I want to play with wood again. Which racquet?

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by Baxter, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    What's a good wood racquet for someone who wants to play with one? Should I get an unused one off **** or just try my luck at garage sales? What should I expect to pay for a playable wood racquet?
     
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  2. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph. That's my favorite wood racquet.
     
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  3. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    As long as it's not warped it should play OK, correct?
     
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  4. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    yeah even warped one would play ok too, although not as good :)

    you just need to change your strokes a little bit to accomodate the wood racquet, that's all.
     
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  5. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    You dont want to play an old warped woody
    Get one that is straight and in nice condition, ie no major court rash or beam edge damage. Also, the strings are very important and if you get on that has old syn gut string then it will play sorta dead. A nice wood with good new playable strings or nat gut will play very heavenly
     
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  6. Kevin V

    Kevin V New User

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    Here are a few that are nice and very abundant on ****.

    - Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph
    - Wilson Jack Kramer Pro Staff
    - Wilson Advantage
    - Dunlop Maxply Fort

    Keep in mind that they come in light and medium versions, so you can be looking at anything between 12.5 oz to 14 oz.

    Definitely ask the seller if the racquet is warped at all. You should be able to pick up a very nice copy for $15 to $30.
     
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  7. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i have a number of new wood racquets but i prefer to use this slightly warped big bill tilden racquet on the right. It still plays great even with old string :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Few of us know how good those early 1900 wood racquets play.
    The Wright & Ditson and Spalding Bill Tilden model is a classic especially since used by Tilden who was the best player in tennis in the 1920s. I have several in mint condition, they are incredible sticks and about 15oz of old hard wood.

    BTW, Tilden won the USO 6 straight times and was in the final of the USO 9 of 10 years during that era. How amazing is that ?
    Bill also won 3 Wimbledon titles and played as an amateur for 15 years, winning 90% of his matches.
    He then play as a pro for 15 more years and had almost as impressive a record. 30+ years of world class tennis competition !

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Tilden_career_statistics
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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  9. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    Mick or Joe....whoever wants to take this. Is that Tilden racquet actually from the 1920's? Any way of accurately dating it? I would assume it was produced for many years, even decades.
     
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  10. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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  11. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Hi Capt. Willie, I am definitely not an expert but when I bought mine, I googled up some photos of Big Bill Tilden playing and it appeared the racquets in the later years were more rounded instead of square like this one. This one did look like the ones that Tilden used in the 1920s based upon the photos I had seen.
     
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  12. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Do you know when that Dunlop Maxply with the graphite inlay in the hoop was produced? I've always had this suspicion that McEnroe may have used a racquet that had the hoop stiffened but painted to look like a retail Maxply Fort when he first went over to Dunlop so as to make it play more like the Wilson Jack Kramer Pro Staff that he had used for years which had a much stiffer hoop than the retail Maxply Fort, which had a very flexible hoop.
     
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  13. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    I was thinking that maybe there was a change in the stripes or some other subtle markings over the years. I didn't realize there was an actual change to the shape...that is interesting.

    Anyway, awesome racquet! I think I'd be afraid to play with it.
     
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  14. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Sorry, I have no ideas. Hopefully someone here can shred some light :)
     
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  15. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Perhaps also consider the transitional ones i.e. wood graphite combos. PK Golden Ace or Head Edgewood... off the top of my head.
     
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  16. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    That did not happen. Its only in your dreams!
     
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  17. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Well obviously Dunlop had a version of the Maxply that had a stiffer hoop (as shown in the pic above) which would have played closer to the Jack Kramer Pro Staff that McEnroe used for many years, which also had a stiffer hoop. If this racquet was available to him, why would he choose to play with a racquet (retail Maxply Fort) that played completely different from the one that he was used to playing with and with which he won 2 consecutive US Opens? That would make zero sense.

