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History of modern composite blades

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mjamja View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10/17/2018 at 5:40pm
Could some of you educate me on the history of the modern composite blades. What was the first fiber layer used ( carbon, fiberglass, other). Who were some of the first professionals to use composite blades sucessfully? When did this happen? What are some significant events in development of composite blades and a timeline for them?

Mark - Tired of being ignorant
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2018 at 8:30pm
This is based on memory so people can correct any mistakes I make.  Carbon and fiberglass were earliest (late 80s or early 90s?).  At the time we used speed glue and 38 mm balls and most top players then used all wood -- and would also tell you that these composites were unnecessary and somewhat uncontrollable, especially if you consider that blades like the Sardius were the most famous early examples of a carbon blade.  That advice was probably correct for those conditions (and even with 40+ balls, a Sardius is pretty tough to use).  It is amazing how many players at that time used Clippers or blades very much like it.  Early carbon blades felt a bit like playing with a piece of glass.  Stiff, hard, but big sweet spot.  Really hard to use in short game, especially with a 38 ball. Fiberglass was always a bit strange, at least I never much liked it.  Then came polyaramide composites, espcially Vectran, which Btfly calls Arylate, and Kevlar.  The main property of those is to absorb high frequency vibrations and also add a little extra sweet spot.  They behave rather similarly in blades.  By themselves they are not very fast.  Early examples included the Butterfly Keyshot and the Butterfly Moonbeam.  (The Moonbeam was a quite fast blade because the central wood core was very thick).  Stiga and other companies marketed similar stuff but I can't remember what they were called. 

Butterfly had a big advance when they introduced blades with an arylate-carbon weave (ALC).  Those blades were not glassy like pure carbon, but still have nice sweet spot.  They may be the most popular blades in the world among top players even now.  They include the Viscaria, TBS, TB-ALC, Maze, Iolite, and a host of other versions of basically the same thing that Butterfly introduces with different names from time to time.  Somehow I think those blades emerged around 1998 or thereabouts.  Someone else will know for sure.  They put this composite into all sorts of wood combinations, make some differences in handle shape, and of course put different players' names on the blades depending on who they are working with.  A good bet is next year they will introduce a new example of the same thing with someone else's name on it.  Stiga followed suit with something they called the Carbo-Kev, probably around the same time Btfly came out with ALC, or maybe a little later.  Around 2007 or so Btfly introduced their Zylon blades (If I recall correctly, Photino may have been the first one); and shortly after they introduced various ZLC and then super ZLC.  ZLC and sZLC differ in the density of the zylon in the weave.  Bear in mind that all of these composite materials are woven from threads, like cloth, so you can have many variations in the weave pattern.  Zylon makes blades a little harder and faster than Arylate.  Still, people who like one can transition pretty easily to the other.

In that regard, Stiga has experimented with different variations of carbon weaves that they say improve on earlier versions.  Textreme is an example.  Butterfly got into that game earlier with their unidirectional carbon weaves, to which they gave a fancy name that I have forgotten.  (Edit added.  They call it Tamca).  One example was a blade they introduced for Kreanga but which was had a coating on the surface that made it illegal by ITTF rules (then and now, it completely obscured the wood grain) and they had to discontinue it almost immediately.  That was an amazing screw up.  Those blades are worth a lot to collectors now.

All of these composite materials are synthesized and then pulled intro threads by one set of companies; the threads are then purchased and then woven into various sorts of sheets by other companies; and sheets of composite weaves are purchased by blade factories to make blades (along with woods, glues, etc.).

