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-   -   My BLX2 Blade experiment (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=451527)

klementine 01-19-2013 08:21 AM

My BLX2 Blade experiment
 
Just wanted to share my experiment with the new, 18x20, BLX Blade. Originally, it was purchased for my wife, she ended up sticking to her old racquet, so I kept this one for myself.

I played it stock for 2 weeks or so. Liked it. But I'm used to heavier, more head-light sticks, so I ended up making some modifications. I own various racquets, of different weights, light ones, heavy ones, etc.

First of all, the hoop is stable, and there seems to be a fair amount of weight up there. This particular frame came in at 295gr unstrung (9 grams below spec) and even-balanced (strung).

Anyone who's messed around with injecting silicone into the handle of a racquet knows that it can get messy. You don't know how much you're getting in there and have to constantly weigh the frame and try to get an even amount in each chamber. Not to mention the time it takes to dry.

So I grabbed my fly-fishing tackle box, laid down some saran wrap and made little silicone molds.



Each dried cube weighs ~5 grams and takes about 3 days to fully dry. I emptied out the Blades' chamber from the 'wilson foam', about 7 inches high in the handle and removed the buttcap and staples. I quickly found out that the cubes would be difficult to jam in there, so I cut them in half and shoved a cotton ball inside each chamber, as a block.

Using a dab of silicone on each cube, as an adhesive, I proceeded to slowly insert them into the chambers. 10 minutes later, I was done and had successfully filled the handle with dried silicone and used a bit of silicone at the end to fill the handle up and make it uniform. Took around 2 hours to fully dry.... and stopped smelling as well.

I had ended up adding 35 grams of silicone into the handle. The Blade was now 330 grams unstrung, 346 strung with a balance of 8pts. HL strung and a swing-weight of 338 (strung). Pretty much 6.1 95 specs.

The racquet came around much quicker and felt considerably more pliable and softer, much softer. Flex felt ~60ra. So I ended up adding a Wilson leather grip.



After the leather grip was wrapped (+8 grams total), I also added 1 gram of lead at 12 (for balancing purposes). The racquet has reached 355 grams strung (339gr usntrung) and 10 pts HL. The 6.1 tour 90 specs. Except the swing weight is now estimated (tw-method) to be ~345.

It plays stiffer (feels ~62ra) with the leather and 1 gram at 12o'clock. I'm liking it a lot, still comes around quick and packs a 'wallop'. I'm not missing anything from heavier frames, like the 6.1 tour, it definitely has more punch than the 90 and is WAY more forgiving.



Best thing, the modifications are completely reversible, in case I change my mind. Anyone who has scooped not fully dried silicone from a racquet's handle can appreciate this method. Other substances can be used, but in my experience, nothing dampens quite like silicone and provides such a soft feel.

Will keep playing with it and see if it's a keeper.

Pure Babs 01-19-2013 08:31 AM

This is really interesting. I'm really liking the new blade, (18x20), but like you mentioned it does feel a little heavy in the hoop. I'm thinking with some mods like you made, I can really make this stick my holy grail.

klementine 01-19-2013 08:56 AM

You can add as much weight as you want. Knowing that each cube weighs ~5 grams, just lay them out on top of the handle before anything, to see how far up you need to remove the foam in the handle and approximate your weight and balance.

I might remove some weight, definitely won't add any more. But, since I don't like the polarized feel, the more the weight is distributed further into the handle, the better.

I've played around ~2 hours with this set-up and it is uber-comfy. I've gotten positive remarks on the feel of the frame from others, the balance and weight. It does not come around like a 12.6oz racquet and the swing weight is more than manageable at this balance.

Doubles 01-19-2013 09:33 AM

Nice mod. That's a low of weight to add just to the handle. Does it effect the sweet spot that much?

klementine 01-19-2013 09:42 AM

It does not lower it or raise it, if that's what you're asking? It does make the entire racquet more solid feeling and softer. So I guess the sweetspot feels more soft and solid.

The stock blade seems to have quite a bit of weight at 10&2 (from my estimation) and considering this one was even balanced, I added enough to bring it to 8pts. HL. I, personally, would not add this much weight to the handle of a more HL racquet.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, and recollect, on how the racquet played before the mods, the sweet spot seems/feels bigger. It was pretty high, on the string-bed, stock and now it seems to have moved ever so slightly south, in essence enlarging the center.

realplayer 01-19-2013 10:16 AM

And how would this racket compare to the blx 6.1 18 x 20 in terms of power and control?
This might convince me to purchase the blade.

klementine 01-19-2013 10:26 AM

^Well, power and control huh?

Seems like a contradiction but I get what you're saying. ;)

The 6.1-95, 18x20, for some reason (especially the new one) swings club-like. As in, the balance is off for me. Older versions, in particular the n-code series, fair better in this category.

The 6.1-95 is a strange brew of power (when you're on) and not enough depth (when you're off). It's characteristics don't suit my game, ie- tough on scrambling shots and a defensive type of game.

The Blade (modded) is much more forgiving than the 6.1 95. It has longer mains and is more open, in terms of string-pattern density, thus I get more clearance and spin potential, yet still have a control oriented, 18x20 frame.

Beware, these exact mods on the blade make it feel very old-school and classic. It's plush, soft, very head-light and has a high swing weight and static weight. Not for everyone.

I might settle on a different set-up (less weight) in the end but right now am enjoying the feel and play as is, especially on serve.

realplayer 01-19-2013 10:52 AM

Used a pro staff classic 18x20 and liked it in terms of power and control. It sounds like a contradiction but too much power and you lose control and not enough power and you lose control as well.
The modded blade has the perfect specs and would suit me if it is close to the pro staff classic besides that you have the advantage to change the specs.

klementine 01-19-2013 11:00 AM

Never swung the pro-staff classic but spec-wise, you could get the blade there.

