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    #1

    Review: Vodak M. Horejsi EnTech ALC OFF

    Review: VODAK M. Hořejši ALC OFF EnTech





    Review: VODAK M. Hořejši ALC OFF EnTech

    Available at:www.vodak-dreva.cz (The website is in Czech but if you open it using Google Chrome it will automatically translate the site for you.)

    Blade composition: Limba – Ayous – ALC – Ayous – ALC – Ayous – Limba

    Blade construction: Outstanding quality! Perfect edges, beautifully finished and sealed, super-comfortable handle – it just feels in every way like the work of a master craftsman. Vodak blades must be up there among the best in terms of construction quality. Those of you who have used blades made by custom craftsmen - of which there are several on this site - will know what I mean.

    Blade dimensions: 157mm x 152mm x 6.1mm. Note that Vodak make their blades to order and will make any of the following sizes for no additional charge:


    • 157mm x 150mm
    • 157mm x 152mm
    • 157mm x 156mm
    • 162mm x 156mm

    Blade weight: 89.5g

    Handle: ‘Anatomical’ style at 105mm by request (Standard length is 100mm).

    Tested with: Nittaku Fastarc G-1 (max.) FH & Tibhar Evolution ELS (max.) BH

    First impressions: Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy! The precision of shot placement with this blade surpasses any other I’ve tested. Obviously this is a subjective thing, but to me this blade feels as close to an extension of my hand (which is what Coach EmRatThich says a blade should be) as I think a blade can.

    Speed: A good range of speed. At the low end (ie. when playing very gentle shots like some serves, or short pushes for example) it plays like an ALL+ but when you want speed it’ll go all the way up to OFF+. By comparison, I’d say that it plays at a similar speed to the (excellent) Gewo Aruna Hinoki Carbon OFF for gentle-to-mid power shots, but it has a higher top-end speed when you apply full power. It’s not as fast as the Vodak Rebel Carbon OFF at the top end, but certainly fast enough that lack of speed won’t be the reason you lose any points.

    Feel: It has a soft, woody feel with a muted but pleasant ‘fizz’ through the hand most of the time. But when you connect well on high power shots it suddenly delivers a very satisfying ‘cracking’ feeling – and the sound to go with it!

    Arc / trajectory: This took me a couple of sessions to get used to as it produces a different arc depending on how you contact the ball. For low-to-medium power loops it produces a medium arc that I was able to vary the length of very easily. But when you apply more power the arc flattens to a low, direct line. Once I got used to it I was able to vary the arc/trajectory quite predictably – which I noted (with some satisfaction 😊) made it a bit more difficult for my training partner to respond to.

    Loops: I think this might be the most fun blade to loop with that I’ve ever used! It feels like it holds the ball for just the right length of time to enable me to place it very accurately and with high consistency at any power level from low to high. The accuracy of this blade is an aspect I particularly enjoy. For reference: I was able to hit an A6 postcard (that's about 10cm x 15cm) on the other side of the table 4 times out of 10 attempts - and the other 6 weren't far off. I know that's not a very high percentage but, bearing in mind that I stopped playing/training competitively in the mid-1990s, it's not too bad.

    It has a little bit of flex which makes it forgiving when you’re slightly out of position or don’t execute exactly correctly – a significant benefit for those who, like me, don’t have the time to train as much as they’d like to and can’t move as fast as they could when they were younger! Another advantage of the flex is that, when you learn to control it, it produces a little bit of a catapult effect which means you can vary your shot speed without telegraphing the power shot with a big body motion.

    It doesn’t have the same level of outright ‘dynamite’ power as the Vodak Rebel Carbon OFF that I reviewed a little while ago, but it has a much greater range of controllable power which enables me to win more points – and it’s certainly not slow at the top end.

    Flicks: Fantastic. The blade is so well balanced (bear in mind that I had a slightly larger than average handle made, and also chose the 157mm x 152mm head) it’s super-quick to manoeuvre and make those micro-adjustments needed for sharp, punchy flicks. And the ‘cracking’ sound when you connect a backhand flick just right is so satisfying!

