do players speed glue?
Speed gluing refers to
re-gluing your rubbers before you play your matches, with a special glue
that enhances the performance of your rubber. Almost all the top players
in the world use this technique, as well as many in the higher league
levels of competition.
Speed gluing is usually only done by advanced players as it can be a hassle and quite expensive after a while.
People use speed glue because they want maximum spin and speed on their shots. It's most commonly done by heavy
loopers, as this style gains the most from the enhancements of the rubber.
The name 'speed glue' is a little deceptive, as speed glue actually often increases the spin of the rubber more or as much as the speed. This is because
the so called 'caoutchouc molecules' in the VOC speed glue add increased tension and elasticity to the sponge, giving a faster feel, but also a much spinnier ball because the ball sinks into the rubber more and maintains a longer contact. The effect that speed glue has on a rubbers depends very much
- the type of rubber
- the type of speed glue
- your gluing procedure
- how much glue (how many layers) you use
The effect of speed glue is only for a limited
time...the most commonly used speed glues have an effect only for a
matter of hours, just enough for a single table tennis session. However
there are many new products coming onto the market now that have similar
performance and last significantly longer.
So is speed gluing right for you?
Well as you can see there are a lot of factors to consider, and then there's the cost of the glue, the reduced lifetime of the rubbers and the hassle of having to re-glue every so often. However it can be a lot of fun...
There are a wide variety of opinions of how to speed glue effectively, so it would pay to talk to one of the regular gluers at your club, to get some tips on how to glue.
Please note: speed glue will decrease the lifetime of your rubber because of its effects on the sponge. Note also that not every rubber is suitable for use with speed glue. On some rubbers the speed glue effect is not significant enough to make it worthwhile. For some rubbers the solvent in the speed glue (and the repeated pulling off of rubbers) can cause the top sheet to come loose from the sponge after a number of applications, creating ‘bubbles’ which will make the rubber illegal to play with under ITTF rules. Most
traditional speed glues are toxic and/or flammable, so they normally cannot be transported via the normal mail system. Only some special courier services can deliver the glues. A few of the newer speed glues are not toxic, and supposedly 'water based', so that CAN by transported via normal mail services. So if you purchase the speed glue other than from a local shop/distributor, make sure it's transported the proper way, otherwise it may be confiscated.
Please also note that all solvent glue, (even ITTF approved), pose a significant health risk. Use all glue products with good ventilation, and avoid prolonged exposure.
Note: that ALL VOC based speed glues are now illegal to use in any ITTF endorsed
VOC-Free speed glue alternatives
There are several VOC-free speed glue alternatives on
the market now, which offer very close performance to the traditional
VOC-blades glues, but without some of the health and handling issues.
They basically come in 2 types:
1. A VOC-FREE water based GLUE - these are used in a
similar manner to traditional speed glues. Glue needs to be applied to
both the blade and and rubber, and after a waiting period they are put
together and clamped, after which it's ready to play. The Falco
Tempo Unlimited is an example of this, and there are not many
others (any?) like this. The effect lasts about a week, after which you
simply remove the rubber, let is shrink back, and reapply glue over the
top of the previous layer.
2. Booster or Tuners - these are used as a sponge
treatment, after which you still need a glue to attach the rubber to the
blade. The treatment usually takes 1-2 days to do properly, but the
effect tends to be a little stronger and last longer. Examples of this
are the Falco
Tempo Booster or the Tibhar
Clean Tuning. these have an effect for about 3-4 weeks, after
which you remove the rubber, remove any glue that is still on the back
of the sponge, and retune / boost... although usually less booster/tuner
is required after the first time.
In conclusion, there are many factors to
consider if you're deciding whether to speed glue / boost or not. Speed
glue will enhance your rubbers for offensive type players, but you need
to work out an consistent procedure, and wear the cost of having to
replace your rubber more often. Of course the alternative rubbers,
Tensors and such which have some speed glue effect inbuilt, cost a lot
more to start with, and are well known not to be durable either...