I made these mods because I wanted to use those smooth, relaxed strokes, as I do with my heavier sticks, yet keep the forgiving feel of the Blade + get it more head-light, thus all the weight (-1gram) is in the handle.

Not saying you can't use smooth, relaxed strokes with the blade stock but the balance and weight weren't what I was used to.

iowaviking11 01-20-2013 12:27 PM

so all you did is put the silicone in after it dried? and before you put it in the handle, you added a small amount of silicone so it would stick to the inside of the handle? Just wondering as it sounds much easier than adding silicone directly into handle!
Thanks

Doubles 01-20-2013 02:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by klementine79 (Post 7135826)
It does not lower it or raise it, if that's what you're asking? It does make the entire racquet more solid feeling and softer. So I guess the sweetspot feels more soft and solid.

The stock blade seems to have quite a bit of weight at 10&2 (from my estimation) and considering this one was even balanced, I added enough to bring it to 8pts. HL. I, personally, would not add this much weight to the handle of a more HL racquet.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, and recollect, on how the racquet played before the mods, the sweet spot seems/feels bigger. It was pretty high, on the string-bed, stock and now it seems to have moved ever so slightly south, in essence enlarging the center.

That makes sense. Sounds like it hits nicely.

Sundan 01-20-2013 02:12 PM

Have you played more with this stick ? Would love to read how it goes.

I bought the 93 version.but i am actually considering to change to the 98,its just the HH that stops me,i really like a bit headlight frames better,just for volleys and manouverability(spelling?).

I will order some lead this week and experiment on an old racquet just to see how it changes,and get some exprience in general. ( Have never removed standard grips or anything before:) )

klementine 01-20-2013 03:30 PM

^Unfortunately, no. Will do so this Tuesday/Thursday.

Quote:

Originally Posted by iowaviking11 (Post 7141070)
so all you did is put the silicone in after it dried? and before you put it in the handle, you added a small amount of silicone so it would stick to the inside of the handle? Just wondering as it sounds much easier than adding silicone directly into handle!
Thanks

Pretty much, yeah. A nice, quick explanation of my 'rant'. ;) And it is much easier, in all aspects.

Sundan 01-23-2013 03:03 AM

So,any update ? :)

Power Player 01-23-2013 06:17 AM

I am going to mod one of my BLX 98s as I want to find the heaviest SW I can handle.

From 2 pts HL, 329 grams , SW 331 - I am going to add 4 grams of lead at the top from 11 to 1 and 8 grams in the grip.

klementine 01-23-2013 06:57 AM

^It will stiffen the feel up for sure. The blades are great for modding. Any spec you want, as long as you don't mind a high swingweight. :razz: Should play nicely PP. Let us know your thoughts in the usual thread. Or here.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Sundan (Post 7151978)
So,any update ? :)

At work, so I'll have to make it quick and leave more detail in the evening. Played last night, fast indoor courts. Doubles. Freshly strung with vanquish/4g, 60/55. Thank Tod it's the last of the vanquish, $h!t sucks!

Great set-up (339 unstrung) for receiving pace/heavy shots. Against no-pace, had to be extra-careful, was sailing on me every now and then. Powerful.

Likes- Volleys, Serves, Slice (heavenly) and the 2hdr.

Dislikes- Forehand. Really, the stock blade has the perfect balance of swing weight to static weight ratio stock, for me, the forehand feels much more 'whippy' and versatile, ie-reverse forehand, forehand slice and all the grips in between a full to semi-western, continental, etc... Every other shot deserves the extra weight. But really prefer the stock blade on the forehand side.

Power Player 01-23-2013 07:05 AM

Yep, I am going for the high SW. That is the next level, as the Blade is excellent stock for me, but I feel like I can handle a higher SW.

Sundan 01-23-2013 01:29 PM

I almost posted a full A4 sized post here,but ill shorten it up ;

1;Does the silicone really soften the feel if you compare to a stock ?
I would like a RA at perhaps 62,my 93 is 67 and its board like,2 points down to 65 as 98 has stock might not be enough.

2;Does the racquet really feel easier to manouver when you changed the balance,despite adding alot of weight ?
In my case i would just add a overgrip and perhaps ~12 grams of silicone,desired balance would be ~6-9 pts HL. It felt stable enough in stock and had bombs for serves so i dont feel the need for more weight in the head.

That would keep the SW at 330,and the static below 340 grams,my 93 weighs 347 according to my scale so it would be the same or lighter.

What im most worried about is the stiffness,i need to be careful for a while so i heal up,so id really like a objective opinion about the stiffness feel after silicone.

Thanks for your time and effort !

sam_p 01-23-2013 02:52 PM

Stiff?
 
I don't find the 93 to play stiffly at all, although I know the stiffness rating is a bit up there. I was coming from the Yonex 89T which gave me some arm and shoulder pain and tried the Blade after reading the TW reviews. No looking back so far after about 1 month, arm feels great (I played 8 times last week!).

It may be due to my string set up and tension? Because of my recent arm pain, I started out with gut mains at 55 and savage crosses at 52 and it feels quite comfortable to me.

I am planning on adding leather grips to make it a little more HL but otherwise I love these things (have 2).

roundiesee 01-23-2013 10:09 PM

Hi klem; would be interesting to compare your modded stick with the stock Blade93; have you had a chance to play with the latter?


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