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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2020, 05:20 
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Probably no other rubber in history has been talked about as much as Hurricane 3. Still, there is lot of confusion and misinformation around and the little pieces of useful information are scattered across multiple sources spanning two decades. I am starting this thread to gather all the useful and veridic information available as of October 2020 - in one place. What follows is my understanding formed from hundreds of forum posts, articles, interviews and videos.

I will start today with one of the most important distinctions that can be made between the Hurricane 3 rubbers:

1. Classic vs Neo
Hurricane 3 Classic: This is the original H3. When people say "typical Chinese rubber", that's what they mean. It is tacky, hard, and long lasting. It comes unboosted and unglued, mostly packed in a dark purple-ish cardboard box, with some exceptions depending on the version. On the topsheet there is a protection film that needs to be removed. The rubber is not bouncy but it has linear speed and when hit hard it can be fast. It is one of the spinniest rubbers in existence. The classic H3 is available in 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 2.1, 2.15 and 2.2 mm. The available hardnesses are 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 degrees. This is on the DHS scale, which is different than the scale used by other Chinese manufacturers like 729. There have been many speculations about which durometer they use but I don't think any of them fully explains the numbers and it's not that important in the end. Also remember that this refers to to the hardness of the sponge alone, the rubber-sponge sandwich has a different hardness. The softer 37 and 38 degrees are mostly meant for backhand and harder to find outside China, although I suspect that less physically strong players would benefit from using them on the forehand. The classic H3 comes in different editions and sponge versions, which I will discuss later.

Who should use the classic H3:
- Players who favor control over speed
- Players who are planning to boost and prefer to use the tuner of their choice
- Players who prefer a thickness below 2.1mm
- Players on a tight budget, as the classic is often the cheaper version, particularly for the Provincial and National editions

Attachment:
File comment: Hurricane 3
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Hurricane 3 Neo: The Neo sponges are DHS' answer to the ban of the speed glue and the plastic ball. The topsheet should be the same as for the classic H3 and is just as tacky. The rubbers come boosted/tuned and with a layer of glue already applied from the factory. You only need to apply glue on the blade side, no additional glue is needed on the sponge. H3 Neo mostly comes wrapped in a turquoise paper (some versions have a different color) inside a vacuum pack meant to preserve the tuner. There are protection films that need to be peeled both on the glue side and the topsheet side. The H3 Neo comes in 2.1, 2.15 and 2.2 mm. The available hardnesses are 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 degrees on the DHS scale. H3 Neo is a little more bouncy, a little faster and a little softer compared with classic H3. H3 Neo feels 1-2 degrees softer than a classic H3 of the same hardness. The potential for spin is about the same. It is not clear if the Neo sponges are a new type of sponge or if they are the same classic sponges submitted to a chemical agent (tuner) in the factory. The Neo sponges carry the same designation - #20 for orange and #22 for blue - as the classic sponges. Some users feel that the topsheet of the H3 Neo is thinner and less durable compared with the classic H3, but that could also be because the topsheet is stretched by the more elastic sponge.

The Hurricane 3 Neo is suitable for most players as a replacement of the classic H3 and in particular:
- Players who want more speed (for a Chinese rubber)
- Players who are not planning to boost
- Players who prefer a softer rubber
- Players who want a lighter weight as it comes with booster and glue already applied

Next up I will be talking about the different editions of Hurricane 3, such as Provincial and National. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below!


Attachments:
File comment: Hurricane 3 Neo
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Last edited by JulianTT on 22 Oct 2020, 04:21, edited 5 times in total.
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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2020, 05:22 
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2. Hurricane 3 Varieties: Regular, Provincial, National and Nittaku
This is probably the most controversial and misunderstood aspect of Hurricane 3.
Regular Hurricane 3
Also called commercial H3, this is the most common and cheaper variety. It comes in both Classic and Neo flavors and it's available to buy from many sources, both in and outside of China. These rubbers are available with orange sponge only. The price ranges between $15 - $25 generally, with discounts available occasionally. The classic H3 comes in 1.8, 2.0, 2.1, 2.15 and 2.2mm and the H3 Neo comes in 2.1, 2.15 and 2.2mm. The hardness ranges from 37 to 41 DHS degrees for both. The regular H3 is available in red and black and all four corners are cut as a distinctive sign.

People sometimes say that these rubbers are inconsistent and I would like to discuss what that means. First we need to understand the DHS fabrication process. DHS uses a batch process, and when working with natural materials like rubber the characteristics will vary some. Things like the quality and ratio of the raw materials in each batch, the tolerances of the machines, the skill of the operator or even the temperature and humidity from that day will influence the results and especially for the sponge, every batch will be slightly different. DHS does not measure every single rubber in a batch. They only measure one or few times per batch and allocate those numbers to the entire batch. So if the measurement was 39 degrees and 2.15mm thickness, they will put all sheets in that batch in the 39 degrees 2.15mm pile. But some sheets in that batch might be 38 or 40 degrees, and some may have a thickness of 2.1 or 2.2mm. Add to that errors that can occur with packing, logistics, labeling and you may end up with something pretty different than what you expected inside the box! Here's one example from personal experience: I ordered 2 sheets of classic H3 of the same hardness, one in 1.8mm and the other one in 2.0mm. The one labelled "2.0mm" truly measured 2mm and weighted 60g uncut. The one labeled "1.8mm" appeared thick to me and when I measured the sponge using calipers it turned out to be 2.08mm thick and weighted 72g uncut! Remember that the two sheets were supposed to have the same hardness, and if that was true, the 0.08mm difference in thickness should have translated in no more than 1g difference in weight. The massive 12g or 20% difference in weight meant that the second sheet also had a higher density therefore higher hardness, I would assume 1-2 degrees more. So that's what people mean when they say it's not consistent. Imagine in my case that I didn't do those measurements. I would play with one sheet for a few months then I would change to the second sheet, oblivious to the differences. And I would think "wait a minute, this new rubber plays pretty differently from the old one!". My only conclusion would be that the rubber is inconsistent. But once you slap it on, the rubber will play consistently with what it actually is - it will play like a 2.08mm hard rubber. But it will not play like a 1.8mm soft rubber that I thought I ordered.

