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Review: Donic Dotec Waldner Hinoki

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    Posted: 10/01/2010 at 12:07pm
Provenance: brand new, bought from fatt (thanks, buddy!)
Weight: 87 g
Handle: "SH-FL" Right-Handed
Class: from OFF- through OFF+
Plies: 3, all Hinoki (1, 3 - horizontal, 2 - vertical)

Photos:


















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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 12:08pm
First impressions:

First of all, I was very much unpleasantly surprised when I saw that there were literally less reviews about this blade readily available on the net than I can count on one hand. And one or two that I could find were quite short and not very informative.

Perhaps there are more reviews on some German forums - after all this is a German blade...?

Second - when I first took it in my hands with the rubbers installed (PME 47.5 MAX on FH, PME 47.5 2.1 on BH) I kinda cringed... the balance was feeling wrong...

Then I realized that I needed to slide my hand a bit deeper and actually grip this special Dotec handle a tad differently from what I am used to. The handle sort of forces you into a somewhat deeper grip with your index finger positioned a bit differently.

It is extremely comfortable. What I loved the most was this - about 5-6 weeks ago I pulled some muscle or tendon in my right wrist, it's in the place that "connects" the palm and the rest of the arm. So every time when I do a FH loop with some more or less serious wrist motion, I hurt... sometimes like hell... and since I am "addicted" to TT, I hurt and hurt and hurt... and probably exacerbated that pulled muscle as I am not giving it any rest save for a day or two at the most. Anyways, with DDWH the grip is very good for this specific injury - it literally forces you to hold the paddle in such a manner that FH loop swings do not hurt as much (and I hope they do not worsen the state of that tendon as much).

On FH therefore I had no problem - also since I played with H1P blades a lot, I am quite used to the feeling of a thick blade (DDWH is almost 8 mm thick).

On BH however, the same grip which makes it quite comfortable to loop/drive and doesn't require much adjustment, changes the angle and position of the blade rather significantly. So on BH the adjustment was definitely in order.

Anyway, let's show you some numbers:

Speed: I have played recently with Galaxy W-1 and Galaxy T-8 - as you know from the famous Galaxy Blade Table their speed are 9 and 10 (I concur) - and I would like to compare DDWH's speed to these blades'. My estimate is 9.5

Control: as good as W-1. The table says that T-8 control is 8 and higher than W-1's (7) which is ridiculous. I would say T-8 is 7.5, W-1 is 8.5 and DDWH is at least 8.5 as well.

Dwell time: on par with W-1, noticeably better than T-8. Surprisingly enough DDWH feels rather hard, especially on blocks. I think this is a deceptive feeling that you get because your grip forces your fingers in a position that strengthens blocking/counterdrives/pushes and therefore the feeling of hardness is a bit off the reality there.

Spin: a tad less spinny than W-1 but not by much. Certainly better than T-8 but again, not by much

Throw angle: lower half of the range, closer to T-8 than to W-1

Recommended rubbers: probably goes well with anything depending on your own taste. As you have noticed I have paired it up with some fast medium-hard rubbers which I prefer. The combo plays very nice, but I will probably try Karate Hard 2.2 on BH at some point later.

Elements

Loop: it's OK. Not great as with Lissom, because after all this blade is rather stiff - what do you expect from a 8 mm thick 3-ply. However, some flex is there, most likely due to the center ply which is laid out vertically. With MAX rubber on my FH I was looping very comfortably and confidently. At least as good as T-8 with Blitz, a little bit less satisfying than W-1 with PME 47.5 MAX. But it was just my first time...

Block: very very good. I am not even talking about BH block which was always one of my strengths. No I am talking about FH block which requires more exactitude in the blade angle and takes more time and precision - it was better and less awkward than with regular blades, Dotec handle there really helped.

Drive: on par with any of my attacking blades. Very good. No complaints.

Short game: same with short game. Control is there, certainly more (noticeably so) than on T-8. About the same as W-1 with the same rubbers.

Defensive game: didn't really try it much, and the rubbers I used are not born for this role, but lobbing and fishing went quite well, very controllable, no problems there
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 12:08pm
I will play some more and post more within a week or so...

As my wrist is healing (hopefully fast) I think I will play with DDWH as it certainly doesn't make me cringe with pain every time I do a forehand loop-drive-kill-block, whatever...

