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American Hinoki's Bamboo Blades

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tommyzai View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07/01/2008 at 8:56pm
I just received two bamboo blades from AHinoki that I will try and review. One is a 1-ply and the other is a 3-ply (not sure what the other wood is). I'm very happy to support our master craftsman and look forward to giving these prototypes a go!

BTW, I took advantage of AHinoki's $55.00 per experimental blade offer. I think it's well worth the risk!

I just took them out of the package (packed in wood shavings . . . very cool) and took a pic of these lovely blade with my not-so-lovely camera.

20080701_205712_aHinokis.gif
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/01/2008 at 9:00pm
My first impression:

They look great, and remind me of the first Darker I bought.
The cork handle feels nice in my hand. At first grip I prefer the 1-ply handle, which is thinner, but we'll see how it pans out via play action.
I will glue up Srivers and give it a whack soon. I will seal them, but not sure how much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ahinoki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/02/2008 at 10:55am
Tommy

The center ply on the 3-ply Bamboo is NWC (Northern White cedar).

I look forward to your review.

I believe that Juic makes a bamboo blade.
If anyone has ever used the Juic blade or any other
bamboo blade please share your opinion.

I currently use a 1-ply bamboo cpen and really like it. I am looper
that uses old sticky 729, so I am interested in how bamboo plays
with different rubbers.

IMO the thin 1-ply bamboo (5mm) plays like much thicker 1-plys.
In that it retains short game control, but allows for strong loops.

One more thing, if you want to take down the thickness of a handle,
the cork is very easy to sand. Just be sure to put on some old rubber
first and hold the blade in a vice while sanding. Use just enough
pressure to hold the blade securely. Use 150 grit sandpaper to shape
and 240 to finish (or grit close to these)

ahinoki
www.americanHinoki.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/02/2008 at 12:15pm
Northern White Cedar.
Very Cool.
I look forward to playing with them.
If I need to take down the handle I'll take your advice.
I'll review after this weekend.
:-).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote seasterl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/02/2008 at 1:00pm

AH is making a custom three-ply balsa blade for me that uses basswood on one outer and bamboo on the other outer.  I'm excited to try it, esp. as the customization of using different outers on each side will allow me to tailor the blade more.  I can even do a hard rubber on the basswood side (for my FH) and then use a softer rubber on the bamboo side (for my BH).  I'm excited about it!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ahinoki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/02/2008 at 2:45pm
Hi seasterl

I am finally talking with you on a forum :)

Guess what, the Basswood/Balsa/Bamboo warped. Either
it because I again forgot to seal the balsa before gluing
or the fact that I am trying different glues on either side.
But thats the risk when making prototypes. Good news is I
have another sheet of balsa that I am currently sealing.

Also I just cut out a 1-ply bamboo where the grain runs
widthwise instead of lengthwise as is normal. I will bring
it to the club on Sunday. You can try it out if you want.
I am thinking it will provide max dwell and a high throw
but who knows, maybe min dwell low throw.

Did you get a chance to try "Gigantor" out ?

ahinoki
www.americanHinoki.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote seasterl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/02/2008 at 3:02pm
Originally posted by ahinoki ahinoki wrote:

Did you get a chance to try "Gigantor" out ?
 
