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PostPosted: 26 Dec 2011, 01:08 
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I have been playing with Tibhar Ellen Def (black 1.5 mm) on the light-weight (around 70 grams) Tibhar Defense Plus blade for some months and was pretty much satisfied with it; so much so that I decided to go all Tibhar and glued a Tibhar Varispin (red 1.5mm) to the forehand. The result is an easy to handle, low throw, low speed bat which produces great backspin on chops (both sides!), blocks and chop-blocks well close to the table, and has surprisingly adequate speed on topspin attacks. The only blemish on the set-up was that the anti didn't attack in a consistent way. I thought it was my own fault, adjusted my attacking stroke, made the attacking speed moderate; that worked, but it was still nagging me a bit. Lately I have been reading up on the properties of different kinds of wood used in blades, and have discussed it with forum-members; as a result I came to realise that the two plies of balsa, on either side of the core of the Def Plus were at least a significant part of the problem. On higher than medium speed balsa reacts to impact with low dwell-time and high catapult, which vastly increases the problem of (completely or nearly) bottoming-out of fast balls; it is as if at higher speeds you are playing with a sponge which is suddenly about 1 mm less thick. Try to attack crisply with an anti topsheet on a .5 mm sponge... :( That is mostly a no go. So I thought I should try the anti on a different blade. But which one? It should have an outer ply which offered great and invariable dwell-time and not contain balsa. I tried a number of blades and finally settled on Stiga Tube Defensive WRB; its outer plies are limba (inner are Ayous I think) and by reputation comes very close to the classic Butterfly defense blades (Defense II, Defense Alpha, Matshushita). Limba is topspin wood; it works like sponge itself, allowing the ball to sink in and stay (it is said) because it is rather soft, and stays so even at high impact. It works just fine with european looping rubbers (Stiga has been using limba outer with ayous inner plies for slow and medium fast blades since the 1960s) in a european looping style. Grippy anti needs its sponge as much or more as a classic topspin rubber does, so limba should do just fine with it too... It did. Does. This set-up is heavier (the blade itself is around 15 grams heavier, and it is also bigger, so the rubbers glued to it are bigger and heavier too), that is the only draw-back. The Tibhar is slower at low impact, just about as fast as it on high impact, so the Stiga feels a lot more consistent in speed when using it - no steep climbing curve, but a linear increase in speed as related to the use of force. Looping is very good (higher throw, too). And the Ellen is producing heavier backspin with chops. But the best thing, for me at least, is that the Stiga makes attacking with the anti a lot easier and basically consistent.
It will almost certainly be less suitable for slick antis used close to the table, though, as its good well-time will play havock with reversal. But sticky antis for blocking (Giant Dragon Guard) may be another matter...

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PostPosted: 26 Dec 2011, 03:45 
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Nice to read, Kees. Keep us certainly posted about you further results with it... :)

I've read somewhere that a heavier paddle is better to chop with. I don't exactly know where, but I remember me reading it. So, once you're used to the weight, it will be another advantage.

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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2011, 21:52 
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Update on the review: everything has another side to it - I played a couple of matches with the Stiga and opponents told me they found this set-up quite a bit less difficult to play against. Counter-attacks are basically faster than with the Tibhar, both with the Ellen and the Varispin, but the difference between defense-speed and attack-speed was less, so the Stiga was not disturbing the opponents' rhythm much. Okay, linearity is predictable; so back to balsa it is... but I'll have to work on my strokes and tactics to avoid its pitfalls...

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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2011, 22:00 
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Kees wrote:
Update on the review: everything has another side to it - I played a couple of matches with the Stiga and opponents told me they found this set-up quite a bit less difficult to play against. Counter-attacks are basically faster than with the Tibhar, both with the Ellen and the Varispin, but the difference between defense-speed and attack-speed was less, so the Stiga was not disturbing the opponents' rhythm much. Okay, linearity is predictable; so back to balsa it is... but I'll have to work on my strokes and tactics to avoid its pitfalls...

Get a Stiga Allround Classic, the best "cheap" blade there is and known to be great with anti.

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