Sunday, December 31, 2006

Globe 889-2 review

I tried this Globe 889-2 1.8mm 38deg sponge black on a Stiga Energy wood blade:

This is one of the latest rubbers from Globe, supposedly a spinnier version of the Globe 889. Because it's quite new and no top players use it (as far as I know) I could find no information on it.

I speed glued this rubber since I wanted to see how well and fast it would for looping. I used the glass plate method and used 2 layers of Dawei speed glue. Well I was a little surprised when I got a huge dome out of it. When I put in on my blade it had stretched almost 10mm! In hindsight one layer would probably have been enough.

This rubber reminded me very much like Friendship's 802-40, also with wide conical and grippy pimples, with a soft sponge. The sponge is orange and I'm not sure if it's Chinese or Japanese. From feedback from users of the Globe 889 rubber, we found that 1.8mm 38deg sponge was the best combination, so that why the 889-2 was also ordered with the same specs.

I set up the machine for topspin. Blocking was real easy, but I certainly had to adjust the bat angle for the amount of spin...just like inverted.
Driving through the ball was great, coming off fast and I felt I had good control. It made a loud cracking sound too! Taking a step back and trying to counterloop I struggled for consistency a little, not quite sure why. The bat seemed a little sensitive to the angle I was looping it with. Especially when I let the ball drop right down I had some trouble looping it back consistantly. Now this may be my technique since I'm not used to these types of rubber.

Hitting with this rubber was beautiful, coming off fast and with a loud cracking sound...very impressive.

Then I setup the ball machine for deep heavy chop serves to my forehand. Well I could loop it fast with lots of spin, just like an inverted rubber. Since I'm more used to brush looping with a tacky rubber I had to make a slight adjustment and let the ball dig into the sponge a little more, but I was surprised how much this played like an inverted rubber.

Then I tried to hit through the ball instead of loop it, well this was surprisingly REAL easy and consistant, much easier than with inverted. It made a loud cracking sound and came off quite fast.

Pushing the ball back was also very easy, the ball did not grip the rubber much but I could keep the ball very low and I felt I could put it wherever I wanted.

I actually found this rubber a lot easier to use on my backhand, possible because I'm used to playing and attacking with a long pimple rubber, which offer some slight similarities.

I have yet to try it unglued...I should have tried this first but I was just too keen to glue it up!

In conclusion this rubber was a dream to use close to the table, offering good control and speed in all the things I tried. Serves and pushes are very spinny for a short pimple rubber, but not as spinny as the normal tacky rubbers that I use. Away from the table I found this rubber not as good, especially against topspin when you let the ball drop a little. Since I believe these rubber are meant to be used for close to the table play, this is not really an issue. A good choice for players that play close to the table, and have some trouble controlling incoming spin, and like to hit block and counter-hit.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Speed gluing the glass plate method

After the tip from my mate JC, I tried this method of speed gluing with my Tibhar Rapid Clean Delux long lasting glue:

Brush the glue onto the sponge, then stick it onto a glass plate. This ensures that all the vapours go into the sponge and don't evaporate into the air. You can do this for both rubbers if you're gluing both sides. Cover the rubbers with another glass plate to give it some pressure. After about 1 hour, take it off. If you wish to add more layers, repeat the process. Then glue the rubber onto your blade and clamp overnight.

Well I tried it today and there was a very obvious increase in effect. It was definitely a fair bit faster. To be sure I glued up 2 rubbers that I use regularly, and I found the same in both. In fact I found them both to be too fast for my liking, so next time I'll use less glue to get it to the speed that I like. The rubber I used (Globe 999 National version) are already very spinny, so I could not say if there was an increase in spin or not. The sponges certainly felt a little softer than normal as well.

I think this method will work very well for priming the rubber as well. I always found that even after priming, rubber don't peak in performance until the 2nd gluing, so hopefully this method will help there too.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Red or black on your forehand?

Red versus Black table tennis rubbers – does it really matter?

These days a question commonly asked is why certain players, or even whole teams, always use one colour rubber on the forehand, and the other on the backhand. Are red and black rubbers, even identical brand and type, inherently different?

