Treadmill Deck Info: Treadmill Decks Materials and Warranty

Treadmill deck is the material that forms the hard surface on which you run. In other words it's the supportive surface. This article identifies the decking from the tread belt which is the belt that moves across the decking.

Important

Treadmill manufacturers do not provide a great deal of information about the actual construction materials of their decks. These days most treadmills, especially if priced above $ 1,000 are constructed with decently strong tread decks (usually medium density fibreboard with a duo phenolic coating – all discussed in detail below).

However, strength is not the be all and end all. If strength were most important, more treadmill manufacturers would use metal. Metal is used, but not extensively.

What are decking construction objectives?

Like I said above, if strength was the only objective, metal or steel decks would rule the day. But strength is not the only objective. Quality decking should:

  • Be strong
  • Be durable
  • Have some elasticity (ie slightly flexible, but not bouncy)
  • Minimize noise (ie muffle noise if possible)
  • Have a smooth surface to minimizeize tread belt friction

What materials are used?

Often you'll see reference to solid wood, medium density fibreboard (MDF), and metal as materials used for treadmill decks. For coating you'll usually read about phenolic coating. The article explains these different materials.

Materials

1. Medium density fibreboard (MDF)

MDF is created by breaking down wood into fibers (sawdust) and then forming the fibers into a solid treadmill deck with wax and resin. The usual thickness is 3/4 "to 1". You can read more about MDF here.

MDF is the predominant material used for treadmill decks.

2. Solid wood

The deck is made out of 3/4 "to 1" solid wood. The trouble with solid wood is it's hard to find a piece of wood that is perfect. MDF, although not perfect either, ensures a consistency that's hard to find with solid wood.

Particle board: Particle board is no the same as MDF. Particle board is not fiber-based. It's a solid wood composite product. The result is that particle board is much weaker than MDF. MDF is denser and stronger.

Avoid treadmills with decks using particle board. You'll be lucky to get a year out of it.

3. Metal

Metal decks are not nearly as durable as solid wood or MDF decks. It's heavier and does not create as "soft" of a surface as wood or MDF. Running on metal or steel simply is not as enjoyable as on solid wood or MDF.

What material do I recommend?

MDF deck that is duo or triple coated with phenolic resin coating.

The coating

Some treadmills are covered on both sides (duo-coating, sometimes also referred to as triple-coating), while lower-quality treadmills coat only 1 side of a treadmill deck. The better deck is coated on both sides which helps reduce warping. It's also better for reducing friction with the tread deck along the entire surface area on which the tread belt moves.

Best material used for coating:

Phenolic: This is the best coating material. You'll pay more for phenolic coating, but it's worth it.

What is phenolic resin coating?

Phenolic resin coating is a plastic resin. When a treadmill deck is covered with phenolic resin, wax the wood deck is unnecessary.

Can you build your own if your original deck breaks?

Yes, but it's not advisable unless you really know what you're doing. Simply slamming in a sheet of plywood or MDF is not going to do it. There's properly coating the deck and ensuring it securely attaches to the treadmill.

The last thing you want is your deck to break apart when running or walking.

This is why having a lifetime warranty on your treadmill deck is important. Decks often break or crack (especially with lower-priced treadmills).

Decking Considerations

Replacement frequency

The range in the number of hours of use treadmill decks are good for is astounding. Some lower-end treadmill decks are designed for 500 hours, while other warranty their decks for life. Naturally the intensity of use and weight of users will impact the duration of a treadmill deck.

Is it reversible?

Some treadmill manufacturers make reversible tread decks so that you can get more mileage out of them.

Is reversible good?

It depends. Some manufacturers make treadmill decks that are warrantied for a lifetime without having to reverse them. Others do not come with a lifetime warranty and can not be reversed. These may have the shortest lifespan. Then there are treadmills with reversible decks which in theory doubles the lifespan of the treadmill deck.

The warranty

Ideally, the treadmill you buy will have a lifetime warranty on the deck. This is indicative the manufacturer stands behind the deck and in the event the deck fails, you get a replacement.

Cushioning technology

Cushioning technology is pretty cool these days. Treadmill cushioning technology includes the amount of, type of, and quality of the treadmill cushioning.