    Block: Stable, accurate, and easy to control/adjust the pace of. If you want to take the pace out of a block to unsettle your opponent’s rhythm, it’s easy to do so with this blade. Likewise, very easy to stiffen your wrist a little and produce a punch-block to change direction.

    Chop: Easy. Those of you who read my review of the Vodak Rebel Carbon OFF may remember that I struggled to master chops with it. No such challenges with the M. Hořejši ALC OFF EnTech. I found it easy to chop from near and far, and to switch from chops to loops and back again with no problems at all.

    Serve: The soft, ‘dwelly’ feel of this blade (on low impact shots) makes it easy to impart lots of spin on serves and to vary placement, angle and speed of delivery.

    Control: I don’t recall playing with any composite blade that I’ve found easier to control than this one. I think the Gewo Aruna Hinoki Carbon OFF comes closest, but I find the Vodak M. Hořejši ALC OFF EnTech even better. I suspect that has to do with the Limba outer ply (versus the Hinoki of the Aruna) which just has a more ‘definite’, precise feel. Also, the Vodak feels better balanced in my (fairly big) hand. Being able to order a larger-than-standard handle is a real upside of going with a custom blade maker.

    Overall: Overall, I think this might be the best blade (at least, the best suited to my play) I’ve ever played with. The only downside I can think of is that I don’t know how to pronounce the name of it!

    Other: I’m busy reviewing another Vodak blade – look out for that in a month or so from now.

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    #2
    Great review, thank you. I'm looking forward the coming one.

    Can you compare the blade with Viscaria and/or HL5?

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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    Great review, thank you. I'm looking forward the coming one.

    Can you compare the blade with Viscaria and/or HL5?

    Thanks - glad to hear it's helpful!

    I haven't played with HL5 so can't comment on that beyond saying that (I think) the ply construction is the same. As we all know, though, two blades with the same ply construction can feel quite different.

    Compared to Viscaria, these are the main differences that stand out to me:


    1. The Vodak Horejsi ALC has a better short/soft game. In other words, better touch on gentle and low impact shots like short pushes and serves.
    2. I personally find the Vodak gives me better control and accuracy over a greater range of power. The Viscaria is very accurate (I find) in the upper range of power, say from 65% power upwards, but a little less accurate in the mid-range. I find the Vodak gives me better control/accuracy across the full range from very gentle all the way up. A valid response to this observation would be: "You just need more training and you'll be able to control the Viscaria just as well." That's 100% true. But, as I only play recreationally these days and not competitively, I don't have the time to practice any more than I do. Thus, for a player like me with limited time, I find the Vodak allows me the most fun of any blade I've tested; I can go to the hall after not playing for a couple of weeks and, from shot number 1, put the ball almost exactly where I want it.
    3. The Viscaria delivers its power a little differently. What do I mean by that? Well, the Viscaria is harder (being an outer-fibre construction) so the feeling of imparting power to the ball is more 'immediate' - especially on the backhand. There's a more immediate 'crack' when you connect correctly. The Vodak will also give you a 'crack' if you hit it right, but the power seems to come more from a sort of 'whip/catapult' effect. I'm not talking about massive differences on this point though, as the Viscaria also has some flex to it. But the 'whip' effect feels better on the Vodak - at least to me.
    4. I think overall I'd say that the biggest difference is the comfort across a greater range of play. The Viscaria feels like a sports car that 'wants' to be driven fast all the time. The Vodak, in my hand, feels like a car that's just as comfortable on the race track as it as on a gentle Sunday afternoon drive.
    5. Oh yes, one last thing, I can't get Butterfly to make a handle size that fits my (large) hands perfectly. Vodak will. I know that sounds like a small thing - and I suppose it is - but having such a comfortable grip is really nice.

    Hope that helps!

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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    Thanks - glad to hear it's helpful!

    I haven't played with HL5 so can't comment on that beyond saying that (I think) the ply construction is the same. As we all know, though, two blades with the same ply construction can feel quite different.

