Picked up this Prince Boron...

mamba

New User
Picked this up at a Goodwill today, but it doesn’t have a sticker to indicate grip size, year, etc. It does have what looks to be a serial number (?) though. Any info appreciated!




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esgee48

Legend
Boron fibers are suppose to be extremely stiff but also somewhat elastic. Graphite fibers are just stiff. In order for the material to be effective, it needs to be present in substantial percentages. Thinking along the lines of what Wilson did with 80% graphite, 20% Kevlar. That can become quickly expensive as this was before the modern method used to manufacture boron fibers.
 

dak95_00

Hall of Fame
No bumper guard? Then it is one of the older versions. It is missing the throat grommet. A POG one should fit. The original Prince/Fairway leather grip has been replaced. The best thing about these were the all leather bags and key chain that came with them. These were extremely expensive back in the day and would be considered extremely expensive today at $299.
 

BlueB

Legend
Boron fibers are suppose to be extremely stiff but also somewhat elastic.
Care to explain how does that work? Young's modulus (modulus of elasticity) of Boron is almost 4x higher then Graphite. Not elastic at all...

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esgee48

Legend
I can't without understanding how the fibers are woven into fabric. A lot of this stuff is used in golf club shafts and hi speed video always show the shaft flexing when they hit that helpless golf ball. Also used in airplane wings where some flex is needed. I suspect that it is due to the manufacturing process, not from the material itself, because you are right that it is VERY stiff.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Boron has a lighter atomic weight than carbon (the main component of graphite), so it was added to graphite composition not necessarily to make the frame lighter overall (say, versus a frame made with a 100% graphite layup), but stiffer (being more dense for an equal weight of material in a layup). There were/are two primary problems with boron in the context as a composite layup ingredient: it's expensive, and it's a bit more brittle.

Aramid fibers (Du Pont’s Kevlar and BV Enka’s Twaron) were more affordable and “tunable” in a composite layup, and far less brittle, and came into vogue in the mid-1980’s as the go-to enhancement, along with silicon carbide (also known as ceramics).
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
No bumper guard? Then it is one of the older versions. It is missing the throat grommet. A POG one should fit. The original Prince/Fairway leather grip has been replaced. The best thing about these were the all leather bags and key chain that came with them. These were extremely expensive back in the day and would be considered extremely expensive today at $299.
The boron he has uses individual grommets and not grommet strips so the throat grommet is not missing. This is an earlier version. Later releases switched to grommet strips.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
The boron he has uses individual grommets and not grommet strips so the throat grommet is not missing. This is an earlier version. Later releases switched to grommet strips.
Except that there are no individual grommets in the throat bridge and two of the holes are on the verge of allowing the string to pull into the frame(and that would be sad). A one-piece "strip" like the PG or the later version of this model would be preferable as it would help distribute the stress a bit.
IF this is to be hit at all, I would yank those strings out and fashion a repair to the throat bridge right zippy.
 

esgee48

Legend
Fix the frame with the Super Glue/Baking Soda. May have to redrill the holes. Also FITTEX or tube the holes after fix.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Except that there are no individual grommets in the throat bridge and two of the holes are on the verge of allowing the string to pull into the frame(and that would be sad). A one-piece "strip" like the PG or the later version of this model would be preferable as it would help distribute the stress a bit.
IF this is to be hit at all, I would yank those strings out and fashion a repair to the throat bridge right zippy.
I have 2 borons. 1 of the early and 1 of the later versions. I throught the early version uses individual grommets like fittex even in the throat.

Edit: ah, I didn’t look at all the photos the first time to notice the racquet was missing the grommets in the throat.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
@Sanglier , @retrowagen , @Ultra 2 , Do any of you know what the factory stiffness rating was for the Boron? I saw something from an older thread where a person had allegedly measured the RA rating off an older racket and I thought it was way low. The Boron I have I strung with some syn gut and it is still rough to hit with. `I have a good amount of Prince Premier Control and OGSM so I am going to string and restring this thing till I get something makes me want to hit with it.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
They did not provide instrument-generated numerical values, just those drawings with the dashed lines and some unit-less comparative index, representing the "feel" of the racquets, I suppose. Data analytics and evidence-based empiricism had not infected the racquetholic community yet, so Prince didn't need to go very far out of their way to impress us.

My own Boron has a rather low "4167" serial number and is configured the same way as the one posted by OP. It is lightly used and has no obvious signs of structural blemish, so I believe the 64 RA reading I got from it is real. It is stiffer than most of my POGs but not all (POG stiffness came in a very wide range of readings depending on the OEM maker).

I think we need to remember that pound for pound, boron fiber was 5x more expensive than carbon fiber, so even adding a small amount of it to the layup significantly increased the material cost of the frame. As a result, very little of it was actually used in most frames that had "boron" in their name, and usually only in strategic areas where lightness and stiffness were most valued, such as on the hoop.

When Prince launched the Boron, they claimed that it was ultra stiff and ultra head light. Some of my POGs are stiffer than my Boron; some are more head light. However, the Boron is stiffer than all the POGs that are more head light, and more head light than all the POGs that are stiffer. I don't know how typical these results are, but they do suggest that the small amount of boron in the layup did make some real difference in the physical characteristics of the frame, though probably not to the extent suggested by the marketing materials at that time.