The regular a.k.a. commercial Hurricane 3 has the least amount of quality control and is therefore more prone to this issue than the other varieties. In particular I would say that the declared hardness cannot be trusted and should be taken very lightly. In fact, in the European Union DHS is not allowed to advertise the exact hardness of their regular H3 because it has proven unreliable. Their rubbers sold here are only categorized as soft, hard and mid-hard and even then there are mistakes. I think it is fair to say that not only DHS suffers from this issue and even the European and Japanese manufacturers don't normally indicate the exact hardness of their sponges but rather a range. But I would say that the Chinese manufacturers in general have bigger deviations than the rest. There is however a way to get a more consistent experience, and that is to weight and measure your rubbers. I keep an excel file where for every new rubber I buy I log the weight of the box as well as the uncut and cut weight of the rubber. If there is a rubber that I particularly like or if I am aiming for a certain racket weight, next time I order I can ask the seller to find me one in the desired weight. For reference, the classic Hurricane 3 wrapper weights 22-23g and the Neo wrapper weights 16g. By subtracting that from the total package weight, you can know the weight of the rubber inside within 1g without having to open the box. This method is more reliable than going by the hardness indicated by the manufacturer.
Attachment:
File comment: Hurricane 3 Regular
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Provincial Hurricane 3
The Provincial , also referred to as "Province" or "Pro" is a more carefully selected rubber and with tighter tolerances compared to the regular one. It is funny that "Pro" stands for "provincial" in China instead of "professional" like in the rest of the world. According to DHS, it is produced in the same process as the regular H3, then further selected based on tighter tolerances. That means that you are more likely to get the hardness and thickness indicated on the box when you order Provincial. Why is it called Provincial? China is organized in provinces as administrative divisions - for example, Sichuan and Tianjin are provinces. As table tennis is hugely popular in China with more than 80 million players, each province has a table tennis team that represents it and they compete against each other. It's the level where table tennis really becomes professional and those players have a chance to be selected in the Chinese National Team. As the acceptable tolerances for these rubbers are tighter, the quantities are more limited and in the past they were only available to the province-level players. As the DHS production (and hopefully their overall quality) has increased over time, these rubbers are now also offered to the general public - for a higher price. The name has stayed the same but there is no connection anymore with the province-level players, it just indicates a more careful selection based on tighter tolerances.

It also comes in classic and Neo flavors and it's available to buy from a variety of sources, both in and outside of China. The packaging has stripes for the classic and an additional red sticker for the Neo. The Provincial H3 is available with orange sponge (red and black) and blue sponge (black only), which will be discussed as a separate topic. The price ranges from $30 to $80, with the blue sponge version being more expensive than the orange sponge one. The Provincial H3 classic comes in 2.15 and 2.2mm only, and the Provincial H3 Neo comes in 2.1, 2.15 and 2.2mm. The available hardnesses are 39, 40 and 41 DHS degrees for both. The hardness is more reliable with the Provincial and is marked on the package and on the sponge also in the EU. Two corners are cut as a distinctive sign. The higher price might encourage counterfeiting and you should only buy from reliable sources to avoid fakes. Where to buy from will be discussed separately. Most users claim that this rubber is faster than the regular H3. Whether that is perception or reality it is hard to say. I do not know of any scientific test done to date. A number of players also report this rubber to be less tacky than the regular H3 and some of them even believe that the topsheet is entirely different. ITTF maintains the List of Approved Racket Coverings (LARC), which regulates the rubber topsheet. In the LARC there is only one entry for Hurricane 3, meaning that all varieties of H3 should share the same topsheet. The tackiness is however not something that the ITTF measures, so in theory it's possible to have H3 with varying tackiness. However I have used both blue and orange sponge Provincial H3 and in my experience their topsheet is just as tacky as the regular version and the tackiness doesn't fade over time. The amount of tackiness depends on how you clean and store your rubber, which I will discuss separately.
Attachment:
File comment: Hurricane 3 Provincial
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National Hurricane 3
This is the stuff dreams are made of 8) Probably the most controversial DHS rubber, but it doesn't have to be. The National is an even more carefully selected rubber and with even tighter tolerances than the Provincial. According to DHS, it is produced in the same process as the regular H3, then further selected based on very tight tolerances. When you buy the National, you should get the exact thickness and hardness indicated on the box, consistently. Why is it called National? As the acceptable tolerances for these rubbers are tight, the quantities are limited and in the past they were only available to the Chinese National Team (CNT) players. As the DHS production (and hopefully their overall quality) has increased over time, these rubbers are now also offered to the general public - for a high price comparable with and even exceeding the price of Butterfly Tenergy or Dignics. The name has stayed the same but today it just indicates a careful selection based on tight tolerances.