    Compared to Viscaria, these are the main differences that stand out to me:
    1. The Vodak Horejsi ALC has a better short/soft game. In other words, better touch on gentle and low impact shots like short pushes and serves.
    2. I personally find the Vodak gives me better control and accuracy over a greater range of power. The Viscaria is very accurate (I find) in the upper range of power, say from 65% power upwards, but a little less accurate in the mid-range. I find the Vodak gives me better control/accuracy across the full range from very gentle all the way up. A valid response to this observation would be: "You just need more training and you'll be able to control the Viscaria just as well." That's 100% true. But, as I only play recreationally these days and not competitively, I don't have the time to practice any more than I do. Thus, for a player like me with limited time, I find the Vodak allows me the most fun of any blade I've tested; I can go to the hall after not playing for a couple of weeks and, from shot number 1, put the ball almost exactly where I want it.
    3. The Viscaria delivers its power a little differently. What do I mean by that? Well, the Viscaria is harder (being an outer-fibre construction) so the feeling of imparting power to the ball is more 'immediate' - especially on the backhand. There's a more immediate 'crack' when you connect correctly. The Vodak will also give you a 'crack' if you hit it right, but the power seems to come more from a sort of 'whip/catapult' effect. I'm not talking about massive differences on this point though, as the Viscaria also has some flex to it. But the 'whip' effect feels better on the Vodak - at least to me.
    4. I think overall I'd say that the biggest difference is the comfort across a greater range of play. The Viscaria feels like a sports car that 'wants' to be driven fast all the time. The Vodak, in my hand, feels like a car that's just as comfortable on the race track as it as on a gentle Sunday afternoon drive.
    5. Oh yes, one last thing, I can't get Butterfly to make a handle size that fits my (large) hands perfectly. Vodak will. I know that sounds like a small thing - and I suppose it is - but having such a comfortable grip is really nice.

    Hope that helps!

    Late (very late) thanks for your reply! The Viscaria works for me, it pairs well with tacky linear rubbers, I should stick to it, says the brain. Still, when I found out about the Vodák "4APC King Stiff&Spin", I was decided to go for it. Then I read this great review of yours, and suddenly I had two problems. Btw. I kind of hoped your next blade would be "4APC King" :-). And recently there is the new Vodák Vision ALC. Now I have three problems.

    Coincidentally, some time ago another player compared exactly those three blades. Here are the links to his excellent reviews:

    https://www.tt-sport.cz/index.php/fo...vision-alc-off
    https://www.tt-sport.cz/index.php/fo...tech-off#64711
    https://www.tt-sport.cz/index.php/fo...spin-off#64790

    It's in czech, so here is an approximation via the google translate:

    https://translate.google.com/transla...vision-alc-off
    https://translate.google.com/transla...4711&sandbox=1
    https://translate.google.com/transla...in-off%2364790

    And links to the source for completeness:

    https://www.vodak-dreva.cz/dreva/4-a...s-spin-off/48/
    https://www.vodak-dreva.cz/dreva/mir...alc-entech/49/
    https://www.vodak-dreva.cz/dreva/vision-alc-off/50/

    Overall, I think this might be the best blade (at least, the best suited to my play) I’ve ever played with. The only downside I can think of is that I don’t know how to pronounce the name of it!
    Something like "ho[rz]aishee", where the [rz] stands for ř, which is hard to explain - you need to hear :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9LQDTiDcrA

    Btw. translated it means something like "upper", "top" or "superior". I hope you are enjoying the blade... Thanks again.

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    Last edited by latej; 08-21-2021 at 04:30 PM.

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    #5
    Reference the VODAK 4 APC King Stiff + Spin Off.

    It's interesting that they it has 4x carbon layers in a blade that's 6mm thick. Yet it is (presumably) still within the '85% wood' rule.
    My table tennis club in Bristol, England
    http://bristol-cssc-tabletennis.weebly.com/

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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tinykin
    Reference the VODAK 4 APC King Stiff + Spin Off.

    It's interesting that they it has 4x carbon layers in a blade that's 6mm thick. Yet it is (presumably) still within the '85% wood' rule.
    Mr. Vodak says on the page that the AP-Carbon (APC) is more densely-woven (knitted?) than the ALC, and it is *softer*, and gives more even bounce and better control. These attributes made it possible to insert 4 layers.

    https://translate.google.com/transla...in-off%2F48%2F

    About the 85% wood rule - I trust it is within bounds. I tried to enhance the image and measure the APC layers, the sum of those was approx. on the 15% edge :-) I do not really worry about this, but I understand someone might...

