Table tennis manufactory story on one page
This is the story of OSP Blades. A particular wood may suit a particular playing style, but a particular playing style requires a particular blade. As an engineer and a craftsman and a table tennis blademaker I fell under the spell of wooden table tennis blades. When my son’s blade maker, Master Perkošan, died and there seemed to be no one to replace him as a blade maker, I decided I would study of the masters of blade making. Soon, I was making my own blades and was getting promising feedback from table tennis players of all levels, styles and abilities. In honour of the great Istvan Szabo I gave my first ‘official’ blade the serial number 001 and the Palatinus blade was born.
‘If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ (Isaac Newton)
For years I studied the philosophies and techniques of the master blade makers such as Perkošan and Bandstigen and I continue to study them now. What I discovered is that each of the blades they made had a unique character and purpose. For example:
- The Perkošan blade is like a weapon for destroying your opponent with varying trajectories and speeds of shot delivery; a real implement of beautiful frustration.
- The old Stiga and Banda blades are like musical instruments providing the player with the joy, feeling and rhythm of the game. They allow the player to orchestrate each point to his or her pleasure.
- In my Palatinus blades I have attempted to combine the best qualities of these masters’ blades, melding the forceful and frustrating with the magical and rhythmic.
Wood is a miracle. Working with wood is also a miracle. (Istvan Szabo)
I would like to thank my family for their patience. Next, I must thank my mentor, Istvan Szabo, for introducing me to an amazing world, one that combines table tennis, craftsmanship and art. Now, Szabo is a common enough Hungarian name but the coach Istvan Szabo, from Coka, was no common man. Well known in the elite table tennis community of the former Yugoslavia, Szabo coached Jan-Ove Waldner as well as Team Saarbrucken in the mid 80’s. When Szabo spoke, people in the table tennis world listened. He was best known for identifying and developing the playing styles of young players and was one of those rare coaches who could train the child or the Olympic champion equally well. Over the course of a career spanning fifty years, Szabo often advised and regularly collaborated with various master blade makers including Master Perkošan. He also trained my son, Martin, his last student, for six years.
‘There is no ‘best blade’. There is only the blade that fits you best.’ (R. Palatinus)
Over time, many Hungarian and Serbian professional players came to use my blades and from them I learned that there is no one, best blade for all players. The high level players using my blades had different needs and each of them asked me to make a blade that suited his or her style of play. I incorporated this philosophy into my blade making and soon players around the world were using Palatinus blades, each customised to the individual demands of the player and modern rubbers.
I produced several special edition ‘anniversary’ blades as well.
- sn001 and 100 – Istvan Szabo
- sn300 – Wei Jin Qiu – trainer of the Chinese women national team
- sn500 – Daniel Kosiba – Hungarian professional table tennis player
- sn600 – Stellan Bengtsson
Then, in the mid-2000s I met Laszlo Peli, whose oldstiga.com blog is the world’s most comprehensive database and repository of information regarding classic wooden table tennis blades. Laszlo and I shared a similar approach and philosophy to blades and soon became friends. We then joined forces, merging our stores of knowledge, with Laszlo using his extensive web experience to promote and sell my blades worldwide on the internet.
OSP is Born
Soon the demand for our handmade blades had reached a level where it was taking 3-4 weeks manufacturing time for each blade. We decided that in order to improve our service and make our blades available to more players around the world, with a faster production time, we would focus on a range of 6-7 standard models while allowing the customer to select weight, handle or head shape/size. This would allow us to maintain our premium quality while supplying players with blades that suited them and their playing styles in a more reasonable production turn-around period.
We decided on a name for our new project which reflected its origins. O, for oldstiga.com. S, for the high Standards we demanded of our products. P, for Palatinus. Thus, OSP was born.
Made by Hand, Tested by Professionals
We decided that OSP would produce hand-finished blades with certain, tried and tested head types and sizes to be selected by the customer. The handles would be standard blade handle shapes but would be hand-finished and the orientation and shape would be selected by the customer as well.
The blades would be named in two ways: after the playing characteristics of the blade such as in our Origo, Virtuoso, Ultimate, Immune models. Or, after the professional players who had tested or helped us design the model, such as with our Martin or Musko models.
In was vital to us at OSP that we provide the customer service and speedy delivery available at the big blade makers while retaining the build quality and premium standards that only the finest craftsmen can provide. Produced to scale, finished by hand, OSP makes blades suited to your individual style of play and the demands of the modern game. The quality and design is controlled by one person and new innovations are tested and implemented right on the shop floor, allowing for our blades to be continually evolving. All materials are hand chosen meaning that our OSP blades are only manufactured from the finest woods. Your delivery will be personally supervised meaning that you will receive customer service not available from any other blade maker.