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PostPosted: 09 May 2008, 14:34 
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I've been looking for a blade to replace my Joo Se Hyuk for a while now. I love the JSH from an offensive standpoint, but I found it lacking on the more defensive areas of my game. Basically what I was looking for was something in between the offensive abilities of my JSH and the defensive abilities of my Matshushita Pro. After several positive reviews on the Darker 7P-2A.DF (thanks Nittaku and Koolof :wink: ) I decided that would be the next blade I would try. Well as it turns out, a hitting partner who I like to play with when I'm in town had this same blade and was generous enough to let me have it :) So here it is:

Image


There are some other (better) pictures on this forum that show the craftsmanship a lot more clearly if you want to do a quick search. The blade feels and looks very nice. The head size is smaller than butterfly's oversize which is also something I appreciate as I've been wanting to try a smaller headsize for a while now. One thing I did notice is that the handle is a tad thin so if you have large hands (I don't) I could see this being a problem--unless of course you just use some grip tape :)

Feel: This blade is thicker than I'm used to (6.2) due to the seven plies of hinoki. I like this feeling because it feels nice and solid when hitting and I feel like I have better control with my thumb and index finger where I grip the blade--almost as if I can 'steer' it better if that makes sense. As others have stated this blade has a very nice soft feel and has significantly longer dwell time than my JSH blade. This translates very well for me with helping control my chops and other defensive shots. For a seven ply blade I'm surprised that the Darker does not seem all that stiff, might just be my imagination though...

Forehand/999 national: Well, my initial intention was to buy another sheet of Higher Transcend to directly compare with the sheet on my JSH. But, I got this blade with a sheet of globe 999 national on it and so far I haven't looked back :lol: When I first tried 999 national it was on a Cayman and I was struck by how spinny and fast it was, but found it a little difficult to control. Well on the Darker blade this has not been a problem so far. I think the soft feeling/high dwell helps tame it at least a little bit. If this thing has a top gear, I have not found it yet! I've never used a rubber that gives as much as this does, loops seems to have endless potential in both speed and spin.

So far I don't feel like I've lost much control by switching to the thicker sponged (2.2) national. Chopping is a little harder to control, but it doesn't feel nearly as hard as it did the first time when I tried it on the cayman, but I also might just be a little better at chopping now than I was then...Pushes and serves are also very nice with good spin. I was actually surprised to find that the balace of the blade still very nice despite the heavy weight of the 999 national. I think the smaller head size of the Darker helps keep it from being too head-heavy.

Backhand: For chopping the 7P-2A feels very nice. Definitely better control than my JSH, and it isn't much worse than the matsushita pro. In fact, I like the feeling of the 7P-2A better than the MP, but it is a tad faster.

Overall I really like this blade! I think it strikes an excellent balance between offensive potential and defensive control. In short, it was exactly what I was looking for :wink:

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PostPosted: 09 May 2008, 15:17 
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Very good looking blade you have there...

Congrats on finding what you're looking for! :)

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PostPosted: 09 May 2008, 19:15 
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I'm still waiting for mine! Please DON'T post anymore about how good it is!

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PostPosted: 09 May 2008, 22:14 
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Quote:
thanks Nittaku and Koolof


:thumleft: You are welcome, JSK!

I'm glad you like the blade. It was just what I was looking for, for me as well.

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PostPosted: 10 May 2008, 01:07 
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julian wrote:
I'm still waiting for mine! Please DON'T post anymore about how good it is!


Sorry Julian, just can't help myself :lol:

One thing I will mention...I would highly suggest sealing this blade, if you're not careful it will splinter. My blade had some significant splintering on the backhand side, luckily it's not really in the sweet spot so it doesn't really effect play. I patched it up with some wood filler, then sanded and lightly sealed it with some sanding sealing. Having played with the blade both before and after sealing I can feel no difference having sealed it.

Nittaku and/or Koolof have you experienced similar problems or were yours sealed?