Then I will try and play again with T-8 (Palio Blitz + Dawei IQUL Power Max) as it is a bit faster and I want to see how much speed I can handle, keeping my precision and short game at the same level.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote melarimsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 12:17pm
In one simple word. GREAT :) I own them, I still have few. Just great blade.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 1:55pm
Originally posted by melarimsa melarimsa wrote:

In one simple word. GREAT :) I own them, I still have few. Just great blade.


Mel, you should add your review here then. Or at least your main impressions, numbers, ideas etc.

By the way, does anyone know why this blade is no longer present on Donic's website? have they discontinued it? I know that some stores are still selling it but those could be the last ones... Cry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nicefrog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 2:16pm
Nice review, good luck with the wrist, I injured my wrist at one stage bad enough that you could (loudly) hear the tendons tearing when I did it. It didn't affect the FH stroke only backhand. I couldn't hit a backhand loop for a solid 2 years, it did fully recover but took a long time. The point is don't use it on any shot that hurts or I don't think it will heal quickly
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 2:20pm
Awesome review!  Thanks Jim.  I wonder how much of an adjustment you need to do on the grip...  I always wanted to get one (The carbon one), but I am afraid that if I get use to this type of handle, I may have trouble going back to the regular one.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/01/2010 at 3:08pm
Originally posted by mhnh007 mhnh007 wrote:

Awesome review!  Thanks Jim.  I wonder how much of an adjustment you need to do on the grip...  I always wanted to get one (The carbon one), but I am afraid that if I get use to this type of handle, I may have trouble going back to the regular one.  


I just played some more - 30 mins or so. Readjustment is really necessary there - I still felt uncomfortable every time my grip was slipping a bit. Once you found the right way to hold the paddle and you learned how to get into that grip every time you hold it, then it'll become much better.

Generally I was very unsatisfied with my second try. At some points I just couldn't hit the ball on FH for all the gold in the world. It was somewhat better on BH but the angle was wrong - I was pushing the ball a little more upward than usually, which is not good, of course. As I said, some serious grip/hold adjustment is in order, that's for sure.

I think I will try again tonight and with the different sparring partner - if I will not find the proper adjustment in first 30 minutes (generally I am a very adjustable guy) then I will have to switch to T-8 for the rest of the session.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/2010 at 12:00am
OK, now. Played 2 hours more and finally I realized what I should be saying to those who await my wisdom with abated breath. It's not really about this blade as a whole, it's about Dotec handle.

1) The Dotec handle really helps with the forehand loop, because it kinda forces you to close the angle properly by the end of your swing. Believe me, that's true

but

2) it also kinda changes a bit your backhand stroke. Namely, it makes the BH drives and smashes and blocks easier because it opens up the angle of the blade a tad more than you think it is and therefore helps you  to clear the net. However, if you are going for a real BH loop (power or short) or for a short push/slice - you need to be careful and either relax your hold on the handle or account for a changed angle a little bit. Otherwise you are liable to send the ball long or to pop it up.

Once again, the reason for both things is that the curve of the handle changes a bit the way the blade "hugs the ball" during the swing. During FH stroke it closes the angle farther down the road when you finish the stroke and that really REALLY helps with putting the loop on the table (see item (a)). During BH stroke it opens up the angle when you finish the shot and that accounts for (b).

This is really important if you are considering whether to get a Dotec blade or not (DDWH or any other one - Donic has 4 or 5 of them).

So here is the re-cap and my final words of wisdom on Dotec blades:

If you have a not super-consistent FH loop and want to make it better - Dotec would be a plus.

If you have problems with BH flat game - counterdrives, blocks, punch-blocks, smashes going too low etc - Dotec would be a plus

If you do not have a gentle, adjustable touch in short BH game - Dotec would be a minus

If your BH loop is long or not too consistent and your wrist is not too flexy - Dotec would be a minus

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/2010 at 12:02am
Generally I liked it - I am putting GD Karate Hard 2.2 on the BH instead of PME 47.5 2.1 mm and will try it again... probably on Sunday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vikroda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/2010 at 12:03am
I also purchased this model from fatt as a backup.  My original Dotec's handle fell off and I got Jack Miller (the blade maker) to make me a more standard handle (I've posted pictures on another forum).  The original handle felt really good on the forehand but I found that my backhand felt too constricted.  The new handle still has a slight angle so the forehand and backhand sides are a little different but not so much that you can't use the backhand side as the forehand.  The touch is still the same.  The only thing I don't like about this blade is the thickness, but you get used to it.

I found my original Dotec had almost no vibration but the one I got from fatt had a little bit more vibration. The lack of vibration was probably due to the weak link between the handle and the blade (which is why it eventually detached).

