Complete video guide: How to cut and glue rubbers on a table tennis bat

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Finally finished a complete video instructional guide for how to cut, glue, and assemble a table tennis bat from scratch. Recognise there are other really experienced people here who are also great at setting up bats - this was my method.

Background: A film student approached me to ask if I'd volunteer to be a subject in an assignment to make a sports documentary. I consented and also took the opportunity to video an instructional guide on how to assemble a table tennis bat - I've been setting up bats since 2018.

While I'm looking forward to seeing the final result of that documentary project, I've whipped up a simple edit of the guide.

I've been wanting to do it for over a year now so I was glad for the opportunity to share some knowledge and experience.

Hope this video helps someone!

 
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Nice Video!

Good trick about the drop of oil on the cutter. I would say my glue jobs are pretty decent, but my cuts look like crap... 🙈 Despite clicking off the blade tip for each new rubber. Maybe the oil helps.

Have you ever tried scissors for cutting, what are your experiences?

I always use 2 layers of regular Revolution on the blade and 3 on the rubber. You seem to use less. Have you experimented with more / less layers and what are your experiences?
 
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Thanks! Yeah, the oil does help - basically anything that reduces the friction between the blade and the rubber sponge. Rubbers like Butterfly's Tenergy, Tibhar's Evolution, Xiom's Vega series tend to have softer, more brittle sponges, particularly when compared against the hard sponges in 'traditional' Chinese rubbers.

It's easy to slice through a sheet of H3 while I have to be more careful with a Xiom Vega Europe. They also soak up glue totally differently. You only need a few drops on the H3 while you need a good dollop on the Xiom Vega Europe. (Hah! So my 'Complete Guide' may not be so complete after all - I didn't include this bit...)

I tried scissors for my first ever cut and never went back to it - my pride and joy are the consistency of my cuts so I'm never pleased if I don't get it looking great. :) I recently got a Revolution No.3 scissors though - because I was looking for an efficient way to deal with brittle sponges and just to see what kind of quality I can achieve. Probably start trying it out in March.

In terms of layers, I tend to go 2 on the blade, then 2 on the fh rubber and 3 on the backhand rubber. In the video, I went with 2 in the interest of time because it was filmed in winter and glue takes an absolute age to dry outdoors! What I'll also say is some woods soak up glue MUCH faster than others - particularly when it comes to budget blades.

For example, I've glued dozens of Sanwei 3W, Yinhe N11, Yinhe N10, Sanwei New Century CS blades and the Sanwei 3W absolutely guzzles up glue. For non-budget blades, Yasaka's Sweden Extra is about medium, from memory, in terms of glue guzzling (I'm due to finish a setup with the Sweden Extra at the end of February so can update this thread after that). I think I mention it in the video that softer woods tend to soak up more.

So, after that long explanation, I go with 3 on the blade if it's particularly porous because the first application doesn't tend to totally get onto the blade unless I pour a lot. Another tip I meant to add was to have tissue paper handy to wipe off excess glue..... Maybe I need a Complete Complete Guide now.... (or, if I borrow Nintendo's naming convention, a Super Complete Guide... :) )
 
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I tried scissors for my first ever cut and never went back to it - my pride and joy are the consistency of my cuts so I'm never pleased if I don't get it looking great. :) I recently got a Revolution No.3 scissors though - because I was looking for an efficient way to deal with brittle sponges and just to see what kind of quality I can achieve. Probably start trying it out in March.

Haha yeah, I recently cut a Xiom Vega Korea with a box cutter and the result was HORRIBLE. Oil might have helped... The effect is only cosmetic, though. Looks ugly, doesn't affect the playing properties. And I alway use 12mm edge tape 😅

Do let me know when you have tried out the scissors. Might be a way to achieve reasonably good results with less "effort" than with a cutter.
 
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Dear Bat Guy,

You have a new fan here. I really like your videos. Amazing content and so nice that you do, witch such a love for the racket.

Amazing, I hope I can meet you one they in person.

Regards.

:cool: That's more good feedback - glad the care for the equipment is coming across on video.
 
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Loved it - therapeutic to watch too!

