Need opinions on Hinoki blades

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Prologue
Sometime back I switched from a very fast setup to a slow one and the results have been good so far. My win rate in tournament has improved to 67%. Compared to the last season (Dutch NTTB class 5) where my win rate was 62%, this season at one level higher (class 4), it is currently 67% so, I'm quite satisfied with the results so far. I believe that one of the major reason for my improvement is the slow setup that I use now; the combination is:
Neottec Vodoo Classic with Nittaku FastArc G1 (FH) and Neottec X5-M (BH) rubbers. Both rubbes in medium thickness.

The slow setup gives me a lot of confidence, and I'm able to keep more and more balls on the table and I'm able to survive longer rallies. However, I think that my current setup is still fast for me. "Neottec Vodoo Classic" is a 5-ply all wood blade and is advertised as "OFF" category. While I'm trying to improve by training, I also started looking for a blade that provides good feeling. I searched a little more and my understanding at the moment is that HINOKI ply might be a very good fit. One blade that really caught my attention is "Nittaku Septear"; an All-Hinoki 7-ply blade. This blade is completely different than my current blade, 5 layers vs 7, 5.9mm thickness vs 6.7mm, blade composition etc. I'm a topspin oriented player and play close (but not so close like a blocker would do) to somewhat away from the table. I also want to continue using the grippy Japanese rubbers and hence now wondering if this would be indeed a good fit for me. My current blade is good, but It does have some shortcomings, such as the feeling is "Okay-ish". If from, what I've described is a question about seeking for a ply composition that provides better dwell time, then, Do you recommend this 7-ply all Hinoki blade (Nittaku Septear) ?
 
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I haven't played myself with a Septear. From what I've read it seems to be a good and fast blade (Off- to Off) like most/all Nittaku blades.
The Voodoo Classic seems to have a classical construction (Limba, Limba, Ayous, Limba, Limba) like Butterfly Primorac and Korbel.
If you want to try how a blade with Hinoki outer plies plays you could try a Cornilleau Hinotec All+ or Off- (Hinoki, Limba, Ayous, Limba, Hinoki).
Only difference between the All+ and Off- is the overall thickness. All+ 5.7 mm and Off- 6.0 mm. The Off- especially heavier ones can be quite fast high Off- to low Off.
 
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Here are my suggestions:

1. Darker 7p-2a, a 7ply all-hinoki blade, 6,5 mm thick (off-). This is a moderately fast blade with a very good feel. It would pair very well with your rubbers.

2. Darker 5p-2a 5ply, a hinoki-hybrid blade (has two lindenwood plies next to the core), 6,5mm thick, it plays a bit faster and more direct than the 7p-2a. It's in the off range. I have played it for three years.

I have never played with the Septear, but it must be good, too. It's cheaper than the Darker blades. Keep your hands off of the Darker 7p-2a.7t which is a 7mm thick all-hinoki blade. It's very fast, has a very high throw and is very, very bouncy. Not good for close to table strategies.

Another option could also be the the Darker 7p-2a Carbon, which is an innerforce 5+2 blade ( 5x hinoki, 2x carbon). I play this blade myself. It is not very fast (although one might think so), lower end of off, I would say. It's very spinny, has a fantastic feel and is very controlled. The downside is its price! Compared 5p-2a I would say that it is better for blocking since it has less bounce. I play close to the table myself and this blade is extremely good for that, if one likes the soft feeling of hinoki. Of course one also has to keep in mind which rubbers one uses. I play with Skyline 3 Prov Bs on forehand and T05Fx on backhand, so this is a very controlled set up.
 
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I’m afraid the change from limba to hinoki may take too much time to adjust, even if the speed classification may appear in the same ballpark of OFF/OFF-

The hinoki catapult is unique to any other wood imo, there are way more gears (especially if it is Kiso Hinoki variety) which takes countless hours to even start recognising. I.e. to spot it is not so much technique related as to how the wood interacts at different speed and spin inputs/outputs.

Particularly if you are currently advanced enough to counterloop using limba, which many agree feels in comparison more “dead” giving the feeling of more dwell.

By all means you should try before you buy, just giving you my experience to what to expect.

I would personally advise you to keep within limba family. Within Nittaku, why not Acoustic?

