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    1. Top | #1
      nexy is offline
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      Hinoki deeper study

      HINOKI - deeper study

      I feel sorry for the people who waited to meet the next article sooner than today.
      But I decided to keep on writing maybe one time in a week, becaue this writing needs lots of energy and time.

      Today, I'm gonna write more about Hinoki material, because I found out this material is the least known wood for players outside of Korean and Japan.
      Recently, I received a mail asking about Hinoki one-ply blade, and he was not satisfied with the price I gave to him.
      And I explained why the price is so high, and he replied with apologies.
      So, I thought maybe I need to give one more writing about Hinoki material, to help people outside of Korean market to understand it better.




      1. Character

      When hinoki is used for the surface of a blade, as Iwrote in the before article, it makes the player feel that the ball sticks to the blade. If your swing movement is fast, then you will feel that the ball will follow the whole arch of the blade's trajectory.

      Hinoki feels different from other material in that point. So, you can make a effective top spin shot even thought you hit the ball very light. The ball follows the blade, and it goes very slowly, but with big spin, and it looks that really flies too slow to be visible.

      Many Koreans can do this kiond of slow but spinny looping, because they have been playing with Hinoki for many decades, and we call it "fake loop", because sometimes the ball comes after the blade, due to it's slow speed. If your arm moves very fast, and the ball is hit very slightly, then the ball flies after the blade has finished the whole swing, and everybody can see the ball flies slowly after the blade. It’s very awesome moment, because it takes away the expected timing for the opponent, and sometimes even the opponent block the ball with right timing, still the ball is too slow and weak, the ball doesn’t react to the usual way, and it creeps onto the rubber of the opponent’s blade, and goes high making the other player struck by unusual surprise.

      So, this is one factor I like hinoki material. It’s good to make the ball follow the blade.
      But on the contrary, it’s also harmful for a player to learn fast and powerful looping skill.
      In Korea, it was not hard to see people making only “fake loop” instead of normal powerful loop, because it’s fantastic to feel how it works. But sooner or later, that kind of style will be defeated by a higher level player with big disappointment and purplexity. If the other player knows well when to block with what angle, that kind of style can not win against him. So, it’s not good if a player wants to upgrade his level.

      Anyway, I think there could be some people interested in this kind of “fake loop”.
      I used to do it, when I played with one-ply hinoki, but now I lost it.
      I hope I can show it some day with movie clip, if possible.

      There is another distinction you can easily feel when you use Hinoki on the surface.
      If you block the ball with Hinoki surface, it’s really good to control the length of the ball.
      If you push down your blade with good angle loosening the power, then the ball will go very short.
      It’s very sensitive moment to enjoy. You can feel how the ball touches your hinoki surface, and to go back with stable trajectory.
      The blocked ball moves in a very stable way, because the trajectory is higher and in good control.
      It will not be very aggressive, but you can feel comfortable, and you will feel the you hold the control of the returning ball.

      I think this is very fascinating factor, and that’s the true merit of Hinoki surface.
      This factor also comes from the first factor that hinoki feels sticky.





      2. demerits of hinoki

      Yes, there are lots of demerits in Hinoki. It’s not a magic material.

      The first thing is, once you are accustomed to this material, you will not be comfortable with other materials any longer, because Hinoki has it’s distictive swing trajectory.
      When you are good with Hinoki, then it changes little by little your swing movement as it wants.
      You happen to fold your upper arm faster, and will get better speed and impact, but the angle of the blade can be little bit different from others.
      You might become faster, but you lose some general movement, which goes all right to most other players.
      I can say this way, because I’ve gone through the same, while I study what’s the difference between hinoki and other material.

      And another demerits will be price.
      Hinoki material is extremely expensive.

      Let’s start with the brief history of one-ply hinoki blade with Japanese penholder grip.
      Most Korean and Japanese players used to play with Japanese penholder grip.
      And that style is totally different from normal shake hand users.

      Most popular blades were one-ply hinoki, and if a player wants to have enough speed, it should be around 10mm thick.
      So, one-ply thick hinoki plate is needed for production.
      But if you use that hinoki plate, then it needs to come from one hinoki trunk. It can not be glued from different pieces.

