Kevin, I haven't been around much in this forum, but to reply your Q about how robust the pads are!!!!
First of all beneat the buttons you touch the is a small MICRO switch, now unfortunatley if press hard for a long period of time the micro switch will wear of, I have changed quite a few Micro Switches from my friends keyboards especially WK4. But don't be let down because the board is robust. so my advice is don't hit the pads so hard they will last you a long long time if you don't.
Best of luck