How to Glue Table Tennis Rubber
Paddle Palace Gluing Tips
When to Change Rubber:
No matter how well you take care of your paddle’s rubber, the day will come when you will need to replace it or get a new paddle. Over time, the rubber will crack, chip, tear, dry out and wear down, losing its original characteristics. How often should you change the rubber? Today’s high performance rubbers drop in performance after 40 to 60 hours of play. For that reason, most world class players change their rubber every week. However, most average players replace their high performance rubber every four to seven months. Pips-out and anti-spin rubbers routinely last longer; from one to two years. Replacing rubber or gluing rubber to a new paddle is relatively easy. It does require a few simple tools, and learning some basic techniques.
VOC-free water-based glue, sharp knife, and a sponge applicator or brush.
1. Remove the Old Rubber:
Remove rubber from the blade by gently peeling the rubber against the wood grain, to avoid pulling off bits of wood. Water-based glues used in table tennis will leave glue residue on the blade and/or rubber from the previous application. Remove any old glue before applying new rubber or re-applying used rubber. Glue residue can be removed by rubbing with your fingers or palm.
2. Apply Glue to Blade and Rubber:
Apply an even, uniform layer of VOC-free water-based glue to one side of the blade using a sponge applicator or brush. Next, apply an even, uniform layer of VOC-free water-based glue to the back side of your rubber sheet. Allow the glue to fully dry. Usual wait time is around 10-15 minutes.
3. Apply the Rubber:
Carefully align the bottom of the rubber sheet with the bottom of the blade. For shakehand blades and Japanese-style penhold blades, the bottom of the rubber sheet should be even with the top of the handle. For Chinese-style penhold blades, leave about a ½ inch gap between the handle and the bottom of the rubber sheet. Slowly roll the rubber sheet over the rest of the surface to avoid creating air bubbles between rubber and blade. Use enough downward pressure to create a good seal, but not so much that the rubber sheet is stretched. For best results, use a rubber roller, as pictured.
4. Cut the Rubber:
Turn the paddle over so the uncut glued rubber is facing down on a cutting surface. Arrange it so the handle extends over the side of the cutting surface so the blade face is completely flat. Holding the paddle in place with one hand and using the side of the paddle as your guide, cut off the excess rubber using a sharp knife. Always use a very sharp knife blade to get a smooth cut. Repeat the same steps for the 2nd side of the paddle.
5. Edge Tape:
Put a piece of edge tape around the outside edge of your paddle to protect the edge and give it a finished look.