Friday, December 28, 2007

JUIC Australia website

JUIC is a Japanese company that manufacturers professional table tennis equipment. Having tried a range of their products, I find them of very high quality, and certainly as good as any of the other top Japanese table tennis equipment manufacturers, and they've shown some great innovation for some of their products too!

Because there is so little information on their products, I've put together a little website here:

JUIC Australia online

I've included a range of JUIC blades and JUIC rubber descriptions and reviews, and also further information on some of their unique products, like the Ecolo Expander II.

I thought it would be useful to provide some suggestions on JUIC blade and rubber combinations as well, since it can be hard to choose something suitable out of such a wide range.

JUIC has also just released a range of their Tune-up rubbers, which will be reviewed on this site shortly.

Any feedback on this site, and how I can further improve it would be very much appreciated!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Spinmax reviews, tests and FAQs

I'm becoming quite a fan of Spinmax, and use it regularly now. I've done quite a few test and experiments, to determine how well it work, and what the differences are between the original Spinmax Red and the new Spinmax Aqueous.

Instead of writing another article on it, which will probably just get lost and forgotten, I've set up a little website on a subdomain, with descriptions of the products, instructions on how to use it, and a FAQ section for new users or those that may want to try it;

Spinmax Online

I will continue to do more Spinmax reviews and tests and try it on different rubbers, and will add any further questions to the Spinmax FAQ section. Feel free to ask questions here or within a section of the table tennis forum so that questions (and answers) can be added to the FAQ section.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is JUIC Ecolo Expander II still worthwhile?

With the introduction of a variety of VOC free speed glue alternatives, some have said that the JUIC Ecolo Expander II (EEII) is no longer a viable option for those looking a little more performance out of their rubber.

I don’t agree and I do think the EEII has it's place, but it can't compete in terms of speed glue effect. It really depends on what you’re looking for and what you expectation are… and the trouble is… most people don’t know…

For those that currently speed glue their rubbers with a few layers, and looking for a VOC free alternative, I would not recommend the EEII, as the effect is simply not strong enough. These people would be better off looking at other VOC free alternatives, like the VOC free glue Falco Tempo Unlimited or sponge treatment liquids like Falco Tempo Booster or Tibhar Clean Tuning, as the effect of these really is very close to several layers of speed glue.

However for those that perhaps use a light layer of speed glue, or have not glued before and are looking for a little extra performance of their rubber, the EEII is a very good option. It stretches the rubber quite a bit, and softens the sponge by a few degrees, and it does have the feel of a lightly glued rubber. Also don’t forget that the effect of EEII is pretty much permanent for the life of the rubber, so you treat it once, and the effect remains for a few months! Not only that, but since the liquid is very thin and spread out so easily, only very little is used per application, so a single bottle may well last you for many years!

I think part of the problem is also that people do not know how to use the EEII properly or do not fully utilize it’s potential. The instructions provided by the manufacturer are quite brief, and there are quite a few variables that that affect the performance. Not only that, but the liquid is very thin, and if you’re not careful it can leak to the topsheet which does not do it any good. However when used properly with a few simple precautions, it’s quite easy to apply, and can be very effective.

Another property of the EEII that is often overlooked is how it can soften and loosen up a sheet, that may otherwise be quite stiff and takes time to wear in. This is most common among a range of Chinese style rubber. A simple EEII treatment will immediately make the sheet more responsive / dynamic. Yet another useful property is that it makes the sheet more reactive to glue… although I don’t know if this applies to VOC free glues. So as a pre-treatment for a rubber you’re going to speed glue, it is not bad option.

So in my opinion the EEII is still a very good product, but simply not for everyone. The cost is low compared to any other type of rubber enhancing products, and a single little bottle is likely to last you for years.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Update on Falco Booster on Globe 999 National rubber

I wrote earlier about using the Falco Booster on my Globe 999 National rubber, and how I was very impressed with it. Well I've used it for over 2 weeks now, and the effect is still great! I feel it's really helping my game having a glued up rubber that feels the same all the time...

I suspect it will last till the end of 3 weeks, after which I'll remove it and re-apply 1-2 layers of booster to see if I can get the same effect. Less booster is supposed to be required to get the same effect, so hopefully I get right or close to it, so that I can get a consistant effect for life of the rubber....

I will update again after the next application of the booster...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Review JUIC Neo Anti

I tried this rubber last weekend since a friend kindly lend me his bat to try (cheers mate!)

This rubber has a very slippery feel on the surface, but the topsheet is thin and the sponge is very soft. JUIC description of the rubber is given below, and I find this quite accurate:

'Juic Neo Anti kills the spin of your opponent's ball, and with its dead, slow speed gives incredible control. But the elastic surface combined with special sponge gives the added element of tricky spin when the ball is hit hard.'

For chopping the control of this rubber is excellenet, similar to long pips, but it does not allow as much variation as some of the grippier long pips out there. Still I felt I could generate some spin, and it had decent spin reversal.

Close-in it blocks remarkable well against fast loops... it seem to take the pace out of even the hardest loops, and return it real slow, mid-table with no spin. The soft and slow sponge is no doubt the key here...wish they used this sponge on some long pimple rubbers.

Similaryl against slow loops, attacking them with a quick closed-bat action (as I do with long pips) worked very effectively.

Against slower spinny shots or serves, if you make light contact the spin reveral is big and it's very insensitve to incoming spin. Hit a little harder and it grips a bit, and it seems to take a lot of the spin off.

Against no-spin it's very easy to control and keep low. I could attack quite well with, but hitting it to hard does not work, since the real soft sponge just bottoms out, and you're hitting with the wood. You can certainly lift the ball with it if you dig the ball in a little, and attack with a slow mild topspin...

