Table tennis rubbers consist of a
top-sheet (the outer surface) and a sponge (that part that is attached to the
blade, although some rubbers are used as only the top-sheet. Although the
majority of players buy a rubber with the two already glued together, some
players, far more common among pimple player, wish to make their own
top-sheet and sponge combinations, and therefore need a good procedure for
gluing these together.
Gluing a top-sheet to a sponge is a little trickier than gluing a
rubber to a blade, but itís not that hard, as long as you donít expect it to
look like a bought rubber when you finish. Once itís cut and on the blade you
probably wonít be able to tell the difference.
To glue a top-sheet to a sponge you need
a good glue or rubber cement, the thicker ones are usually better since they
have more adhesives in them. I usually use rubber cement from an art supply
shop, which tends to be thicker than many table tennis glues.
You need to put glue on both the
top-sheet and sponge for proper adhesion. The most important thing to remember is
to be PATIENT in every stepÖthereís no need to rush any of these steps, so
take you timeÖ
1. Put a layer of glue on the sponge.
Now depending on your sponge or glue, this may make it expand a little. It
important to let it shrink back to its normal size before you apply the
top-sheet. If you donít do this and let it shrink after you apply the topsheet,
the topsheet will end up in compression, making it slower and less sensitive.
You can usually tell that itís expanding because it bows or domes a little.
Usually it will flatten within half an hour or less. If the sponge is already a
little curved when new, gluing it to rigid surface with a thin layer of glue may
help and stop it from stretching.
2(a). For an inverted rubber you need to
put glue on JUST on the tips of the pips. Itís important NOT to get glue
between the pips as this might allow it to trickle down to the top surface,
making it expand (bubble up) and might affect the playing surface. The way I do
it is I brush a flat layer of glue onto a flat surface that does not absorb the
glue, like glass, a table surface or many plastics. Then I immediately put the
top-sheet with pips down onto the layer of glue, push and slide it around a
little on every part of the sheet, then pull it off. Inspect the pips afterwards
to make sure ALL pips are covered with glue, or else you need to repeat the
procedure. You must make great care to make sure the rubber does NOT fold back
onto itself, as it can be hard to pull it apart again.
2(b). For pimpled rubber (short, medium
or long pips), you need to get a layer of glue onto the whole surface. Put it on
a flat surface, pips down, and brush a layer of glue on there. It pays to put
some small weights on the corners of the rubbers, as the thin basesheet of the
pips rubber easily expands, making it shrivel up very easily. You must make
great care to make sure the rubber does NOT fold back onto itself, as it can be
hard to pull it apart again. It WILL shrivel up a little, so you must wait till
it pretty much straightens out again. This usually takes somewhere between 10 to
20mins. It may still look a little wobbly, but thatís not a big issue.
3(a). For inverted, with your hands hold
the top-sheet on the edges, line it up with the bottom of the sponge, and simply
lay it on there. Try NOT to stretch the rubber while youíre holding it, since
this would put some uneven tension on the topsheet. If you DO want some tension
in the topsheet, you can roll it on with a thick roller or bottle, and stretch
it a little while youíre putting it on. This DOES take a little practice, so I
would not recommend this if itís the first time you glue a topsheet to sponge.
Try not to stretch it too much; a little tension can already be quite effective.
3(b). For pips this is a little tricky,
since the sheet tends to be so flexible. Holding it in you hands folded over
usually helps (the non-glued sides folded over, never touch the glued sides with
each other). Line up the top-sheet with the bottom of the sponge, and put down
the bottom 10mm or so. Then use a roller to gently roll the rest of the pips
sheet onto the sponge. This is important since you DONíT want any bubble
underneath the top-sheet. Try not to tension the topsheet while youíre rolling
4. Put a few books onto the rubber to
press down the top-sheet onto the sponge. For pips rubbers, press the bottom part
of the top-sheet (part with the label) hard with your fingers, as this will not
be pushed down with the books.
Particularly for inverted rubbers,
itís important NOT to put too much weight onto the rubber, as this will push
the pips into the sponge, and might make the edges of the pips stick to the
sponge, potentially producing an uneven and inconsistent surface.
5. I like to leave it overnight, but it
should be ready after a hour or so. You can check to see how well it worked by
trying to peel the corners. It should be pretty well stuck, perhaps a little
loose where you held it in your hand when you put the top-sheet onto the sponge,
but this part is not used when cut, so it should not matter. I have used this
method many times, and have even speed glued the rubber numerous times
afterwards, and it did not come loose. Putting on too much speed glue might
weaken it though.
Hopefully this guide will work well for you., and you're
ready to try your own top-sheet an sponge combinations!