I honestly don't know who were the earliest top pros to adopt composite blades.  I would be just guessing if I mentioned Primorac and possibly Gatien.  Timo Boll was the first player I know to really promote what was at the time the new Butterfly ALC products, early on with a Viscaria and then with blades that have his own name.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chroot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2018 at 8:39pm
Gabor Gergely probably is the first pro player to use a composite blade.
BTY Viscaria 90g
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2018 at 8:43pm
Yes, that seems right to me.  Gergeley.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/17/2018 at 8:50pm
Thanks guys. Interesting stuff. Anyone else have more to add.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aeoliah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 1:45am
Baal, if I am not mistaken, Kreanga (discontinued) blade uses Tamca ULC (Unidirectional Light Carbon).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote garwor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 3:03am
I heard some rumors that woodmaker Perkosan from Yugoslavia/Serbia was first to implement composite blade with alu foil, he sold idea to Stiga.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 3:50am
Small anecdote:
A few years ago, I met one home builder/player who experimented with composite blades from the early seventies. This was a surprise to me as I think of carbon as something that came into its own in the eighties. He was a chemical engineer in the industry. He told me that one of his British League teammate (well known English international WRC top 50) really loved it and used  it for a while in the 1970-80's. But when asked to build more, he could not be bothered as his working life took priority.
He showed me his blade/bat which was built in those days. I remember it feeling quite heavy.


Edited by Tinykin - 10/18/2018 at 3:53am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote igorigor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 4:33am
Werner Schlager is the first single world champion (2003) using composite blade (ALC).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IanMcg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 4:38pm
Originally posted by igorigor igorigor wrote:

Werner Schlager is the first single world champion (2003) using composite blade (ALC).

Thought he used a Primo Carbon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jonyer1980 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 6:06pm
When I began playing TT no one liked Viscaria/Moonbeam but also Primorac Carbon. At that time, Zoran was WR2 and he was playing with his one signature blade at that time. Netheless to say, Viscaria wasn't popular at all, no one wanted not even collected it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote in2spin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 6:20pm
i remember late 70s, Butterfly introduced Tamca 5000 Carbon Fibre rackets

i think Nittaku also had a couple Carbon blades

if i dig around, i can find a catalog.......

i think initially, the Iolite was more desirable/collectible than the Viscaria

:)


Edited by in2spin - 10/18/2018 at 6:21pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mykonos96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 6:33pm
Originally posted by jonyer1980 jonyer1980 wrote:

When I began playing TT no one liked Viscaria/Moonbeam but also Primorac Carbon. At that time, Zoran was WR2 and he was playing with his one signature blade at that time. Netheless to say, Viscaria wasn't popular at all, no one wanted not even collected it.

A  guy was selling  a viscaria barely used  at very cheap price because nobody wanted until ZJK  came  ,thats the power of marketing


Edited by mykonos96 - 10/18/2018 at 6:35pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 6:40pm
Originally posted by igorigor igorigor wrote:

Werner Schlager is the first single world champion (2003) using composite blade (ALC).
didn't Kong linghui use carbon?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IanMcg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 6:57pm
I think at first he was using the Avalox P500, then he adapted to the BTY KLH Special, after which he played with a hybrid blade using Koto/Spruce (P500) on FH and Hinoki/ALC on BH (KLHS). I think at some point he also used the Butterfly Kong Linghui, which is a P500 clone- maybe after he switched to Butterfly sponsorship, but before he adopted the KLHS
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 7:20pm
The klgs that one can buy is a normal carbon blade. Is the other one even available to the public?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IanMcg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 8:01pm
Originally posted by Tt Gold Tt Gold wrote:

The klgs that one can buy is a normal carbon blade. Is the other one even available to the public?

I assume you mean the Kong LingHui Special? Its ALC. I'm not sure what you mean by the other one, but there is the Kong LingHui (5ply wood), Kong Linghui Special (3+2 ALC), and the Kong LingHui with the blue handle, which is called the Euro (7ply wood). All of them were discontinued at some point but Butterfly has rereleased the KLH 5ply wood recently.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gnopgnipster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 8:04pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Thanks guys. Interesting stuff. Anyone else have more to add.

Mark
I have a Prasihda CP carbon which I bought in 1985. I was using BTY carbon blades (ALLURE) in early 1980s. Matsushita played in the early 1980s in Baton Rouge with a Klampar Tamca 5000. He had DHS Pf4 in the FH, and DHS C8(?) LP in the BH.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 9:13pm
Originally posted by IanMcg IanMcg wrote:

Originally posted by Tt Gold Tt Gold wrote:

The klgs that one can buy is a normal carbon blade. Is the other one even available to the public?