When switching back to another blade you really notice the difference in how sharp the traditional blades feel against your middle finger (even though I've sanded down the sharp edges).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/2010 at 12:09am
Originally posted by Vikroda Vikroda wrote:

I also purchased this model from fatt as a backup.  My original Dotec's handle fell off and I got Jack Miller (the blade maker) to make me a more standard handle (I've posted pictures on another forum).  The original handle felt really good on the forehand but I found that my backhand felt too constricted.  The new handle still has a slight angle so the forehand and backhand sides are a little different but not so much that you can't use the backhand side as the forehand.  The touch is still the same.  The only thing I don't like about this blade is the thickness, but you get used to it.

I found my original Dotec had almost no vibration but the one I got from fatt had a little bit more vibration. The lack of vibration was probably due to the weak link between the handle and the blade (which is why it eventually detached).

When switching back to another blade you really notice the difference in how sharp the traditional blades feel against your middle finger (even though I've sanded down the sharp edges).


It would be great to make some of my other blades feel the same way as Dotec handle feels - while keeping all the other qualities Big smile a guy can dream, right?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/2010 at 5:31am
fascinating thread. I wonder if I'll buy back a dotec hinoki from one of you in the future.

Hey jimT this is your picture: what product did you use on that blade? is it glue or varnish/seal?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/02/2010 at 11:21am
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

fascinating thread. I wonder if I'll buy back a dotec hinoki from one of you in the future.

Hey jimT this is your picture: what product did you use on that blade? is it glue or varnish/seal?



I used a thin layer of Minwax Gloss Wipe-On Polyurethane Oil... looks shiny, doesn't it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote icontek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/03/2010 at 9:45pm
Originally posted by JimT JimT wrote:


1) The Dotec handle really helps with the forehand loop, because it kinda forces you to close the angle properly by the end of your swing. Believe me, that's true

but

2) it also kinda changes a bit your backhand stroke. Namely, it makes the BH drives and smashes and blocks easier because it opens up the angle of the blade a tad more than you think it is and therefore helps you  to clear the net. However, if you are going for a real BH loop (power or short) or for a short push/slice - you need to be careful and either relax your hold on the handle or account for a changed angle a little bit. Otherwise you are liable to send the ball long or to pop it up.

Once again, the reason for both things is that the curve of the handle changes a bit the way the blade "hugs the ball" during the swing. During FH stroke it closes the angle farther down the road when you finish the stroke and that really REALLY helps with putting the loop on the table (see item (a)). During BH stroke it opens up the angle when you finish the shot and that accounts for (b).


As someone who used a DOTEC AR for two years, I absolutely agree with what you described.


I stopped using the blade because in part because a coach complained about the design and I wanted more flex and the handle design actually prevents neck flex.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/03/2010 at 10:23pm
Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:

Originally posted by JimT JimT wrote:


1) The Dotec handle really helps with the forehand loop, because it kinda forces you to close the angle properly by the end of your swing. Believe me, that's true

but

2) it also kinda changes a bit your backhand stroke. Namely, it makes the BH drives and smashes and blocks easier because it opens up the angle of the blade a tad more than you think it is and therefore helps you  to clear the net. However, if you are going for a real BH loop (power or short) or for a short push/slice - you need to be careful and either relax your hold on the handle or account for a changed angle a little bit. Otherwise you are liable to send the ball long or to pop it up.

Once again, the reason for both things is that the curve of the handle changes a bit the way the blade "hugs the ball" during the swing. During FH stroke it closes the angle farther down the road when you finish the stroke and that really REALLY helps with putting the loop on the table (see item (a)). During BH stroke it opens up the angle when you finish the shot and that accounts for (b).


As someone who used a DOTEC AR for two years, I absolutely agree with what you described.


I stopped using the blade because in part because a coach complained about the design and I wanted more flex and the handle design actually prevents neck flex.


Thanks, man! Proves to me I am not imagining things. Wink

I played today again - and let me tell you... either due to the fact that I am not used to DDWH yet, or because I didn't get a proper warm-up (had to play with two very low-rated guys for the first 50 minutes) I sucked... especially on BH of course. It felt like my BH strokes were pretty clumsy.

However, I must state again that FH game was good, and once again it REALLY helps to heal my poor tendon. It is indeed feeling better and better.

I am not sure that DDWH is the blade for me but I certainly will play with it for at least another week in attempt to fully heal that ligament/muscle in my right wrist. Then we'll see...