The National also comes in classic and Neo flavors and it's available to buy from a few sources both in and outside of China. The packaging is white with red letters for the classic and has an additional sticker for the Neo. The National H3 is available with orange sponge (red and black) and blue sponge (black only), which will be discussed as a separate topic. The price ranges from $50 to $100+, with the blue sponge version being more expensive than the orange sponge one. The National H3 classic comes in 2.15 and 2.2mm, and the National H3 Neo comes in 2.1, 2.15 and 2.2mm. The available hardnesses are 39, 40 and 41 DHS degrees for both. Basically the hardness and thickness offer is the same as for the Provincial. The hardness should be very reliable with the National and is marked on the package and on the sponge also in the EU. The corners of the sheet are not cut. The high price is likely to encourage counterfeiting and you should only buy from reliable sources to avoid fakes. Where to buy from will be discussed separately. Some users feel that this rubber is better than the Provincial, others say that there is little difference. If you paid that amount of money, I think you would be looking for reasons to like them :up: You will find reviews and forum posts that say all National rubbers in the market are fake because the real ones are destined for the CNT only. That was maybe the case in the past when they were not available to the public but some sources claimed to have connections and offered them for sale. But today you can buy them from reliable sources without issues. DHS used to have National Hurricane 3 listed on its website, with a link to buy. Recently I saw that they no longer mention the Provincial and National rubbers on their website. There is only one entry for each rubber now - the regular version. That was possibly done in an effort to clean up the site as there were so many versions of each rubber. In general the DHS website is not well made and pretty outdated.
Attachment:
File comment: Hurricane 3 National
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National Hurricane 3 Player Edition: DHS has sponsoring deals with most of the top Chinese players and some international players. To those players DHS provides rubbers tailored to their preference. Like if a sponsored player prefers 41.5 degrees hardness they will get that even though it's not commercially available. It is not clear if DHS manufactures these rubbers separately of if they are selected from the normal stock based on that criteria. I tend to believe that they are selected or slightly adjusted from stock, because manufacturing rubbers from scratch for each individual player would be time consuming and impractical. The top professional players change rubbers very often, once/week in training and every 1-3 days in competition according to some interviews. What is important for these players is for every sheet to be almost identical to maintain the playing characteristics that they are used to. Since less than one year, DHS is selling the National H3 Player Edition rubbers, which match those used by the following players: Ma Long (FH+BH), Ding Ning (FH), Fan Zhendong (FH), Chen Meng (FH), Zhu Yulin (FH) and have the player's name stamped on the sponge. Some sources list them for sale for very high prices ($250) but maximum caution should be exercised as the possibility of buying fakes is very real. It's questionable if these "personal" rubbers are suitable for the average player, since they are specifically chosen based on the needs of those sponsored players, which have great physical strength and technique.
Attachment:
File comment: National H3 Player Edition
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Nittaku Hurricane 3
DHS collaborates with Nittaku, and this collaboration has resulted in a few different varieties made by DHS for Nittaku and which Nittaku distributes on the Japanese market. You will find these rubbers listed under Nittaku rather than DHS. The Nittaku standard sponge thicknesses are 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0mm so the "DHS for Nittaku" rubbers are also offered with the same thicknesses. But users have complained that the thickness is not reliable and they have found sponges stamped e.g. "1.9mm" or "2.1mm" inside the package... The hardness is only listed as "mid-hard" for all of these rubbers. The price range is $35 - $45. A few words on each variety:
Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro: This is the same as the Hurricane 3 classic but with Nittaku thicknesses and supposedly better quality control. The package is slightly different and it displays the logos of both DHS and Nittaku. It has been compared to Provincial Hurricane 3 in quality. Orange sponge only. Made in China.
Attachment:
File comment: Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro
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Nittaku Hurricane 3 Neo: Same as Hurricane 3 Neo but supposedly better quality control. Available in orange sponge and 2.0mm only. The package is the Hurricane 3 Neo one with a Nittaku sticker added on the outside. It has been compared to Provincial Hurricane 3 Neo in quality - but a bit slower. That could be explained by the thinner sponge. Made in China.

Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro Turbo Orange: This is a hybrid with Hurricane 3 topsheet and Nittaku Japanese sponge in orange color. The package is unique and it displays the logos of both Nittaku and DHS. It is said to be faster than regular H3 and good quality. The chief complaint is that it is very heavy (a 90g sheet has been reported). It does not seem to be very successful either. Fastarc-G1 is probably a better choice for Japanese sponge with tacky topsheet. Assembled in Japan. Ridiculously long name!
Attachment:
File comment: Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro Turbo Orange
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Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro Turbo Blue: Same as above but the sponge is colored blue. The package is unique and it displays the logos of both Nittaku and DHS.
Attachment:
File comment: Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro Turbo Blue
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In the next post: Orange sponge vs Blue sponge. Let me know your comments below.


Last edited by JulianTT on 24 Nov 2021, 20:53, edited 19 times in total.