    I owned both the Maxply Fort and the JK Pro Staff so I know how differently they played. I played great with the Maxply but it was very difficult to control volleys or put away volleys due to the very flexible hoop. The JK Pro Staff, OTOH, had a much stiffer hoop so it was much better for volleying. They were completely different frames so I find it very hard to believe that anyone (including McEnroe) could volley so well with the JKPS and then turn around and volley just as well with the Maxply so quickly as the feel and control on volleys was night and day difference, and McEnroe's net game was based on feel.
     
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  18. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    I've got a feeling it was as early as 1979. Although I'm not sure pj's were quite as good as what they are these days. I think it would be hard to hide that black graphite inlay going around the hoop.

    I actually use that racquet when I play with a woodie. Its a very nice racquet to use.
     
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  19. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I have still own to this day Maxply Fort, JK Pro Staff, Maxply Fort Graphite, and the Maxply McEnroe. There is NO Graphite inlay in his frame. He played with a standard Maxply Fort that was customized to his specs. They had customized the grip shape and the balance of his frames. You also seem to forget that before McEnroe played with the JK Pro Staff he played with the Maxply Fort. Also the Maxply Fort Graphite did not have the very thick shoulders of the Maxply Fort. I also own the 1981 article where McEnroe is interviewed about the Maxply Fort and the development of the Maxply McEnroe. They go into great detail about how the Maxply Fort was customized for McEnroe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  20. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, I know that McEnroe used a Maxply Fort as a junior. However, he had used the JK Pro Staff for at least 5 or 6 years prior to switching back to the Maxply Fort in 1981 so he had played all of his pro career up until that time with the JKPS, so I'm sure he had gotten very used to the feel and how it played, especially on volleys, which was the basis of his game.

    So why can't part of the customization for McEnroe have included stiffening the hoop, like with a graphite inlay? It wouldn't be that hard to hide that thin band of graphite with some wood stain or paint. Heck, they hide much, much more than that with paintjobs these days, and even back then, Laver was able to paint a Maxply Fort to look like an aluminum Chemold racquet! :shock: If you can do that, you can paintjob just about anything. :)

    Oh, and I also own the Maxply McEnroe and it has a much stiffer hoop than the Maxply Fort, which is another reason why I think Dunlop stiffened up the hoop of the Maxply Fort for McEnroe.
     
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  21. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Making a racquet stiffer in the hoop is not customization that is construction. I have never seen Laver use a Maxply Fort that was painted to look like a aluminum racquet. I have seen him use a Maxply Fort with all the paint stripped off. That is what he used. I know that McEnroe used a real Maxply Fort to win the US Open and Wimbledon in 1981. You can think what ever you want. I know what's real. Just like I said the Max200G has dynamic stiffness and you could not feel it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  22. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    Pure fiction, this never happened, ever.
     
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  23. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Go to your local charity or thrift store. More than likely you will find a couple of woods to choose from for $2 - $5 a piece.
     
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  24. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Thank you!
     
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  25. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    There was one at Goodwill today with an unfamiliar brand name for $7.99 so I passed. I'll keep looking for something with a better heritage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  26. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    From your own words:

    The Chemold aluminum racquet that Laver endorsed was painted gold, so by painting his Maxply Forts with the same gold paint, he was obviously trying to make them look like the Chemold aluminum racquet he was supposed to be endorsing.

     
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  27. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    The racquets were clearly wood racquets, branded with the Chemold name because Laver was under contract. Nobody was being fooled that they were actually aluminum frames (well, maybe you were). Which is why Chemold later actually produced a Laver signature wood racquet. The Chemold aluminum racquets were open throated so there is no way the wood frames were painted to mimic that. They were solid throated wood racquets with the Chemold name put on, not wood racquets painted to look like the open throat aluminum frames. HUGE difference....
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  28. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I never said I nor anyone else was fooled. I just said that he painted his Maxply Forts to look like the Chemold aluminum racquet he was endorsing, which he did by using the same gold colored paint.
     
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  29. Baxter

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    I found a Rod Laver Chemold today, but it was really beat up and a little warped so I passed. The off brand I found the other day was "Ultra", another brand I found today was "Volley". The Chemold was heavier than the off brands.
     