Hiking Boots – Parts And Construction

When shopping for a pair of hiking boots, it is important to know how they are made. No, you do not need to know how to make your own, but you have to understand what goes into them and how it affects the comfort and durability – the overall quality – of the hiking boots. In this article I will describe the parts of a hiking boot, what they are made of, and how they come together to form the ideal hiking boot for you.

Like any shoe, a hiking boot consists of an upper and a sole joined together by a welt and with an inlet at the front covered by a tongue, and the whole is lined with various pads and cushions. I will discuss each of those parts in detail, in terms of what they are made of and what to look for in various types of hiking boots.

Sole and Welt

Let's start at the bottom. The soul of the hiking boot is the sole.

Soles are usually made of synthetic rubber in varying degrees of hardness. A harder sole will last longer, but generally will have poorer Traction on hard surfaces (such as bare rock) and will provide less cushioning. A softer sole gives you the cushioning you need for long hikes and the transaction you need on rough ground, but it will wear out faster.

Manufacturers have made their trade-offs in choosing the materials to make their boots out of. The final choice is up to you when you choose which boot to buy. If you expect to do most of your hiking on soft surfaces, such as desert sand or bare soil, you might lean more towards harder soles. But most of us hike on fairly rugged trails with a good deal of bare rock, and we need the traction of a softer sole.

Inside the sole is a shank. It is a stiffening structure, either fiberglass or steel, that prevails the sole of the boot from twisting and that provides arch support. Shanks may be only three-quarter or half-length. Hiking shoes generally have no shank at all, deriving all their stiffness from the molded rubber sole. Good day-hiking boots may have a full-length fiberglass shank. High-quality backpacking boots will give you the choice of fiberglass or steel. It will depend on how strong you need your hiking boots to be, and how heavy.

Look for deep, knobby tread. Deep cuts in the sole allow water and mud to flow out so you can get traction. "Fake" hiking boots, designed to look like hiking boots but not to perform like them, may have thinner soles and shallow tread. Working boots also may have shallow tread, and they generally have harder soles than hiking boots have.

The welt is the connection between the sole and the upper. Virtually all hiking boots these days are glued together rather than sewn. If you are buying a very expensive pair of backpacking boots, give preference to a sewn welt. Boots with a sewn welt will be easier to resole when the original sole wears out. For hiking shoes or day-hiking boots, when the sole wears out, the upper is not worth salvaging, either, so a glued welt is just fine.

Upper

The upper of the hiking boot brings warmth, protects the sides of your feet from rocks and brush, and repels water. It must also allow your feet to "breathe," so that moisture from perspiration will not build up inside the boots and cause blisters.

Uppers of hiking boots are usually at least partially made of leather. High-quality backpacking boots are often made of full-grain leather (leather that has not been split). Lighter boots may be made of split-grain leather (leather that has been split or sued on one side), or a combination of split-grain leather with various fabrics.

Fabrics that are combined with leather are usually some type of nylon. Heavy nylon wears almost as well as leather, and it is much lighter and cheaper than leather.

In any hiking boot, especially those made of combinations of leather and fabric, there will be seams. Seams are bad. Seams are points of failure. Seams are points of wear, as one panel of the boot rubs against another. Seams are penetrations that are difficult to waterproof.

The uppers of backpacking boots are sometimes made of a single piece of full-grain leather with only one seam at the back. This is good, for all the reasons that seams are bad, but it is expensive.

You're going to have to deal with seams. But as you shop for hiking boots, look for customer reviews that mention failure or undue wearing of the seams, and avoid those brands.

Inlet and Tongue

There are two things to look for in the inlet and the tongue:

1. How the laces are attached and adjusted

2. How the tongue is attached to the sides of the inlet

The inlet may be provided with eyelets, D-rings, hooks, and webbing, alone or in combination. They each have these advantages and disadvantages:

* Eyelets: Simplest and most durable way to lace a boot. Not so easily adjusted.

* D-rings: Easier to adjust than eyelets, more durable than hooks. More failure-prone than eyelets. (They can break, and they can tear out of the leather.)

* Hooks: Easiest to adjust of all lace attachments. Subject to getting hooked on brush, or bent or broken in impacts with boulders, main cause of breakage of laces.

* Webbing: Cause less chafing of laces, slightly easier to adjust than eyelets, slightly more durable than D-rings. More failure-prone than eyelets.