I assume you mean the Kong LingHui Special? Its ALC. I'm not sure what you mean by the other one, but there is the Kong LingHui (5ply wood), Kong Linghui Special (3+2 ALC), and the Kong LingHui with the blue handle, which is called the Euro (7ply wood). All of them were discontinued at some point but Butterfly has rereleased the KLH 5ply wood recently.
I mean the one that has carbon on one side and allwood on the other side
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IanMcg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/18/2018 at 9:52pm
I don't think that the wood side/carbon side hybrid blade KLH used was ever commercially available, although I wouldn't see it hard to replicate through the help of a blade maker.

Here's a link of a clear closeup of that custom blade-  



Edited by IanMcg - 10/18/2018 at 9:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 6:41am
What's the red rubber? Skyline?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Timo1978 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 6:54am
I think the first Composite blade that has been sold commercially was the Original Tamca 5000 model which has been released in the late 1970ies. Later Allure, Gergely, Klampar, Oberon and Scorna have been released which all had no font on the blades head like the Original Tamca 5000. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zeio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 7:18am
Originally posted by Tt Gold Tt Gold wrote:

What's the red rubber? Skyline?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 9:38am
Originally posted by IanMcg IanMcg wrote:

Originally posted by igorigor igorigor wrote:

Werner Schlager is the first single world champion (2003) using composite blade (ALC).

Thought he used a Primo Carbon


He used primo carbon with Schlager handle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zeio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 11:57am
The "85% made of wood" rule appeared in the ITTF handbook first in 1978. In the strictest sense, that's the year the modern composite blade was born.

Stiga released the "Super Carbon" in the mid to late 70s(most collections point to 1977/78). Despite the name carbon, the composite layers were actually made of graphite. It had a 3+2 construction. Years later, a new model by the same name had a 5+2 construction.

Butterfly first released the Tamca 5000 series carbon blade in Jan, 1978, with a patent application in Nov, 1977. However, they first applied for a patent in 1972 for a blade that's made of resin that has a fiberglass element right in the middle of the core. Then in 1973, they applied for a patent for a blade that has a thick core made of carbon.

Edited by zeio - 10/19/2018 at 11:58am
Viscaria FL - 91g
+ Neo H3 2.15 Blk - 44.5g(55.3g uncut bare)
+ Hexer HD 2.1 Red - 49.3g(68.5g 〃 〃)
= 184.8g
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 1:33pm
Originally posted by aeoliah aeoliah wrote:

Baal, if I am not mistaken, Kreanga (discontinued) blade uses Tamca ULC (Unidirectional Light Carbon).


That is correct.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 1:36pm
Originally posted by igorigor igorigor wrote:

Werner Schlager is the first single world champion (2003) using composite blade (ALC).


I was wondering about that.  Does anyone know what Gatien used when he won his WTTC?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 1:37pm
Originally posted by IanMcg IanMcg wrote:

I don't think that the wood side/carbon side hybrid blade KLH used was ever commercially available, although I wouldn't see it hard to replicate through the help of a blade maker.

Here's a link of a clear closeup of that custom blade-  



the one thing about that is it doesn't really play asmmetrically since the blade will still vibrate as a single unit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 1:40pm
Originally posted by jonyer1980 jonyer1980 wrote:

When I began playing TT no one liked Viscaria/Moonbeam but also Primorac Carbon. At that time, Zoran was WR2 and he was playing with his one signature blade at that time. Netheless to say, Viscaria wasn't popular at all, no one wanted not even collected it.


This is true.  Indeed at that time the Iolite was a lot more popular than Viscaria.  Nevertheless, the Viscaria was then and continues to be a great blade.  If not for ZJK they would have discontinued it.  Of course it would have more or less lived on in the form of the TBS and TB-ALC blades. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zeio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/19/2018 at 1:48pm
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

Originally posted by igorigor igorigor wrote:

Werner Schlager is the first single world champion (2003) using composite blade (ALC).


I was wondering about that.  Does anyone know what Gatien used when he won his WTTC?

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Viscaria FL - 91g
+ Neo H3 2.15 Blk - 44.5g(55.3g uncut bare)
+ Hexer HD 2.1 Red - 49.3g(68.5g 〃 〃)
= 184.8g
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