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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2020, 05:24 
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3. Orange Sponge vs Blue Sponge
This is another huge area of debate. Facts: As explained above, DHS Hurricane 3 Provincial and National are offered with a choice of orange sponge or blue sponge. Both sponges come in classic and Neo flavors but the DHS designation is the same: #20 for orange and #22 for blue. This could indicate that the classic and Neo sponges are identical, except that the Neo sponges are treated with a booster or tuner at the factory, which is allowed by the regulations. The Neo sponges are faster and softer than their classic counterparts. The range of thickness and hardness is the same for the orange and the blue sponges, except that the blue sponge version is only offered with a black topsheet. Traditionally in China (and Asia in general) the black is the forehand side which could indicate that the blue sponge is meant for forehand. Another possibility is that the red Hurricane topsheet being semi-transparent, a blue sponge under it would make it look purple, which is not an allowed rubber color under ITTF at the moment (only red and black are allowed).

Common beliefs: "The blue sponge is better than the orange sponge" - Not true, they are different and a matter of preference. Not better, not worse. The blue sponge rubbers are more expensive than the orange ones. "The entire CNT uses blue sponge rubbers" - Not true, some use blue and some use orange. "The men in the CNT use the blue sponge, while the women use the orange sponge" - Also not true, some men use an orange sponge rubber and some women use a blue sponge. "All of the blue sponge Hurricane 3 sold commercially are fake because the real thing is reserved for the CNT" - Not true, blue sponge Provincial and National rubbers are legit and can be bought from authorized retailers. "The blue sponge Hurricane 3 that the CNT uses is completely different from the market version and we will never have it" - Umm commercially that makes no sense. DHS is a for profit company. Let's say that they spent much time and money on R&D to develop a superior product unlike anything else on the market. Then they keep it only for the sponsored players and forego the considerable profits they could be making? Right. It is true that the sponsored players each have a preferred hardness/thickness combination, some of which may not be commercially available. But that is likely the result of a selection or minor adjustments at the factory rather than separate production. For example Ma Long uses a 41.5 degrees blue sponge in 2.1mm.

The reality is that the orange sponge and the blue sponge both have advantages and disadvantages and in the end they are a matter of preference. If you take the CNT, some men and women play with orange and other men and women play with blue. Some players use both ath the same time - Ma Long uses blue sponge H3 on his FH and orange sponge H3 on his BH. A consensus seems to be that the blue sponge has more potential for spin but requires greater physical strength, while the orange sponge is faster and longer lasting. Some players say that the blue sponge version is harder than the orange one, but most seem to agree that it is or feels in fact softer than an orange sponge version of the same hardness. Please note that this assessment is given for the rubber-sponge sandwich and not just the sponge alone. Some players feel that the blue sponge has a "catapult" effect at higher speed, compared with the orange sponge which is more linear. It is also a common belief that the blue sponge versions are harder to control and require more skill. From my experience, the Provincial Neo blue sponge is more bouncy than its orange counterpart and it might have a different topsheet. The topsheet seemed fragile and got multiple scars after 6 months of use with never happened on my other H3 rubbers. It has been also said the blue sponge has a stronger reaction to booster compared to the orange sponge, but that wasn't true in my experience. Boosting will be discussed separately. The blue sponge in the Nittaku Hurricane 3 Pro Turbo is Japanese-made and not the same as the DHS blue sponge used in Provincial and National varieties.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.


Attachments:
File comment: Orange National Hurricane 3, Blue Provincial Hurricane 3
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Last edited by JulianTT on 24 Nov 2021, 23:28, edited 6 times in total.
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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2020, 05:26 
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4. Boosting
Brief history of boosting: In 1978, Hungarian player Tibor Klampar noticed that his rubbers were performing better when they freshly glued on the racket than later on, and he started regluing them before every session. His clubmates were astonished by the different sound his shots were producing and by the increased performance. He didn't share his method but they spied on him and soon they learned it and they started doing it too. They didn't understand what was happening but they sure enjoyed the effect. The glue used at the time was some form of rubber cement, which is rubber dissolved in a solvent like gasoline or acetone (and others). Now we understand that the solvent seeps into the sponge, making it softer and more elastic. This type of glue is also known as organic glue and as the solvent evaporates, the gasses known as volatile organic compounds (VOC) fill the pores inside the sponge which may contribute to the effect. Standard rubbers from that time like Sriver and Mark V became monsters of speed and spin when treated this way. The practice spread out and it initially gave the European players an edge over the Chinese, until the whole world was doing it. In order to maximize this effect, special formulations of glue were produced by all major manufacturers, known as speed glues. Players developed different rituals, like "priming" new rubbers with X layers of glue which was said to soften the sponge permanently, then re-apply a number of layers before each session. The speed-glue effect lasted a few days and it was strongest in the first few hours. During tournaments the lobbies and locker rooms were lined with players including kids regluing their rubbers. The air was filled with smelly and toxic fumes from the VOCs and it may have caused one death. The speed-glue era lasted 30 years until 2008 when it was banned by the ITTF citing health concerns. Water-based glue (WBG) is now the only type of glue officially allowed for attaching the rubber to the blade. It is made of latex dissolved in a water-based solvent. Some countries and players who are not affiliated to the ITTF are still using speed glue today. Gambler Table Tennis, a manufacturer of equipment, states that they use rubber cement when the customers buy from them and request the free assembly service. They claim that it's not detectable after 48h.