The most common lace attachment of any hiking boot is eyelets below ankle-level and hooks above. You may see eyelets all the way up, as in classic military-style combat boots, or a combination of either D-rings or webbing with hooks.

The attachment of the tongue is a critical factor in how waterproof the hiking boots are. Provided the leather and / or fabric and seams of the upper are waterproof, water will not get into the boots until it gets higher than the attachment point of the tongue.

Most hiking shoes and day-hiking boots have the tongue attached all the way to the top. If the tongue is not fully attached, consider carefully wherever you will need that extra inch or two of waterproofing.

High-rise backpacking boots have the tongue attached only partway up, but that still reaches higher than most day-hiking boots. It's difficult to get the boot on and off if the tongue is attached very high.

Linings and Pads

There are many pieces that go into the lining and padding of a hiking boot, but two in particular you need to pay attention to:

1. The sole lining

2. The scree collar

The sole lining must be appropriately cushioned. You want a firm, durable surface in immediate contact with your socks, but enough cushioning below that to absorb impact.

The scree collar is a cushion around the top of most hiking boots. It enables you to pull the boots tight enough to keep out loose rocks ("scree") but without chafing against your ankle and Achilles tendon. This is the thickest and softest cushion in the whole hiking boot. It must be soft enough to conform to your ankle and Achilles tendon as they move, and still keep close enough contact with your leg to keep the rocks out.

Very high hiking boots, such as military-style combat boots, may have no scree collar at all. The height of the boot is what keeps the rocks out.

Throughout, the lining and padding of the hiking boots must be thick enough to provide warm, durable enough to last, and smooth enough that it will not cause chafing and blisters.

Conclusion

So, these are the things you need to pay attention to when going a pair of hiking boots. Be prepared to compromise, and pay attention to which features are really important to the style of hiking you intend to do.

Power of Branding and Freedom of Poetry

Maya Angelou once said (I'm paraphrasing) '' the purpose of all life is to be able to live like a poet one day. '' She went on to say that since poets already live like poets, their lives were not a postpone project, but the-ultimate-goal-realized by default.

How many times we have heard of those retirement dreams … the narratives that inevitably start with '' one day I'd like to … '' and continues with a description of one idyllic state or another … a beach house in Key West … playing golf eight hours a day in Arizona … buying a summer house in Florida and moving for good … writing (ah, at long last) that great novel, the chapters of which are lying somewhere inside those moldy cardboard boxes in the basement … to take the oath of chastity and join a monastery or a yoga ashram … take that trip to the Far East … or maybe even to throw itself with passion into a cause that is much larger than one's own limited life, like a political party, a crusade, a fund-raising juggernaut perhaps … on and on.

But underneath it all the aim is to arrive at that sublime state of inner peace and gentleness, something ill-defined but real, fuzzy but warm, a feeling that we feel is our birthright. Underneath it all we do not all point the gyroscopes of our lives to that nebulous state of elation and redemption that we sometimes refer to as '' poetic ''?

The rest is mostly a life-long process of branding ourselves as a desirable product in this increasingly globalized and fickle marketplace.

A brand is a total image with a price, a consistent package with defined and perceived borders. We are engineers. Attorneys. Machinists. Singers. Doctors. Teachers. Experts. Go-to guys. Ministers. Project managers. Historians. Curators. Tank drivers. Chefs. Shrinks. Plumbing … and, yes, Poets. Poets come in branded varieties as well. There is even a '' Poet Laurate '' for the whole United States (for the last few years we were extremely fortunate to have Billy Collins and Stanley Kunits and Ted Kooser as the PT Person).

All branding by definition shuns contradiction and ambivalence like a plague.

Fuzzy logic is fine for hi-tech digital cam-recorders but not for the experts that command healthy speaking fees. CEOs and four star generals are not expected to wear their troubling questions on their sleeves. Researchers at NIH do not get grants and doctors for not knowing what to do in the face of a new virus strain.

If things do not make sense outside a certain framework, then a branded professional knows how not to step outside that framework. A brand provides reproducible solutions to carefully-worded questions. Existentential panic does not command a premium price on the capitalist auction block.

Poetry, on the other hand, is a vulnerable exploration into everything that is left out by branding. It has no guarantees. No guidelines.

You can certainly encourage people to write poems. But I'm not sure at all if you can '' teach '' how to write poetry with the kind of money-back-guarantee bravado that is commonplace for a successful brand.

