Assembling a Racket

A table tennis racket is often assembled by players from a blade and two rubbers of different colors (one matt red and one matt black). Each rubber is affixed onto the blade using glue often made specially by table tennis equipment companies for this purpose. The ITTF regulates the content of table tennis glue and in major competetions rackets are checked for illegal gluing. The ITTF has banned the use of glue which contains Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) and most equipment manufacturers sell water based, non toxic glue for gluing rubber to blades.

A video guide by Joola to assembling your own table tennis racket from rubbers and blade:

This guide details the steps, material and tools necessary to assemble a table tennis racket.

Tools:

  • A sharp knife for cutting the rubber sheet, or a pair of sharp scissors. I find an "x-acto" type knife, to be the best.
  • A level plastic or wooden block to cut on.
  • A small soft sponge to apply glue (a sponge with a clip to hold it is often supplied if you buy table tennis glue).
  • (Optional) A solid round object (rolling pin type) to roll rubber tight onto blade.
  • (Optional) 220 grit or finer sandpaper for sanding wood

Material:

  • Rubber sheets (one red, one black)
  • Blade
  • Glue (preferably water based -- such as butterfly's free chack)
  • Edge tape (a strip of sturdy tape, 8 to 12 mm wide), to protect the edge of the blade from dings and dents -- most manufacturers make these with their logo on it.
  • (Optional) Sanding sealer (I use Shellac spray)

Steps

  1. (Optional) Prep the blade by appying one or more thin coats of wood sanding sealer, on each side, and  let it dry. This prolongs the life of the blade by preventing splinters when rubbers are pulled off to be replaced. Optionally, use a 220 or finer grit sand paper to lightly sand the edge of the blade face to ensure good adhesion between rubber and blade along the edge.
  2. Spread a little glue, using the sponge, uniformly across one face of the blade following the instructions on the glue bottle or packaging (if you buy table tennis glue)
  3.  Spread a little glue, using the sponge, uniformly across one of the rubbers following the instructions as above.
  4. Wait until the recommended time for the glue to dry has passed.
  5. Gripping the rubber sheet along opposite edges, keeping the rubber manufacturers logo on the bottom, align the center of the logo with the center of the blade just above the handle. Carefully fit the sheet onto the blade, using a rolling action until the rubber is fixed onto the blade.
  6. Use your hand, or a solid roller, to press the rubber to the blade.
  7. Turn the blade over and tap along the edge of the rubber sheet which extends beyond the blade to make sure there is good adhesion.
  8. Put the blade on the cutting block or sheet. glued side down.
  9. With the knife or scissors cut the rubber sheet along the blade edge as close as possible.
  10. Repeat steps 2 to 9 for the other side of the blade and the other rubber sheet.
  11. Optionally, put the finished racket under a pile of books for an hour or two.

Clean the rubber surface with a little water and rubber cleaning sponge. The racket is now ready for play.