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gino
11-06-2012, 06:46 PM
Hey all,

I am writing this to give you all a first hand account of my experience with Tennis Warehouse and their customization services (ran by Paul Reed).

First, I'll preface by talking a little bit about my playing level/style. I am a division III collegiate tennis player with a one-handed backhand and a semi-western forehand grip. I play a pretty classical game for a college player - I tend to use my forehand to get to net and I love serving.

My racket of choice is a Wilson 2012 BLX 6.1 95 ( 16x18 ). I have played with all iterations of this racket since the N-Code version from about 2005 (I was 13 at the time). I had a brief stint with HEAD and Babolat rackets in high school (Radical MP/Prestige MP/Babolat Aeropro Drive), but now I'm back with Wilson. For the most part I play rackets stock, except for the my Radical which had lead tape on various areas.

I came into the TW Retail shop out of curiosity for the most part. I have a good friend who attends Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and after visiting for the night I ventured into the retail store. I walking in a inquired about customization services and was greeting by Paul and some other members of the retail team.

I was really impressed with Paul and his personal approach to the racket customization process. He asked me about my playing level and my tendencies, wants, and hopes for a racket that would work for me. We talked about what I would need and me weight limitations. I brought in three of my 6.1 frames to be matched, but after some discussion we decided it would best to match two of the frames and bring the third frame to as close as we could get without making it too heavy. My third frame actually had a significantly higher swing weight 350 compared to my other two rackets, which both came in at about 327.

All three of my rackets were brought to the same static weight and somewhat same balance point. We decided that for my game a 10pts HL Balance would be the best and provide me with the best maneuverability for my one-handed backhand.

http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff477/ginotennis11/2012-11-05220729.jpg

Those of you who are familiar with racket customization may be surprised by some of Paul's techniques - namely his use of Tungsten Putty. I was impressed with the feel of my rackets after customization. They simply feel more consistent and I don't have to worry about Wilson quality control.

I would highly recommend Paul's services to any player who is serious competitive and finds piece of mind in having all of their rackets feel the same. Not to mention Paul's prices are the best you can get compared to any other person in the industry of racket customization.

http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff477/ginotennis11/tennis1.jpg

I took my rackets to practice with for the first time this week and needless to say I was really impressed. All three rackets feel very much alike and making the rackets a bit more head light help me hit my topspin backhand much better. Also I am really excited about how maneuverable my rackets are at the net. I can't wait to get some match play with these sticks and test them out under pressure.

Thanks for everything Paul and TW!

klementine79
11-06-2012, 06:54 PM
^Nice write-up.

Tungsten Putty?

Never thought of that. Got some in my garage. Use it instead of lead weights for fishing.

Bdarb
11-06-2012, 07:47 PM
Do they do much with grip work do you know?? I have a few ps blx 95 and one grip is smaller then the others. i have it bulked up to about right but I'd like to get them all exact and matched. Would it be out of line to ask what his services cost you? Thanks great post.

gino
11-06-2012, 10:23 PM
From what I saw, Paul does grip sizing changes also - probably at a higher cost. As for me, the price was $20.00 a racket for the customization services.

TW Staff can probably weigh in on this also

treblings
11-06-2012, 11:43 PM
interesting post, gino, thanks a lot.
im interested in this whole tungsten putty thing. can you tell, how and where paul applied it on the racket? is it self-adhesive?

uk_skippy
11-06-2012, 11:55 PM
Was it customised with the strings & overgrip still in place?

Ross K
11-07-2012, 01:25 AM
Yes, interested to learn more of Tungsten putty, how it's applied, how it's measured or quantified, etc. Anyone else used it previous care to chip in?

treblings
11-08-2012, 11:28 AM
interesting post, gino, thanks a lot.
im interested in this whole tungsten putty thing. can you tell, how and where paul applied it on the racket? is it self-adhesive?

hi gino, bumping this thread because im really interested to hear about tungsten putty:)

jorel
11-08-2012, 11:58 AM
hi gino, bumping this thread because im really interested to hear about tungsten putty:)
why dont you post in the TW comment section and ask for paul

treblings
11-08-2012, 12:00 PM
why dont you post in the TW comment section and ask for paul

thanks, good idea:)

2ManyAces
11-08-2012, 01:12 PM
thanks, good idea:)

I'd like to see prices too.

gino
11-08-2012, 03:47 PM
Hey everyone,

So to update you on the feel and the effect of the tungsten putty, here are my thoughts:

All three of my rackets received putty in the handle which is the method used for creating a headlight balance. I haven't opened the handles or taken off the buttcaps, but as far as I know the tungsten putty is a better option because it will not move around and make noise or effect feel like lead typically does. It is also easier to remove than silicone injections or foam injections in the handle.

