While some of you may already know the advantages of custom made ping pong paddles, others may still have doubts as to why choose making their own bat, since sports shops offer such a wide range of tennis table rackets nowadays.
A very important argument in favor of designing your own paddle is that often pre-made rackets don’t work for a certain type of play and, while perfect for beginner players, they prove to have many shortcomings in the case of experienced players. And it is at this point that the solution of creating your bat, to suit your personal game style comes into discussion. If you already have a custom-made paddle, it is easier to change the rubber than in the case of a pre-made bats and like this, you can save up a bit, by simply replacing the rubber instead of buying a new racket altogether. Moreover, in the case of custom made bats, there is a wider variety of blades and rubbers from which you can choose that can virtually suit all types of game styles.
Last but not least, building your own paddle can be a good option for intermediate players as well because, as we mentioned before, it is easier to replace the rubber for this type of rackets than for pre-made bats. Like this, you can change the rubber whenever you develop or change your style and there is no need to buy another new bat every time.
So if you are willing to spend a bit of time and effort to build your own paddle, here are a few tips about the process of creating the bat, together with a list of things you will need during the process.
Tools you need:- jigsaw - saw - a model for the design (can be a real racket or a cardboard model) - clamps - sandpaper - wood glue (waterproof) - paint brush - regular non-speed glue - tape measure - carpenter pencil - drill bit (optional) - belt sander (optional)
Materials you need:- oak wood for handle - wood for blade (explained below) - red and black rubber
When it comes to the wood for making the handle, there is a great variety of options and we will try to give some general guidelines about the main types of wood you can choose from:
Birch plywood: offers some really flat sides and is a good option for exterior layers
Balsa wood: light, low-density wood, good for the core of the blade; it should be put between 2 layers of harder wood to make the blade stronger. Because of its very low weight, it is ideal for players with a lot of wrist movement, since the bat is very light. Good for both low and high impact strokes, the Blasa wood changes its properties depending on the stroke type. While good for return of serves and pushes, it is also ideal for high impact strokes because of its short dwell time, making the blade efficient in blocking and counter hitting.
Ayous: makes a good pair with most types of wood and it’s better to be used as an outer layer. Poplar: good for both inner and outer layers
Limba: very popular for European blades, this wood offers a good control of the blade and in good for the top layer
Cypress: popular amongst Asian players, this wood is also good for the exterior layer. Good for offensive game styles
Yellow aningre: offers good control and is excellent for the outermost ply; is suited for all types of play
Other woods which suit for exterior layers: Walnut, Movinge, Ash, Pine, Koto, Planchonello
Apart from the wood layers, many blades also contain layers of Arylate or Carbon. These two materials are used for vibration control and are usually places in the middle, between a soft core and a harder exterior.
No matter the type of rubber you will use for your racket, there is just one important detail to bear in mind. The rubber should be ITTF approved and should have the ITTF sign. Also, don’t forget that one side should be black and the other red. The ITTF website offers a great variety of rubbers you can choose from, depending on weather you are an offensive or defensive player.
First, you should think of drawing the shape of the paddle on the chosen type of plywood and then cut the wood so that you will have a square perimeter around this shape. This way, it will be easier later to cut the shape of the blade. The usual ping pong paddle is 6 inches (15.2 cm) wide and 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) tall and the handle is 2 inches (5.1 cm) wide and 5 inches (12.7 cm) tall. The thickness each ply of wood should not exceed 1/8 inches (0.3 cm).
Now you can glue together the core wood with the chosen exterior layer. On the outermost ply you can either add 1-2 layers of fiberglass on each side to further reinforce the blade or add a 1/32 layer (0.1 cm) of Birch wood. The thin Birch wood can be replaced with paper backed Cherry veneer, although the first is a better option. To assure a better and quicker drying, use clamps.
After allowing time to dry properly, you can cut the shape of the paddle. To both sides of this shape, you can now add the handle. It is better to finish the handle before gluing it to the blade because otherwise, it will be a bit difficult to work the shape, once the piece of wood is attached to the blade.
After gluing the handle, you can start sanding the entire paddle to eliminate the excess wood, as well as the extra glue which may have reached the side of the blade.
Now you can proceed to gluing the rubber. Make sure to spread a thin layer of glue on the surface of the blade. You can use the paint brush to equally distribute the glue on the entire surface. Make sure you didn’t miss any spot. Place a square, uncut, piece of rubber on top of the blade and press it gently, using a roller. If you don’t have a roller, a can of soda or a glass bottle can to the job.
Now repeat the same action on the other side and after that, place the racket under a heavy stack of books for at least 30 minutes, to make sure the rubber will glue equally.
The last step is to remove the excess rubber using a sharp pair of scissors. After this, the edges of the rubber may pull up a bit. If this happens, place the paddle under the stack of nooks again and wait 15 minutes.
Hoping you have found our advice useful, we will now leave you get to work.