Yes, Gigantor should be a lethal weapon for the defensive players that need to throw in an occasional smash.  The helf should work extremely well with defensive rubbers, too, and allow for a smooth stroke (as opposed to the ultra-lightweight blades that are more for close-to-table explosive high-arcing loops,... ala balsa "big bertha!" blade).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/05/2008 at 9:53pm
Tommy Zai's Review of 1-ply bamboo by AHinoki
Dear Kevin of American Hinoki,
First of all let me thank you for the opportunity to try such a unique prototype. It's surprising to me that a 1-ply bamboo blade is a rare, given the availability of that wood in China, but after hitting with this blade I'm convinced the Chinese have overlooked this precious resource that has NOT escaped you.
Nice craftsmanship, BTW!
I sealed the 1-ply bamboo just as I sealed all my blades. I'm not sure the bamboo needs triple sealing, but it was important that I gave a fair comparison to what I'm used to, so I used my world famous triple seal as per Chinese National specs technique. Nice weight . . . about 83g. Perhaps a pinch lighter would suit me batter, but this is an optimal wieght for most and the balance was sweet. The blade felt good in my hand; however, I rounded off the edges of the cork handle for greater personal comfort. You were right! The cork was easy to sand. I used 150, then 220 grade (I didn't have finer). Yet, many players might dig the square/straight shape. I sanded the wings/shoulders of the blade to prevent blistering due to my snugness of my modified Seemiller grip. I was surprised how hard, yet pliable bamboo is. I can flex the blade a little, which I'm sure equals some cool dwellness for loopers, but YIKES . . . it took a little elbow grease to sand. Sriver and Peacekeeper glued up nicely. The first shot I took with this combo shot over the net, across the table, and left a mark on my practice partners belly. He actually took a step back off the table for the next shot. I read the cpen review and that dude was right when he said, "Hits like a sledgehammer, very fast, and the feel is fantastic." After a few rallies I locked in to some sweet control. Most of the time there's a HUGE tradeoff . . . speed versus control. Yet, with this bamboo blade of yours I got both. I wholeheartedly feel bamboo blade might become the new craze. I think the only reason it hasn't is due to the fact it's so common and cheap. It's not GLAMOROUS. But I'll tell you this . . . winning is glamorous and after spanking my buddy 3-0, 3-1, 3-0 I have all the glamour I need. I should mention there's a good chance I'll be asking you to make me another one as my friend is begging me to sell it to him.
When you sent this blade to me you disclaimed it's potential performance saying it might not have the touch and feel for up-close play as it's primarily a hitting blade. Well, it is a hitting blade, and I think it's got enough touch and feel to push, block, flip, and chop from any distance. I think some of that versatility comes from the thinness of the 1-ply and the flex, but you are the master. Maybe it's whatever you did or the wood itself.
I give this blade a 90/100, and would have scored it higher if it had a pinch more control and were lighter. Keep in mind, 83g is NOT heavy. I'm missing half the muscle of my upper right side. Most of you guys and gals have 100% of your parts and would find this weight perfect, if not light!
Thank you Kevin.
I hope you find enough support in our table tennis community to keep you doing what you are so good at . . . building cool blades.
BTW, I didn't compare this bamboozer to my other blades because it is so different. It's a different kind of fruit . . . very tasty.
I love my apples (Borko+Violin), but your bamboo blade is one sweet orange!!!


Thank you Sattanathan for being the first to try. I felt safe knowing you survived your experiment with the prototype!

Sincerely,
Tommy Zai

PS. I worked on looping after my matches and got some great topspin. I'm not sure if it was my newfound technique, the blade, or both!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pongcrazy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/05/2008 at 10:17pm
@ tz
How thick is the 1 ply bamboo blade.  What kind of speed rating would you give it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/05/2008 at 10:21pm
I think it's between 5.2-5.4mm, but I'll let aHinoki answer it.
It's VERY fast. I have a feeling it would suit me better a little lighter because the speed would drop and the control/feel would go up just enough to be at about the Violin rating. It's faster than the Violin for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ahinoki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/05/2008 at 10:24pm
Tommy

I am really glad that you like the 1-ply bamboo blade.

The first time I made a bamboo blade it was a 105gram jpen that had
huge power but very little control in the short game.
I then went down to 5mm thickness in a cpen to hopefully
get a little more control in the short game and hopefully
to not lose too much of its looping power.  I really did not
expect much, but after I played with it I was really impressed.

When you get the chance please try out the 3-ply bamboo blade
that I also sent you. I think you will find it faster with less control
than the 1-ply. But I like to verify my opinions on my blades
before I reach a conclusion.

If your friend wants a 1-ply bamboo send me an email, I have 3
bamboo boards left.

Also, I would like to use your review on my website if its OK

Thanks

Kevin

www.americanHinoki.com



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2008 at 12:57am
Kevin,
I received a couple offers in the real world and via email for the bamboo blade you made for me. I'll either send them your way or sell mine to one of them and buy a new one from you. The bottom line . . . this may be the beginning of a trend. :-).