    Somewhere I heard that the APC is to ALC, like the Super-ZLC is to ZLC. But take that with a grain of salt, I don't know the technical details of those well enough.

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    Last edited by latej; 08-21-2021 at 06:59 PM.

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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    I kind of hoped your next blade would be "4APC King" :-).
    I'm busy with the 4APC King at the moment.
    I want a few more weeks with it before I post a review, but my initial thoughts are very positive!

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    I'm busy with the 4APC King at the moment. I want a few more weeks with it before I post a review, but my initial thoughts are very positive!

    Hello, I've been playing with Vodak 4 APC King Stiff + Spin Off since January and I believe that this period was long enough to learn something about this unique blade. As its complicated name suggests, it combines stiffness with surprisingly high support for rotation – in gentle, slow moves ball remains on paddle, so player has enough time to specify speed, rotation and ball placement.

    It’s basic speed isn’t very high, someone could see it as Off-, but it could provide significant acceleration based on player’s needs – in powerspins it could be as fast as Viscaria or Boll ALC. One reputable Czech reviewer said that “it has unlimited gear”, with nicely predictable speed change – there’s no unwanted kicks or wild catapult – blade is very friendly and “communicative”. I meant that response (of ball contact) going to your hand is very strict and precise.

    Feel of this blade is quite soft (almost like some blades with outer plies made from hinoki), so playing short game is very comfortable.

    4APC King is excellent in blocking, smashing and serve returns due to its stiffness. However, unlike other stiff blades, it allows you to play variable loop play, so it could be used by aggressive alround players as well as pure offensive attackers.

    I have only issue with defensive play (chops, attempts to slow opponent’s attack) – if my opponent attacks me hard, King Stiff simply wants to response with the same speed or higher

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by leos.flodr
    It’s basic speed isn’t very high, someone could see it as Off-, but it could provide significant acceleration based on player’s needs – in powerspins it could be as fast as Viscaria or Boll ALC. One reputable Czech reviewer said that “it has unlimited gear”, with nicely predictable speed change – there’s no unwanted kicks or wild catapult – blade is very friendly and “communicative”. I meant that response (of ball contact) going to your hand is very strict and precise.
    I've been thinking about the construction and what would interest me most is following. Let's say you are doing FH loops (usual warm-up) and you vary the power from say 30-40% up to 80-90% (where 100% is for loop-kill). I know how this feels with Viscaria, and you know how this feels with both blades. Would you say that with 4APC King there is some gap in response close to some power-point? In some other review I vaguely remember a sentence containing something like "when the second APC layer activates" - like if this was feel-able. You say the reviewer said "predictable speed change", so I assume he meant there would be no real gap in response. But still, with Viscaria I don't even have to "predict" the speed-change (well it may just be because I'm used to it). It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about it, and how would you describe the difference in those two blades in this exercise.