This rubber is far more versatile than the antispin rubbers I've tried before, and gives you a lot more options that just getting the ball back... Although it's not a long pimple rubber, it's properties are a lot like it, much closer than they are to inverted. The real slow sponge is something I look for in long pimple rubbers, but does not seem the common.

This rubber would have to be a real contender for those that are used to slow frictionless rubbers, and are finding it hard to adjust to the much faster and springier grippy long pimples...

For more details see here writeup here: Review JUIC Neo Anti

Falco Booster on Chinese hard sponged rubbers

My usual Globe 999 Nat (black) was showing signs of wear, so it was time for a new sheet, and I decided I'd give the Falco booster a go on this, and see if it would be a good enough substitude to my Tibhar Rapid Clean Deluxe speed glue, which I won't be able to us as of middle of next year...

I put 3 layers of booster on it over 2 days. The dome was big, basically touching on the ends. After 24h (after the last layer) it still had a decent dome but was coming down, so I glued it down with the Falco Water glue. The dome was still quite strong especially with this firmer sponged rubbers, so it still lifted slightly on the tip but did not lift further... I'll wait a little longer next time...and will take more care putting enough glue on the tip of the blade...

Well the booster softened the sponge heaps, and stretched it at least 5mm in both directions. I was VERY happy with the performance, it felt as good as with the Tibhar RCD. The sponge had softened at least as much with the booster as with the RCD, probably a little more considering it was the 1st gluing. With the RCD it usually softens more after a few gluings, so it will be interesting to see if the booster softens it more as well. Speed and spin wise it felt just as good. I will now see how long it lasts... but I have finally found a good substitude for my Tibhar Rapid Clean Deluxe...

I wrote a detailed review on the Booster here:
Falco Tempo Booster review

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New pimples website - PIPS

With a group of friends we've started a new website dedicated to pimple rubbers and players:

"Pips is a table tennis equipment site set up by a group of like-minded table tennis players that are keen to educate the table tennis community about long pimpled and other pimpled rubbers. We feel these rubbers add great diversity to our game, and it's something that should be embraced, and not frowned upon or dimissed as a 'cheater's rubber'. "

There are already some excellent articles on the website, and more in the pipeline. We will also continue to add more reviews on new and old pimples rubbers. The latest news will also be added shortly.

Please have a look at the site and read through the articles, and any feedback would be very much appreciated! Please be brutally honest, we won't take offense!

If any of you would like to contribute, that would be awesome! We're not just after people with highly technical knowledge or high level players...Contributions like any of the following would be just as great:
  • Funny pimple stories
  • Simply pimple strategies that work for you (just a paragraph can be enough)
  • Some pimple history - Finding any graphics / pics for the site
  • Anyone with a little website design experience that can make the site look a little better than our current very basic effort.
While the site is still being built, discussions and contribution to the PIPS website are currently done on the table tennis forum here.

It would also help if some of you can promote the site a little... This can bring more people to the site and hopefully will bring more contributors... which is better for everyone! I'd really like this to be a website that is an authority on pimples rubbers, and something that all us pip players can feel part off! Thanks to everyone who's already contributed so far!


Friday, September 28, 2007

Review of AVALOX AXV MO 0.5mm long pimples


First impressions:
The rubber looks of pretty good quality. The only words on there are AXV, MO and 'made in China'... I'm not sure what the story is between the names Avalox and AVX, but that does nto matter for this review.

The colour of the rubber seems a little orange... I've seen a few rubbers like this, so it does not appear to be an issue.

Pimple size looks close to maximum length... perhaps a touch shorter, but does not look a lot different to 955 or TSP P-1R. Tips are rough and feel quite grippy. the pimple are a little stiff, probably a grade stiffer than the 955 and a fair bit stiffer than the P-1R.

They are spaced out more than both the 955 and TSP though...

I've only had a bried hit with it so far, and found it to be quite nice alround but a little faster than both the 955 and TSP. From the bried hit i had I immediately noticed it's quite good for hitting and blocking, but I'd need to adjust to the speed for chopping...

I'll get onto spin reversal and disturbing effect when I've had another hit with it...a good hit against a looper is what i need...

Part 2:

This rubber plays quite nice alround... and does not feel too different to the Galaxy 955.

For chopping it's faster and offer a little less feel and control, but still very good.

Spin reversal is fairly good too... the stiffer pimples seem to help here. It does offer good control against fast loops as well, which I only found in the 955 before. It is particularly good for hitting though... attacking backspin and hitting through spin seemed particularly easy.

It blocks well, but because it feels a little springy, drop shots are not as easy... It seems not all that sensitive to incoming spin, again the stiffer pips seem to help here...

In summary it's a good all round long pimple rubber, suitable for both chopping and attacking. It's best feature is the control offerred on hits, and it's relatively insensitivity to incoming spin.

I'm planning to have another go with this rubbers... haven't quite figured it all out yet...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Spinmax Aqueous - new VOC free spinmax

Spinmax have come up with a new and water based version of their popular Spinmax cleaner, called Spinmax Aqueous.

This appear to be the same as the Joola Spinmax Green Power, as when you check the Material safesheet data sheet for the Joola spinmax green power, it shows the Spinmax Aqueous.

Although spinmax is technically classed as a rubber cleaner, it's more than this... it tends to enhance the friction coefficient of the rubber surface, making it tackier / stickier. For chinese style tacky rubbers this is great as it leaves them stickier for longer. Although many use it for non-tacky rubbers as well, you should remember that it will make these rubbers tacky as well, which is not what they were designed to be like.

