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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2013, 04:20 
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haggisv wrote:
With today's technology and research, it's surprising they can't come up with something similar, although the market for these blades is probably rather small now, so not many would invest in the research.
I'm sure it could be replicated today, but modern sponge players aren't interested in oversized very thin blades. For hardbat though, they are very desireable.

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It does make me very interested to try one though. How many of these would be there around, and how do you recognise them?
There is one on eBay (in the U.S.) right now... item #221174882727. You can see what they look like, and how they are stamped. By the way, the weight was WITH rubber... the blade by itself is actually lighter than indicated.

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2013, 06:21 
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@scottgordon, What hardbat rubber do you use on your Hock blade?

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2013, 07:41 
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ckhirnigs113 wrote:
@scottgordon, What hardbat rubber do you use on your Hock blade?

I've used a lot of different ones over the years. My favorite is Leyland, but I only have a couple sheets left and so I've been using Reisman in hardbat events. I have another Hock that I use in sponge events that has Winning NP-8 (not approved for hardbat events). I like the NP8 because it is very lightweight and lasts a long time, but it is admittedly inappropriate (too spinny) for hardbat events.

I wish Leyland were still available - it is the lightest weight of all and has great feel. My best results were winning the O40 hardbat event at the nationals a couple of years ago, beating Loc Ngo in the semis and Larry Hodges in the final and both using much faster and spinnier setups. I also won an U2200 sponge event once using Leyland. Nothing today is even close to Leyland, unfortunately, and the stupid ITTF "T4 specs" make Leyland impossible to approve for "normal" (sponge) events, even if we were able to secure more of it.

As you can probably tell, my biggest complaint about modern hardrubber sheets is that most are too heavy for my taste.

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2013, 12:43 
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I appreciate the info. Does Valor Premier compare at all to the Leyland you prefer? I'm thinking about putting together my first high quality hardbat setup. I want to get a blade that will serve two purposes, to be excellent at both hardbat and modern defense.

I think the main requirements for the blade are flexibility and size. I think oversize makes sense for both hardbat and modern defense. I'm leaning towards the Donic Defplay Senso. Could this work well for hardbat? Also, I need a good suggestion for hardbat rubber that chops really well. I chop quite a bit with my inverted setup, so I'd like to have that option with hardbat as well.

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 01:57 
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ckhirnigs113 wrote:
I appreciate the info. Does Valor Premier compare at all to the Leyland you prefer? I'm thinking about putting together my first high quality hardbat setup. I want to get a blade that will serve two purposes, to be excellent at both hardbat and modern defense.
Valor Premium is almost identical to the Reisman rubber, so I could use it. Nothing is like Leyland (due to the difference in weight and base thickness), but then neither is anything else.

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I think the main requirements for the blade are flexibility and size. I think oversize makes sense for both hardbat and modern defense. I'm leaning towards the Donic Defplay Senso. Could this work well for hardbat? Also, I need a good suggestion for hardbat rubber that chops really well. I chop quite a bit with my inverted setup, so I'd like to have that option with hardbat as well.
I'm not familiar with the Defplay, but if its DEF and oversize, that sounds like a good candidate. I agree about flexibility and size. If you want to chop, you don't want something too small, too stiff, or too fast.

If you ever get a chance to run into someone with a 3ply Hock or a Barna, ask if they'll let you give it a try. That will give you an idea of what the sort of longterm "standard" plays like. Ultimately of course you use whatever feels good to you. Marty once told me that Ferenc Sido played with a paddle that was "like a brick", very stiff and fast. Sido was a great defender and a 2x world singles champ, so there isn't just one answer.

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 13:24 
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I dont know about hard bat blades or rubbers but I can tell you the defplay senso (white top ply) is a reasonably flexible blade and soft amongst standard blades, its allround in speed and oversized. The most notable thing about the defplay is its ability to generate enormous amounts of spin both chopping and looping. Its the only blade Ive ever used that makes a 40mm ball do things only a 38mm should do, if a high spin blade is good for hard bat then it'll be great. Take into account I've never used a super soft def blade or old hard bat blade but amongst modern blades all round and up in speed the defplay has abnormal spin.

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 14:38 
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ckhirnigs113 wrote:
I appreciate the info. Does Valor Premier compare at all to the Leyland you prefer? I'm thinking about putting together my first high quality hardbat setup. I want to get a blade that will serve two purposes, to be excellent at both hardbat and modern defense.

I think the main requirements for the blade are flexibility and size. I think oversize makes sense for both hardbat and modern defense. I'm leaning towards the Donic Defplay Senso. Could this work well for hardbat? Also, I need a good suggestion for hardbat rubber that chops really well. I chop quite a bit with my inverted setup, so I'd like to have that option with hardbat as well.

The Valor American Chopper is an excellent blade for both attack and defense. It has some flexibility and it is very close to the same size as the BTY Joo Se Hyuk. It can also be used for modern defense with LPs on the backhand and a rubber such as TENERGY or Apollo II. This blade has been used to win several US National Hardbat Championships by Trevor Runyan and Adoni Maropis.

The Valor Premier rubber is an excelent rubber for both attack and defense in Hardbat. It also blocks very nicely. Carlos Ko used it to block Trevors shots successfully at the 2010 US Open Hardbat final.

Scott is right no rubber plays like Leyland but Valor Premier was designed to be as close to Leyland as possible and still pass the ITTF licensing tests.

CHEERS!

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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 15:00 
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Thanks, guys! I really appreciated all the great info.

