The majority of kendamas that show up on our website get painted with designs and colors, and since we usually drop new models every Friday, there's a large variety of designs for new players to choose from. If you look more closely at our kendamas, you'll find that there's also a few different "Clear Coat" options available.
A clear coat is exactly what it sounds like: a transparent coat of paint that's applied at the end of a painting process in order to even out the colored layer and help protect all of the layers below the clear coat. Aside from natural (Natty, unpainted) kendamas, every kendama we make gets finished with one of several clear coats on top of the design. These finishes have been formulated in different ways to protect the design as you break it in, but also to improve the playability of the kendama overall and make tricks more achievable right out of the box.
Depending on what clear coat you choose, you'll experience a very different feel in the hands and when you play it. If you're unsure what these different paints are like, keep on reading to hear more about what makes each one unique.
Each paint option can be compared to one another in terms of how much friction there is between the ball and the ken when they make contact with one another. Each clear coat offers a different amount of grip or stickiness out of the box and over time as you break them in, so we've provided an easy-to-follow chart below. At a glance, you can see how our clear coat options compare in terms of grip.
Sticky clear comes on many of our kendamas, has a glossy look, and is tacky to the touch. Having paint on the ball of the kendama makes learning much easier and boosts your consistency. The paint isn’t so sticky that the ball will adhere to anything, but it will provide more stability if you’re learning certain types of tricks. Sticky paint is also extremely accessible, it’s a little less expensive to make than our Cushion Clear and Ratio Clear options, which makes it perfect if you’re hunting for an inexpensive present for someone special, or even yourself!
Rubber Clear is a matte clear coat that is soft and smooth to the touch. It looks similar to our Cushion Clear, but it’s just as accessible as Sticky Clear and is one of two paint options we offer that are painted outside of our shop, whereas Ratio Clear and Cushion Clear are applied in our Paint Lab.
A new Rubber Cleared kendama has more grip than a fresh Ratio Clear, but has less grip than a new Sticky Clear, so it falls in between the two in terms of a grippiness comparison.
Rubber Clear comes standard on our kendamas found in Target stores across the US, but now we’re excited to offer Rubber Clear on our website for the first time in several years. It's a great option for the first-timer and is even preferred by some players who dislike the feeling or the look of a Sticky Clear. People who love Rubber Clear swear by it, so we’d highly recommend giving it a try if you’re curious about it. Rubber Clear currently comes on our Sweets Classics, currently the most affordable way to try our newest Amped Shape!
Cushion Clear is our own special formula that we’ve created and tweaked over the years in order to achieve the best kendama Clear Coat available. We wanted to create a paint that played like a “broken in” kendama; one that you’ve already played to the point where it plays extremely well in the hands. We apply Cushion & Ratio Clear to our kendamas in house at our shop’s Paint Booth, also known as the “Sweets Lab”.
Cushion Clear has an altogether different feel than Sticky Clear; it has a soft and grippy matte finish, as opposed to the shiny look of the Sticky and Ratio Clear. The grippy, matte finish softens impact and increases control on balance tricks. Best of all – Cushion Clear keeps its superior playability throughout its lifespan, where some Sticky Clear might lose its stickiness over a long period of time.
Ratio Clear (Formerly "Beta" Clear)
We've been in the Sweets Lab working on a new clear coat formula and we think we've made something special. What we have come up with is a glossy and durable clear that starts out a bit more slick than Sticky Clear, Cushion Clear, or Rubber Clear, but still has just enough grip to slap tricks.
After in-house testing, sending a few variations out to our team, and releasing a few batches for players to try, we are finally ready to add Ratio Clear to our lineup of paint options!
No matter what paint you choose, all paint goes through different cycles as you break it in and play it. These things vary greatly, including how often or hard you play the kendama, but also your local climate, such as how dry or humid your area is, or how hot or cold it usually is. We often find that people in very warm and humid climates experience a much more tacky or grippy kendama right out of the box, whereas players in colder regions might need to break in their kendama a little before experiencing the same amount of grip or tack.
Have any more questions we didn't address in this post? Comment below!