I also believe the extra stabilizer bar in the throat contributed significantly to the "stiff" feel of the Boron, perhaps much more so than the boron fibers themselves, because it made the frame more torsionally rigid just above the grip (where the sensory feedback is immediate, through which the 'feel' of the rest of the racquet is filtered on every stroke), all without substantially increasing the RA value (which only measures longitudinal flex). If my hunch is correct, the extra bar is not put there for its looks. After all, if the racquet frame was already stiffer than the POG with the addition of boron fibers, why would they need to add another stabilizer bar in an area that was never unstable on the POG to begin with? By emphasizing the presence of boron fibers and never mentioning the extra bar, Prince effectively 'induced' the racquet user into attributing the stiffer feel of the frame to the invisible super fibers rather than the altogether visible structural modification!

I would be curious to see what kind of RA values others have been getting from their Borons. If everyone is getting mid-70s except me, then l would owe Prince an apology for insinuating that they were somewhat less than 100% forthcoming when marketing these frames back then.
 
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Ultra 2

Professional
No bumper guard? Then it is one of the older versions. It is missing the throat grommet. A POG one should fit. The original Prince/Fairway leather grip has been replaced. The best thing about these were the all leather bags and key chain that came with them. These were extremely expensive back in the day and would be considered extremely expensive today at $299.
For some reason I thought the Borons were $499 retail when they came out.. but then again even $299 was a pipe dream for me then. would love to see a Tennis magazine ad from the 80’s to confirm.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
$500 was MSRP in 1983; mail order price was under $400. A year later, MSRP was reduced to $450, while mail order prices dropped below $300. For comparison, POG retailed for $295 in 1983 and $250 in 1984, and sold for $220 and $160 on average in the magazine back pages.
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
$500 was MSRP in 1983; mail order price was under $400. A year later, MSRP was reduced to $450, while mail order prices dropped below $300. For comparison, POG retailed for $295 in 1983 and $250 in 1984, and sold for $220 and $160 on average in the magazine back pages.
I remember those days, back in France. Around 1984, most of the popular tennis brands (Donnay, Kneissl, Wilson, Adidas, Le Coq Sportif, most of the Prince line) were in the French Francs (FRF) 800 - 1,200 range. Then there were the outliers, being the POG around FRF 1,800 and the Boron around the FRF 3,500 mark. I thought those prices were absolutely insane. Needless to say, I wasn't able to afford them in those days. And I just couldn't understand why anyone at recreational level would entertain to play with them, except to flaunt their money.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
I just restrung my Boron (thanks @Ultra 2) with Prince Premier Control 16g at 65lbs and with one OG weighing 12.67 or 359g. It is now rather delightful to play with. Yet when I offer it to others for a hit, either younger or older, they look at it, shrug and walk off. There was a recent 80's themed tennis tourney here. Players were enthusiastic about the music and dress but would not let go of their late model Heads, Wilsons, Babolats and poly strings. I told the tourney director I had enough rackets from the 80s so that every player could play with one or even 2, he looked at me as if I had been speaking in tongues. I found the following two rackets are nearly identically colored in that oh so elegant 80's bronze, PK Micro Mid 22x30 and the 16x19 Prince Boron. The PK MM outweighs the Boron by a gram or two.
 
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Care to explain how does that work? Young's modulus (modulus of elasticity) of Boron is almost 4x higher then Graphite. Not elastic at all...

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Elasticity is a measure of energy return. Modulus is a measure of stiffness. Stiff materials can be very elastic. And soft materials can have low elasticity.
 

Ultra 2

Professional
I just restrung my Boron (thanks @Ultra 2) with Prince Premier Control 16g at 65lbs and with one OG weighing 12.67 or 359g. It is now rather delightful to play with. Yet when I offer it to others for a hit, either younger or older, they look at it, shrug and walk off. There was a recent 80's themed tennis tourney here. Players were enthusiastic about the music and dress but would not let go of their late model Heads, Wilsons, Babolats and poly strings. I told the tourney director I had enough rackets from the 80s so that every player could play with one or even 2, he looked at me as if I had been speaking in tongues. I found the following two rackets are nealry identically colored in that oh so elegant 80's bronze, PK Micro Mid 22x30 and the 16x19 Prince Boron. The PK MM outweighs the Boron by a gram or two.
For it’s day it was one of the stiffest frames.. along with the Ultra 2. A nice soft multi or a 17/18 gauge natty or syn gut would be nice. One should experience this at least once.
 