I have struggled with these blades - oil may be a key. How often do you change blade? (they aren't cheap)
About once every 4-6 rubbers depending on how hard I had to cut them. I use a hard plastic rotating cutting board too so that'll dull the edge slightly faster than a cutting mat.

It does get pricey so, because I need to be more efficient and smart about my expenses, I've decided that the LWB blades are for the high end expensive rubbers and I use a Stanley break-off one for the others. I may do an in-between option with the Olfa Speed blades but I suspect I don't need to. Could end up being overkill. Could be worth going back to them again cos I had good results before discovering the LWB blades.

Before I discovered them, I kept thinking about how a bread knife works and whether I could find something like it - those Olfa LWB insulation cutting blades are great and work similiarly. I just wish there was a snap-off version!
 
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It happened to me few times the rubber didn't stick on the blade. Not enough glue? Too much pressure?
Tends to be a few possibilities:
- Rubber was domed shaped before applying and wasn't rolled on/applied properly without any gaps between the rubber and the blade. Tends to happen to rubbers that are already curled up before applying.
Solution = Get someone else to help press down one part of the rubber as you apply it (easier to show than to describe but I'll try!). The reason is, you tend to need to let go of the rubber after positioning it to the handle cos you need to get the roller or need to use your palm/arm to press the rubber down. At this point, curled rubbers have a strong chance of pulling away from the glue. Having someone help you keep the first part near the handle pressed down will help a lot!​
- The blade surface is too smooth from varnish
Solution = Use fine grain sandpaper or sanding stick to lightly rub the surface. Glue needs to soak through the pores to get a strong bond between the rubber sponge and the blade. This is a common problem with blades that have another layer of coating such as the Stiga Intensity NCT.​
- Not enough glue on the rubber and/or blade
Solution = Observe the rubber and blade more closely when applying glue. Use a light to help shine - the entire surface of the blade and rubber must be a bit shiny with no dull spots. Dull spots = no glue.​
- Rubber was stretched too much when rolled on
Solution = This is a case of prevention being better than the cure. Generally, when you're trying to stretch the rubber to add tension, you should add another layer (or two!) of glue. If the rubber is stretched too much and you glue it on, and cut it, and it comes off, you now have a rubber that's a bit too short for the blade. In that scenario, you'd end up needing to glue the rubber from the top to the bottom rather than from the handle to the top since the rubber is shorter than the blade surface.​
Too much pressure when pressing down on the rubber just leads to an uneven surface. It's not a good thing but wouldn't cause the rubber to stretch. You always want even pressure cos the whole point is to get a perfectly flat surface. Any bumps (or indents) in the hitting zone are bad. You can kinda get away with it if they occur much closer to the handle - anywhere else and you might have a problem.

Think that covers all the main scenarios - let me know if you had a different issue and I'll try to help
 
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For gluing long pips ox do you recommend glue sheets or glue water based? Thanks
I recommend praying :LOL:

They're not easy to glue on. I've tried both methods. Glue sheets are preferred cos they give the rubber 'structure'. A firmness that you don't get with just using glue.

The way I've done on my OX setups is put 2 layers of glue on the rubber and the blade and then roll the bottom of the OX sheet to a roller. Then I align it to the handle and slowly, with even and firm pressure, roll the rubber onto the blade. Cutting it with a blade is also tricky! Because dragging the blade while cutting the rubber also risks pulling off some sections from the blade. I use scissors for OX rubbers.
 
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About once every 4-6 rubbers depending on how hard I had to cut them. I use a hard plastic rotating cutting board too so that'll dull the edge slightly faster than a cutting mat.

It does get pricey so, because I need to be more efficient and smart about my expenses, I've decided that the LWB blades are for the high end expensive rubbers and I use a Stanley break-off one for the others. I may do an in-between option with the Olfa Speed blades but I suspect I don't need to. Could end up being overkill. Could be worth going back to them again cos I had good results before discovering the LWB blades.

Before I discovered them, I kept thinking about how a bread knife works and whether I could find something like it - those Olfa LWB insulation cutting blades are great and work similiarly. I just wish there was a snap-off version!
Thx, makes good sense
 
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I recommend praying :LOL:

They're not easy to glue on. I've tried both methods. Glue sheets are preferred cos they give the rubber 'structure'. A firmness that you don't get with just using glue.