      If you look at hinoki material, there are vertical lines.
      Each line comes from one year, because it is made according to the speed of growth.
      When it’s warm, it grows fast, but in winter, it’s speed is slow.
      So, when it grows slow, it gives darker color, which results in darker line we can notify.

      Normally, one blade needs a width which takes up around 150~200 lines.
      If a tree is 100 old, then it will have 200 lines; 100 lines from center to each other end.
      So, we can say that if we want to make a blade without jointing pieces, then the mother tree at least need to be older than 100 years.
      But it’s not only about width.
      If a tree is 100 years old, then the blade will be only soft, not very speedy.
      Young part is softer and weaker.
      And old part is harder and more solid.

      If a blade is made from big old tree, around 300~400 years old, then we can cut one blade from out part, and another in the middle, and the best one in the center.
      So, it depends on the width of a tree how we can get the hinoki plate of which we make a blade.

      By the way, all those old and big trees are getting smaller and smaller in their numbers, so recently the price of raw material is growing up high seedily.

      When we see the blade, hinoki blades can be categorized by several factors.


      ( 1) Are they soft and weak? Or hard?

      If they are soft, then they are from young tree or from the inside of old tree. If they are from young tree, then their price can be cheaper, but if they are from old tree’s center part, their price is priceless. But in fact, they are not very different. Actually, a blade made of the inner part of a big and old tree is almost the same from the one from young tree.

      Recently, the price of the blade from that old tree’s center part is two or three times higher than several years’ ago. But I think the difference is not very wide from the one cut from young tree, if we are making a several plies’ shake hand blades. And mostly I use that soft part for my blades. But still that material’s price is very expensive compared with other surface material, and that’s one reason I can not sell my hinoki surface blades cheaper.

      There are several brands using American or Taiwanese hinoki, but those are not expensive at all, and the character is very different. Taiwanese hinoki is heavier than Japanese Kiso Hinoki, and the function is very different, and I don’t think it’s good surface material.


      (2) Do they have vertical lines with constant distance, or else lines are getting wider into one direction?

      If a material is cut exactly on the center, then the lines will get wider into both directions. If not, it should get wider from one side to the other end. Normally, it’s not easy to find all the lines keep the same distance, because young parts close to the outer are wider and also the part headed to south gets more wider than the part headed to north. So, normally, a blade can not keep the same width over the whole lines on the blade.

      For long years, many Korean people have known that narrower lines mean better blade, but I found that it’s not always correct. If lines are narrow, then it means they are hard, which is not good for all round play. If a player wants to have a big “bang impact”, then it has to keep modest softness, if not, the ball does not stay some due moments needed for that “bang impact”.


      (3) Are they heavy or light?

      Now I think you already know the answer. If the material from inner part or from younger tree, they tend to be light. Any way, that’s why expensive blades are light. Most expensive blades are cut from the inner part of an old tree, and they are soft and light, so some brands are making them 10.5mm thick, not 10.0, because they need to cover that lightness by thicker material.


      (4) Are they brown or white?

      Hinoki has it's typical color.
      Some are very whilte, and in that case, most blades are from inner part. If a blade is brown, it normally means that are from outer part of a big tree, which is more expensive than the part from young tree.
      Any way, you can picture the fuction by their color also.





      3. How I designed Nexy’s Hinoki surface blades.


      Ok, up to here, I’ve been reporting general information about Hinoki blades.
      But more important thing for me is how I designed my nexy blades.
      I used expensive and qualified Japanese Hinoki materials on my several blades.
      So, I will explain one by one, how I intended to make them.


      Dexter

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      Hannibal


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      Oscar


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      Color


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      Regarding all those Hinoki surface blades, I prefer to use soft material.
      If I use hard surface, then the total character will be different.
      But with my brand NEXY, specially with all these Hinoki blades, I decided to show what’s NEXY’s character.
      It should be harmonized, and well balanced.

      With this soft material, I needed to use little bit thicker outer ply, than other general hinoki surface blades.
      In many cases, Hinoki surface is around or thinner than 0.5mm, by which it’s not easy to get “bang impact” effect.
      If that thin Hinoki surface is possible to make speedy top spin shot, then it will not guarantee enough “staying moment” needed for “bang impact”.