Feel free to use my review on your website. I only ask that you sign my name in 72pt font. All the best my friend. You're making really nice blades. I'm proud to be test piloting one of your prototypes.
Tzai
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2008 at 12:58am
Upcoming review . . .
3-ply Bamboo! I'll hit with it tomorrow. Time to glue up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2008 at 1:49pm
My 1-ply bamboo combo.

20080706_140704_Bamboozer1.gif
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ahinoki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2008 at 8:54pm
Tommy

I appreciate your support and look forward to your review
on the Bamboo/NWC blade.

ahinoki
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2008 at 11:02pm
Tommy Zai's Review of Bomboo/NWC by AHinoki
Dear Kevin of American Hinoki,
This will be the second time I am thanking you for the opportunity to try an experimental blade. Last time was a 1-Ply Bamboo. This time is a 3-ply with Bamboo+NWC. In comparison, the 3-ply is quite a bit thicker, but lighter. I'm guessing the Bamboo is denser and heavier than the NWC, but I may be wrong. In either case, it's under 80g and feels nice to me. If I kept it I would sand down the cork handle to fit my grip and this is very easy to do. I have to say I'm becoming a fan of the cork handle. Even though it may be a little thicker than I like, it seems to have more "talk" . . . more communication and feel. It seems like the ball is being controlled more by my hand and fingers, rather than by some piece of wood several inches from my hand. The cork handle seems to facilitate a nice connection. I glued up a Sriver 2.1 and the look gave me flashbacks of an old 1-ply Japanese Hinoki blade I EJ'd away last year. It looked nice with a rubber on it. The blade seems soft and flexible, which is a nice compliment to a Sriver or a harder Chinese sponge. I use OX on the BH so the notion of the combo being too thick wasn't an issue. The combination of blade and rubbers were still extremely light. This is important to me as I have some physical problems and use a lot wrist. I also like the shortened recovery time. I think this may have been mentioned by another one of your test pilots. I don't like to lug a big heavy block of wood around when playing. I was able to be effective with all my shots, especially blocking/angle block. I had some trouble with chopping, but that may have been more about the delicate nature of my modified Seemiller chops and not being used to the combo. I'm not a looper, but I was able to bend it like Beckham, hitting some nice corkscrew topspin drives.

SPEED: Wow, this thing is fast with feedback. The ball jumps off it like a rocket, but you can feel the catapult. I usually miss into the net, but found myself going long.

CONTROL: Admittedly, it took me a while to control this 3-ply beast, but after 30-minutes or so I had some great kill shots.

SPIN: I've got some good spinny serves and they didn't suffer at all.

OVERALL: For my style of play, the 1-Ply bamboo better suits me; however, if you like blasting away with a nice light blade, this one is well worthy!

I will keep the 1-ply and probably pass this bullet to someone with a gun. I'll use the money to buy more rubbers for the other one. But, don't get me wrong, this 3-ply is SUPER. I just like the thinner, more flexible, slower blade. I'm out of control. I need my racket to keep me in line!!

Thank you Kevin!
Sincerely,
Tommy Zai
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2008 at 11:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ahinoki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2008 at 8:52am
Tommy

Thanks for the review on the 3-ply bamboo/NWC. I will also use
this on my site.

I suspected/hoped that you might judge the two blades as you did.
Your assessment of both blades performance is very much inline
with mine.

So it looks like everything worked out. You got a good deal on a
blade(s) that you like and I got a couple of good reviews. :)

One more thing, I think I just created a bamboo 1-ply that plays
like a carbon blade (stiff) and produces a louder sound then normal when
hitting the ball. So if you know anyone who might like this type
of blade and would like to take advantage of my prototype offers,
have them email me.

Thanks

Kevin
www.americanHinoki.com
[email protected]



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tommyzai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2008 at 6:03pm
A bamboo 1-ply that plays
like a carbon blade. That would be very cool.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 100niTenis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 3:30pm
:)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 3:43pm
Originally posted by 100niTenis 100niTenis wrote:

:)

You're reviving a thread that had no posts for almost 9 years just for posting a smiley?
You realise this wastes a lot of readers' time? Please read again forum rule No. 1 ("The Golden Rule") and No. 4:
Originally posted by Forum Rules Forum Rules wrote:


1.
The Golden Rule - If you got nothing nice to say, don't say it, this site has had a lot of hard work put into it by Alex and other members, with all the video updates, pictures, etc. lets respect that.
4. SPAMMING The Mytabletennis.net Administrator and Moderators will not tolerate spamming.  Spamming is posting non-sense, no-value posts within a thread or across different threads for the sole purpose of increasing one's post count; spamming is characterized by posting one-word or one-liners and successively doing it for a short period of time.