There are some details on this new product here: Spinmax Aqueous but I will do a full review shortly, when I've had a chance to test it.... I hear it's already quite popular in Japan and Germany, so I can't see why this new one should not be popular either...

The fact that it's water based, and contains no volatile compound, and is not flammable, should make it popular, as it won't be affected by the up and coming speed glue ban, and it can be shipped safely and cheaper via air....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Update on the experiment with different cleaners

Well I proceeded to give the old rubber a real, good coating of the same olive oil. It take about 15min before it started to soak on several places on the surface.

As recommended by those mentioned before, the oil should be spread out again to prevent some minor markings on the surface. The next day I checked the rubber and there were no marks, and all the oil had been soaked up.

Testing the rubber the next day showed the rejuvination processes worked really well. Although it did not feel as good as a new rubber, it felt better than a rubber with just a good clean...

I would not recommend you use this procedure on a regular basis, as I suspect it may soften the topsheet more and more, and will make the rubber heavier as well. But for a occasional good clean it seemed to work really well! Plus it's cheap and every tends to have this in their kitchen... according to others most vegetable oils work well, so I don't think it needs to olive oil.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Experimenting with different cleaners

I've heard many stories of players and friends using all sort of liquids to clean or rejuvinate their rubbers. I decided to put some of these to the test.

I found an old rubber (Dawei Sprungfeder A-4) which has had a lot of use and is well worn. It's now totally non-tacky and has even lost a lot of it's grip... feels quite smooth.

As you can see below I have divided up the rubber into 4 sections with masking tape, each section can be treated with a different cleaner so that we can compare the results. I know water will not revive this rubber, so I won't use this as a test.

Here are the 4 cleaners I decided to use:

I used a seperate cotton cloth to wipe the liquids in. In hindside something less absorbing and lint-free would have been better, but I don't think it will affect the results.

Thanks goes to hookshot, pongcrazy, LawOCG and a few other (see forum thread, sorry if I missed you) for all the excellent suggestions and advice.

The results are not as conclusive as I had hoped... all seem to work quite well:

Nittuku rubber cleaning foam:
The foam makes it real easy to apply and does not spill easy so less chance of a mess. It gave a good clean, restoring some of it's grippiness but no real tack. It changed the look of the rubber very little.

Orange power:
Since it's a spray it's a little messy, but it smells so good I was tempted to just keep using it Very Happy Laughing Very Happy . It does soak into the cloth and/or evaporate real quick, so I had to spray a few more times so that I could really rub the complete surface before it dried. As with the foam, it gave a good clean, restoring some of it's grippiness but no real tack. It changed the look of the rubber very little. It let some orange stains on the cloth.

Since it's a spray it's a little messy. It smells a little toxic, so it may well have some nasties in it. It does soak into the cloth and/or evaporate real quick, so I had to spray a few more times so that I could really rub the complete surface before it dried. As with the foam, it gave a good clean, restoring some of it's grippiness but no real tack. It changed the look of the rubber very little.

Olive oil:
Since I had to pour some drop onto the rubber, it got a little messy too. I spread it around covering it with a very light layer. It seem to absorb quite quite quickyl As it was dry in about half the surface, I wiped it around a little more with the cloth which was still oily to cover it some more. It soaked in after about 10mins. This was seemed slighly better, and actually made the surface look a little better too. It will need some applications to see what more it can do.

So from this I conclude that for easy of use, I recommend the foam as it gives a good clean as any, and is the least messy. The oil gives the best result, and further and more oil may will offer better results again, but it's obviously not as good for a quick clean. For most enjoyable experience, the orange power wins hands down, since it smells so delicious! heh heh...

I will treat the whole rubber with a thicker layer of oil again, to see how much more I can do with it...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Table tennis videos

I'm working on making a collection of YouTube videos, and organising them all on a series of web pages. YouTube videos are good in that that are easy to embed into any webpages, and you don't have to download the video to see it.

I'd like to organise the pages into catagories of Defenders, attackers and clips from some of the all-time greats and some of the current top players. I would also like to set aside a section for videos of us novices, so that you can share with others...

This is what I've collected so far (I've only just started): Table tennis videos

If you have any comments or suggestions on this, it would be very much appreciated! Also if you have some of your own table tennis related videos on YouTube and would like it to be shown on the website, please send me the links.

This is fun!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The elusive DHS Hurricane National / Provincial version rubbers

There is no doubt that the DHS hurricane II and III rubbers are one of the most popular in the world. No doubt the marketing and sponsoring by DHS has a lot to do with this, but the fact the many of the top Chinese players use this rubber does indicate that they have some very good properties.

It is well known that the top Chinese players may not be using the same version as the commercial version that’s available to the public. DHS has special versions of the hurricane rubbers for their Provincial and National team players. Whether these rubbers are actually manufactured differently, or whether they are hand-picked as the best ones from the production of the standard version is unknown. However according to DHS they ARE hand picked from the normal production run.

The standard commercial versions have an orange sponge for both the red and black rubbers. It is well known that there is significant variation in sponge hardness between batch to batch, or possible within each batch. This is due to different cuts of the sponge mass being used to make the individual rubbers. Sponge hardness varies within the sponge mass before the individual sponges are cut off.

DHS also produce a special commercial version with a blue sponge. This one is only made in black, because the red topsheet is too translucent, so a dark sponge would darken the red significantly, most likely beyond what’s allowed under ITTF regulations. This blue sponge is known to be a little softer and more flexible, and also reacts better with speed glue. This version is not as commonly available as it’s not part of their normal production runs.

