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    #1

    Darker Blades – H3Neo compatibility?

    I was researching a bit on Darker Blades in the net as I am tempted to try an All Hinoki Blade due to the general opinion that it's great for looping and generating spin. I am first and foremost an attack-minded player trying to loop when the chance is there with lots of spin (especially on FH side). On the BH I also tend to chop in short play from time to time as my BH flick still has a too high margin of error, still whenever the chance is there i go for BH Loop. Furthermore, when I am bound to the table I rather use BH side for blocking.

    Right now I am playing with Hugo HAL blade (OFF- to OFF speed), which I chose due to its quite flexy character as I prefer playing with mid hard to hard rubbers (47,5 degree and above). Currently FH: H3Neo 40 degree 2.15 mm / BH Rakza Z 2.0 mm) I would describe myself as an advanced skilled player.

    I definitely want to keep playing with H3Neo (already ordered an Orange Sponge version in 40 degree for my HAL), but I don't know whether the hard rubber fits a blade like 7p-2a 7t (currently the Darker blade I am most keen to buy) since I read that a too hard sponge will kind of kill the effect of the soft hinoki. Is that true and would it make sense to use a lower degree sponge of H3Neo instead? I would also use 2 layers of FTL booster, so that might help in that regard?

    Please let me know what you would advice regarding rubbers and whether I should consider another model instead of the 7p-2a 7t.

    If anyone has the experience, a speed comparison between the HAL and the 7p-2a 7t would also be helpful.


    Looking forward to your answers!
    Last edited by Caddy; 03-09-2021 at 04:30 PM.

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    #2
    I've not tried a multi ply.
    I've had from hinoki:
    Xiom Hibi O cheap versionMIT moby
    ​​another MIT kiso bladeXiom katana platinum
    nittaku miyabi flared.

    Hinoki is the best, but I would stick to a thinner multi ply than a thick 9mm so choice is good: (shake hands the thickness is an issue at the short game for me)

    Rubber wise I tried tacky China and regular and I have to say the best rubbers for these blades are Japanese or esn. The main Chinese rubber blades are hard and flexy, hinoki is super soft and stiFF. It will work but I don't think the hard sponge allows the blades own character to shine. but give it a go, it might be just right for you.

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    #3

    I play with the Darker 5P-2A blade which is a kind of Hinoki hybrid (core & outer Hinoki, intermediate basswood). It pairs extremely well with H3 and with harder, less bouncy tensor/esn rubbers. The reason for this is quite logical: Hinoki blades have a more or less pronounced catapult. If you pair them with too bouncy rubbers you will get an extremely bouncy racket which is very difficult to control. But if you pair it with H3, a rubber which is spinny, but not bouncy, you will get a well balanced spin monster of a racket. If you choose too soft rubbers this will probably give you a very mushy feeling since Hinoki is very soft already.

    The 7P-2A.7t is a very fast Hinoki blade with a very pronounced catapult. I haven't played it myself, but I own a comparable 7ply all Hinoki blade which is nearly as thick as the 7t and also very fast (mine is 6,7mm, the 7t is 7mm). H3 seems to be a good choice for the 7t, maybe you have to experiment a little with bh rubbers. I have never played with Rakza Z, your current bh rubber, so I can't tell if it fits.

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    Last edited by MK73; 03-10-2021 at 02:10 PM.

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    #4
    I'd played with Darker Speed 90 (10.5mm) for a few years. I played TG2, H3 and TG3 on it and it worked really well.

    I am a penhold player. Hinoki wood is very flexible. As the thickness increases, Hinoki wood has a strong repulsive effect. The repulsive effect pushes the ball FORWARD. A 5-ply wood blade flexes and lifts the ball UPWARD.

    Thick hinoki wood gives a low arc whereas a 5-ply wood blade gives a high arc.

    I think 7p-2a 7t is a good choice as it is not too thick. It should still flex and give you a medium-high arc. Why not try a Neo H3 39 degree? It gives you pretty good control and feel.