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PostPosted: 10 May 2008, 01:29 
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Thanks I always seal my blades with a joola waterbased sealer!

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PostPosted: 10 May 2008, 05:07 
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I sealed my 7P-2A.DF just as it arrived, so I didn't have any problem. Now I don't train that much, but I think that my LKT XT 1,8 is too fast for me and I like tackiness... all my pushes go far off the end of the table, so maybe I'll return to custom made globes with 1,8mm GP3.

That, and maybe I'll give an opportunity to Nittaku Willtria + 729 lightening + 563-1 :lol:


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PostPosted: 10 May 2008, 08:40 
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NiTTaKu wrote:
I sealed my 7P-2A.DF just as it arrived, so I didn't have any problem. Now I don't train that much, but I think that my LKT XT 1,8 is too fast for me and I like tackiness... all my pushes go far off the end of the table, so maybe I'll return to custom made globes with 1,8mm GP3.

That, and maybe I'll give an opportunity to Nittaku Willtria + 729 lightening + 563-1 :lol:


So, you're going to give some medium pips a try, good luck!

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PostPosted: 11 May 2008, 20:01 
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yep, in fact I did try some short pips looong time ago (some donic Baxter, the most slow ones) with my matsushita pro but didn't like it too much as I was playing with Feint Long I at these times. Dunno If I'll like 563-1, b/c eacheng only sells it in 1,5-1,8mm, maybe too much for chopping. We will see... this summer's gonna be a long one with EJ everywere :lol:


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PostPosted: 14 May 2008, 22:38 
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OK, my Darker has arrived. Like everyone says - a good quality blade. Bounce test hints it will be about the same pace as the Joo... more tonight

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PostPosted: 14 May 2008, 23:36 
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That is such a gorgeous blade. I am so tempted! And it plays similar to the Matsushita Pro, how cool is that!!!! How much did it cost? :D

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PostPosted: 15 May 2008, 00:31 
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Mine was quite expensive as I had to get it from Italy, but if iruiru works for you about 40 euros I think

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PostPosted: 15 May 2008, 10:02 
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julian wrote:
OK, my Darker has arrived. Like everyone says - a good quality blade. Bounce test hints it will be about the same pace as the Joo... more tonight


look forward to your thoughts!

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PostPosted: 15 May 2008, 16:03 
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Hmmm, what to say...
OK..

I don't chop, I'm a blocker who attacks with top spin to win the point. The LPs I use to set up the attack. I like my Joo a lot BUT I find the fh blocks have a curve to them that gives my opponent too much time. And it is too heavy, after and during training, I get wrist ache a lot. So I was looking for a blade that blocked without the curve, that was more flexible for fh top spin, and that was lighter.
The Darker is a very comfortable blade, lighter,slightly smaller, the sensation is that is is much more agile - very comfortable to use. The handle is great, and it feels good in the hand, whilst the joo feels like a plank!

Fh blocks go in a straight line with loads of control, really exactly what I wanted. Lps have great control and a lovely touch. Exactly what I wanted.

The downside, and it is a biggy, is that the fh top spins are just so slow. You don't get the feeling the blade has any power to drive the ball forward, and when you really attack hard the blade just gives up, it has nothing to give.

Now, this could be that the skyline isn't a good match. It isn't a fast rubber, the joo handled it great but the Darker doesn't. I'll get a sheet of Hammond (my local shop is out of Hammond X) to try tonight with my coach. But I certainly need to play with it more, cos it does everything I wanted and is so comfortable to use, BUT the point winning stroke is missing It also could be that i was tired as I trained twice yesterday! I think that also it may improve with the new VOC free boosters which are faster than glue (I'm using up my stocks of VOC glue!) I'll report back

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PostPosted: 16 May 2008, 03:58 
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I would agree with that. I also found it to be a slower than the JSH for attacking, but I compensated by switching to 999 national.

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