Most of the rubbers released during that era were meant to be used with speed glue for best performance. Some manufacturers tried to create rubbers that would have a permanent speed-glue effect from the factory, without the need to use speed glue. That's how the Tenergy series and the tensors were born. During that time there was little incentive for players considering that they had a high price and cheaper rubbers would have similar performance when treated with speed glue. After the ban of the speed glue in 2008, players were looking for alternatives and these rubbers became more popular. At the same time people noticed that treating the rubbers with paraffin oils also had a similar effect, which was not as strong and immediate as with speed glue, but it was longer lasting. Paraffin oils are a form of mineral oils derived from crude oil (petrol) and they complied with the ITTF regulations because they didn't contain harmful solvents and didn't emit VOCs. For a while manufacturers made and sold their own versions, which became known as boosters. The ITTF - possibly under pressure from rubber manufacturers trying to sell more expensive speed-glue-effect rubbers - tried to ban boosters as well, citing health concerns again. The table tennis community pointed out that the boosters were not harmful - paraffin oil is the main ingredient in Johnson's baby Oil for example. The ITTF then ruled that any "after treatment" after the rubber had left the factory was not allowed. This left the door open for rubber manufacturers to boost the rubbers in-house but removed this option from the players. This is how DHS "Neo" sponges, Yinhe "Max Tense" and others came to be.

What is the situation today? Boosting, being an "after treatment" of the sponge, is still not allowed under the ITTF rules. At important competitions the players' rackets are inspected by the officials. There are two things that are being checked, the thickness of the rubber and the VOC emissions. The booster increases the volume of the sponge, potentially putting it above 4mm which is the maximum allowed for topsheet+sponge+glue. The VOC emissions are tested with special machines and they have to be below a certain level. Factory-tuned rubbers also have to meet this criteria. In practice most of the modern boosters have very low emissions which cannot be detected by the current testing equipment. It is believed that all of the Chinese top players and many others are boosting their rubbers, but it is difficult to prove it. At the same time, there have been accounts of factory-tuned rubbers (no after treatment) from certain manufacturers that have failed the VOC tests. It is important to note that the boosters are not allowed in the ITTF league, but ITTF is not the only organization in the world. T2 Diamond is another league that organizes big tournaments in Asia and they have different rules from the ITTF - for example they allow other color rubbers than red and black. Romanian player Bernadette Socz used a pink rubber there recently :) Also recreational players and clubs are probably not affiliated to the ITTF. Even in competitions, the rackets are not normally inspected until a serious level.

To boost or not to boost? Top reasons for not boosting:
- Ethical concerns: It's not allowed by the ITTF and you don't want to break the rules
- If you compete at a serious level, you could get caught and disqualified
- Health concerns, although likely there is no risk unless you drink it :)
- You might damage and/or shorten the life of your rubbers
- You can't be bothered to spend a few days treating the rubbers until they are ready to be glued, and potentially repeating that treatment regularly

Top reasons in favor of boosting:
- Easy way to increase the performance of cheaper or used rubbers
- Get an advantage in competition
- Everyone around you is doing it, so if you don't you are at a disadvantage
- Soften hard rubbers
- Make rubbers easier to glue (flatten concave sponges and expand the shrunken ones)
- It's fun to experiment with equipment

Boosting at recreational level: If after reading everything you decided to experiment with boosting, learn here how to do it right. There are a number of boosters on the market today, some of the most popular being Falco, Dianchi, Seamoon and Nittaku. The effect of the booster generally lasts 2-4 weeks, with the exception of Falco Tempo Long which claims to last 12 weeks. They contain highly refined paraffin oils together with other rubber expansion agents. The effect is twofold: the sponge expands and becomes more elastic, at the same stretching the topsheet giving it a small tensor effect. So what can you expect? The effect of the booster is not magical and it won't change your rubber completely as you may believe believe from reading some posts. You can expect up to 10% or so increase in speed and softening the sponge might make it easier to spin the ball. The effect is stronger the harder the sponge, and not so much on softer ones. The best candidates are hard Chinese rubbers. Soft Japanese sponges do not seem to benefit from boosting, and one manufacturer says that in their tests it makes them slower. In my experience boosting hasn't had any noticeable effect on short pips rubber.