      So, I chose to use soft hinoki, but thicker than 0.5mm.
      And I calculated in each blades how to harmonize that thickness with other plies.

      Among those 4 blades, specially Hannibal and Oscar’s hinoki is softer.
      I use very soft material for both blade, because I need to empower better feelings onto that blades, which are mixed with artificial materials.

      If you look at generally well known hinoki carbon blades, they are using 0.5mm or 1.0mm hinoki surface.
      But if it’s 0.5mm, the ball is too bouncy, and if it’s 1.0mm, you don’t have good feeling onto your hand.
      But I solved these seemingly incompatible problems with soft, but thicker hinoki, matching with light and bouncy center ply(which I don’t want to tell).

      So, when you play with Hannibal, you will be surprised to know that this blade is very soft and it grabs the ball inwardly deep as well as very soft and light.
      With this softness, you can feel the balance between fast carbon layer and soft touch of Hinoki out ply.

      With Oscar, I spent the whole year and a half only for extreme natural feelings, which was not seemed to be attainable with arylate carbon ply.
      I studied every possible chances mixing different thickness for surface, and that was the time when I was sure that I decided to consummate the constitution of Oscar as it is now.
      I used not too thick but thick enough to carry good feeling and power needed for this well balanced blade.


      Regarding Dexter, I thought I would open my new brand by something surprising and outstanding, too different from all other 5-ply blades to overlook. So the result is most speedy 5 ply hinoki blade, DEXTER.
      If I used other material for Dexter, then the blade will not be catching the ball enough to make spinny shots.
      But I chose Hinoki for the surface, by which, you can make spinny shots when you make a good impact on it.

      By the way, I think if your swing movement is not speedy as normal Asian players, then you will not be able to think that this blade has good spin, though.
      So, I thought I had to make another one, with better spin and good balance, and that became the reason for my next blade “COLOR”, which became a big attractive item for many players as you can see here.


      <<<<<< Blade: Nexy Color FL (5-ply wood)
      Speed: 8.0
      Control: 9.0
      Feel: Med-Soft
      Weight: 93 grams
      Rubbers:
      FH: Dawei Inspirit Quattro Ultralight Red 2.0 40 degs (regular)
      BH: Dawei Inspirit Quattro Ultralight Black 1.8 40 degs (regular)
      Total weight: 184 g

      General comments:

      Blade seems pretty light but actually is rather heavy - 93-94 grams!

      It is very well crafted, quality is superb. For a price of around 70 US dollars (75000 Korean won) it seems to be quite a piece of art. I put double edge tape on it to protect the edges - let's hope it will be absolutely intact when the testing is over. I almost wanted to frame it and hang it on the wall...

      It has 5 plies - real Japanese Cypress (Hinoki) on the relatively thin outer plies and Ayous for the central ply, but two other outer layers (the ones directly underneath the surface Hinoki layers) are horizontally-laid Spruce to make the blade a bit faster while still retaining very good control.

      The unpainted side feels extremely smooth - probably some varnish was used there. Same on the painted side but then the picture of the colorful splash was painted on top of the sealant, i assume...

      Review:

      Had about an hour of playing with the blade. First impression is that it is rather springy, with some noticeable flex. Almost no vibration. Despite its medium-thin thickness (approximately 6 mm) it has absolutely no problem returning the ball from even 10 feet away from the table - while doing that with IQUL 1.8 which by itself is not a very springy rubber at this thickness. Pleasant surprise.

      Almost from the first minute I realized that I could play it rather comfortably - some blades take really long time getting used to. Color isn't one of those. I played an opponent with whom we lately have had very close matches usually ending 3-2, and I managed to beat her 3-2 with this completely new blade and with the rubbers which I haven't played in 6 months. That says something!

      I would say it is an OFF- or OFF blade, softness/hardness in the middle of the range.

      Balance was shifted a bit into the handle and as a consequence the blade felt a little light when smashing but that can be easily attributed to the lightness of the rubbers - the blade itself, as I said before, weighs 93 g.

      I will play some more and then probably switch the rubbers to something a bit thicker. The next set will probably be Gambler Aces Pro 2.2 (FH) and LKT Rapid Soft 2.2 (BH).

