hair and yes, as the article describes, she did smoke constantly! “Dahlink, light my cigarette” she would growl, holding out the Camels! And you would, half in awe, half in terror! She would sit and scrutinize class, hands like talons crossed over the top of her cane, growling to Mr Reid, “Rex, she has feet like carpet slippers! Why is she here!” Mr Reid would shush her “oh Natasha, hush”

We would hear the stories of how they met & the adventures they had, from starting a ballet company in England and touring the Middle East, to Madame pulling jewels and gifts from the girls before they boarded the trains! Even one of Mr Reid being smuggled out of the country rolled in a carpet! (Grain of salt required with that one methinks!!)

I do regret not having the forethought, or courage, to spend more time hearing more stories and asking questions or just spending the time with her.

Please use the link to read some of her amazing story, and please let me know if you knew Madame or Rex!

Take some time to investigate your own timeline, you might be surprised to hear the journey people have been on and how they came to be who they are and how they came to you.

Enjoy, the story!

Hope you have a Joyous Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

 

Linda


Australian Dance Festival

A belated well done to all at the Australian Dance Festival! It was great to catch up with some old friends, make some new ones and check out some seriously fabulous dance workshops!! As Sept [...]

A belated well done to all at the Australian Dance Festival! It was great to catch up with some old friends, make some new ones and check out some seriously fabulous dance workshops!!

As September slips rapidly into October I guess most of you are looking towards your end of year performances! Always a busy time for all concerned with sooo much to think about! If the venue you choose does not have adequate flooring for your needs, please consider hiring a floor from us. Best move fast though as bookings are filling fast! If you were at ADF you would have seen our floor “in action” on the stage and highly praised by Jason Coleman!! (See pics from ADF)

 Speaking of forward planning…. If you are thinking of renovating your studio, new barres or mirrors for the start of 2014 please please please start planning and talking to us now! Lots of our suppliers close over Christmas with big delays if we need to order from the US or UK. So if you want to start a sparkling new year with sparkling new gear order early!

 Please visit our Facebook page to see the photos! And please "Like" us!!

 
 

~"Dance - an art form. The body - an instrument. Learn to play the instrument and master the art form" - Debbie Dee ~

Introductions

Hello lovely people! If you are reading this then it’s a good chance that you know STM, the products that we make and the passion we have for what we do! But do you know the inside, the [...]

Hello lovely people!

If you are reading this then it’s a good chance that you know STM, the products that we make and the passion we have for what we do! But do you know the inside, the personalities that make the whole machine tick? I thought we might start with some introductions and a bit of a poke around the office and workshop to make it all real for you!

Let’s sneak around the new digs, upstairs and downstairs, and meet everyone. Upstairs first, to the Control Booth.

 

First of all, over in the far corner is Master of the House - Martin, director, inventor, head honcho and ideas man. Martin’s enthusiasm and professionalism keeps us all on the hop! He will tackle any problem head on and is not scared of a challenge, no matter the size! After an extremely successful career in film he has found another passion, dance and movement studios, (among other things) and the expertise that is required to make it all happen. He is always coming up with new ideas and ways to make things better.

 

Next is the Lady Helen, Chatelaine of the castle, mama to all and liaison between upstairs and downstairs! Helen’s dexterity with logistics and technical knowledge of stage effects is unparalleled. Nobody moves anything without Helen knowing about it! Always an encouraging word and always a thankyou for the day’s work.

 

Off to the right, by the big window, is ….. The Estimator! Jenn is the go to gal for quotes. She can be seen wrestling the database with one hand whilst fending off recalcitrant suppliers with the other and still able to play with those figures at the speed of light! You will most likely speak with Jenn if you are after quotes of exceptional quality! A word to the wise…… know what you want, measure what you need, and be armed with Black Adder quotes!

 

Miss Mary is chief finance wrangler and a dab hand with the MYOB! (Also human to Charlie the Wonder Dog, but you can read of his adventures on the Sports Mirrors Australia FB page!)

 

Rosco the internet tamer! Fearless in the face of html, google ads and keeper of the passwords! The quiet achiever who answers the dumbest questions from us mere mortals with grace!

 

Rav Man, whipping the sales figures into shape and keeping track of what goes where and how often. Stand and stretch Rav Man, no wonder you have a sore back watching the computer screens as diligently as you do!!

 

So now lets creep downstairs and see what’s happening with the boys in the Batcave I mean workshop! The music is blaring, anything from 80’s rock to jazz through to more current choices, depending who got to the play button first! We have Daring Dave, Gentleman Pete, Josh the Wonderboy and Red Ronnie, all using their special skills to create works of practical art! The crew has been busy setting up the new workshop, offices and showroom on top of their usual tasks so we won’t disturb them too much. (Besides they have power tools!)

 

Then there’s me..

Martin speaks: “Officially titled “Lovely Linda”. Once professional dancer, dance teacher and movement therapist, studio manager and now the wordsmith and lynchpin of the matrix for all things great and small!”