I see how my tone overwhelmed my point. I have held my tongue over the past year or so (also not being a member helped) in these hardness debates. And I kinda just let loose in a less than helpful way.
My issue really isn’t old playfield/new playfield or pinball in general. It is the complete misunderstanding/misrepresentation of what hardness testing is, what the numbers actually mean, what is a meaningful data set, what is a properly performed test, etc.
If joe off the street goes and gets a handheld tester and drops a few indents on a piece of wood clamped in a vice...those numbers likely will be highly suspect and the + - on the numbers will be large. Best case theoretical limits depending on which hardness scale you are using can be large too.
for example you get an Oaken hardness value of 100 on one playfield. Best case that is 100 + - 25. How many indents did you drop? What was the variation? If you got 100, 98, 105, 97, 102 on your measurements I will be highly suspicious that you are not performing the test correctly. Let’s pretend you did it perfectly and got those numbers. Next playfield done perfectly but you got an Oaken value of 85. Much softer right? NO. Within the accuracy or your measurement tool, they are similar.
This is the crux of my vinegar response.