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  30. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    You're problem there is that the Rod Laver aluminum racquet was silver. And there are many pics on the internet of Chemold 'Rod Laver' wood models--none that I've seen, nor the one I saw him use, are gold. Again, Rod Laver did not use a wood racquet painted to look like an aluminum...period.
     
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  31. Baxter

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    Maybe you two could start a thread about whatever it is you're talking about.
     
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  32. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Stan Smith Wilson, stiff shaft, good pop for a wood stick..
     
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  33. Baxter

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    Thanks. If I find a Maxply, Jack Kramer, real Borg or Stan Smith in playable shape I'll grab it.
     
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  34. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    [​IMG]



    http://www.ioffer.com/i/510998137
    Scroll to bottom of the page.
     
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  35. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    ^^^LOL! That's not the one he used. And if you can read, I said none of the wood racquets are gold.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  36. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    That racquet was called the "Rod Laver Professional" so obviously he endorsed it, like I said he did.

    And why do so many people remember him using a gold painted wood racquet?
     
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  37. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Or the wood racquet that Pete Sampras likes. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  38. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    Go to the bay and look up vintage Laver shoes for sale--great color pic there of Laver using a silver Chemold racquet at Wimbledon. Chemold made several variations of their Laver, Roche, Emerson and Smith-Court models--many of which sold at department stores and had their names on them. They endorsed them but didn't use them all. So many people? 2? Waiting for a pic of the wood racquet painted to look aluminum...
     
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  39. Baxter

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  40. Sarcastic

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    I loved the Rossignal Stratos. Great feel to that frame.
     
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  41. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    I cannot believe no one has mentioned the Head Vilas Wood/Graphite Composite.
     
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  42. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    I started playing on a wood/graphite and was really looking for something a little older. The Vilas, Edgewood and V24 are very cool and I would grab one in a second if it showed up locally. Those transitional rackets are very interesting.

    EDIT: I happened to mention to one of my regular hitting partners that I was on the hunt for a playable wood frame and he said he had a lot of wood racquets, and what was I looking for. It turns out this guy is a serious collector and has tons of NOS stuff going back to the 1940s. He has "several" NOS JK Pro Staffs, and even NOS gut (he' used to string for the pros in 80s) from Victor in the 40s. He wants like $200 for a new Pro Staff but that seems a little high.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  43. Baxter

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    I "scored" a pair of BJK Bancrofts in great condition today for $11 each delivered. I read that it is very similar to the Wilson Autograph line. I also picked up a Mats Wilander special, a Rossignol F200 in excellent shape. I really can't wait to hit with it. If I can't find anyone tomorrow I'll try serves and the old backboard. It's a beautiful, understated racquet.
     
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  44. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    The BJK Bancroft is pretty close to the Evert Auto...the Players Special is nearly a Kramer Auto clone.
     
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  45. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    It's really funny reading these classic threads. As many of you know, we downsized and I 'lost' my 'wreck room' with 88 rackets on the wall. More than once lately, I've been reading about a racket I had on the wall and I almost turned the chair to look at it !!! Alas, the classics are in boxes...many projects to complete before putting anything on display...certainly not 88 ;) .
     
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  46. prgault

    prgault Rookie

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    I played with a Pro Kennex Golden Ace (graphite) last night...I am in love...

    P_
     
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  47. MAX PLY

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    What did you end up stringing it with? Glad you liked it.
     
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  48. Baxter

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    Those wood composites are beautiful. The Golden Ace (what a name!), the Vilas, Edgewood etc are all on my radar now. I can't wait to land one.
     
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  49. prgault

    prgault Rookie

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    Actually I did not restring it (yet). The strings looked good, were fairly tight (upper 50's?) and responsive, and had Forten on them, which was one of the recommendations I got. They hit really well for me so I am going to leave them for now. The racket is a little heavier than I remember, but really suits my swing well. Just have to see if my shoulder holds up to the weight...

    If it works out I will definitely get another. maybe the boron model, which I think is a little stiffer...

    P_
     
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  50. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    I recently tried a Spalding Big Bow.....Loved it.!!
    Just enough power to let us play the semi's at a vintage tournament.
     
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