Among DHS fans there is always talk about the national and provincial version. According to those that have tried the ‘real thing’, the sheets appear of better quality, are more flexible and have a softer sponge. There are special markings on the sponge indicating that these are special version, but the markings don’t always seem the same. They also do not come in the standard packaging, which makes sense as these rubbers are not commercially sold, so fancy packaging is not required. However there are also a lot of fakes sheet around which try to mimic the characteristics and markings on the rubber.

DHS used to sell their topsheets separately. This made it easy for the less reputable companies to add their own cheap sponge and markings, and sell it for a lot more than the commercial version. After this had been going on for several years, DHS recently decided to stop selling the topsheets separately, in order to cut down on the number of fake sheet around. There are however still a lot of fake sheets around.

According to DHS, the provincial and national versions of the hurricane rubbers are not sold to the public at all. They are only GIVEN to the national and provincial teams for their personal use. Of course there is always a big temptation for these players to make a quick buck, and sell these rubbers to other players and retailers, so this is how these rubbers find their way to the public.

According to DHS most of the provincial and national rubbers out there for sale are indeed fakes. In the last year or so more and more of these rubbers are sold by some online retailers and even on EBay, all of course claiming them to be genuine. According to DHS these rubbers were not supplied to them by DHS, and the number of provincial and national version are quite limited, so chances are that these rubbers are not genuine. As some of these sellers are known to be quite reputable, and sell many other genuine items, it is most likely that they themselves believe the rubbers are genuine. Whether they are genuine or not, we cannot be sure.

There are ways of making the commercial versions a lot more like the provincial/national versions… ;

One way is to speed glue them… with enough layers to really soften them up. After this has been done a number of times, the sheet become more flexible and the sponge softer permanently… making it play a lot closer to the provincial/national version.

Another way is to use the ‘super priming’ method which is described here:
Super priming - gluing guide
This certainly has a permanent effect and works very well. It works best on the blue sponge version, but still works very well ont he orange sponged version too. This is certainly a much cheaper way of getting a hurricane rubber softer and more flexible, and a lot more like the provincial/national version… and best of all you don’t have to worry about whether is genuine or not!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Super Priming your rubbers - Giving your rubbers a boost!

A lot of players see the task of gluing rubbers to a blade as meaningless procedure simply to attach the rubbers. They will also often find that rubbers take a long to time be ‘worn in’, meaning it takes quite a number of sessions for the rubber to reach peak performance.

However some applications of table tennis glue and the right procedure, you can get the best performance out of your rubber almost immediately, and may well give you performance that you did not think possible! See here for more details:

Ultimate guide to priming and gluing - Super priming

Monday, July 09, 2007

Review XIOM Guillotine .S long pimple Part 2

I testing it on my Stiga Energy wood WRB, finally had a chance to try it:

In general this rubber has very good control, and is an excellent alround long pimple rubber. The 1.0mm medium soft sponge gave the rubber soft feel and it felt springy, but it did not suffer that much in the short game...

Return of serve: Control was pretty good, was a little sensitive to incoming spin, but not bad at all. This rubber has real good grip... the harder to brush the better the grip.
Generate spin: I did not feel I could generate a lot of spin with this rubber on serves, although the fact that it's almost a year old might be a big factor. You need to dig the ball in a little further to get more spin.

Blocking against loops: Control is good for this, and produced a good sink effect. It reminded me a bit of the Curl TSP p1-r 0.6mm although it was faster and more lively. I could actually feel the tensor effect in the sponge... felt quite nice and seemed to enhance control.The bat face must be closed a little, and a forward movement is required, and this could produce fairly fast balls with decent sink...very effective. Even on more passive shots the ball did not grip as much as it does on many other grippy pip...

Chopping against loops: This rubber really shines here and offered excellent control. The grip felt really good and allowed me to manipulate the spin real well. The spin reversal was very good. I did find it a little fast, which is probably due to the 1.0mm sponge, whereas I'm used to 0.6mm. The 1.0mm makes it more dangerous but sacrifises some control. I could produce some vicious sidespin chop against a spinny loop...very dangerous.

Attacking and hitting: Well it surprised me a little here... it was amazingly good for hitting... a bit similar to Curl p2... felt more like a short pip in this respect...and the grip allowed you generate some topspin to keep it down. Again I felt that nice clicky feel that tensors give you. It can produce decent spin when you dig the ball into the sponge, but not much when you brush it more softly...this is a exactly what you want for good spin manipulation or deception.

In conclusion this is a very versatile rubber and does not have any real weaknesses, but with 1.0mm sponge it requires a bit more skill to master it, so it's more suitable for intermediate to high level players. It suits choppers more than close-to-the-table blockers, but it's excellent for attacking high balls to put them away.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Review XIOM Guillotine .S long pimple

A friend (thanks Greggy) kindly lend me his sheet of XIOM Guillotine.S 1.0mm black. Here are my first impression, followed by a review when I've had a chance to try it.

The sheet looks of good quality, and in very good condition considering it's almost a year old! Pimple are long and narrow, probably a bit shorter than max length. tips are rough and quite grippy. The pips are fairly soft, probably not quite as soft as Cloud & Fog III or Dawei 388d-1, but definitely softer than my galaxy 955. Running my finger over the tips it feels very grippy, meaning you can probably generate decent spin with this rubber. Bounching a ball on it it also feels quite bounchy.

I immediately noticed the tensor mark on the topsheet, meaning that at least the sponge, or possible the whole rubber is made in Germany. The sponge feel a little firm, but not hard. I would expect it to be more of a choppers rubber away from the table, because of the soft grippy pips, but the tensor sponge my well give it some decent attacking ability. I will probably play similar to something like JUIC Leggy or cloud & Fog III...although the sponge may bring some surprises...

