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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2007, 07:53 
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Soft sponge is generally 30-35 durometer, measured on the Shore scale.

Medium sponge is 38-42 hardness.

Hard sponge is 45 up to 60 hardness.

Soft sponge lets the ball sink in adding spin, while hard sponge keeps it from sinking in except at higher impacts, resulting in increased speed and less interaction with the blade.

-- Andrew


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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2007, 09:54 
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Sitting on Defence
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I'm no expert but here's a couple generalities (at least from my experience) Hard sponges are usually used with a tacky topsheet and excell at serving as well as control in the short game. As far as looping is concerned, hard sponge (w/ tacky topsheet) requires a much different stroke than European style loop, some refer to it as "brush" looping. I feel that from mid to long distance hard sponges tend to become much more difficult to use which is why I usually avoid them.

Softer sponges on the other hand, are harder to control in the short game, but (for me) offer much greater control and feel for the ball from mid-long distances when looping/chopping/fishing etc.

Medium sponges tend to fall somewhere in the middle depending upon if its medium-soft, or medium hard.

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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2007, 13:12 
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Your general observations make sense to me.

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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2007, 13:33 
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To confuse things further, the chinese scale seems to be different from the Japanese/euro scale.

I like to refer my hardness back to the chinese scale sicne I'm familiar with it... For chinese, 38 and lower feels pretty soft, 39-42 medium, and and anything above fairly firm...

Another problems is that the hardness is not always measures, so that a sponge marked as 38 deg, feels much firmer than that...

So in the end you've got to use some of your own judgement, the more rubbers you come accross, the better feel you get...

Most of the old style chinese rubbers all had firm sponges, ie 43deg or more. Most of the newer generation are medium, and a few chinese rubbers, like 729 Supersoft and LKT XT would fall in the soft catagory...

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PostPosted: 18 Feb 2007, 08:49 
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Soft sponge absorbs glue better. That's why those FX are meant to be glued. But for Pro, they use hard sponge and pour the whole gallon on the rubber to soften it.

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PostPosted: 19 Feb 2007, 00:50 
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its not just the sponge which makes a rubber feel hard or soft but also topsheet... thats why it can be hard to judge if it'd be nice for you if you dont know if the topsheet is hard or not.

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PostPosted: 19 Feb 2007, 02:46 
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You are right Servio.
The sponge may be soft and the topsheet firm as for example the 729 fx supersoft (about 35° for the sponge)
But you also have soft and soft as a Joola Samba (also 35°) but it seems quite softer than the 729 fx supersoft.
European rubbers are most of th time around the 40°, some more some less.
Chinese rubbers are called (mostly by people who doesn't know the complete range) firm or very firm.

Personnally, I prefer around the 38-39° which I find the best between rotation and hitting.

You also have tensor sponge which are often difficult to use in the small play due to an on/off effect sometimes difficult to control.

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