Any other questions feel free to ask.

Thanks for your interest everyone

Orion3
11-08-2012, 11:37 PM
Tungsten putty is like blu-tac. Just heavier.

Used a lot by anglers. So you can buy it from most fishing shops or the auction site.

I often use blu-tac when adjusting the balance or matching my racquets. Tungsten putty just allows you to use less volume.

uk_skippy
11-09-2012, 12:33 AM
Any other questions feel free to ask.

Was it customised with the strings & overgrip still in place?

My previous questions stands.

Regards

Paul

Roforot
11-09-2012, 02:58 AM
2 of your racquets had a SW of 327 and the third had SW of 350! What was the weight/balance of the third one (prior to customization).

After customization, did all 3 have a SW of 350?

TheLambsheadrep
11-09-2012, 06:21 AM
How was the putty applied? Was it pressed against the inside walls of the handle? I'm just curious about how it stays in place

Chotobaka
11-09-2012, 07:49 AM
Tungsten putty has been widely used to customize golf clubs. There are also self adhesive rubber coated tungsten putty weights available a golf shops that would neatly do the trick inside a racquet handle.

high and deep
11-14-2012, 06:31 PM
can you put the putty underneath the grip. I am trying to customize a junior racquet that does not have a trap door for the butt.

TW Staff
11-20-2012, 10:32 AM
Paul doesn't frequent the message board, but we sent him this thread to help answer some of your questions. Here's what he had to say:

Thank you, Gino, for the wonderful write-up and for being so great to work with.

Hello Bdarb, currently the only "grip work" we do is increase grip size with a half or full shrink sleeve. The fee for this is nominal and it does increase the static weight (.3oz & .6oz) and move the balance point over more headlight. Although experienced with pallet replacement, we currently don't offer that as a service.

Hi Uk_skippy, in this case Gino walked in the door with 3 strung racquets he obtained separately (as opposed to purchased all at once as a matching set). This is one of the most difficult scenarios to navigate since swingweight can't (effectively) be reduced. I measured all 3 racquets then we collaborated. The discussion included heaviest final static weight, one-handed versus two-handed backhand, skill level, physique, target swingweight and balance point (also use of overgrip and/or dampener). The final decision was to do the best we could with the high swingweight racquet and leave it as the odd racquet out as opposed to bringing all the racquets up to match its unusually high swingweight. So, yes, this particular situation worked out to my advantage because the racquets only needed to be tail-weighted leaving the strings and grip in place, providing my first "drive-by customization." This is not, however, the most accurate method due to the sensitive nature of the swingweight measurement. It's best to customize racquets to spec unstrung with the overgrip in place and account for the dampener weight (adding 2-3 swingweight points). Some of the factors influencing swingweight are: String gauge, string composition, pattern density, bumperguard wear and even string wear (if frictional notching is visible).

Hello, high and deep. The Tungsten putty tail-weighting system I've developed is designed specifically for racquets with trap door access. However, the bigger issue here is the developing musculature of the junior player. Extreme caution should be exercised in the customization of a junior racquet to avoid risking possible injury and permanent damage to the player. The couple of times I've done this for high level juniors I've consulted with my brother Dr. Michael P. Reed, former USOC Medical Director. Increases in weight should be done very gradually. I believe generally the best way to go about this is to add 1/2" lead strips to the inner throat of a junior racquet to preserve the balance point (with only a minimal increase in swingweight). However, if tail-weighting is required, I recommend 1/2" lead weight added in 8 strips on the buttcap underneath the grip. In addition, the discussion with Dr. Mike resulted in the mutual agreement that keeping the swingweight low (not increasing it dramatically) is important and may help reduce or avoid the likelihood of wrist/elbow/shoulder issues. Additionally, lead is a hazardous substance and should be handled as such.

Finally, we currently charge $20 per racquet for customization with a possible fee adjustment anticipated in January 2013.

Best regards,

Paul

TW Staff
11-20-2012, 11:13 AM
http://blog.tenniswarehouse.com/racquets/the-perfect-racquet-customizing-with-expert-paul-reed/

Here's a blog that playtester Andy wrote, explaining a little more about Paul's process and his experience with him.