    Caddy;341471I was researching a bit on Darker Blades in the net as I am tempted to try an All Hinoki Blade due to the general opinion that it's great for looping and generating spin. I am first and foremost an attack-minded player trying to loop when the chance is there with lots of spin (especially on FH side). On the BH I also tend to chop in short play from time to time as my BH flick still has a too high margin of error, still whenever the chance is there i go for BH Loop. Furthermore, when I am bound to the table I rather use BH side for blocking.

    Right now I am playing with Hugo HAL blade (OFF- to OFF speed), which I chose due to its quite flexy character as I prefer playing with mid hard to hard rubbers (47,5 degree and above). Currently FH: H3Neo 40 degree 2.15 mm / BH Rakza Z 2.0 mm) I would describe myself as an advanced skilled player.

    I definitely want to keep playing with H3Neo (already ordered an Orange Sponge version in 40 degree for my HAL), but I don't know whether the hard rubber fits a blade like 7p-2a 7t (currently the Darker blade I am most keen to buy) since I read that a too hard sponge will kind of kill the effect of the soft hinoki. Is that true and would it make sense to use a lower degree sponge of H3Neo instead? I would also use 2 layers of FTL booster, so that might help in that regard?

    Please let me know what you would advice regarding rubbers and whether I should consider another model instead of the 7p-2a 7t.

    If anyone has the experience, a speed comparison between the HAL and the 7p-2a 7t would also be helpful.


    Looking forward to your answers!

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    #5
    since I read that a too hard sponge will kind of kill the effect of the soft hinoki.

    I read that, too, but it's not true. I have paired my 7ply all Hinoki blade with H3, H8, TG2 and Big Dipper (all 39-40 deg) and it had a tremendously soft feeling, comparable to nothing else I had played before. Rubbers, even "hard" ones, are not metal sheets.

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    Last edited by MK73; 03-10-2021 at 08:03 PM.

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    #6
    That sounds promising! Thanks for your insights!

    I am probably ordering a 7p-2a 7t from Japan very soon.

    Regarding the sponge hardness I am still not sure whether I should go a step down to better comply with the Hinoki wood character.

    For the Forehand I definitely want to use a tacky chinese-style rubber. Hence I researched a bit and found the:
    Friendship Bloom Power – which would be a matching candidate. Reviews I read were mostly very good. However, the shop I want to buy it froms lists it as a 45 degree sponge, which from what I know according to ESN scale is MEDIUM...which is strange since I read its sponge hardness is similar to H3 39 and Battle 2 (which would be around 50-52 on ESN scale). Any experience with that?

    BH: still undecided...the Rakza Z (50-52 ESN scale) might be too hard for the Hinoki blade as a BH rubber so I thought about getting a GoldArc 8, 47,5 Max. That one seems to be a very controlled rubber in the passive game but at the same time being capable of playing active and lots of reserves in both terms of spin and speed...do you agree with that assumption?






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    #7

    These reviews might also be helpful for you:

    https://blog.tabletennis11.com/two-hinoki-darker-blades

    On the whole, there aren't many extensive reviews on other Darker blades. What you find are short statements in forums on Darker Speed 90, 7P-2A.7t and sometimes 7p-2A. You won't find much on the 5P-2A, 7p-2A Carbon or the 2A Legato. There was also the Darker 7P-2A.05, but, apparently, this was discontinued. However, you can still get this blade at spinfactory, but I have never read a review about it.

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    Last edited by MK73; 03-13-2021 at 10:29 AM.

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    #8
    I am probably ordering a 7p-2a 7t from Japan very soon.

    For the Forehand I definitely want to use a tacky chinese-style rubber. Hence I researched a bit and found the:
    Friendship Bloom Power – which would be a matching candidate.


    I thought about getting a GoldArc 8, 47,5 Max. That one seems to be a very controlled rubber in the passive game but at the same time being capable of playing active and lots of reserves in both terms of spin and speed...do you agree with that assumption?

    I think that Friendship Bloom Power is too slow from mid-distance. I wouldn't recommend it as a fh rubber. I would stick to H3, but that's just my opinion. As I said earlier it won't make your 7t feel harder. Also you are already familiar with H3. Maybe a 39degr version can do the trick.

    Btw, it's going to be quite challenging at the beginning to play with a 7ply all hinoki blade because these blades don't vibrate when you hit the ball, so you won't get the feedback you're used to normally. This soft feeling is really nice, but it is also weird.