How to apply: I do not recommend boosting brand new factory tuned rubbers like H3 Neo, especially if it's the first time you are trying that rubber. They are pre-tuned, play them how the manufacturer intended for at least a month or until the tuning effect subsides. You can boost untuned rubbers like the classic H3 out of the box, but if it's the first time you are trying it I would still recommend playing with it as is for a while to get a feel for it and see if you can notice any changes after boosting. Select a thickness of maximum 2.1 or 2.15mm, as boosting might take thicker sponges over the 4mm total limit. So you have you new or played rubber, your booster and you are ready to get to work. The first thing you want to do is to remove all traces of glue from the sponge and make sure it's perfectly clean and dry. There are tutorials and forum posts out there teaching you to apply 1-2 layers of WBG before you apply the booster. That is wrong and damaging to your rubbers - here's why: A. The booster dissolves some of the glue and carries it into the sponge. You don't want glue inside your sponge! B. As you use the applicator brush to spread the booster, you are getting some glue on it and putting it back into the bottle. With every application of booster over glue, you are polluting your remaining booster with glue! C. The layer of glue is less elastic and restricts the expansion of the sponge in all directions. The information above comes from a manufacturer of both rubbers and booster. The proponents of applying glue before booster are usually making one the following claims: 1. The booster will be absorbed more evenly. Common sense rejects that. You can't control the thickness and density of the layer of glue you are applying by hand to be the same everywhere. So instead of dealing with one unknown - the uniformity of the layer of booster - you are dealing with two unknowns, the uniformity of the layer of booster AND the uniformity of the layer of glue. More likely the absorption will be more uneven through the glue, plus the problems mentioned before. 2. The booster will be absorbed more slowly. That one is kind of true , but also unnecessary. If you are applying a thin and even layer of booster directly on the sponge, you have nothing to worry about. 3. The topsheet will bubble if you don't apply glue first. Not true, the bubbling might happen if too much booster is applied and the bond between the topsheet and sponge is weak. I've applied booster to a good number of rubbers and I've only had one bubble one time, near the edge. That likely happened because a drop of booster ran over the edge and got on the topsheet.

Great so we are back at the clean rubber laid with the sponge side up and with all glue removed. You want to dip the applicator brush into the booster then lift it and hold it above the bottle until it stops dripping. Start spreading the booster on the sponge, coating the surface as evenly as possible and be especially careful around the edges to avoid booster getting on the topsheet. You want a thin layer, you can always apply more but you can't take it back. Move quickly, you will see the booster starting to disappear. Don't be afraid to redistribute it if you see it pooling in some areas. The booster will be completely absorbed in a few minutes. Let the rubber sit with the sponge side up for 12-24h. That means let it sit for 24h ideally, but if you don't have time you can continue after 12h. You will notice the sponge flatten or starting to become convex depending on the state it was in before, and it will feel more springy. After 12-24h you can apply another layer in the same way and so on. 2-3 layers are generally sufficient and 3-4 layers should be the maximum. I remember that somebody measured the hardness of the sponge with a durometer after every application. The first 3 layers made the sponge softer, but the 4th one actually made it harder. Let the rubber rest 12-48h after the last application then apply WBG as usual and glue it onto the blade. You want the sponge to still be convex when you glue it to get the tensor effect. If it's super curled like a taco, wait until it opens a little before you glue it. Two layers on the sponge and one layer on the blade of a good quality glue are enough to hold the rubber in place. Use a racket press or a stack of books for more safety. If you are re-applying booster to a rubber that has already been boosted in the past, there is still booster in the sponge and the reaction is faster. 1-2 layers are usually enough. Boosting a rubber adds some weight, about 1-3g per application. Some of that weight will be lost over time as it evaporates.

My booster of choice is Falco Tempo Long because it is easy to get from reliable sources and I trust the European quality more. I also can't be bothered to boost too frequently. Falco is VOC free and cannot be detected, according to the manufacturer. If you live in the US, Gambler also makes a booster that seems to be good quality. I had a chat with the owner and he told me that his daughter, who is a chemical engineer from one of the top universities in California, participated in the development. It is always good when a product is developed with a sound scientific approach.

Got questions? Just ask!


Attachments:
File comment: Bernadette Socz Pink Rubber
Bernadette Socz.jpg
Bernadette Socz.jpg [ 104.67 KiB | Viewed 9386 times ]


Last edited by JulianTT on 18 Oct 2020, 15:41, edited 8 times in total.
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PostPosted: 08 Oct 2020, 05:27 
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5. FAQ
Where to buy
Tabletennis11 is an online shop with a huge selection from all the big brands. They carry all the popular DHS rubbers including the Provincial and National varieties and they are the only retailer officially listed on the DHS website. They ship worldwide, but probably most convenient for those based in Europe. They also have a physical store in Paris. Good customer service, they will answer questions in a timely fashion and cater to special requests like certain weight ranges. Not all brands can be shipped to all countries e.g. Butterfly.

Aliexpress is a good place for Made in China products with free shipping to most of the world. There are many shops on aliexpress and your experience will vary depending on the shop. Some of the shops are affiliated i.e. different shop names (and prices, shipping rules) but the same business. They work with large volumes and standard orders and it's more difficult to get answers and special requests. The aliexpress platform offers overarching purchase protection and customer service but only through standard forms, you won't get any personalized assistance and the language barrier is a factor. I have had a good experience with Chinese PingPong and Toki Table Tennis Store which are the same business. XVT Table Tennis and XVT International Sporting Goods which I think are the same are also good. Eacheng is a big table tennis store with its own website, but they also have several storefronts on aliexpress: Ali Battleship, ALI Discount Store, DHS Pro. Table Tennis, GH Sports, Sports 100, NewNew Store, Happy Shopping 365days. Mixed experience with them. Playa PingPong Store is another fairly big one that I do NOT recommend. They have a big selection and often low prices but 1. they have proven very unreliable and 2. I have identified a number of fakes that they sell, like DHS prototype blades for the CNT. I do not trust a store that sells fakes because it makes you wonder.

And if you are in Australia, of course the OOAK Online Shop is a good option.

