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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 02:50 
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iskandar taib wrote:
Wow.. where's he getting the Hock wood from? Was there a supply of it stored somewhere?
Iskandar

In 1949, Bernie Hock went to a mill and custom-ordered the plywood that became the basis for all of his 3-ply blades. When he passed away, Don Varian bought the company and the remaining wood stock from that original 1949 stock. There is apparently enough to make several thousand more blades. It is difficult to replicate this wood from off-the-shelf plywood, because of Bernie's non-standard specifications to the mill. By contrast, the 5-ply stock was off-the-shelf, and easier to replicate (Valor makes a 5-ply that I can't tell the difference from an original Hock).

The 1949 wood was stored in Bernie's basement/shop until he passed away, and now is stored in Don's wood shop in Ohio.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 03:12 
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Alx wrote:
Scottgordon, thank you for your feedback! Judging from your signature, you play mostly hardbat, right? Could you tell me what blades are more common between hardbat players you play with who tend to be on offensive side (hitters, blockers)? Modern blades or classic ones? Regular sized or oversized? Stiff and hard or soft?

Yes, I play only with a hardbat, even in normal, sponge events.

As to blades, it runs the gamut: classic, modern, large, small, soft, stiff, and everything in between. I think the majority tend to gravitate towards classic, oversized, softer blades - but that is not anywhere near universal. I myself use mostly classic blades, but I have to admit that is largely aesthetic. Recently, I switched from an oversized soft blade to an undersized stiff one.

The main advantage of an oversized, slow blade is when chopping. Chopping IS easier with a larger, slower blade. Since a lot of hardbat players chop (at least sometimes), defensive blades do tend to be popular. I would suggest that anyone who plays hardbat really should try a classic defensive blade (such as a 3ply Hock, a Valor defensive blade, a Paddle Palace "Hawk", or one of the slow LKT blades), because they "feel" so different than typical modern blades, and it's worth exposing oneself to this spectrum too. This is true even for attackers - for example, one member of this forum, Jay Turberville, is an all-out attacker and uses a very slow blade.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 12:28 
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scottgordon wrote:
In 1949, Bernie Hock went to a mill and custom-ordered the plywood that became the basis for all of his 3-ply blades. When he passed away, Don Varian bought the company and the remaining wood stock from that original 1949 stock. There is apparently enough to make several thousand more blades. It is difficult to replicate this wood from off-the-shelf plywood, because of Bernie's non-standard specifications to the mill. By contrast, the 5-ply stock was off-the-shelf, and easier to replicate (Valor makes a 5-ply that I can't tell the difference from an original Hock).

The 1949 wood was stored in Bernie's basement/shop until he passed away, and now is stored in Don's wood shop in Ohio.


Yeah, I'd heard about Hock getting the plywood made by a local mill. What I hadn't heard was that there's a bunch of it left!

I met Bernie years ago.. must've been in the 90s - at a South Bend contest - I had a chance to buy a blade back then but I didn't. They weren't expensive at all. He was adamant about one thing - flared handles were no good! Straight handles only. One of the girls from our club bought one.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 13:38 
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scottgordon wrote:
As to blades, it runs the gamut: classic, modern, large, small, soft, stiff, and everything in between. I think the majority tend to gravitate towards classic, oversized, softer blades - but that is not anywhere near universal. I myself use mostly classic blades, but I have to admit that is largely aesthetic. Recently, I switched from an oversized soft blade to an undersized stiff one.

Scott, I've always wondered what blade (and rubber) Jeff Johnston uses. Is it a regular off-the-shelf model, an old classic hardbat blade or a custom-made job?

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2016, 18:03 
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I recently set up 2 hardbats. An Appelgren Allplay with Yasaka A1, and a Stiga Allround Classic with Dr Evil. It's amazing how different they feel. The Appelgren feels quite soft and makes a nice thud when you hit the ball. The Stiga feels quite harsh and makes a high pitched ping. I've only hit balls against a wall so far. The Appelgren definitely has a bit more pop. I haven't hit properly with them yet, just against a wall. I'll play with whichever one hits through spin better!

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2016, 20:13 
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You wonder if any of the old MacCrossens survive, and if anyone's tried copying them.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2016, 21:06 
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I sold one last year.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 29 Apr 2016, 12:04 
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Photos? I wonder what made them special.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 21 May 2016, 09:06 
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scottgordon wrote:
Alx wrote:
Scottgordon, thank you for your feedback! Judging from your signature, you play mostly hardbat, right? Could you tell me what blades are more common between hardbat players you play with who tend to be on offensive side (hitters, blockers)? Modern blades or classic ones? Regular sized or oversized? Stiff and hard or soft?

Yes, I play only with a hardbat, even in normal, sponge events.