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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2013, 01:37 
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I'm not keen on the 'modern age hard bat'. Not keen at all. It misses the point in my opinion. The point being hard bat is supposed to balance out attack and defense, its supposed to promote long rallies. The modern hard bat really isn't hard bat at all, the rallies are often not much if at all longer than sponge rallies, making it a poor mans sponge as the saying goes.

Sadly, as a poster has already stated, there is no true, pure equivalent to Leyland (the original hard bat rubber). Even getting hold of true hard bat blades is not easy. As an owner of a true hard bat blade, and having played with the original (green version) Leyland rubber, I've found nothing close.

That being said, if you're planning on playing 'hard bat' vs sponge, I agree it is not easy. At lower levels, hard bat can prove difficult for players with little experience. Players with experience though, and that does not just apply to international standards, but club level too, will go through a hard bat player with ease, if that hard bat player is relying on cheap points due to an inexperienced opponent.

I hope that a true version of hard bat is brought back one day, but, its hard to see that happening. Life never goes back, people always want to stamp part of contemporary culture on everything, understandably of course. For this reason, I don't see people bringing back hard bat as it was, instead, there seems to this deformed version of it surfacing. Deformed as it doesn't know what it is, it isn't really hard bat, it isn't sponge, it isn't really anything.

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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2013, 01:44 
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Scott is right no rubber plays like Leyland but Valor Premier was designed to be as close to Leyland as possible and still pass the ITTF licensing tests.

CHEERS!

The valor rubber is taken from the mold of the Reis man rubber which went out of production for several reasons. I can tell you, as an insider of the Reisman rubber creation, it was not perfect, and was put out into the market earlier than it wanted to be, it wasn't ready as it wasn't close enough to Leyland. And yes, the ittf played its part, for instance not allowing pimples of the length and diameter of Leyland (for no justified reason). The Reis man rubber is OK, I used to use it before it didn't renew its ittf license. But its not the best hard bat rubber on offer today.

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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2013, 10:18 
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Snowman89 wrote:
for instance not allowing pimples of the length and diameter of Leyland (for no justified reason).

Is that when the ITTF brought in the restrictions of aspect ratio, which banned a lot of the long pimple which were too long and narrow?

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PostPosted: 24 Mar 2013, 11:19 
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I don't think so. Leyland has very small and narrow pimples. Best hard bat rubber on earth, too bad its not made anymore. Won't be long before all sheets of Leyland will be so perished that everyone thinks Dr evil is a Leyland clone, even 'educated' hardbaters. Leave Leyland out to dry in the sun for a year and I think you'll have a copy of dr evil just about.

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PostPosted: 01 Apr 2015, 13:27 
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scottgordon wrote:
mynamenotbob wrote:
While there are a handful of hardbat-only tournaments, like it or not it's a sponge world and you'll limit your opportunities to play if you don't play against all competition. With that being the case, why not take advantage of the best possible equipment choices available to pit your no-sponge skills against today's high-tech "sandwich" players?
With the proper tools it's rather fun to play modern age hardbat and you might be surprised at how well you do.

You're right that modern blades can be great for hardbat. Whatever feels best is what you should use.

But one of the appeals of the Hock, is that it is (was) a completely handmade artisan blade and it is utterly unique - at least the 3ply blades were. The story of Bernie Hock's making of the 3ply wood is quite remarkable... in the late 1940s he spent a couple of years researching wood, and how to make a thin plywood that wouldn't warp. In about 1950, he worked with a mill and special ordered certain cuts of wood, cured and then glued in certain ways to his specification, and the result was a stock of 3-ply wood that was so huge that he used it for the next 45 years. All 3ply Hocks are from this original batch of wood from 1950. He was so confident that they wouldn't warp, he recommended cleaning the rubber by immersing the paddle in water!! (I would never do that, but that's how confident he was).

They play unlike any other paddle I've ever tried - they are both slow and fast. I can understand someone not liking them, but if you do like them, it's not easy finding something similar. The Valor paddles are the closest I've seen... no surprise, because much of their design is inspired by the Hocks. Oh - and Paddle Palace mades a blade called the "Hawk" that is also similar. Barna's are cool too, but very different from the Hock.

And of course, there is something cool about playing with a piece of history - kinda like playing a vintage guitar. I love playing with a Hock and couldn't imagine playing with anything else. And I've beaten sponge players up to about 2200 with it... even won an U2200 event once. Maybe I'd be 50 points stronger with something else, but probably not because I'd be less enthusiastic. :)


A further interesting feature of the Hock 3-ply blades is that Bernard Hock had devised a numbering system by which he could match a handle to a blade varying in weight from about 4 oz. to 5 3/4 oz.including rubber using a numerical system which he devised and wrote in pencil near the point where the handle would be affixed to the blade and also on the boxes of handles which he had in store. The handle weights as I recall varied from about 15 for the lightest handles, pecan, sassafrass, to 35-45 for ash, cedar and mahogany handles and 3/16" 3-ply blades, and finally to about 60-80 for 1/4" blades weighing about 5 3/4 oz. with handles of red oak. Most of the Hock 3-ply blades varied from 1/5 to 1/4 inch in thickness, the lightest with pecan handles, the heaviest with handles of red oak. Hock could make a matched set of rackets including rubber to a tolerance of 4 grams, or about 1/7 of an ounce. The most common Hock blades had a mahogany handle and weighed, including the Leyland rubber, from 4 3/8 to 4 3/4 ounces. They were virtually warpproof and in skilled hands could play offensively or defensively depending on how well you could use them. Bernard Hock was, though a roofer by trade, quite a remarkable maker of table tennis rackets. There is nothing quite like a Hock racket currently on the market.


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