The way I've done on my OX setups is put 2 layers of glue on the rubber and the blade and then roll the bottom of the OX sheet to a roller. Then I align it to the handle and slowly, with even and firm pressure, roll the rubber onto the blade. Cutting it with a blade is also tricky! Because dragging the blade while cutting the rubber also risks pulling off some sections from the blade. I use scissors for OX rubbers.
Thanks for the answer, so useful. One more question, I heard that for glue sheets people recommend varnishing the blade, if not the blade can be damage when you remove the rubber. What do you think about it? Regards
 
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Thanks for the answer, so useful. One more question, I heard that for glue sheets people recommend varnishing the blade, if not the blade can be damage when you remove the rubber. What do you think about it? Regards
Glue sheets have strong adhesion on the blade so I definitely recommend varnishing the blade, especially if the top layer is a softer wood (rule of thumb = anything light in colour). For OX rubbers, you probably only need a single thin coat of varnish on the blade
 
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Haha yeah, I recently cut a Xiom Vega Korea with a box cutter and the result was HORRIBLE. Oil might have helped... The effect is only cosmetic, though. Looks ugly, doesn't affect the playing properties. And I alway use 12mm edge tape 😅

Do let me know when you have tried out the scissors. Might be a way to achieve reasonably good results with less "effort" than with a cutter.
With softer sponge rubbers, I've now found that pressing down hard and going with a single pass works better than several smaller cuts. The oil and a fresh blade does help.

I'll look to update once I've tried out the scissors - feel free to give me a nudge here in March if I haven't done anything :D
 
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Tends to be a few possibilities:
- Rubber was domed shaped before applying and wasn't rolled on/applied properly without any gaps between the rubber and the blade. Tends to happen to rubbers that are already curled up before applying.
Solution = Get someone else to help press down one part of the rubber as you apply it (easier to show than to describe but I'll try!). The reason is, you tend to need to let go of the rubber after positioning it to the handle cos you need to get the roller or need to use your palm/arm to press the rubber down. At this point, curled rubbers have a strong chance of pulling away from the glue. Having someone help you keep the first part near the handle pressed down will help a lot!​
- The blade surface is too smooth from varnish
Solution = Use fine grain sandpaper or sanding stick to lightly rub the surface. Glue needs to soak through the pores to get a strong bond between the rubber sponge and the blade. This is a common problem with blades that have another layer of coating such as the Stiga Intensity NCT.​
- Not enough glue on the rubber and/or blade
Solution = Observe the rubber and blade more closely when applying glue. Use a light to help shine - the entire surface of the blade and rubber must be a bit shiny with no dull spots. Dull spots = no glue.​
- Rubber was stretched too much when rolled on
Solution = This is a case of prevention being better than the cure. Generally, when you're trying to stretch the rubber to add tension, you should add another layer (or two!) of glue. If the rubber is stretched too much and you glue it on, and cut it, and it comes off, you now have a rubber that's a bit too short for the blade. In that scenario, you'd end up needing to glue the rubber from the top to the bottom rather than from the handle to the top since the rubber is shorter than the blade surface.​
Too much pressure when pressing down on the rubber just leads to an uneven surface. It's not a good thing but wouldn't cause the rubber to stretch. You always want even pressure cos the whole point is to get a perfectly flat surface. Any bumps (or indents) in the hitting zone are bad. You can kinda get away with it if they occur much closer to the handle - anywhere else and you might have a problem.

Think that covers all the main scenarios - let me know if you had a different issue and I'll try to help
It could be the rubber was domed in both cases I had this issue. I'm not sure I understand your suggestion about this. My issue was in both cases the top end of the blade not being able to hold the rubber after rolling. Thanks for your help. It's very appreciated 👍
 
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Glue sheets have strong adhesion on the blade so I definitely recommend varnishing the blade, especially if the top layer is a softer wood (rule of thumb = anything light in colour). For OX rubbers, you probably only need a single thin coat of varnish on the blade
Amazing information. Some recommendation about which kind of varnish is better to use? Thanks, you are so kind for answering all the questions
 
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