FYI - I played with Septear for 2-3 years before changing to Xiom Zetro Quad once the plastic ball came in. Not having as much time to practice as I used to, I’ve since converted to Koto (Vis structure) finding the lesser gears much more agreeable and less frustrating in defense stability / counterattacking.
 
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I’m afraid the change from limba to hinoki may take too much time to adjust, even if the speed classification may appear in the same ballpark of OFF/OFF-

The hinoki catapult is unique to any other wood imo, there are way more gears (especially if it is Kiso Hinoki variety) which takes countless hours to even start recognising. I.e. to spot it is not so much technique related as to how the wood interacts at different speed and spin inputs/outputs.

Even if only the outer ply is Hinoki one can feel the difference to blades with otherwise the same construction. That's why I suggested the Hinotec series from Cornilleau instead of pure Hinoki blades.
I've also played with both the FastArc G-1 and the Neottec X5 (S vs M but should be close enough) which are not the most liveliest rubbers and these are or should be a good fit (only tried X5 on my Hinotec) to blades which are a bit more livelier.

By all means you should try before you buy, just giving you my experience to what to expect.

Definitely. At least the Hinotecs are not that expensive to try. E.g. https://www.tischtennis.biz/cornilleau-hoelzer/hinotec/cornilleau-hinotec-all-konkav-konkav.html currently selling for 39.90€
 

ZFT

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Agree, suggesting Hinotec sounds like a good entry point and closer to what OP is familiar with.

Danger with this is if it doesn’t suit might unleash another EJ 😂
 
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There can only be one.

Get the thickest most badass one ply hinoki of pure goodness. You'll never want another. Once you go pure Hinoki, you'll never go back.
54068000%20F8FF%204EDE%2096B4%2005099313BD34%20jpeg.jpeg
 
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You could try SDC, Sergio will be able to make up a blade that has Hinoki outer ply combined with inner ply's that will bring the speed into the range that you are looking for.
He made one for me a year or so ago with Hinoki top ply, from memory the frequency of the blade (relates to base speed) was around 1050 - 1070Hz which is fairly slow.

Another blade I used with hinoki was Joola TPE Perform. this has carbon and is faster. I'm not sure if it is still in production. but it is a very nice blade.

Personally, I like Hinoki, and never really had any issues with it.
 
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Hi Amit,
The Septear I play is OFF more than OFF-. I've been through several different blades but for me it has incredible "feeling", more so than any other blade I have used inc. Rossi Emotion, and Barwell Fleet which are both noted for their Feel. It is a bit faster than both of these but very controllable and because of the strong Feel/Control it helps generate confidence in play. It is slightly head heavy and the handle is on the slim side for some, but I recommend it fully if the OFF speed will be ok for you. You could always slow the set up with rubber adjustment of course.
The Septear is good with Med Hard to Hard rubbers. Fastarc G-1 is great on it (Max more spinny than Super Thick imo.)
If you want a slower Nittaku Hinoki but also with inner carbon, there is the "Septear feel Inner" which I tried and really liked too.
The TPE Perform is great blade but noticeably harder than the Septear due to the heat treated Hinoki.
Good Luck.......
 
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If you want an even slower setup, why don't you try replacing the Fastarc G1 with Hurricane 3 Neo. You'd be using tabletennis11s favorite setups. Alternatively have you tried flipping your blade to use the X5-M on your forehand?
 
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If you want an even slower setup, why don't you try replacing the Fastarc G1 with Hurricane 3 Neo. You'd be using tabletennis11s favorite setups. Alternatively have you tried flipping your blade to use the X5-M on your forehand?

Hi WingTT, I have played with Hurricane 3 Neo for almost two years, and I find it very very demanding. Also Slowness is not the main characteristic of Hurricane rubbers.

 
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Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and suggestions. To be honest I got little confused after reading mixed opinions on hinoki blades, so I was under dilemma whether to pick the darker 7p-2A, or the septear or no Hinoki (because I was not sure if I’ll like the feel) and instead just find another typical 5 ply ALL+ wood with Limba based outer layer type of blade and then something really interesting happened; One day my brother forgot to bring his TT bat to the club so I gave him mine and played with a spare one that I found at home that day. It is a discontinued Butterfly Jonyer. It was quite slow and the feeling was very different for me but I liked it during the practice session that day. It had old worn out rubbers. Then few days later while talking to my club mate about the Hinoki blade advice that I got from this forum. I mentioned about this old slow blade and he suggested that maybe I should try that blade with my current rubbers(Nittaku Fastarc G-1 and Neottec X5-M)

So then I peeled off those old rubbers from my old Jonyer and to my surprise this blade seemed to have Hinoki ply[emoji50]

0a1f4f572a0478e19f5da27314bf33e8.jpg



With lot of amusement, Then I put my current rubbers on it.

