Speeding up of tabletennis called for developing faster and more dynamic rackets. There were different substances eg.: graphit, metal implemented into the wood, that made them stiffer and enlarged sweet-spot. Due to this ‘evolution’ Clipper Wood, Graphit Wood and Metal wood came out for carrying out the offensive minded playing strategies. Meanwhile Stiga tried to raise up the predecessors under the name ‘Classic’ – to average purpose. This term presented the end of ‘old Stiga feeling’. The company has moved out from Tranas respectively manufacturing has moved in to Eskilstuna. At the original place in Tranas started to make Yasaka blades.
[ilink url=”http://oldstiga.com/c/evolution_series.pdf” style=”download”]Stiga Evolution Catalogue (pdf 2.2MB)[/ilink]
Although Stiga woods were made by hand in Tranas quantity reached considerable amount. Perhaps for maintaining rackets’ individuality Stiga started to apply serial numbers from 1973-1975 – after the nailed handle period but before the bulbed era. On the bulbed rackets made from ~1987 you cannot find serial number. The serial was made up of a letter and a two digit number pressed into the side of the handle. At that time serial number was placed on even the weaker quality rackets like Stiga Europa.
The first number was A01. As a matter of curiosity there in no higher number than 50 is known (If somebody has certain information on it, please, send a mail or photo) In case of reaching 50 the next letter of alphabet is used. There are letters used from ‘A’ to ‘I’ ‘and the serials never returned in a certain type. (eg.: Johansson offensive wood) Structure of serials on anniversary blades was different but you can read the details in Annyversay wood topic. Coming soon…
In this era Stiga changed its production. Tabletennis requested demands that had Stiga make a distinction between racket’s speed and started to pay attention to type of using rackets. Simultanously rubbers’ significance also incrased. Besides Yasaka/Stiga Cobra came up Tornado, Black Power, Phantom rubbers with different sponge thicknesses. (1 – 1.5 – 2mm)
Stiga company tried to widen the scale of woods for the customers so they produced almost every kind of handle for every type of wood. The super carbon could be a big novelty at that time. (3 ply wood + 2 ply carbon, uniquely core grain runs across). This solution provided faster blade than offensive wood wich has padouk (red to brown over purple) 2nd ply so dispite the 4.8-5.0mm thickness offensive wood is preferably fast and full of dynamics. Besides the allround wood they made the defensive wood.
Elit series with Yasaka Mark V, Super Carbon with Contra (narrow Alser) handle, Mäster series with Cobra*** rubbers. Hobby series with Cobra** rubber, Beginner series with unmarked or Cobra* rubber (beginner rackets’ wood were diffenrent). Besides of the well known Alser, Johansson and Bengtsson handle Stiga branched out with Stiga 2000 i.e. anatomic (later switched to the thinner Ulf Tickan Carlsson), Contra i.e. narrow flared and chinese and japanese penholder handle.
[ilink url=”http://oldstiga.com/c/stiga_12sidor.pdf” style=”download”]Stiga Catalogue 1979 bulbed era (pdf 3.3 MB)[/ilink]
There are many stories circling on anniversary blades but the formula is simple: There are limited decennial series made since 1985 for recalling Stiga rackets & the famous players.
300-300 pcs. of Alser, Bengtsson & Johansson were produced for commemoration of VM. In Goethenburg 1985. There was A-B-C marked series and 100 pcs. of each letters i.e. B3/100 means 103rd blade. The serial is written onto the blade’s face. The woods are made of original Stiga laminas by hand.
Presumably 500-500 pcs. of Alser, Bengtsson & Johansson were made. There is oly ‘E’ series from 001 to 500. The letter is written onto the blades face’s left side the number is written onto the right side. The woods are made of original Stiga laminas by hand.
500-500 pcs. of Alser & Bengtsson were made. The woods are told to be made of original Stiga laminas by hand that is controversial. This series has never sold by Stiga. The woods are so much alike that it is hard to believe that they are made by hand. But the most unbelievable is the matter of “original Stiga laminas” from the “hidden stock” story.
Well… table tennis developed to so high level that became modern enough to make demands on not only wide scales of wood but also variety of rubbers. Since Stiga had no factory for producing rubbers it was Yasaka who made it for Stiga. Besides the early Cobra soft and backside products in 1971 Mark V rubbers appeared for specifically professional/competition play that’s performance preceding ‘older’ Stiga rubbers. Although rackets were considered as one unit rubbers could be bought individually. The catalogue you can download shows step by step how to install a rubber properly onto a wood.
[ilink url=”http://oldstiga.com/c/stigarubbers.pdf” style=”download”]Stiga Rubbers Catalogue 1976 (pdf 4MB)[/ilink]
This catalogue is perfect proof for developing of tabletennis in the early 70’s. First I was so much surprised when reading it since I met some pages on Stiga tabletennis matter. Today it is obvious to be able to see Stiga brand name on gardening machines or it is maybe known that Stiga made quality fishing equipment but it is not clear for everybody that they were involved in manufacturing good electric shavers, guns and hunting or touring products.
All Stiga products were typical thought-out and well designed so it is no wonder that their repertoire could satisfy wide scale of demands of tabletennis players. But what is more important for us is to have proof of appearance. You can see their collection is designed and made for the competition level of the game to the hobby players.
