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Ayous, Limba, Koto? Understanding Wood Types In Table Tennis Rackets

Ayous, Limba, Koto? Understanding Wood Types in Table Tennis Rackets

Wood types in table tennis rackets directly affect speed, spin and control. The number of wood layers and hardness of each wood layer affect the overall feel of the racket and how the ball reacts when it comes in contact with it. The topmost layer of the wood affects hand feel while core layers directly affect stability and power.  

Different wood types have different characteristics; hardwoods, such as walnut and mahogany, are combined with softwoods such as limba, spruce, and poplar to create table tennis rackets with remarkably different attributes. This can have a significant influence on your game style and play.

The best wood combination for table tennis rackets depends on personal preference. When selecting an all-wood table tennis racket, studying the different wood types present in your blade can help you decide the best one that matches your play style. In this blog, we discuss the different types of wood commonly used in table tennis rackets

What are the different wood types?

1. Ayous

Ayous is a soft, light-weight wood that is popular amongst table tennis manufacturers. Originating from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria, this African softwood is well-suited as a core layer. Ayous is chosen because it’s light yet strong. It combines well with hardwoods, like koto, and flexible woods. You will find ayous wood in many 5-ply and 7-ply Stiga blades. 

The Stiga Clipper CR Blade, carried by Sin Ten, for example, is an excellent 7-ply wood table tennis racket that features Ayous wood. Its 5 inner layers are Ayous, while its two outer layers are limba: limba-ayous-ayous-ayous-ayous-ayous-limba. The elasticity of this wood creates a notable springy effect when making contact with the ball.

2. Limba

Limba is a soft wood that’s commonly used to make table tennis rackets. This West African wood is a popular topspin wood choice amongst European manufacturers like DONIC, a German brand and Stiga, a Swedish brand. It’s usually a light yellow colour, but this changes over time and with use. It’s also lighter and softer than other wood varieties like hinoki or kito. When used as the outer layers of rackets, it offers a soft feel and great control. But when combined with other wood types, the wood’s characteristics morph and give instead a hard feeling. Experienced players choose blades with limba as it possesses excellent control and stability, significant dwell time and substantial spin. 

3. Walnut

Walnut is a dark-coloured wood that is native to North America, but is also found in China, Iran and Turkey. This wood is hard and is typically used as an outer ply material, pairing well with softer inner cores, like ayous and kiri. Blades that have walnut as outer ply offer hardball strikes and added speed. It also is great for creating spin while still allowing the player to maintain control over their strokes and inflict precise contact with the ball. 

Sin Ten’s Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive is the perfect choice for players looking for speed, good attacking and defence. This 5-ply wood table tennis paddle is made with two walnut outer ply, two inner spruce layers and an ayous core and is combined as such: walnut-spruce-ayous-spruce-walnut. It delivers explosive power and offers players a hard but crisp feel. 

4. Spruce

Spruce wood is a soft, low-density wood found in the temperate regions of the world, like northern North America. Also known as Oregon, it is typically used as mid-veneers; it offers a similar feel to cypress and cedars. This conifer softwood is an excellent substitute for hinoki wood, a popular wood used in Japan. 

It is also commonly used in the creation of musical instruments due to its incredible tonal characteristics, offering good feedback and a unique sound when the ball is bounced off. Spruce is springy, provides a good ball feel and is also an excellent choice for players after speed. Its characteristics make it a great choice for mid-layers, but not a good one for the topmost layer, as it prevents spin. 

5. Koto

Koto wood is a hard, dense wood. This tropical timber species is found in West and Central Africa and is an exquisite cream white to light yellow. It’s usually used as an outer ply and helps to create blades that are stiff and that deliver fast performance. The wood is of medium weight, offering players stability and balance. When players use blades with this wood, they are able to produce precise shots and gain good control over the ball. It makes a good choice for players who have an offensive play style. 

Sin Ten’s DONIC Persson PowerPlay Senso V1 is a 7-ply wood table tennis racket with the wood combination: koto – foil – ayous – ayous – ayous – foil – koto. The koto wood layers let players have greater control and feel of the ball. The special layers of thin foil offer added feeling and control. World champion Jörgen Persson advocates this blade saying, “The SENSO technology makes things much easier since you get prompt feedback from the ball.”

Purchase quality table tennis rackets with Sin Ten

When selecting your weapon on the court, other key things to consider apart from the wood of the blade are the number of plys, total thickness and your individual play style. 

Sin Ten Sports Trading carries a range of top table tennis brands, such as Yasaka, Stiga and XIOM. Shop premium pure-wood table tennis paddles for a variety of different playing levels and styles. Come on down to our store located at Block 109, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore, to speak to our team of friendly staff.

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