As to blades, it runs the gamut: classic, modern, large, small, soft, stiff, and everything in between. I think the majority tend to gravitate towards classic, oversized, softer blades - but that is not anywhere near universal. I myself use mostly classic blades, but I have to admit that is largely aesthetic. Recently, I switched from an oversized soft blade to an undersized stiff one.

The main advantage of an oversized, slow blade is when chopping. Chopping IS easier with a larger, slower blade. Since a lot of hardbat players chop (at least sometimes), defensive blades do tend to be popular. I would suggest that anyone who plays hardbat really should try a classic defensive blade (such as a 3ply Hock, a Valor defensive blade, a Paddle Palace "Hawk", or one of the slow LKT blades), because they "feel" so different than typical modern blades, and it's worth exposing oneself to this spectrum too. This is true even for attackers - for example, one member of this forum, Jay Turberville, is an all-out attacker and uses a very slow blade.


Yes. I have found that I like blades that have a soft outer ply. That is almost always a ply made of willow wood. I like the very old Butterfly Defense (from the 70s or 80s) and right now I am playing with a Nittaku Resist. To me, the Resist (when playing hardbat) plays very much like my former blade (LKT Instinct 5-ply) but it is slightly oversized. I want the oversized blade because I have been working on my chopping a lot.

While I do gravitate toward a pretty much all attack game, that isn't always a practical approach - especially when playing against sponge players. So I've been working hard on my chop game and the somewhat oversized Nittaku Resist has been just the blade I've been looking for.

But as Scott said, these things are mostly a matter of personal preference. Find what feels good for you and go have fun with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 21 May 2016, 09:08 
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mynamenotbob wrote:
scottgordon wrote:
As to blades, it runs the gamut: classic, modern, large, small, soft, stiff, and everything in between. I think the majority tend to gravitate towards classic, oversized, softer blades - but that is not anywhere near universal. I myself use mostly classic blades, but I have to admit that is largely aesthetic. Recently, I switched from an oversized soft blade to an undersized stiff one.

Scott, I've always wondered what blade (and rubber) Jeff Johnston uses. Is it a regular off-the-shelf model, an old classic hardbat blade or a custom-made job?


I think he plays with thick balsa core blades. I don't know the brand or model. Much too fast for my taste. But he uses them to good effect.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 21 May 2016, 09:10 
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iskandar taib wrote:
Photos? I wonder what made them special.

Iskandar


Some people claim that the use of hide glue was part of it. OTOH, the Hocks were apparently not only less expensive, but much less inclined to warp. Those were supposedly (I'm going by what I've been told by others) the two main reasons that the Hock became so much more prevalent.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 21 May 2016, 10:18 
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I play hardbat in sponge events also, and if the rubbers are different in sponge and hardbat (Yasaka Cobalt Alpha against sponge and Valor Premier against hardbat), the blade is the same : Butterfly Kenny Style, which is for me the best blade for blocking, and fits exactly with my style of play.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 30 May 2016, 09:01 
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Blade: from Juic Smasher
FH: Yasaka A-1-2
BH: Yasaka A-1-2
I current set up is Butterfly Orthodox FH & BH on Lkt 5-ply Instinct.
It is light (124 grams), but I like its weight.

I would like to try an even slower blade sometime in the future.
Nittaku Endless and Galaxy LQ-2 are tempting.
I really like flared handles, so Lkt Toxic models are not an option.
Trying to get this ex-tennis-player to not take too big of a swing at the ball is a challenge
and a slower blade might be more forgiving in that aspect.

I borrowed for one match an old Barna blade (by Dunlop?) with Andro Classic on both sides.
Much heavier that my current set-up and I didn't like it.
Perhaps the extra weight and I would become friends with more time at the table together.
But for now, I am not a fan.
However, it was intriguing to block back loops with more spin-reversal that I'm used to.
I have read JT say Andro Classic does that and I agree based on this experience.

For the foreseeable future I want to stay within the US Hardbat rules,
even though I play only against sponge at my club.
After all, if a hardbat event comes within reach, I want to be ready. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 31 May 2016, 18:36 
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NotLikelyToLoop, you don't have to reject LKT Toxic 3 and 5 blades. They are available with flared handles also.

As for the weight, it's just a matter of habit. You can adjust to any setup (it's hard to go for too heavy setup with hardbat :-) ). Once your hand get accustomed to its weight your perception of weight will change.

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 Post subject: Re: Hardbat Blades
PostPosted: 31 May 2016, 18:46 
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I'm likely to use my Butterfly Defence Alpha for hardbat purposes. I'm a fan of Dr Evil, but haven't tried either Butterfly Orthodox or Andro Classic. Both would seem to be tempting options! The elegance of an all Butterfly setup appeals to me, but I've heard many good things about the Andro Classic.

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