      Improvements:

      Handle feels just a tad smaller than I am used to, but that is really nothing to gripe about. One can always add a thin layer of grip. >>>>>>



      Ok, I think there could be a lot more to say, but it will be too much for me to write more.
      So, I will write if I find some more in the next article.

      Please, write anything unclear for you.
      I will try my best to answer, if you have questions.

      Thank you for reading all through.
      It was not short today again.

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    3. Top | #2
      Der_Echte is offline
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      The older Korean gents who use Hinoke blades are simply EVIL, pure evil to their opponents haha. Good stuff Pr. Moon.

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      strangeloop is offline
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      Very informative! Thank you. I guess good opponents will adjust to your speed and spin quickly. A fascinating post about Hinoki and its characteristics, nevertheless.

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      revulucao is offline
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      great information!

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      strangeloop is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by nexy View Post
      There are several brands using American or Taiwanese hinoki, but those are not expensive at all, and the character is very different. Taiwanese hinoki is heavier than Japanese Kiso Hinoki, and the function is very different, and I don’t think it’s good surface material.
      Can you specifically expand on this? Which type of Hinoki has what characteristics? How are they different? What does Nexy use in its blades?

    9. Top | #6
      Knuckle Ball is offline
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      I use an Adidas V1.3 5 ply with Hinoki top. So that's why it feels different, in a pleasant kind of way than all my other blades. A different feel and like more sense of control. I'm not eloquent enough to describe it in words, but it feels nice.

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    11. Top | #7
      Loopadoop is offline
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      Hinoki outer surface with a balsa core is a great combo for a long pips paddle.

    12. Top | #8
      langel is offline
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      Best review! Thank you.

      "If your arm moves very fast, and the ball is hit very slightly, then the ball flies after the blade has finished the whole swing, and everybody can see the ball flies slowly after the blade. It’s very awesome moment, because it takes away the expected timing for the opponent, and sometimes even the opponent block the ball with right timing, still the ball is too slow and weak, the ball doesn’t react to the usual way, and it creeps onto the rubber of the opponent’s blade, and goes high making the other player struck by unusual surprise."

      Absolutely right, when I happen to do such a shot, the opponent usually ask me if I had hit the ball with my elbow.

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    14. Top | #9
      bobpuls is offline
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      Nice..... But anyway I think is a little bit overrated.
      When is so great like this article say.... Then why is poorly used with top players?. Anyway nice pr stuff.
      Last edited by bobpuls; 11-28-2017 at 03:06 AM.

    15. Top | #10
      UpSideDownCarl is offline
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      There was a time when Hinoki was very in vogue with the top players. I think there are two main reasons it went out of vogue.

      1) When you are in a long match and sweat a lot, Hinoki absorbs the sweat more than most woods and the sweat totally changes the playing characteristics of the blade until the sweat evaporates again. So, your in this long match and you are dripping sweat, and your blade starts feeling and responding totally differently. Slower. Too much flex. Less kick.

      2) The best Hinoki blades are 1 ply and 10mm thick or thicker. This worked much better in the old days for traditional penholders who only used rubber on one side so they could get away with having a ridiculously heavy 10mm thick blade.

      Watch Ryu Seung Min in his prime. He is using a 1 ply Hinoki blade. Look at how it helps how he plays.
      Spin Everything.

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    17. Top | #11
      NextLevel is online now
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      Primorac Carbon is a Cypress/Hinoki outer ply, as are Amultart, Garaydia, Iolite, Schlager Carbon, Gergely etc.

      All those blades did fine. IT all comes down to vogue and some players prefer the harder contact of koto, limba etc.
      Cobra Kai TT Exponent - No mercy in this dojo, no matter your rating or the score. All spin, no power or footwork.

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      I notice similar design-strategies to my own, so that's interesting to read. However I agree with bobpuls that hinoki is over rated.

      Cutting down trees that take several hundred years to grow, to make table tennis bats, is also something I can't approve of.

      But interesting read either way. Thanks for sharing.
      Currently working on lightweight, offensive blades with all-wood feeling.

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    21. Top | #13
      Suga D is offline
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      Ok, let´s play a game then:

      How would one call judging over something without knowing about it or in this case without having played with it?

