Rubberized Contacts: 6. Revised Calculations and Wrap-Up

If you’ve been keeping up, you know that this is the sixth (and perhaps final) installment in my series on Rubberizing Agility Contacts. I have stuck (no pun intended) strictly with the Rubber on the Run process developed by Darlene Woz, as documented in the book “Making Rubber Skins for Agility Equipment“. The Bay Team and SMART equipment committees collaborated on this effort, since we share so much equipment at our Prunedale trials.

Tables

The joint equipment committees decided that the protective and aesthetic benefits of the table sides did not warrant the extra weight (which we calculated at 7 lbs per table). Furthermore, we learned that Darlene has changed her table formations since the book was published. Based on this information, here are the revised calculations for what is published in the book:

Description Published
(with sides)
Revised
(with sides)
Revised
(without sides)
Tape outline 45″ x 45″ 45″ x 45″ 37″ x 37″
Plastic sheet 48″ x 48″ 48″ x 48″ 40″ x 40″
Rubber pellets 22 lb 18 lb 12 lb 3 oz
Binder 4 lb 6 oz 3 lb 10 oz 2 lb 7 oz
Total Wt Add 26 lb 6 oz 21 lb 10 oz 14 lb 10 oz

Chute Rims

The committees further determined that, though the rim of the chute should be padded for protection, it should not have traction. Rather it should be “slippery” and not involve a surface that would catch the coats of larger dogs. Thus, we decided not to fabricate rubberized rims for the chute, and instead adopted what SMART had already implemented on one chute – a “pool noodle”, slit vertically with an electric carving knife, and affixed to the top half of the chute with Zip-Ties (photo to come, I promise).

Chute Mats

The kits we bought were for 36″ x 27″ chute mats (to comply with CPE standards), but the book only shows the measurements for 24″ x 27″ mats (as required by USDAA). We determined that Darlene’s revised formulations for the table mats also applied to the chute mats. Thus we had to completely recalculate the measurements for the large chute mats, and here are the results:

Description Small chute mat
(as published)
Small chute mat
(revised)
Large chute mat
(unpublished)
Tape outline 24″ x 27″ 24″ x 27″ 36″ x 27″
Plastic sheet 27″ x 30″ 27″ x 30″ 39″ x 30″”
Rubber pellets 7 lb 5 lb 13 oz 8 lb 12 oz
Binder 1 lb 7 oz 1 lb 3 oz 1 lb 12 oz
Total Wt Add 8 lb 8 oz 7 lb 10 lb 8 oz

I encourage you to print this page and insert it as Errata on pages 21-23 and 28-29 of the book, for both the tables and the chute.

Net results of our efforts

I mentioned earlier that despite purchasing only 6 chute kits and 8 table kits, we managed to produce 7 chute mats and 12 table skins because of design changes. Now you know how: we eliminated the table sides and chute rims, carefully recalculated and reweighed the rubber and binder (which was way too much fun, as Katrina and Karey demonstrate), implemented mass production tactics, and just kept forming skins until we ran out of rubber. We combined pellets at the end, which gave us a custom purple/yellow chute mat to sell (2nd up from lower left) and the coveted “confetti” table mat (mid-left), which Katrina happily claimed as her own! The two stray pieces at the bottom were custom made from scraps for Karey’s in-cabinet dog door path.

Conclusions

Northern California agility dogs are happier because of our efforts. The tables and chutes made their debut at the July 4 Bay Team trial last weekend. I wasn’t there, but as I understand the feedback, the deafening silence of the dogs jumping onto the tables speaks for itself.

The next phase of the operation, affixing pre-made skins onto the Bay Team and SMART contact equipment (A-frames, dogwalks and teeters), will take place in the South Bay over the next few weeks. The plan is to have all of the equipment upgraded in time for the August and September trials, including the Southwest USDAA Regional on Labor Day weekend.

Acknowledgments

To Karey Krauter, Kate Wheelock and Katrina Parkinson (aka “The 3 K’s”), who gave up an entire Saturday to wallow in the most unbelievably nasty concoctions of solvent and goo. I’m still worried about Karey’s brain cells, after spending way too much time cleaning chutes with lacquer-thinner-saturated rags.

To Katrina Parkinson (yes, she came back the next day) and Celeste Thomas, who showed up Sunday to glue, glue, glue. This time, it was Celeste who got to burn a few brain cells inside the chutes, breathing the heady fumes of DAP Weldwood Original Contact Cement.

To my husband, Rich, who organized and cleaned out the garage to give us room for this preposterous effort, and stepped up as “day-of” errand-boy when we needed supplies because we were all too gooey to drive.

Next up (yes, there’s more): Final thoughts

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One Response to Rubberized Contacts: 6. Revised Calculations and Wrap-Up

  1. Lillian Rink says:

    Looking for small pieces of rubber skins that I can put on my dog walk/a-frame. Not looking to cover all of the contact. Need some especially for the a-frame as my Pap refuses to go up it at shows. Don’t have 500.00 to put in rubber skins for a complete A-frame nor do we have the facilities to make our own rubberized skins. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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