Milk dud experiments...

PariahZero

Member
I’ve been playing a bit with dud recipes... buttermilk, various percentage milks, cream (fat), dissolved sodium caseinate (milk protein), and others.

I don’t believe in secret formulas, so I figure I’ll post my experiments here.

Overall, I try to measure what I can, both before and after working on the tips.

For each tip, I:
• Measure the tip hardness (Shore A and D)
• Weigh the tip to the tenth of the mg
• Wipe off as much chalk (Elk dust?), sand the base flat
• Mix up a soaking solution. Write down what I have.
• Soak the tip for some period of time (that’s a variable I keep track of)
• Press the tip. I don’t yet have a strain gauge yet, or pneumatic/hydraulic press, so I can’t measure how much pressure I’m pressing it. I try for the OEM length, though.
• Wait 8 hours or so
• Pop the tip out, let it dry completely for a few days at 20% RH
• Weigh the tip
• Measure the tip hardness (Shore A and D)

The scale is good - check weights verify no problem. The idea is that if a tip weighs more after soaking in milk, it’s an indication something was added by the milk.

I realize the hardness isn’t a true duronometer measurement, as the tip is not thick enough; still, it’s a decent relative measurement.

The thing that’s throwing me so far: The tips weigh less — by 20-40 mg — than they weighed before soaking and pressing. This runs counter to the idea that soaking in milk “adds” anything.

I suspect that fats (or maybe some soluble protein or salts) in the leather are dissolving and being removed by the solution.

My next try will be soaking in soapy water (specifically to remove fats), pressing, and weighing - so I can dissolve & remove whatever I can first.

Then I’ll re-soak with to see if I can show whether anything is added to tips by soaking in milk, cream, casein, etc.

If I can’t show if anything - fats, proteins, whatever - are added to the tips by soaking, I wonder if there’s any point in using anything but water.
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Could be the chalk that gets dissolved. I soaked some in alcohol just to remove the excess chalk then used superglue so they could be shaped. No pressing. Only have a vice and that was useless. Left out the alcohol bath on a recent retip and it made some difference but I can't determine what.
 

chevybob20

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I like my elk masters med to med soft. Just press it dry. All the extra steps (like I used to do) are not necessary. I like compressing the tip by 1 mm for 24 hours. I have not had any mushroom yet.


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Pool Hand Luke

Active member
I used a C clamp the first time and a badminton press the next. Not the most exact method as if you're a little off with registering the tip to be centered you can end up with a pressed tip that leans a little to one side. I had to re soak and re press that one before it turned out properly. Pressing them dry sounds interesting to me too.

PZ: if you end up soaking them in water alone, we'll have to call them Aqua Duds.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
anytime you compress something you squeeze out any liquid that will move at that pressure.
think of a sponge full of water. it weighs alot. as you put more pressure on it water goes out along with the weight of it.
the more pressure the more water goes out but diminishes accordingly.

you need to weigh them before and after soaking and then after compressing them to find out where the liquid goes.
 

PariahZero

Member
anytime you compress something you squeeze out any liquid that will move at that pressure.
think of a sponge full of water. it weighs alot. as you put more pressure on it water goes out along with the weight of it.
the more pressure the more water goes out but diminishes accordingly.

you need to weigh them before and after soaking and then after compressing them to find out where the liquid goes.

I hear you, but pressure isn’t the only thing that’s removing the liquid — especially at 20% relative humidity.

The tips start out dry, obviously.

I have been weighing them after pressing, but before air drying, and there is probably 50 mg of water that evaporates after I remove the tip from the press.

Milk doesn’t have many volatiles in it besides water, so evaporative losses are going to be almost exclusively water.

The question for me is whether milk solids or fats have infused the leather to any significant degree.

It’s an important question. Fats are well known to affect leather, and its use is part of the tanning process, and can change the hardness and suppleness of the leather. Casein is the primary protein in milk.

Casein has a couple of properties that make it interesting for cue tips: casein makes glue - the old Elmers paste glue they joke about kids eating was a casein glue. That glue could be holding the leather fibers together more tightly, which would affect the tip’s properties.

Casein is also used to make one of the first plastics: casein formaldehyde.

If casein is able to get into (and stay) inside the leather tip as it’s pressed, the casein will “glue” together the fibers of the leather, and formaldehyde naturally in the leather will cross link the casein into plastic, forming a leather-plastic composite.

Between the fats in milk, casein’s adhesive properties, and casein’s ability to form a hard plastic, several of a tip’s properties might be changing.

But none of that matters if milk solids and fats are not being infused into the tips... hence my care with weighing at points in the process.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
tips are obviously porous to an extent. so how much they absorb and release can be measured. if that makes any real difference in the results. the intangible, is does it really make a difference in how a tip plays. its easy to make a subjective opinion but need objective results to quantify what has transpired during the process.
how to get them seems impossible or too onerous to make it worth while.
basically if one feels it helps make a tip more playable that may be all it needs to do, as confidence in your tools makes more of a difference than the ability of them to perform in most cases. that is where the subjective opinion shines.
 
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