      Bingo! The answer is correct. The word we´ve been looking for is: PREJUDICE
      200 pts. each for our candidates.
      Instrument of choice:
      Blade: Afrobro´s custom made handcrafted 5ply Hinoki
      FH: DHS Hurricane 3 Neo
      Provincial Blue Sponge

      BH: BTY Tenergy 05

      Backup instrument:
      Blade: Nittaku Combi Wood Attack
      FH: DHS Hurricane 3 Neo
      National Blue Sponge
      BH: BTY Tenergy 05


      Backspin for Backspin even while I'm rappin' (Lord Doitall - Lords of the Underground)

      糖 迪
      :-)

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    23. Top | #14
      bobpuls is offline
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      My first blade a really old one 30 + years old has hinoki top ply ... I keep it from nostalgia .... is my speed reference blade ...

    24. Top | #15
      Suga D is offline
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      Errr... did you fully read (and more importantly: did you also understand) OP's post?

      No offence.
      I'm asking because a blade with a Hinoki top ply and inner plies from different wood types will feel quite different compared to an all Hinoki blade.

      To really be able to tell HOW Hinoki feels you should try one. It's really nice. Whenever you get the chance it's worth trying it.

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    26. Top | #16
      bobpuls is offline
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      op post is pure advert .... but i agree

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      Makelele (01-13-2018)

    28. Top | #17
      richrf is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by MDP View Post
      I notice similar design-strategies to my own, so that's interesting to read. However I agree with bobpuls that hinoki is over rated.

      Cutting down trees that take several hundred years to grow, to make table tennis bats, is also something I can't approve of.

      But interesting read either way. Thanks for sharing.
      Memo to TT marketing departments: not a good idea advertising that you are destroying 200 year old trees for sport and as an advertising gimmick. Not everyone believes it is a great idea.
      Last edited by richrf; 11-28-2017 at 08:50 PM.

    29. Top | #18
      MDP is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Suga D View Post
      Ok, let´s play a game then:

      How would one call judging over something without knowing about it or in this case without having played with it?

      Bingo! The answer is correct. The word we´ve been looking for is: PREJUDICE
      200 pts. each for our candidates.
      I'm not sure if you're referring to my post or not, but here goes. I don't claim to have played with every hinoki blade out there, but I have played with a few with different types of usage of hinoki. These were not 30 year old 10mm thick one ply penhold blades. I allso don't know which part of the tree the wood came from etc.

      Did they play bad? No. Are all the stories about this magical fairy wood true? No.
      The OP goes into this aswell in his post, but the extraordinary legendary status of this wood still remains. Part of it is probably as with many TT-equipment, that people want to believe the hype (aka being overrated). Another part of it is probably because of the scarcity and age of trees being cut (which doesn't automatically make it a better product). Both these aspects are things I'm not very fond of for various reasons!

      On a final note: Calling someone on the internet you don't really know prejudiced, shows you're a bit prejudiced yourself btw. Everyone has his/her opinion based on his/her experiences. If you're a big fan of hinoki and can point out why this wood is completely not overrated, I'm glad to read your story.

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      yoass (11-29-2017)

    31. Top | #19
      MDP is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by richrf View Post
      Memo to TT marketing departments: not a good idea advertising that you are destroying 200 year old trees for sport and as an advertising gimmick. Not everyone believes it is a great idea.
      Haha good one. It adds to the whole myth about it though. Like a magical sword cast out of metal from a meteorite or something.

      In my own little experiments I'm looking for eco-friendly durable woods to build blades. Come to think of it, I'd better copyright that stuff in case the big brands decide to go 'green' in the future

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      yoass (11-29-2017)

    33. Top | #20
      NextLevel is online now
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      Quote Originally Posted by MDP View Post
      Haha good one. It adds to the whole myth about it though. Like a magical sword cast out of metal from a meteorite or something.

      In my own little experiments I'm looking for eco-friendly durable woods to build blades. Come to think of it, I'd better copyright that stuff in case the big brands decide to go 'green' in the future
      I am fairly sure there are already eco-friendly blades - too late but nice try.

    34. The Following 2 Users Like NextLevel's Post:

      OldschoolPenholder (12-01-2017),Suga D (11-29-2017)

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