Lastly, DHS rubbers have authenticity codes that you can check here: http://www.dhs-sports.com/search.shtml

Rubber cleaning and maintenance
The best way to clean tacky rubbers like H3 is with a lightly damp microfiber cloth as soon as possible after a playing session. Wet a corner of the microfiber cloth then squeeze out any excess water. Lightly wipe across the rubber removing any dust and debris. If you want to get fancy you can use distilled water but it's not really necessary. Wave the racket dry and cover the rubber immediately with a non-adhesive protection film. Smooth the protection sheet with the heel of your hand, trying to remove all the air bubbles. Keeping the rubber covered in the absence of oxygen will help replenish the tackiness of the rubber between the training days. The longer you keep the rubber covered, the tackier it will become!

These protective sheets often come included with tacky rubbers, or you can buy them separately or make your own from any smooth soft plastic you have around the house like freezer bags or clingwrap. A microfiber cloth is superior to any table tennis cleaning sponge. Sponges are actually abrasive, even if they seem soft. Never use any foaming cleaners or cleaners that contain alcohol or ammonia on your rubber. Most commercial rubber cleaners are crap. I have never had a situation when I needed to use anything other than water.
Attachment:
File comment: Rubber protection sheet
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Is it true that the initial tackiness of the rubber wears off quickly after you start to use it?
No, that is not true. If you follow the recommended cleaning and protection procedure above, the rubber will stay very tacky. In fact, I often find that my rubbers become more tacky after a month or two of use than when they were brand new! You will find here a tackiness comparison video that I did in the beginning of this year. The H3 Neo that you see in that video is just as tacky now after 9 months.

Do H3 rubbers need a "break-in" period?
Various forum post claim that new rubber sheets need a "break-in" period of up to 10 days to achieve their best playing characteristics. That is nonsense. Consider this: top players commonly apply new rubbers every 1-3 days during tournaments. According to these geniuses, the top players in the world never achieve the full potential of their rubbers. How stupid of them, right? So no, new rubbers don't need a "break-in" period. What I suspect happens is the other way around, the player adapts to the new rubber and uses it more effectively, therefore thinking that now the rubber plays better.

Are H3 rubbers slow?
Some people feel that H3 is "too slow" and that is another misconception. H3 is a linear rubber meaning that what you put in is what you get out. Hit hard and the resulting ball will be fast, hit slow and you will get a slow ball. A more accurate statement would be that it's not bouncy, when you hit with a hard rubber like H3 you feel a solid contact. But it is plenty fast as demonstrated by the CNT. Besides, a lot more points are won with placement than they are with speed alone. If you shoot a fast ball directly at a good blocker, they will return it just as fast getting you in trouble. But if you draw them to one corner and place the next ball in the opposite corner, they will have no chance to return it even if you don't produce a fast ball. Another advantage of the H3 over bouncy rubbers is the service, making it easier to keep the ball low and short.


Last edited by JulianTT on 07 Nov 2020, 20:18, edited 10 times in total.

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Great thread! :clap: :clap: :clap:

As you may have seen, we did an interview with DHS some time ago, which also sheds some light on their rubber. They even joined the forum to answer some further questions.

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"You only need to apply glue on the blade side, no additional glue is needed on the sponge."

Interesting. I always wandered if the sponge has some glue layers on it. However, I still apply at least two layers of Revolution 3 on the sponge.

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Aurelian wrote:
"You only need to apply glue on the blade side, no additional glue is needed on the sponge."

Interesting. I always wandered if the sponge has some glue layers on it. However, I still apply at least two layers of Revolution 3 on the sponge.



If this is anything like the "tuned" versions of Whale or certain Yinhe and Palio rubbers I've tried, it certainly would have a thickish layer of glue on the sponge. And a thick "protective plastic" layer on top of that (on the sponge side - it's much thicker than the plastic "protector sheet" on the topsheet side). All the instructions I've seen say not to put any more glue on the sponge. It's already pretty heavy as it is.

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JulianTT wrote:
People sometimes say that these rubbers are inconsistent and I would like to discuss what that means. First we need to understand the DHS fabrication process. DHS uses a batch process, and when working with natural materials like rubber the characteristics will vary some. Things like the quality and ratio of the raw materials in each batch, the tolerances of the machines, the skill of the operator or even the temperature and humidity from that day will influence the results and especially for the sponge, every batch will be slightly different. DHS does not measure every single rubber in a batch. They only measure one or few times per batch and allocate those numbers to the entire batch.