67965e7836a3d5ca35b0706e0db74117.jpg


The result so far is very very good; I really like the soft velvet kind of feeling with this blade. I’m not sure but I think I read somewhere that it is NOT all Hinoki blade but is rather some combination of plys but still it feels so good to me.

I never thought that a blade that has been with me for past 13 years and neglected will become such a prized possession some day[emoji3526]

I LOVE it so far; The feeling is very soft, and the whole setup is slow, which I like it. It’s helping me win matches and make nicer quality shots. Ball seem to stay longer with the blade and hence the feel seem to be much better. I think for the time being I’ll continue playing with this blade and maybe in future pick one (Darker 7P-2A or Septear)

BTW My current rubbers are almost 6 months old and they are starting to loose grip, specially X5-M. Fastarc G1 is okay-ish. I’m thinking of replacing X5-M with Tibhar Aurus soft this time.


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Thank you @Mk73
Looks like the Aurus Soft might not be good choice for this blade as many people mention that a soft rubber on Hinoki blade gives a mushy feeling. So I thought of purchasing again a new set of Neottec X-5M but unfortunately it’s not available at our local store. Can you recommend something else then? would Rakza 7 be an okay choice?


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I play with a stiff but soft blade The top and middle layer is hinoki. The second layer is American redwood, all soft woods. But its 7 mm thick so its kind of stiff.
I currently play with Tenergy 05 FX. It works really really good. I love the feel of it.
Take opinions with a grain of salt and make up Your own. (That goes for my opinion too.)

Cheers
L-zr
 
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Yeah. I think soft rubbers feel great on Hinoki. This is a question of how different people feel things. And also subtle details about how different players touch the ball, let the ball sink into the topsheet and sponge, and how closely they pay attention to what they feel in their hand.

I guess, also, someone used to playing with a hard rubber is going to feel a soft rubber is soft. Someone used to using a soft rubber is going to feel a hard rubber is hard. When someone is used to a very fast blade, a moderate speed blade will feel really slow. When someone is used to using a slower blade, a moderately fast blade will feel really fast.

If you play with something for long enough you get used to it.

But I like the way Hinoki feels with soft rubbers. Hinoki plus soft rubbers lets you get the rubber to grab the ball amazingly and it feels like you get wild amounts of spin....provided you know how to contact the ball to get loads of spin.
 
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Thank you @Mk73
Looks like the Aurus Soft might not be good choice for this blade as many people mention that a soft rubber on Hinoki blade gives a mushy feeling. So I thought of purchasing again a new set of Neottec X-5M but unfortunately it’s not available at our local store. Can you recommend something else then? would Rakza 7 be an okay choice?

I think Carl and Lazer are right. You can play anything you like with your Jonyer. I always play hard forehand rubbers and soft backhand rubbers on my Darker blade. So I have both types on one blade and it works for me. I really love the soft and amazing feelig of hinoki, even hard Chinese rubbers dont change that sensation. And the softer bh rubber does not feel mushy either.

 
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I own a Xiom Zetro Quad. It has Hinoki top layer and has an inner Zylon-Carbon fibre structure. It feels really good with rubbers like Nittaku Fastarc G-1 which I am primarily using on FH. It is a fantastic rubber, with amazing life. The hinoki wood really feels good with unique 'ping' however, after practicing it for few sessions, I can say that as a player, I need to decide which kind of blade I would like to keep using i.e. be it limba, Koto or Hinoki. For me personally, I can't ride on two boats at the same time. If I do vis-a-vis comparison, then I would say hinoki feels really good and feels very assuring whether I play attack or defense i.e. blocks. In comparison, my TB ALC, I need to be more mindful when I go on backfoot and have to defend. But since I am playing with Koto-ALC combination since last 5 years, I will stick with the same setup.
 
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