Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
TheRoadGoesOn4Ever
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Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by TheRoadGoesOn4Ever » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:02 pm

Does anyone know of any health related side effects of using ping pong balls in substitution of natural fingernails?
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pogmoor
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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by pogmoor » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:55 pm

That's an interesting question. Presumably the issue may relate:
(a) to the material from which ping-pong balls are made, and
(b) from the adhesive used to attach them.
(c) local effects on the growth and health of the underlying nail.

(a) Traditionally ping-pong balls were made from celluloid which is non-toxic if it is in good condition (though, worth noting, it is very inflammable). The manufacture of celluloid may be hazardous, because of the chemicals involved, and old celluloid can break down into nitrocellulose and camphor - with further breakdown producing unpleasant chemicals such as nitric acid. Nitrocellulose, by the way, is an explosive - so maybe if you use old, brittle cellulose you may get exploding nails :shock:
I believe ping-pong balls are increasingly made of more modern, stable plastics which presumably are no hazard and, to be serious, I doubt whether you'd ever get problems with recently made celluloid, but it would be a mistake to stockpile old celluloid for this purpose.

(b) Probably more pertinent are the possible toxic effects of adhesive. As far as I know the adhesives used for artificial nails are all cyanoacrylate glues (termed 'superglue' in the UK). These are generally regarded as non-toxic when set. But the fumes of the raw glue can be irritant and inhaling them can lead to an allergic response. I believe there is one form of cyanoacrylate that has been developed for use in medical applications (in particular as an alternative to suture in wound closure). This is 2-octyl cyanoacrylate; the risk of allergy seems to be much less with this. A bit of googling will show you that this adhesive is available over the counter in a proprietary formulation.

(c) I'm not sure of the local effects of long term artificial nail use but there are plenty of warnings around this - mainly based on issues from nail salons. My impression from using cyanoacrylate and silk to mend broken nails is that occluding the natural nail in this way does have a negative effect and I think this is the issue that would keep me away from anything other than short term use of artificial nails.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in this matter but in view of my background in both chemistry and medicine I maintain a general interest in issues of this sort. And to answer the question, I myself would not use artificial nails long term.
Eric from GuitarLoot
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Adam
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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by Adam » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:59 pm

The flammability of celluloid is a great point ... it's not just a slow burn. The stuff is basically a propellant. Try burning a Fender guitar pick, and you will see what I mean.

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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by davekear » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:07 am

You can safely use artificial nails every day for all of your life if you know how. Please keep in mind that your nails are always growing, so "long term" use of artificial nails...is not really that long. Here's a few things we've found that help: Never cover the entire nail, only cover about 3/4 of the nail plate at the most, taper the edge. ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE NAIL IS SEALED. Don't apply any artificial nail UNDER your natural nail, your tone and feel will suffer. Also it's very impractical, if not impossible to apply them successfully if your natural nail is short. Always make sure the nails you use are clear or translucent. Ping pong balls can be used, and many have, but they're not the best material to use either tone wise or durability wise. Remember the original Fender picks? (They're still around). Remember how they cracked so easily? They too are celluloid. If you must, there are clear ping pong balls.

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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by Bill B » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:49 am

Adam wrote:The flammability of celluloid is a great point ... it's not just a slow burn. The stuff is basically a propellant. Try burning a Fender guitar pick, and you will see what I mean.
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Dirck Nagy
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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by Dirck Nagy » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:44 am

I thought celluliod ping pong balls were on the way out by 2014, but looking at the ITTF site, there are still some celluloid balls which are legal for tournament, so i'm guessing they are still made...?

I have found some brands of plastic / poly balls will not adhere to nails with cyan superglue, but unfortunately, i don't remember the names. Does anyone have experience with this?
pogmoor wrote: ....in view of my background in both chemistry and medicine I maintain a general interest in issues of this sort. ...
Pogmoor...do you know which ball materials might not work with superglue?

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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by pogmoor » Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:03 am

Dirck Nagy wrote: Pogmoor...do you know which ball materials might not work with superglue?
I don't know what plastics are used these days to make ping ping balls, but it's certainly true that some plastics don't adhere to cyanoacrylate glue (e.g. polyethylene and polypropylene).
Eric from GuitarLoot
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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by Adam » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:13 pm

Some plastics, like polycarbonate, craze when exposed to CA.

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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by guit-box » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:55 pm

Are we talking on the nail or under the nail? I can't imagine any problems with under the nail since you're only gluing to the out-growth and that's not going to damage the new growth. It's nothing like the damage acrylic nails do to the natural nail, or the toxicity of the chemicals involved with that process. I'd look to people working long term in nail salons to find out what the worst case scenarios are or to people who have used false nails (CA is used) for years. I can't get enough good outgrowth to glue ping pong to the underside of my nail, so I'm stuck with acrylics, but I'd much rather use the less invasive ping pong nails.
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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by davekear » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:46 pm

If done correctly, (and it's not a difficult thing to do), you can glue artificial nails to the top of your nail (nail plate) with no problems. If after removing a nail, (especially acrylics), if your natural nail is thin and sensitive, then it should be built up before applying another nail or using it as is. The best way to do this is with a more viscous nail glue like a brush-on glue or resin, and simply build up the nail until there is no more sensitivity. Always keep in mind when using nail glue (cyanoacrylate) that there is that fine line between strength and brittleness. Despite what some may say, natural nails do not need to breathe. They don't have pores, and the nail material (keratin) can be covered with no bad consequences. I've personally been using artificial nails on pima for over twenty years straight, and my real nails are fine. It's good when using any artificial nails to cover only about 2/3 of the nail plate and then taper the seam. It's also better to file off artificial nails then to soak them off in chemicals. With a Dremel, or a good rotary nail file, with a medium flat barrel carbide bit, you can file off a nail in less than a minute. You get much better results,(tone, and feel) by applying artificial nails to the top of the nail plate. Plus if your natural nail is short, there's nothing to glue it to underneath. Angle at which you apply a nail is critical for success. Usually the natural nail has a tendency to curve downward, and even if yours don't, or you just don't think they do, you still need that downward angle to get that little bit of a bite into the string. Not too much, just the right amount. Angle is critical, and is a very narrow Goldilocks zone for great tone, so please keep that in mind when applying and experimenting with nails. A very important thing when using artificial nails is to ALWAYS KEEP THE NAIL SEALED. It's very easy to do. Never let a nail fall off on its own. You don't want water in between an artificial nail and your natural nail. It's actually hard to get water in there. Just keep them sealed. If nails start to come up a bit, glue em back down. Anyway, a few things that might help.

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Re: Long Term Use Of Ping Pong Balls

Post by dory » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:40 am

Sorry but I can't imagine living long term with pieces of ping pong balls glued to my nails. They sell stick on peel off artificial nails which are the only artificial nails I would use, because they don't damage the natural nail coming off, and they aren't as thick as the glue on nails, which I find give an unpleasant clicking sound. Again I am beginning to question the need for long nails-- at least unless you are on the concert stage.
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