I will see when I try it.... to be continued....

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Review DHS C8 long pimple rubber

I testing the C8 red 1.0mm on my Stiga Energy wood today. My main comparison is to my favourite Galaxy 955 0.6mm, on the same same blade.

First impressions: The pimple are quite firm and stiff, a lot more than the other DHS LP Cloud & Fog III. Pimple are fairly tall and skinny, probably close to maximum aspect ratio. It has a 1mm orange sponge, which feels quite firm.
The pimple feel quite grippy when you run your finger over them The sheet looks of good quality.

Testing the rubber:

In general this rubber has very good control, despite the fact that it had a 1.0mm sponge.

Return of serve:
Control was good, was a little sensitive to incoming spin, but not bad at all. The spin reversal is not great on this, it produces more of a dead ball, but the control allowed good placement, and the grip allowed me to keep it real low. Against topspin a quick block was quite easy to and with good control. Against backspin, attacking was harder, it felt a little too fast, probably due to the stiffer pip and harder sponge.

Generate spin:
I did not feel I could generate a lot of spin with this rubber, the pimples are a little stiff and the sponge quite firm, so I don't think it's the best for this. Still as a fake this is not so bad. There WAS enough grip to keep no-spin balls low though, so it's still a fairly grippy pip.

Blocking against loops:
This is where this rubber really shines... the control was fantastic, better than any I've tried so far. It had a bit of a dead feel on passive blocks, so I had little trouble keeping my blocks on the table. Hitting the ball more aggressively worked very well too. The bat must be closed a little, and a forward movement is required, and this could produce fairly fast balls with decent sink...very effective.

Chopping against loops:
This rubber offered good control for this as well, but not as good as the 955. I feel the 1.0mm sponge certainly contributed to this, a 0.6mm would almost certainly improve this control. Spin reversal was very good, and I could certainly very the spin quite well, but I had more trouble keeping the ball on the table.

With the 1.0mm sponge I feel this rubber is great for blockers, and offers good attacking abilities. It has good control in most aspects of the game, and enough control for some effective chopping, but it excels close to the table. The sponge probably contributes as much to this as the pimples do.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Review Higher III

I had a bit of a go with the Higher III rubber from 729. This is the same topsheet as the normal 729 Higher rubber, but with a quality Japanese sponge.

As mentioned before in other higher III reviews, this rubber is indeed a great looping rubber, but this is not all it's good at...

The Japanese sponge feels quite different to the normal higher transcend sponge... a fair bit softer and more flexible. A single layer of my Tibhar long laster glue gave it a huge dome, and softened it up a fair bit more again.

My loops had a loud clicking sound... with plenty of pace and great spin. It felt much more like a euro type looping rubber, as I needed to dig the ball into the rubber a little more to get the speed and lift, or it would go into the net. Once I got used to this it felt great!

The surface of the rubber is tacky, but only mildly. This made is very good for serves and the short game.

Blocking and counter looping was awesome, and it seemed quite insensitive to incoming spin... Also smashing was great...I felt like I could not miss...

Chopping and the short game was quite controllable, which is good for a glued up rubber.

Unfortunately I did not try it unglued, so i can't comments on how much improvement there was from the gluing....

JUIC Masterspin Special Part 2

Although this rubber does not really suit my style, my review may not be that comprehensive or complete, but I figure it's better than nothing, so here it goes:

Firstly as a long pimple player I was amazed by how well I could drop shots with this JUIC rubber! On slow blocking or touch it's slower than my long pimple rubber!

It has very good grip, almost tacky, allowing me to impart fairly heavy backspin, similar to a spinny short pimple rubber.

Returning serve worked well too, I could even flip some short backspin
serves. The grip and soft feel really help here. It was a little sensitive to incoming spin, but this was to be expected of course... you can't have it both ways!

Against loops I could chop, but it felt quite a bit faster then, so harder to control, I don't think this rubber is ideal for this, but it's certainly possible, especially on a slower blade.

Blocking against loops was consistent with good control. There was little spin reversal, most balls returned had no spin, which still troubled my opponent.

Once I started hitting harder it really picked up in speed, and felt a lot like a spinny short pimple rubber. It attacked very much like a spinny short pip, but not all that fast... until the blade came into it, and then there was plenty of power.

All in all I was quite impressed with the rubber, particularly the touch in the short game. It's probably more like a short pip than a long pip, but is slower and grippier than most short pips and offers excellent control and touch....

Saturday, June 23, 2007

JUIC Masterspin Special

This is a review of the JUIC Masterspin Special 1.0mm red, thanks to a friend who lent me his bat (Thanks Alan if you read this!)

First impressions:

It looks like a quality sheet. Pimples feel soft, flexible and fairly grippy. As you can see from the picture, they are conical near the base and then cylindrical towards the tip.

Pimples are probably somewhere between and short and medium pip.

Sponge is yellow, feels fairly soft, but hard to judge the hardness of a thin sheet. The sheet has a strong smell of some sort of glue.

I would expect this to behave much more like a short pip than medium/long...

After gluing it onto a blade, a
729 Hao Shuai Champion Carbon Blade it actually felt quite soft and a little slow, which was a little surprising. It may be because the pimple are a little tacky, gripping the ball.

Review will follow shortly...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Long pimple ban update

There have now been several 'unofficial' announcements that the treated long pimple ban will be effective as of 1st July 2008. A list of affected rubber will be produced.