Well the consensus is that they ARE different, but for some rubbers it’s much harder to tell than others… For Chinese tacky rubbers the difference is usually most obvious; the red rubber is a little less tacky, and the black is a little softer and tackier. The tacky surface slows the ball down a little, so this also makes the red a little faster than black. So you would chose the one that suits you better on the forehand.

This difference is believed to come from the manufacturing process. The raw rubber used to make the rubber topsheets, is naturally tacky and black. The dye needed to make the rubbers red, makes it lose some of its tacky characteristics and softness. For some rubbers, the different characteristics are quite obvious. For example the black 729 Geospin tacky is a lot tackier than the same rubber in red.

However for most Euro or Japanese rubbers, most of which are inherently non-tacky (but grippy), the differences usually hardly noticeable…

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Review of LKT Toxic 5 blade

I got hold of one of these blades since someone had cracked one, and so required a new one. It was only cracked in the direction of the fibres, so once I got some glue in there and clamped it, it stuck back together beautifully and was as new....BONUS!

This blade is oversize and very BIG! I could not fit any of my used rubbers on there since there were not even close to fitting! So I managed to locate some rubbers I had put aside for evaluation, but had not got around to it yet. I was a Friendship 755 faster long pimple rubber 0.8mm and a Gambler 4 kings 2.0mm.

Well it took me while to get used to this combination, and to figure out what it would be suitable for. This blade is real slow, probably around ALL, and really takes the pace out of the ball. For blocking and counterhitting with the Gambler rubber the ball came back real slow, and even for driving and looping it was hard to get real good pace. But for brush looping, which is mainly dependant on the rubber not the blade, it came off quite fast. This provided quite a contrast...

With the 755 faster blocking and counterhitting was really nice. Since the blade has such great dwell time, I had great control on all my shots. Normally this rubber is too fast for me, being one of the fastest long pimpled rubber around, but this blade made it very manageble, even for chopping away from the table.

When I started playing a more passive game away from the table, I realised where this blade excels. I had great control with ALL my shots, and the great dwell time of the blade made it real easy to manipulate spin. I could float the ball and return very heavy backspin with ease. With the Gambler rubber this combination does not have enough power to hit winners from medium to far distance, but with a fast glued up rubber this would still be an option.

I think this blade suits modern type defender, with either 2 control type rubbers or a combination of a slower long pimpled rubber and a control rubber on the other side. It has enough power to put the ball away when you come in closer, but from mid-far distance you'll have to rely on strategy and spin manipulation to win points...

The LKT Toxic 3 blade looks very similar to this one, but is quite a bit slower. It is easily the slowest blade I've even seen. It just seems to suck ALL the energy out of the ball!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dawei Saviga V Long pimples rubbers

I've just had a try against the Dawei Saviga V Long pimples rubbers, it's a real nice one, one of my favourites. I don't think it's all that different to the Dawei 388D-1 rubber though, visually I could not tell the difference. Above are some close up pictures of both rubbers, the Saviga V on the left, the slighly different angle and lighting make it seem more different than it really is. The sponges looked the same, and they are too thin for me to judge if they were any different.

They did seem to play a little different, but not a great deal. When i took the Saviga V 0.5mm Red out of the packet, it scrolled up a little, which reminded me immediately of the Dawei Sprungfeders, although it didn't scorll up nearly as much. So there may be some tension on this rubber, although the cover does not mention this (as if the covers are ever any use!).

I found it very nice for both chopping and blocking/attacking, although it's a little slow for attack (not always a bad thing!). The fact that the surface is rought, but had very little friction, whereas the edges and sides of the pimples are quit soft and grippy, alweays makes it a great rubber for deception, since the spin that comes back depends so much on how you brush the ball. Calling it frictionless (as stated on the cover) is not true though, it's got a fair bit more grip than something like the Dr Neubauer long pimples rubber. However it's much more versatile than Dr Neubauer frictionless long pimples rubbers, as you can change the spin creating good deception, instead of just reversing the spin.

I have a more detailed review of this rubber here:
Review of Dawei Saviga V long pimples rubber

All in all it a very nice long pimples rubber, not that hard to control, produces good wobble balls, highly deceptive. Very suitable for the modern type defender. Works best with a slower control type blade.