Source:
http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=21109&PID=242717

PS I realise this is off-topic, as well. But I hope this is sufficient to avoid you PMs of other members in this respect. I'd ask an administrator to remove both this post and the above.


Edited by arg0 - 05/19/2017 at 3:43pm
Nexy Arche & Nittaku Violin LG.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DLC1325 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 4:10pm
Strange that this post popped back up after all this time...

I too have a 1-ply bamboo blade from Kevin.  85g, 5mm, cork handle, just like TommyZai's.  Plays very much like a standard 9mm hinoki single ply (Miyabi specifically) with a bit crisper feel and maybe a bit slower.  I didn't find it to be so uncontrollable like Tommy, but that could be because I have used stiff ebony blades in the past.  The control was actually higher than most blades I've used but could get plenty speedy with some input.  Short service was extremely easy, slow looping and placement was accurate, blocks and punches were deadly.

At the risk of also breaking a rule, I put this blade up in the For Sale section but only because I fell in love with my JO shape Waldner.  As many others have said, Kevin's work is top notch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arg0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 4:53pm
I have two Ancient Kauri blades from Kevin, which I love independently from their playing characteristics. Actually, I like them too much to even play with them. Embarrassed
I saw that his americanhinoki.com website is no longer online and imagined that he quit blade-making. Now I see he is still active in this forum, maybe he can quickly explain whether he plans a return.

Nexy Arche & Nittaku Violin LG.
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Also member of Violin & 1-Ply clans.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DLC1325 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 5:24pm
Nice arg!

I can't confirm this but another forum member said Kevin is working on other projects lately. I got my bamboo blade only a month ago though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shinshiro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 6:27pm
Yes, he was working on another project related with table tennis, but he is still making blades! He made a blade for me about 2 months ago. He had some troubles with American Hinoki domain, that's whys his website is offline at least since december 2016 (the first time I tried to acces his site)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/20/2017 at 11:17am
I have one of his Bamboo blades.
I recall that it had this extremely wide dynamic range. One could play like a retriever as it was so slow. But yet a full slap drive was as fast as any other combo.
I always felt that it would suit a really clever player
>65yo, presently overweight rather than obese.

Currently testing; Darker Speed90 with T05H/Dignics05. Update; T05 on BH is impressive when all is right,but D05 wins more points

Delusion is an asset
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DLC1325 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/20/2017 at 1:48pm
Originally posted by Tinykin Tinykin wrote:

I have one of his Bamboo blades.
I recall that it had this extremely wide dynamic range. One could play like a retriever as it was so slow. But yet a full slap drive was as fast as any other combo.
I always felt that it would suit a really clever player

+1 to those gears. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ahinoki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/20/2017 at 2:12pm
Hi everyone,

Kevin here. Just want to say I am still making blades and tt training devices (coming soon).
Sorry about my website being down.

In regards to bamboo blades which I have not played with for years. I recently made a 3-ply Bamboo blade for myself that I absolutely love, and it will be my #1 blade for a while (I am always
experimenting with new blades, so this will change).

The Bamboo has a feel like no other material I have used, hard to describe but it is great for
looping and serving and surprisingly good at blocking. It also has a unique sound when striking
the ball. I highly reccommend that players at some point try a 3-ply Bamboo blade.

Regards

[email protected]






Edited by ahinoki - 05/20/2017 at 2:20pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/20/2017 at 3:26pm
In this forum I read once that bamboo is a grass and does not qualify as wood hence making bamboo blades illegal. Is it true?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dr.Cho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/20/2017 at 6:39pm
Numerous  TT Company's have already made Bamboo Blades with no complications

So i don't see a problem.

Yes, Bamboo is a grass and yes its already been used as TT Blade.

As to why its allowed... who knows... Follow the money
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