They were proud of cooperating with Yasaka since they mantioned as early as 1955 that all of Swedish World Campions won with Yasaka rubbers. It is also a fact that Stiga sells rackets with Yasaka Mark V rubbers. Mark V presented only 2mm thickness and only “Backside” version as a matter of curiosity means inverted rubber. They used “Soft” for pimpled rubbers. Yasaka Cobra***, Yasaka** és Stiga* rubbers were available in both Backside and Soft version and in different thicknesses. Genuinely Mark V stickers used on the handle of tha famous Alser/Johansson/Bengtsson rackets on both sides as an advertisment. Suggested for competitive play – they said. Mark V rackets were the short-time made woods wihout nails and serial numbers in the handle but not yet bulbed. (Some years later Stiga branched out bulbed rackets with serial)
As a matter of interest it worths to take a look at the price: While you could get a Mark V racket for 75 KR you could buy 2 pcs of a “ran out” Mellis, Flisan or Neidert. Nowdays it is a bit different.
[ilink url=”http://oldstiga.com/c/stiga71.pdf” style=”download”]Download – Stiga 1971 catalogue (pdf, 7MB)[/ilink]
There are lot of information going around about old Stigas that actually rather make things more difficult than ease your decision to buy. I try to summarize what to pay attention to.
The soul of the an old Stiga is its neck. If there are haircracks that blade will not lasts long. Is some opinion a haircrack in the neck is essential old Stiga feature. Tere are couple of players in our club have cracked racket and they keen on their rackets. I don’t really understand that and don’t agree. The neck of the racket is the part that gets the biggest effect, moreover between the handle parts the neck suffers from high torque and continuous bending force. This is the certain part collects and relays information and resonance to your palm. In addition the neck is the wooden spring of a blade.
In one word this is the part that should be perfect. Haircracked or porous neck results not only risk of flying head but also means lost feeling or decreasing effect of written above eg. the wood can bend more to forehand or backhand direction, dampening, kicks smaller than it did before or sounds blunt like a dead wood on knocking since its rezonance center goes wrong. I understand some public opinion says these problems can be solved. I have heard much about “special glues” and “it will be better than a new” style fixing but no need to be expert to think it over what the result will be. A broken racket can be really playable if an expert fixes t but I am convinced the original condition can never be approached.
I made 4 groups of fixing processes.
This solution is about injecting some kind of glue into the haircrack. Some uses special wooden glue but I met also cyanoacrylate glue. Heating up the cracked part helps the glue to infiltrate into the wood fibres. My Alser European Champion 1969 is injected by instrument hide glue resulted almost the original feeling but last only few months.
If all 5 plies cracked over usually a 3-4 mm hole is drilled parallel into the crack and a round stick is glued in the hole applying injection process besides. There are woodworkers prefer hard sticks and others like softer pins but once I met steel stick glued in. All these rackets I tried stopped resonating and damping more than an arylate/carbon wood. The neck became a bit more solid and also the extra weight of the glue helps the racket going faster.
Round “coin” implant
It is our own invention for fixing the core only. With a precise micro cutter machine a slot is cut into the neck so deep that the crack disappear. It is like a coin slot. A wooden coin should be made that perfectly fits into the slot. Then this round impland should be glued into the slot in the right grain direction. Finally the remaining implant out of the core should be sand down carefully. This process needs the most precision and takes a lot of work but results the less difference compared to the original racket and lasts the longer among all the methods. I met and tried sqare implants that needs square slot chiseled but the risk of cracks appear again higher with this method.
This is when a faulty rackets head is sit onto another rackets bottom with using a special profiled cutter used in laminating companies. I think it is no use of checking the result from authentic viewpoint.
to be continued…
Year 50’s to 70’s was undoubtedly the best era for Stiga. The Swedish company (established in 1944) apparently was the leader tabletennis manufacturer besides some weak competitors. The 80’s decade brought new situation and Butterfly sliced off bigger piece of the tabletennis cake due to effective marketing and quality products.
Manufacturers aimed wide spreading of tabletennis products so Butterfly find famous faces as well as Stiga for naming their rackets like Klampar, Jonyer, Gergely, Secretin, Grubba, Douglas (Interesting that there was player whos name was on both Butterfly and Stiga rackets eg.: Stipancic) This was the era before the metal-butterfly logo in the field of woods. Regarding the quality Butterfly was effective competitor for Stiga. We inherited sort of fine Butterfly rackets (as well as Joola or Schoeler + Micke) from that time. However the values of these woods are not the same as Stigas’.
At that time Butterfly provided wide scale of rubbers which were spread worldwide. You can remember their slogan that has been used for a long time: “On the latest poll Z percent of the players use Butterfly product”. And they used it indeed. Because of the quality they represented and still represent. (Due to the catalogues data in New Delhi 1987 40 percent of players used Butterfly). In fact there was not really serious competitor. In these years Butterfly branched out Sriver L & S besides their successful Tackiness C & D which has not disappeared.
[ilink url=”http://oldstiga.com/c/butterfly89.pdf” style=”download”]Download – 1989 Butterfly catalogue (pdf, 1.12 MB)[/ilink]