    GoldArc 8 seems to be quite difficult to control from what I have read and seen. Why do want to buy it in max? I thought your fh is better than your bh?

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    Last edited by MK73; 03-16-2021 at 03:08 PM.

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Caddy
    That sounds promising! Thanks for your insights!I am probably ordering a 7p-2a 7t from Japan very soon.Regarding the sponge hardness I am still not sure whether I should go a step down to better comply with the Hinoki wood character.For the Forehand I definitely want to use a tacky chinese-style rubber. Hence I researched a bit and found the:Friendship Bloom Power – which would be a matching candidate. Reviews I read were mostly very good. However, the shop I want to buy it froms lists it as a 45 degree sponge, which from what I know according to ESN scale is MEDIUM...which is strange since I read its sponge hardness is similar to H3 39 and Battle 2 (which would be around 50-52 on ESN scale). Any experience with that?BH: still undecided...the Rakza Z (50-52 ESN scale) might be too hard for the Hinoki blade as a BH rubber so I thought about getting a GoldArc 8, 47,5 Max. That one seems to be a very controlled rubber in the passive game but at the same time being capable of playing active and lots of reserves in both terms of spin and speed...do you agree with that assumption?
    Like people have already said, the rubbers you're currently using on your Xiom HAL won't be a problem on Hinoki, so why not use what you're already accustomed to, that is H3 on FH and Rakza Z on BH.

    If you're really scared these rubbers will be too hard, then go H3 39 and Rakza 7 or X on BH, they're softer than RZ (47.5 deg) but still similar. You can't go wrong with those.

    The challenge will be adjusting to the Hinoki feel, so keep it simple, you don't want to add too many extra changes.

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    Last edited by thomas.pong; 03-17-2021 at 10:22 AM.

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    #10

    Btw, Patrick has made a list with ratings of blades he has tested which is very helpful when you want to compare. Darker 7P-2A.7t, your new choice, is also among them.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YlR...MRoLNYwlr/view

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    Last edited by MK73; 03-17-2021 at 12:28 PM.

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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MK73

    Btw, Patrick has made a list with ratings of blades he has tested which is very helpful when want to compare. Darker 7P-2A.7t, your new choice, is also among them.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YlR...MRoLNYwlr/view

    Thank you for sharing, wasn't aware of his list.

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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by MK73

    I think that Friendship Bloom Power is too slow from mid-distance. I wouldn't recommend it as a fh rubber. I would stick to H3, but that's just my opinion. As I said earlier it won't make your 7t feel harder. Also you are already familiar with H3. Maybe a 39degr version can do the trick.

    Btw, it's going to be quite challenging at the beginning to play with a 7ply all hinoki blade because these blades don't vibrate when you hit the ball, so you won't get the feedback you're used to normally. This soft feeling is really nice, but it is also weird.

    GoldArc 8 seems to be quite difficult to control from what I have read and seen. Why do want to buy it in max? I thought your fh is better than your bh?

    I decided to actually postpone the acquisition of the Darker Blade...I realized that I am actually totally happy with my current setup with HAL (also using a XIOM SAL as a secondary blade for testing other rubbers) and with its playing results.

    Regarding Bloom Power I read its very similar to H3Neo but actually with better speed? Maybe from mid- to long-distance you are right, that it lacks the power...anyways already ordered it and will keep it as a backup rubber. My H3N OS 40 degree has already arrived in the meanwhile from China and getting the treatment right now

    Regarding GoldArc 8 I read that its fast but very controllable...both in the more passive playstyle (block, chop) and active (topspin). I ordered max for additional spin capabilities...I know it might be more spring in short play, but I will give it a shot...my BH is not as strong as my FH, but I think good enough to handle it...we'll see


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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MK73

    I think that Friendship Bloom Power is too slow from mid-distance. I wouldn't recommend it as a fh rubber. I would stick to H3, but that's just my opinion. As I said earlier it won't make your 7t feel harder. Also you are already familiar with H3. Maybe a 39degr version can do the trick.

    Btw, it's going to be quite challenging at the beginning to play with a 7ply all hinoki blade because these blades don't vibrate when you hit the ball, so you won't get the feedback you're used to normally. This soft feeling is really nice, but it is also weird.