BlueB

Legend
Elasticity is a measure of energy return. Modulus is a measure of stiffness. Stiff materials can be very elastic. And soft materials can have low elasticity.
Stifness = resisting elastic deformation
Elasticity = ability to deform and return to original shape

"The elastic modulus measures the stiffness in a material, but strength is a function of the modulus. ... Remember, strength measures how much stress the material can handle before permanent deformation or fracture occurs, whereas the stiffness measures the resistance to elastic deformation."
https://www.fictiv.com/hwg/design/engineering-fundamentals-refresh-strength-vs-stiffness-vs-hardness


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Stifness = resisting elastic deformation
Elasticity = ability to deform and return to original shape

"The elastic modulus measures the stiffness in a material, but strength is a function of the modulus. ... Remember, strength measures how much stress the material can handle before permanent deformation or fracture occurs, whereas the stiffness measures the resistance to elastic deformation."
https://www.fictiv.com/hwg/design/engineering-fundamentals-refresh-strength-vs-stiffness-vs-hardness
[/img]https://www.fictiv.com/hwg/sites/default/files/inline-images/strength vs. stiffness-image01.gif[/img]

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If a material returns to its original shape after deformation, then it has high energy return.

Stiffness means resisting deformation, but the deformation may or may not be elastic.
 

BlueB

Legend
If a material returns to its original shape after deformation, then it has high energy return.

Stiffness means resisting deformation, but the deformation may or may not be elastic.
Correct, black vs. red portion of that graph I posted.

However, Young's modulus measures the resistance of a material to elastic (recoverable) deformation under load. A stiff material has a high Young's modulus and changes its shape only slightly under elastic loads (e.g. diamond). A flexible material has a low Young's modulus and changes its shape considerably (e.g. rubbers).
Therefore Boron, having hugely higher Young's modulus then Graphite, is not an elastic material in comparison.
 
I just restrung my Boron (thanks @Ultra 2) with Prince Premier Control 16g at 65lbs and with one OG weighing 12.67 or 359g. It is now rather delightful to play with. Yet when I offer it to others for a hit, either younger or older, they look at it, shrug and walk off. There was a recent 80's themed tennis tourney here. Players were enthusiastic about the music and dress but would not let go of their late model Heads, Wilsons, Babolats and poly strings. I told the tourney director I had enough rackets from the 80s so that every player could play with one or even 2, he looked at me as if I had been speaking in tongues. I found the following two rackets are nearly identically colored in that oh so elegant 80's bronze, PK Micro Mid 22x30 and the 16x19 Prince Boron. The PK MM outweighs the Boron by a gram or two.
So sad how many fools think the racket makes the stroke.
Ever rec gear nerd should be forced to endure an ass kicking by the 5.0 club pro who is using a wooden racket.
 

tonylg

Professional
So sad how many fools think the racket makes the stroke.
Ever rec gear nerd should be forced to endure an ass kicking by the 5.0 club pro who is using a wooden racket.
I was actually thinking the other day that since all my old wood racquets are long gone, I might buy one just pull out on special occasions such as social days on grass.

Would be cool to show up in all white and pull out a woody (no, not a Prince Woodie .. and not that other kind of woody either).
 

BlueB

Legend
So sad how many fools think the racket makes the stroke.
Ever rec gear nerd should be forced to endure an ass kicking by the 5.0 club pro who is using a wooden racket.
This forum is a wrong place for those comments, since it's already about the OLD racquets...

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graycrait

Hall of Fame
So sad how many fools think the racket makes the stroke.
What made this little tourney so interesting that there were 20 some current/recent former D1 players, several current and former D1 coaches, former DII and III players and then a good handful of enthusiastic recreational hacks like me. I think what happens with many in events like these is that ego starts to get in the way of pure child-like fun. Even I "cheated" and opted for a 2003 racket rather than one of my many 80's models. I even had one new D1 player from Germany ask me as her partner, "How come you serve two first serves?" I replied, "You didn't see me double fault did you?" as I proceeded to teach her how to take defeat in a tie breaker graciously:) I am recreational hack tennis.
 
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tonylg

Professional
So sad how many fools think the racket makes the stroke.
Ever rec gear nerd should be forced to endure an ass kicking by the 5.0 club pro who is using a wooden racket.
Do you think Rafa could play the way he does with a wooden racquet and gut strings?
 

tonylg

Professional
His style of play is pretty similar to that of Guillermo Vilas, so maybe.
Vilas didn't have Nadal's forehand, but had far more of an all court game.

I concede that Nadal would still be a force on clay without his 100 square inches of rpm blast, but nowhere else.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
Vilas didn't have Nadal's forehand, but had far more of an all court game.

I concede that Nadal would still be a force on clay without his 100 square inches of rpm blast, but nowhere else.
Vilas could hit a line drive that you would swear was going out by a mile...and it would nosedive 3 feet before the baseline and jump like crazy. I do wonder what he would choose out of the contemporary offerings (IF he were 25 again ;) )
 

muddlehead

Semi-Pro
Beautiful racket and graycrait's 2 rackets. Love the bronze. Gorgeous. I'll got through some 80's mags and get a price. From Aug 1988 World Tennis magazine two mail order companies have it for sale. H*lab*rd in Baltimore selling a Prince Boron New Model for $292. All Sports Outfitter San Diego selling a Prince Boron for $299. (funny that the company in Baltimore had to be asterisked. I bought lots of stuff from them before the net took over. My first two Wilson Profiles for example. Great company. Still in biz.)
 
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