Of course a large number of long pimple rubbers will NOT be affected. Most, if not all, of the long pimple rubbers by Dr Neubauer and Hallmark will most likely be banned and well a a range of other obvious frictionless rubbers.

There is still no official announcement by the ITTF...

The long pimples ban

The long pimple ban

The proposal by the ITTF to ban certain long pimple rubbers was announced well over a year ago now. The reasoning was that some long pimple rubbers were treated, making the tips of the pimples less grippy then the sides, producing different spin depending on how far you bend the pimples. The rubber properties are supposed to be consistent throughout, so they propose these types of rubbers should be banned.

Trouble is, it very hard to test if a rubber is treated or not. Because most of the treated pimples were designed to have little to no friction on the tips, the ITTF proposed to simply set a minimum friction level for long pimpled rubber, anything below it would be illegal. A device that could measure the friction coefficient was not too hard to design, and could be used at tournament for testing. They admitted that this may result in some non-treated rubber to be banned as well, but this did not seem to bother them…

Since this announcement there has been very little information or discussions by the ITTF, although it’s is a very common topic among long pimple players. Players that are currently using frictionless are lost, and can’t plan their future rubbers because they fear it might be banned. Similarly manufacturers don’t know what criteria to use to design new, or modify their existing long pimples to meet the new criteria. Retailers don’t know what to stock, since any banned rubbers will be very hard to sell.

Firstly I question the reasoning behind the actual proposal. Long pimple players are already a minority, frictionless players even smaller, so can it really be in the interest of the players and the sport in general to ban these rubbers? I know there have been a few letters written to the ITTF with objections to the proposed ban. Most of these were ignored because they did not come through the right channels. Some have been discussed in the ITTF forum, but I have not seen a solid reason that makes a real case for me.

The ITTF feels justified by the decision, since the proposal was initiated by players themselves. However I wonder how many long pimple players were part of this proposal by players? Where they even consulted or given an opportunity to defend their position? Since long pimple players are a minority, they only have a small voice. Many inverted players may not care about this decision, or are happy because they struggle playing against this type of rubber. But is this a good enough reason for the ITTF to ban them? It’s a right of the players that’s being taken away here, and this should not be taken lightly!

Secondly I think it’s outrageous that the ITTF proposal was made so long ago, and still no more details have been provided. It’s left manufacturers, retailers and most importantly PLAYERS in limbo for a long time!

I have recently heard some rumours that some of the manufacturers have been given some more details about minimum friction level, and a list of rubbers that may be banned. Assuming this is true, has there been any announcement by the ITTF for the players who they are supposed to represent… I think not!

I can’t help but think that the decisions made by the ITTF over the years have been more political than anything, or somehow motivated by money, since many did not seem to benefit the players or the sport at all! I’m sure money had a lot to do with it… so if you want to know answers, see who benefits from the decisions… follow the money…!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Speed glue ban

The President of the ITTF released another statement regarding the ban of speed glues containing VOCs, shown below, after a player suffered serious health issue and this was blamed on the use of speedglue.

This seems another dubious decision made by the ITTF, and is the timing really helpful for the players? I'm not arguing with the decision to ban the glues, but they should be decisive about it. The decision to ban starting Sept 08 at least gave us a firm date, giving everyone time to adjust. How can you expect to adjust by an announcement that's made overnight? How many of us are in the middle of a season, and have been training for some upcoming event? What are we supposed to do now?

Firstly as far as I know ITTF approval for glues is meaningless, as any glue is perfectly legal to use as long as it does not contain illegal substances (which are listed on the ITTF website somewhere (the new website design will probably make it impossible to find!). ITTF approval merely means the ITTF has test it and has given it the thumbs up. So crossing them off the list means nothing!

Secondly how silly is it to say that the glues are now illegal, but will not be tested till Sept 08. Is this just a way of covering their backsides, so that if another incident happens, they can't be sued, because they have stated that gluing was illegal? I simply can't see how an overnight decision can possible be to the benefit of players... after all gluing has been going on for a few decades already!

These people on the board of the ITTF seem way out of touch with reality, and certainly with the players at club levels such as most of us. I get the feeling that politics and money are at work here, with the interest of players coming second...

The improved scoring system (up to 11 instead of 21) was an earlier decision I did not agree with, and I know many see if my way. Was this done for the benifit of players? Has it really mad a difference to the game... I think not!
The new laws regarding friction levels of long pimple rubber seems to be another one where decisions are made without players having much of a say, but I won't go into this here.

Unfortunately there seems to be very little players can do to make any changes at the top level... These people seem to be able to make decision overnight on any issue, without being accountable to the many players out there... If you know of a way of changing this, I would love to hear about... before these clowns completely destroy our sport!

By: Adham Sharara, ITTF President


Based on a majority decision taken by the Board of Directors of the ITTF, Glues containing harmful volatile compounds are no longer approved by the ITTF effective immediately. Although it is felt by the Board of Directors that the current levels of volatile compounds in Glues used to affix rubber coverings to the table tennis blade are in very small quantities and if applied correctly in a ventilated area provide no serious health risk to the players, it is felt, however, that long term use of such glues may have negative health effects.

Therefore, as of immediate effect the ITTF informs all players to cease using glues containing volatile compounds (VCs).

It is, therefore, the responsibility of each player, or his/her parents in case of minors, to cease using glues containing VCs. Any player using such glues will be doing so at his/her own risk and the ITTF will not be held responsible of any consequences or ill effects resulting from the use of such glues.

All existing ITTF approvals of glues are WITHDRAWN effective immediately. This withdrawal applies to ALL glues currently on the market. The ITTF will cease to approve any type of glue effective immediately. However, the ITTF’s current “racket testing” programme and protocols will continue, which controls the amount of VCs in a racket in order to protect the health of the players.