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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    I've been thinking about the construction and what would interest me most is following. Let's say you are doing FH loops (usual warm-up) and you vary the power from say 30-40% up to 80-90% (where 100% is for loop-kill). I know how this feels with Viscaria, and you know how this feels with both blades. Would you say that with 4APC King there is some gap in response close to some power-point? In some other review I vaguely remember a sentence containing something like "when the second APC layer activates" - like if this was feel-able. You say the reviewer said "predictable speed change", so I assume he meant there would be no real gap in response. But still, with Viscaria I don't even have to "predict" the speed-change (well it may just be because I'm used to it). It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about it, and how would you describe the difference in those two blades in this exercise.
    Well, I wouldn't say that there's a any gap in response in case of King Stiff. I always have the feeling that I am the one who has the last word about ball speed, placement and rotation - King behaves more like friendly, communicative partner, giving you always a good response.
    For example, all-wood version of Vodak's Horejsi EnTech, behaves differently - it has some point (let's say about 75% of power) and it accelerate very quickly when you reach the point. The change in behavior is more unpredictable in case of Horejsi (without ALC) comparing to King Stiff, whose acceleration is much more linear.
    If I have to remember to Viscaria (it was like 3 years ago when I played with her), I always fell like it was really offensive blade - like when driver is permanently aware of strong, dynamic engine in his sport car. I was more careful about power with Viscaria (of course, stepping far from table and try to some loop rallies - it was pure pleasure with this blade), namely in short game. So, there were no unpleasant surprises during play with Viscaria - no kick, no strange change of acceleration - Viscaria enables very consistent play, but it was quick, offensive blade - perhaps too quick for my slow feet and hands 😁 I have similar experience with Xiom Stradivarius - I lost my certainty close to the table, but loops from middle distance was really nicely controllable.
    BTW I was more comfortable with Boll ALC than I was with Viscaria, and I couldn't explain why - maybe it was different weight balance (I liked Boll's balance) or perhaps my Viscaria wasn't ideal specimen - one side had damaged top layer. Anyway, with Boll I am more confident - like: "Yeah, it is a quick blade, but I could control it even in higher speed." Perhaps this is just a mistake made by a not-experienced hobby player 😀
    Comparing briefly King with Viscaria: King definitely supports wider scale of play and speed, it provides more control in lighter strokes and short games. However, Viscaria is better for pure offensive game, based on consistent loops - it requires better technique and movement.
    I hope that it helps you.

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    Last edited by leos.flodr; 4 Weeks Ago at 03:20 PM. Reason: typos

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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by leos.flodr
    ... in case of King Stiff. I always have the feeling that I am the one who has the last word about ball speed, placement and rotation - King behaves more like friendly, communicative partner, giving you always a good response.
    ... acceleration is much more linear.
    ... Comparing briefly King with Viscaria: King definitely supports wider scale of play and speed, it provides more control in lighter strokes and short games. However, Viscaria is better for pure offensive game, based on consistent loops - it requires better technique and movement.
    Agree 100%.

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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    The Viscaria delivers its power a little differently. What do I mean by that? Well, the Viscaria is harder (being an outer-fibre construction) so the feeling of imparting power to the ball is more 'immediate' - especially on the backhand. There's a more immediate 'crack' when you connect correctly. The Vodak will also give you a 'crack' if you hit it right, but the power seems to come more from a sort of 'whip/catapult' effect. I'm not talking about massive differences on this point though, as the Viscaria also has some flex to it. But the 'whip' effect feels better on the Vodak - at least to me.
    I can relate to that. Viscaria is somewhat shallow, in a sense. Looking forward what will be your opinion on 4APC King in this "power/whip" regard. Well, and any other, as a matter of fact.

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    #13
    Here is my first review of Vodak blades .
    I am advanced player in Czech rep., I play TT more as 40 years, my hobby in table tennis is to check blades properties.

    VODAK 4 APC King Stiff + Spin Off

    Intro:
    This blade since its inroduction has in zcech comunity great response. Mr. Vodak developed this blade for 3 years and this blade is flag ship from whole collection company VODAK.
    Technology , chemistry and alchemy
    By this blade are used many technologicaly tweaks. King has 9 composite layers , 4 composite layers and 5 wooden layers. Outer and third ply Limba . core kiri. Second and fourth ply is APC. Composite APC is not so strong as classic ALC composite and is woven denser as ALC , similary as Super ZLC composite.. It is used in 2. and 4. Place of blade , also blade has 4 composit layers.
    This unique construction together with 2 arts of glueing give of this blade unique behaviors. This Blade has by the shot with low energy low basic speed , high dwell time, but in the same time „acceleration unit“ due connecting second composite into play by more powered shot .
    Design
    All handles from comp. VODAK are confortable , concave variant is little bit „wide“ similary as Xiom wide concave, not to small.. . For handledesign is used ovangkol , known from guitar industry , with nice wood lines .
    Dimensions
    blade 150x157mm, thickness 6mm.

    Layers: limba-APC-limba-APC-kiri- APC-limba-APC-limba
    Playing impressions:
    Forehand trubbers DHS Skyline 3-60 H37, later Yinhe Big Dipper 4 H40 , backhand rubber Dawei 388C-1 1,2mm.