It is the only Odyssey that each person has to take all alone, go out and wander in the world, meet his demons, take them on one by one, beat them and return home victorious … only to do the same all over again the very next day.

Poetry, to use an analogy that Billy Collins has used in an Alaskan Quarterly Review interview, is like finding something curious sticking out from the sand in a desert and removing all that sand to discover the rest of the intriguing object. In that, poetry represents a vast freedom to rediscover all that is hidden from or by power.

Poetry raises all the in-between states and ambiguities censored by branding. So it is subversive by default.

However in that subversion there is also a deep affirmation of the most basic human value of all – freedom. That's despite the only thing branding can not buy and sell in the marketplace. A brand's power depends only on consumption. Poetry, on the other hand, is free the moment it is produced.

Our world needs more poets get into branded power play. Certainly someone like Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet who became a statesman, will be remembered for his uplifting and dignified approach to international conflict. And conversely, I hope more branded professionals get into poetry as a way to humanize the market place of good and services.

What if the United Nations held a Poetry Workshop for one day of the year, with mandatory participation for all heads of state?

What if everyone in the world voted for the best Power Poet of the year through the Internet and the winner was declared on Valentine's Day?

Or what if Fortune 500 companies had poetry classes for their managers? Would not that be the ultimate out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving bonanza on stereoids?

And what would happen if before one country attacked another, the presidents and top generals from both sides were forced to lock themselves in a room and write at least one poem, expressing why they hate the "other guys" and why they must fight? What if those poems were then distributed to the citizens of both nations and the world? Perhaps they would still go on and fight. And otherwise, just a tiny little shivering perhaps, they would not.

Without poetic abilities, branding easily degrades into a repetition of the past. If you are building a bridge, repetition of the past experience might actually be a beneficial discipline since no one wants to re-discover trigonometry every time there is a river to cross.

But in much more complex affairs of the heart, of which I consider international politics to institute just a small subset, the vulnerable freedom of a poem could be the only thing standing between our endangered humanity and the discovery of our birthright freedom – and even perhaps salvation.

Oh to Own a Designer Dress!

How many women can honestly say, without crossing fingers behind backs, that they have not gone weak-kneed at the sight of that oh so alluring designer dress, which sparkles so suggestively in the shop window? It can be safely assumed, judging by the popularity of such dresses, that those who answer 'no' are in the minority.

Seemingly innocent at first glance, the power a beautifully designed garment can hold over a person, is astonishing. Just go to any designer shop and you will hear the agonised mutterings of 'Oh, I really should not … No, I'm not going to buy it … Well, there's no harm in just trying it on .. Oh God, I love it … No, I can not buy it … Ok, just this once … '

The heart usually prevails and the person in question returns home with the contented feeling they have just bought something special; something that not everyone else has. This is the lure of the designer.

Although clothing's fundamental purpose is to protect the body from nature's elements, its role has radically altered over time. Historians believe the first clothes consist of materials like fur, leather and leaves, which were wrapped around a person's body, thus sheltering them from the weather. In today's society however, clothes are viewed more as a statement about an individual, rather than being necessary for their survival.

Advances in technology, such as central heating, helped to bring about this change, but it is understood that Charles Frederick Worth, born in England in 1825, shaped the world of clothing, and in particular, women's dressmaking; thus giving birth to the term 'fashion' in the way we understand it today.

After moving to France to work for Parisian drappers, Gagelin and Opigez, Mr Worth married one of their models, where he began making dresses for her. Soon after, customers began asking for replicas of the dresses, which prompted him to seek financial backing for his own dressmaking business.

In time, he became named for his designs, which were much simpler and said to be more flattering for the lady's figure than others of the time; he has become popular with an array of rich, distinguished women, including royalty and the famous. He also moved away from letting women design garments themselves, and instead chose to display his own designs at fashion shows, which were held four times a year.

So the rise of the designer dress began, and other fashion designers followed suit to create whole collections of designer clothes.

Fashion designers are now commonplace, designing clothing for individual clients, specialty stores and / or high-fashion department stores. What distinguishes their clothing from the norm is the originality of design, coupled with the limited availability of garment numbers.

This, essentially, is what makes designer clothing so bought after and is why those skilfully crafted designer dresses can make one go weak-kneed in praise – not only at the thought of possessing one, but also in the knowledge that they own something unique.