I think I also should fix the speed number - I put it at 9.5 but I think it must be closer to 9 (W-1). Perhaps a tad more tahn 9 but not by much... I dunno... I should play more with it.

Certainly when I played a good hour on Friday before actual matches I controlled it much better and the speed was better (!!). I hope I will get some more practice tomorrow or on Tuesday.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/05/2010 at 3:58pm
Played another hour - certainly some good warm-up helps a lot to reacquaint yourself with Dotec blade.

So - main impressions are still the same, FH looping is very comfortable and more stable. However, the amount of unforced errors on BH (although small) is higher than before...

The question is - should I just play with it another 2-3 weeks and get really used to it? There are other minor quirks I didn't like. It feels slower sometimes than W-1, and then the next shot it's faster (the strokes have about the same arm speed). My explanation is that my hand is used to the regular grip so when with the previous rackets the behavior of my grip was automatic (stiffen your wrist there, relax it here, do this when performing a chop, do that when executing a flick etc.) - with DDWH it's not as automatic and some rigidity of the grip (which works quite well when doing blocks or downward pushes, punch-blocks etc) actually hurts my game; wrist/grip flex is noticeably less comfortable, as icontek has already mentioned above, BTW.

I love how it plays for me during FH loops although I'd prefer it to be a little faster on passive blocks but that's OK...

I am ambivalent about BH behavior and I am asking myself whether I should simply try and emulate Dotec handle on my previous blades.

As a matter of fact I have already gone and experimented with my Galaxy T-8. Here is what I did

a) I put several short strips of grip tape on the bottom of the FH side of the handle (not around the handle but only on FH half of it!!), trying to imitate the bulge (curving) that Dotec handle has (on FH side it dips first and then comes back along a smooth slightly concave curve), then applied grip tape around the lower quarter of the handle

b) I cut out two small pieces of cork in the triangular form of the blade's shoulders (wings), then sanded them down so that they imitate the curve of each wing, have a bit less thickness and so that their edge is smooth and round. Then glued them on top of the shoulders of the BH side.

See the two pics below



If this really helps to imitate both the curve of the handle and Dotec shoulder, then hallelujah! Even if it does at least one of the things, I will be thrilled.

We'll see tomorrow when I practice at my club with T-8.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ppgear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/05/2010 at 9:46pm
There are some reviews on the Table Tennis Database:

Arthur Lui
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/07/2010 at 11:14am
OK, about my experiment. Part (a) turned out to be a disappointment - useless. After 30 minutes of play I took it off - it wasn't doing anything but getting in the way of my hand sliding a bit up-down the handle. Part (b) - naturally it was impossible to fully reproduce the DWDH effect (mostly cause T-8 is thinner than DWDH) but I liked it. At least FH blocks, pushes and even loops became a bit more comfortable, certainly no problems there.

The only issue was that your hand moves a bit all the time during the play so it leads to the triangles slowly peeling off after an hour or so. Of course using something like Crazy Glue is out of question unless you want to glue the triangles permanently or cause damage to the blade.

I solved this in the following way: first, used a relatively larger amount of water-based glue to glue the triangles on (after all, latex glue is a bit stronger than rubber cement). Then I took two very short strips of grip tape and wrapped each of them around each wing/shoulder. Worked out quite well, thank you very much.

So I do recommend this to try - it takes only 10 minutes, it is easily reversible and quite likely it could help you a little bit with the FH strokes.

I am going to do the same with my second primary blade - Galaxy W-1.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/07/2010 at 11:18am
Originally posted by ppgear ppgear wrote:

There are some reviews on the Table Tennis Database:



True but I wouldn't call them reviews - they are very short blurbs, describing general attitude and quick estimates of blades characteristics. They are fun to read but contain next to zero serious info.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vikroda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/09/2010 at 12:52am
Where did you get the pieces of cork?  Pictures?

Here are comparisons of the standard Dotec and the Jack Miller zebra wood handle version.
As I mentioned above the altered version feels much better on the backhand

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/09/2010 at 11:04pm
It's just a regular, very porous cork which I got at a local crafts store A.C.Moore. Pics are really useless here cause I covered the corks with some grip tape to keep them in place.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/19/2010 at 12:25pm

I have taken the tape off of the triangles. Here are the pics:




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/19/2010 at 12:29pm
They really help to do the FH block - the fingers are positioned more comfortably than without the triangles.

I used regular rubber glue so this operation is quite reversible, no worries. The very nice burled cork (small pieces of it) was provided to me (gratis) by AmericanHinoki.com - many thanks, Kevin!
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