    This blade is IMHO unique , i tis not alternative in the market. Due design with 4 composite layers and special glueing this blade behaves like two different blades. By touch schots it behaves as All+ blade , for example very stiff Spark , Controled , middle speed , softfeel. I tis not problém to make short serve , controled fine touch precise block , . By more powered shots , vhen is in play second APC layer , is born volf in sheeps clothing. Blade appreciably add speed , arc is little bit lower , speed is going to lever blade Viscaria. Feel is still soft , but not so much as by „touch“ regime. It has many practikal advantages:
    1. Blade is better controled for middle level player , but in the some time is possibility to play hard.
    2. It is possible to play with dynamic rubbers , wich was for you not controlled (for example Tenergiees , Dignics)
    3. By this all properties is blade stiff and linear. I tis very good for precise block and counter .

    BTW – one of my sparring asked me for this blade by testing , he wanted the biggest control by blocking my hard topspins in our small area..
    4.Blade is very good in rotations game. Due construction and glueing has this blade reasonably good dwell time and his reaction on incoming ball is predictable.

    Playing style:
    Blade is good for aggressive style , but i tis best IMHO in allround offensive style .

    VODAK 4 APC King Stiff + Spin Off against BTY Viscaria
    Stiffnes – higher (but not as Primo carbon)
    Feel - softer Speed – not so high , by power shots the same
    Catapult- lower
    Hardness – little bit less
    Arc – the same
    Precissnes - higher
    Topspin - more dispensable
    Blocking , smash – more precise
    Servis – the same quality
    Aggressivness – not so high
    Recommended rubbers – very wide options scale

    Conclusion:
    KingSpin is very stable , balanced and technologicaly avanced blade. It is good for player any level , it is better for player lower levels as classic ALC blade. Biggest advantage is its moving speed characteristic , wich gives by play wide scale options .
    Last edited by MartyC; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:17 PM.
    VODAK Diolen "MartyC" custom FL , Yinhe Big Dipper H38 max , Dr. Neubauer K.O. 1,3mm

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by leos.flodr
    Well, I wouldn't say that there's a any gap in response in case of King Stiff...
    ...For example, all-wood version of Vodak's Horejsi EnTech, behaves differently - it has some point (let's say about 75% of power) and it accelerate very quickly when you reach the point. The change in behavior is more unpredictable in case of Horejsi (without ALC) comparing to King Stiff, whose acceleration is much more linear...
    ...I hope that it helps you.
    Thank you very much, very valuable. The point in time when I will, for a short moment, be in accordance with the TTGods rule #20, is coming. These blades are intriguing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyC
    Here is my first review of Vodak blades .
    Hi MartyC, thank you for the excellent reviews. Really amazing that you compared exactly those 3 blades I got interested in, with Viscaria which I play now.
    Last edited by latej; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:43 PM.

  15. TIME is offline
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    #15
    Does Vodak sell to buyers from the USA? I tried to purchase a blade from their website, but it would not complete because it would not recognize my USA phone number.

  16. latej is offline
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by TIME
    Does Vodak sell to buyers from the USA? I tried to purchase a blade from their website, but it would not complete because it would not recognize my USA phone number.
    It's best to arrange for that via email. Sending goods to USA from our country generally is not a problem.

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    TIME

    Last edited by latej; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:49 AM.

  17. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
    Elite TTD Member 1,383 598
    #17
    Did someone here maybe asked for this Long like structure but with APC?
    WTB Butterfly Ovtcharov and Yasaka Atletico Power, PM me if you want to sell one.

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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuba Hajto
    Did someone here maybe asked for this Long like structure but with APC?
    Hi Kuba, moving in to here from the PM. What you ask is interesting, it didn't occur to me (probably because I was already stepping a bit down from Viscaria), but it is somehow logical given there is Horejsi (all wood) and Horejsi ALC. I would expect the version with APC to be somewhere in between. I personally am happy and don't want to make any change, but I am sure Mr. Vodak would do such blade for you with pleasure. Whether or not he already tried - best ask him directly.

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