    GoldArc 8 seems to be quite difficult to control from what I have read and seen. Why do want to buy it in max? I thought your fh is better than your bh?


    I actually bought the Darker 7p-2A.7t and played with it now for about a month using Bloom Power (FH) and Rakza Z 2mm (BH).

    Compared to my previous blade, the Xiom Hugo HAL, the speed of ther Darker is definitely much faster and the trajectory way higher. The combination with the Bloom Power on the FH works perfectly so far. Speed is more than enough (even from far behind the table I can still confidently return ball onto the table other than with the HAL) and the lower trajectory of Bloom Power compared to H3N helps to counter the higher trajectory of the blade.

    However, with Rakza Z on BH I struggle to keep the ball short when playing close to the table: especially when trying to block hard hit drives/powerfull loops or flicking serve returns. Balls often fly over the table. Guess the trajectory of both Rakza Z and the Darker blade (+ its stronger catapult) are just too much in this combination.

    Hence, I was thinking to look for another option on Backhand. Thought about Battle II Prov in 38 degree (about 48 degree ESN scale) as I read it has a lower trajectory. Since the Darker has quite a strong catapult I thought that it might work out with a less dynamic chinese rubber with softer sponge.

    Anyone has experience with soft chinese rubbers on backhand and how they play?


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    #14

    I have only tried Skyline 3-60 (mid hard) on backhand. Its a very controlled and spinny rubber with a medium throw. Not fast at all, so maybe something you are looking for to tame the 7t.


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    #15
    I am having a trigger happy moment and I am about to hit the buy button for Darker Speed 90 but something is stopping me; I have no idea what rubber to put on it. I asked my vendor and he said anything goes, which to me isn't that helpful.

    So, after thinking and pondering about it for sometime, I have decided to put Donic Baracuda as FH and Yasaka Mark V for BH.

    I am playing a two wing offensive controlled looping style; near to mid table.

    Is my pairing good?

    Need assist. Thanks

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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Gozo
    I am having a trigger happy moment and I am about to hit the buy button for Darker Speed 90 but something is stopping me; I have no idea what rubber to put on it. I asked my vendor and he said anything goes, which to me isn't that helpful.

    So, after thinking and pondering about it for sometime, I have decided to put Donic Baracuda as FH and Yasaka Mark V for BH.

    I am playing a two wing offensive controlled looping style; near to mid table.

    Is my pairing good?

    Need assist. Thanks

    Pull the trigger on the DS 90. I have been playing with them for the past 3 years and love them! I haven't played with the two rubbers you mention. The only advice I can give is that the general consensus is that medium hard rubbers work best on the 1-ply Kiso Hinoki blades. I have also found this to be the case. Enjoy and don't forget to give us an update when you receive it and have had a chance to play with it. On a side note, if you are buying it from someone like tabletennis11.com, you can ask what weights they have available and even have them send a couple of pics of the one you'd like.


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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by PushSmasher

    Pull the trigger on the DS 90. I have been playing with them for the past 3 years and love them! I haven't played with the two rubbers you mention. The only advice I can give is that the general consensus is that medium hard rubbers work best on the 1-ply Kiso Hinoki blades. I have also found this to be the case. Enjoy and don't forget to give us an update when you receive it and have had a chance to play with it. On a side note, if you are buying it from someone like tabletennis11.com, you can ask what weights they have available and even have them send a couple of pics of the one you'd like.

    Today is my inaugural practice with my DS9 as it arrive on my doorstep this morning. It is amazingly easy to play with the blade in the sense it is so so so controllable. I really have no idea what One ply hinoki feels like and wasn't sure if it is a hitting or looping blade. I am playing two wing controlled looping style.

    However, I think I made a bad choice to put Yasaka Mark V on my BH, it is too weak and soft for my taste, as my return felt underpowered. Should have gone for Donic Bluefire M2 instead. On my FH I am using Donic Baracuda and I am fine with this rubber selection. Looping is a breeze and easy. Please note, my country is under total lockdown and I can only play solo against robot at the moment. Hence I have no chance to try it against live opponents.

    DS9 is as what people say, it is a legend and a wonderful blade.


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