The ITTF will publish and circulate widely a list of available glues that are free of volatile compounds. This list will be updated regularly on the ITTF’s website.

As of 1 January 2008 for ITTF Junior events, and as of 1 September 2008 for all other ITTF events, the ITTF will implement a new zero tolerance racket testing programme and protocol, using the “e-nez” and RAE instruments to ensure that all rackets used by players are VC free.

In addition, as of today, in the case that a proven severe health incident occurs and is confirmed by the medical authority recognized by the ITTF, then the ITTF would implement the new testing programme immediately (VC free) at that date (confirmation of the incident) and sanctions would be applied for failed tests. An exact legal announcement of this procedure will be made shortly by the ITTF.

The ITTF urges all parties involved, players, national associations, continental associations, manufacturers, and parents to act accordingly.

Adham Sharara

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kokutaku 868 Blutenkirsche German 40-43deg sponge 2.2mm

I finally had a good session with one of these rubbers. These are probably the highest quality Chinese made rubbers I've seen to date, with good performance to match! I was quite impressed... This is probably why the Japanese Kokutaku let them make their rubbers for them...

Although the sheets are a little tacky, they still have good speed and are very spinny. They are not all that fast in the short game (which is good), but have a the benefits of tacky rubbers for that part of the game.

When you dig the ball into the rubber a little further, the German sponge really starts to shine, giving good spin and speed. This is where you get a bit of a kick, where presumably the explosion III technology starts (whatever that means?). In general it a very nice rubber for most parts of the game, particularly for looping.

When I glued up this rubber, I got a huge dome even from a single layer of my Tibhar long lasting glue. The effects were very obvious, a further significant boost in performance! Particularly for hitting and powerlooping this rubber was fast, and loud (glue sound)!

I would expect the Kokutaku 007 (with German sponge) to have similar performance, but probably a little faster. Although both use German sponges, the sponges on these rubbers are different types, so they may excel in different areas...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

TSP Curl P1-R vs Galaxy 955 Long pimples rubbers

I've finally got an opportunity to try this famous rubber, thanks to my friend LawOCG!

Well this is another remarkable rubber from TSP, I've been impressed with ALL the ones I've tried! The word out there is that this is one of the hardest rubbers to control but also among the most dangerous. Well the sponge must make quite a difference. I suspect that the word out there refers to the thicker sponge version, because I found the control on the 0.5mm very good!

On my Energy wood blade, I actually found this rubber relatively slow with very good control. It was a fair bit slower than the 955, even compared to OX!

It's most remarkable property that I found was blocking against fast loops... I got so many more on, and the sink was very good! It does require a positive and forward stroke, and simply putting the bat there made it really grip, and fly over the end of the table... But with a slow forward and upwards stroke, the ball landed on the table even against fast loops, with a real nice sink effect... they did not come back....

Attacking against backspin was not quite a easy as with the 955, but still pretty good. Since the pimples seems more grippy the further the dig the ball in, you can't afford to let it dig in too much or you'll give up spin reversal.

In general it was good in the short game, producing more LP effect than the 955... some good wobble balls too. I wasn't to sure why the ball was doing what it was doing on a few occasions...

Chopping against backspin can be done effectively, but you need to compensate for the incoming spin...

Away from the table it perform very well too, good ability to manipulate spin. The control in general was almost as good as the 955. I found it easier to keep the ball shorter, mainly bacause it felt slower... Against loops I still preferred the 955, but I need more time to find out why...

I think I'll need a few more sessions to draw conclusions on whether it's better for my game, but it's the best I've found so far since the 955.

There are a few more details on the forum that seems to have turned into a long pimple forum
It's another nice long pimple rubber from TSP.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Testing out long pimple rubber strokes

I decided to test some of my long pimple strokes against the ball machine, to get a better idea of exactly what and how much spin was being returned off a backspin ball using my Galaxy 955 OX(close to the table).

Although I sort of know what it did, i never looked this closely... I set the machine on heavy backspin;

  • Chopping hard produced a moderate amount of backspin, not enough to stop it from reaching the end of the table, but enough to slow it down. You need to adjust the bat angle since heavy backspin does bite in a little...
  • Chopping lightly seemed to produce a dead ball. The ball grip just a little, giving very good control of where to put the ball.
  • Swiping / Chopping the ball with a sideways motion puts a fair amount of sidespin on the ball combines with a little topspin. The curve on the ball was quite obvious, and directing to an opponent so that it curves into the body can be quite effective.
  • Scooping the ball lightly produces a light amount of topspin, once again with very good control over placement.
  • Hitting the ball (fast scooping action) seemed to produce the most spin reversal. This is to be expected since the reduced dwell time give the rubber less time to grab the ball. It is quite easy to attack backspin this way, and this rubber is particularly good at this. Although it's probably not fast enough to hit is past people, it is very effective since most players intuitively don't expect a 'fast' hit against a heavy backspin. A deep and heavy push to someone backhand to try and draw a weak return is a common strategy, so if you can attack this, it's a real asset.

I will have another go with this, but this time against topspin. i will also try it against no-spin to get a better idea of what spin I can produce with this rubber...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fun way of beating your friends at table tennis

I've written an simple article for casual table tennis players on how to beat their friends at table tennis using long pimple rubbers... It is aimed towards the basement type players, or those that might occasionally play at work or school, not for the more serious players or those that play competition.