This pretty much applies to all rubber manufacturers. Topsheets and sponge are produced in heated molds. Topsheet molds are one or two topsheets wide, sponge molds are one sheet wide and thick enough to produce maybe 3 or 4 sheets of sponge (they DON'T produce topsheets and sponge in long rolls, as they do for almost all types of sheet materials - paper, steel, dollar bills, other kinds of rubber sheet goods, you name it, though I did hear apocryphal tales that the old British Leyland hard rubber was produced in large rolls, and when you bought it at the drugstore they'd cut off a piece for you). The material to make the topsheets and sponge are mixed in batches, using a roller macerator. The sponge has a chemical in it that produces a gas when heated (in the case of Rasant it was calcium bicarbonate or carbonate), the molds are stacked and then hot steam is introduced. This heating stage is also where the rubber becomes vulcanized (they probably have sulfur in the mix). The cakes of sponge have to sit in a curing room for months before they stop shrinking. Only then are they sliced and mated to the topsheets (Palio was bad at this, which is why a lot of their sheets had "dish", caused by the still-shrinking sponge). A lot of this info - and pictures, too, which I was stupid enough not to grab when I had the chance - was on Yinhe's online forum (which has since been taken down). If you watch that "making Rasant" video on YouTube you'll get to see some of the process, in particular the maceration of the rubber compound for the sponge. They test the cakes for hardness, and I believe they test ALL the cakes, because they will vary, not only from batch to batch, but from piece to piece. Individual slices from each cake will probably be pretty close to the same hardnes. The outer slices from each cake have a "skin" and are discarded, I've seen Yinhe selling off bundles of this stuff on TaoBao. In the 1980s Butterfly was selling these sheets from the outside of the blocks as "Kawatsuki Sponge" - the skin is harder so you had a hardness gradient in the sponge. I can't remember if the skin was towards the blade or towards the topsheet - it doesn't conform to current regulations, in any case.

Even Butterfly mates the sponge and topsheets by hand - the glue (some kind of heat-activated glue) is applied to the topsheet, and then the sheet is laid onto the sponge, and then a separator plate is put on top, and a stack of these sandwiches is put in a heated press (there's a Butterfly video showing this). While ESN (and Daiki and Butterfly) have better quality control than DHS, they don't have things 100% under control either - note the sometimes large variation in weight from sheet to sheet of even Tenergy 05. There was some complaining about the variation in weight of some sheets of Nexy Karis on this forum a while back, this is a Daiki-made $50 sheet.

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iskandar taib wrote:
Aurelian wrote:
"You only need to apply glue on the blade side, no additional glue is needed on the sponge."

Interesting. I always wandered if the sponge has some glue layers on it. However, I still apply at least two layers of Revolution 3 on the sponge.



If this is anything like the "tuned" versions of Whale or certain Yinhe and Palio rubbers I've tried, it certainly would have a thickish layer of glue on the sponge. And a thick "protective plastic" layer on top of that (on the sponge side - it's much thicker than the plastic "protector sheet" on the topsheet side). All the instructions I've seen say not to put any more glue on the sponge. It's already pretty heavy as it is.

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I'm ok with that, my racket has 163 grams Image

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PostPosted: 10 Oct 2020, 07:23 
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haggisv wrote:
Great thread! :clap: :clap: :clap:

As you may have seen, we did an interview with DHS some time ago, which also sheds some light on their rubber. They even joined the forum to answer some further questions.


I appreciate your feedback and I will continue to add information over the next days ☺️ Thank you for posting the link to the interview, I had read it and using some of that information as well. It is great that the DHS guys are on the forum and I am hoping that they will join the conversation. I would definitely have more questions for them.


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PostPosted: 11 Oct 2020, 22:53 
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Aurelian wrote:
"You only need to apply glue on the blade side, no additional glue is needed on the sponge."

Interesting. I always wandered if the sponge has some glue layers on it. However, I still apply at least two layers of Revolution 3 on the sponge.


Yes the glue is already applied and it's enough for a solid contact. Nothing is stopping you from applying more if you don't mind the extra weight, but it's not necessary.


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JulianTT wrote:
Aurelian wrote:
"You only need to apply glue on the blade side, no additional glue is needed on the sponge."

Interesting. I always wandered if the sponge has some glue layers on it. However, I still apply at least two layers of Revolution 3 on the sponge.


Yes the glue is already applied and it's enough for a solid contact. Nothing is stopping you from applying more if you don't mind the extra weight, but it's not necessary.


I seem to recall certain people peeling this glue layer off, for some reason.. :lol: Not specifically on Hurricane but on other tuned sheets.

JulianTT wrote:
Nittaku Hurricane 3
DHS collaborates with Nittaku, and this collaboration has resulted in a few different varieties made by DHS for Nittaku and which Nittaku distributes on the Japanese market. You will find these rubbers listed under Nittaku rather than DHS.


Depends on what you mean. Perhaps vendors do this, but in the LARC they're actually listed under DHS (24), not Nittaku (54). AND they have different topsheet markings AND different ITTF numbers compared to all the other varieties of H3 (24-108). You'll also see that the Nittaku H3 Pro (24-037) has a different number than non-Pro Nittaku H3 (24-035)! (There's also Nittaku H2 (24-036) and H2 Pro (24-038) as well, with separate numbers - has anyone ever SEEN them?) Theoretically this means they COULD be totally different topsheets, since they were submitted for registration separately from regular H3, and the Pro topsheet COULD be totally different than the non-Pro. Who knows... until someone dissects, photographs and tests them we'll NEVER know.

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The best affordabe stuff for gluing works, some 11 USD Per Litre bottle.
[tube]5tCJ1zh-_NY[/tube]

/Be happy/

Actually, the milky white liquid found in the bottle is a heveya tree latex soap preserved with an ammonia additive. Excellent adhesive power.


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igorponger wrote:
The best affordabe stuff for gluing works, some 11 USD Per Litre bottle.
[tube]5tCJ1zh-_NY[/tube]

/Be happy/

Actually, the milky white liquid found in the bottle is a heveya tree latex soap preserved with an ammonia additive. Excellent adhesive power.


Oh yeah.. Igor and his latex body paint... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Iskandar


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