I plan to publish this in a few places, and hope to attract more new players to actively play table tennis, by having fun with long pimple rubbers. This could not only bring more players to table tennis, but can also bring more players to long pimples, and encourage others to learn about them so that they can become more accepted in table tennis in general:

Fun way of beating your friends at table tennis

Please have a read and provide me with some comments. I'd really like some opinions before I go ahead and publish it... Please be honest and totally brutal!

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Avalox PUROT

It looks of decent quality, it was expensive for a chinese rubber. Has anyone tried PUROT before? I will try this rubber myself, but I have no way of knowing if it's any different to the standard version. I guess I can compare it to the Globe national, which seems like a similar rubber and I know it well....

Although this rubber is supposed to be a national team version, and the source is very reliable, I have my doubts... There are no special marking on there, except on the back of the sponge it has: TOP- GRADE SPONGE, MADE IN JAPAN, 2.2mm 45deg it does not feel like 45deg to me, probably more like 42deg. The 'Made in Japan' must refer to the sponge, since the topsheet has 'made in China' on it.

Well I just had a brief hit with it (not speed glued). The topsheet is soft and tacky, and very shiny. It's the shiniest topsheet I've seen. Looping against backspin, it has quite a low throw and is not that fast, but very spinny. Pushing/serving is very nice, great spin and control. Against topspin it hits beautifully and it does not seem that sensitive to incoming spin. Driving/counterlooping works very well too, but it's quite fast (obviously the firmer sponge) and I was hitting over the end for a while till I adjusted. It is also very spinny for this as expected... Blocking worked nicely too. So the obvious next step was to glue it up, so I did this with my Tibhar RCD. After a single layer, the dome was quite big, so I decided to stay with a single layer. I will test it out next...

Well I took it out for a test run...interesting rubber... The glue speeded it up a fair bit, but the glue effect was not huge. The topsheet is quite soft and tacky, and very elastic. It was great for serves and pushes, as expected. Brush looping worked very well, producing very spinny loops but not all that fast. Control and accuracy was very good, reminded me of the geospin tacky.

Away from the table looping was not the best, as the firmer sponge made the ball come off too fast and not spinny enough to give control. I could adjust of course, but I prefer something a little softer that could generate more spin. However for hitting and driving this rubber was very nice, producing fast balls and my accuracy was very good. Blocking was similar. Hitting/blocking more aggressive (harder) made it a lot sensitive to incoming spin. I was having a few games just to test it out, and this rubber really encouraged me to hit more, which worked surprisingly well.

So this rubber would work well for those that open up with a slower spinny loop, and hit/drive the ball when the rally starts. If it really is a national version as I was told, it would have been designed for a specific player in mind, which I assume would play this style of game...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Long Pimple Rubbers - OX versus sponge

After playing with a sponged long pimple rubber for so long, I decided to give OX (no sponge) another go, and here are some of my findings. Rubber tested was Galaxy (Milky Way) 955 with 0.6mm sponge versus OX, on a Stiga Energy Wood Blade. I feel my finding are likely to be the case for most sponged vs OX long pimple rubbers:

- OX: Spin reversal and other LP effects were certainly significantly improved...and made it more fun to play with.

- chopping away from the table, OX is harder to control. The hard feel of the blade reduces dwell time and make it come off quicker. For this stroke this rubber is faster OX than with sponge. Spin manipulation was still very good. I was getting very heavy backspin, but could easily change to a float. The contrast was probably a little better with OX, but I did not get as many on.

- Attacking backspin still worked very well, but once again it was faster, so I had to be careful not to hit too hard. Hitting was very nice and fast.

- blocking: drop shots were much easier and better with OX, spin reversal was better too. This is a shot that was just not effective with sponge. Counterhitting against topspin seemed very similar, returning some topspin.

Chop blocks with OX were great, the came off fast with very good spin reversal. Very effective if you can time them right....

In conclusion, you win some you lose some...I'm not sure if it would improve my game, but perhaps with time I can improve...

I feel that a slower and softer blade would probably give me more control... and make it easier to control the OX....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

JUIC table tennis rubbers and blades

Got a range of JUIC table tennis rubbers and blades now, hope to test at least a few of them shortly. JUIC is a Japanese company that makes some very good and high quality products.
Got the following:
Rubbers: Nano Cannon, Couga, Varites, Driva Smash Ultima, Leggy Defense 1.0mm, JUIC 999 Elite Ultima, Offense Ultima.
Blades: Hinoki Shake, Air Texa, Bamboo Shot, Texalium
Ecolo Expander II

First of the ranks is the JUIC Leggy Defence 1.0mm:

First impressions:
- Very high quality
- It plays like a grippy pip
- Feel a little fast on chopping but good feel and some grip
- excellent on counterhitting or attacking backspin.
- Flat blocks takes the spin off against topspin, not that much reversal
- Excellent for chop block or sidespin blocks
- Dropshots are tough since it feels a little springy.

Seems like it's got good potential... I hope to try it against some real players tomorrow. The ball machine never seems good for testing wobble balls, nor does it show the unintential variation in spin, so I'll have to test that in practice as well.

Happy to take requests on what I test next...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Globe 889-2 follow up

Well I tried this rubber without glue this time, although it was still a little stretched from the previous gluing.

Well it played very similarly, but was simply slower and offered more control, especially on pushes and chops. In fact unless you really need the extra speed, this rubber plays very nicely without glue.

Don't let the ball drop if you wish to loop or counterloop, since the rubber obviously has a very low throw, and is harder to lift if you let it drop. Strokes should be played near the top of the bounch.

An excellent rubber for those that struggle a little with incoming spin, and do not have an spin based attack style. It can generate plenty of spin, but not like many inverted rubbers. It offers plenty of speed, and probably a lot more on a faster blade...