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Table Tennis Tips

A real low and short no-spin serve can give you some easy points in matches, as they are difficult to flip hard, and they require good timing to push hard. Mix it up with a heavy backspin in the same spot. Remember to get it short, the ball should bounce short on your side close to the net...

 Speed gluing with Tibhar Rapid Clean Deluxe

This is my own personal guide on how to use the "Tibhar Rapid Clean de Luxe", a long lasting speed glue. This procedure works well for me, but others may have different opinions on what works for them. This procedure uses the instructions that come with the tin as a guide, but deviates from it a little where I believe steps are not necessary.

1. Sealing the blade

When you speed glue you regularly need to remove your rubbers from your blade. Every you pull the rubber off you risk pulling off some of the wood fibers from the surface of your blade. To stop this from happening, it's worthwhile 'sealing' your blade. This means putting a very thin layer of varnish on your blade, that is thin enough not to effect the feel of the blade, but enough to keep the fibers on you blade. I find that polyurethane is the most effective to do this. I use "Wattyl Estapol Gloss 250ml", which costs about AUD$10 and will last you for many years. Note that some blades come already sealed, so this process is not necessary.

First I sand the blade lightly with very fine sand paper to make sure the surface is smooth. Then I clean the surface with 'Mineral Turpentine' with a small cloth (one with not to many fibers that may leave deposits). I let this dry completely (probably 10mins). I then use a similar cloth or brush to put on the polyurethane on the blade on both sides, only on those parts of the blade that would be covered by the rubber. You may want to put some on the edge of the blade as well which will give it some protection when you accidentally hit something with it. 

I leave it for no more than 2 mins, then I wipe it down hard with a clean cloth. This ensures that polyurethane does not soak into the surface too far where it might effect the feel of the blade. Make sure there are no deposits on the surface. Then I put the bat in a vertical position in a dry place (not too dusty), and let it dry for at least 24 hours.

2. Priming the rubber

When a rubber is new, it needs to be primed before it can be used effectively as a speed glued rubber. This means building up a thin layer of glue on the surface of the sponge. The reason for this is two-fold:

1. Speed glues contain very little adhesive components compared to normal TT glue. So to make sure your rubber is going stick, and not fall off during play, you need to build up a thin layer of adhesives on the surface of the sponge. Every time you speed glue this layer will be re-activated, and will become sticky again and will hold your rubber onto your blade.

2. Speed glued rubber often need to be glued a few times before they become really effective. There are a few theories why this is the case, but we won't go into it here. By priming the rubber you are effectively providing those first few gluing times where the rubber is not effective.

Although the instructions for this glue recommend using the tibhar glue to do the priming, I believe any proper TT glue will do, or even a cheaper speed glue. 

First make sure you have the plastic protection film on the rubber, to make sure you don't get any glue on the topsheet. Then I put a single layer of normal (NOT a 'long lasting' one) glue onto the sponge. I wait about 10 mins and make sure it's touch dry. If you're using standard speed glue I would apply another layer, but with normal (thicker) glue one layer is enough. I then let it dry for 24 hours. Then you're ready to speed glue.

NOTE: The rubber can be cut either before you prime the rubber, or after it has dried overnight (or even after you speed glue), this is up to you. The cut does not need to be as neat, since the repeated gluing of the rubber will make it stretch, and will produce an (often uneven) overhang. This is normal for speed gluers and is quite acceptable. If the overhand is excessive (like more than 5mm) you can just cut it back a little.

3. Applying the speed glue

First make sure you have the plastic protection film on the rubber(s), to make sure you don't get any glue on the topsheet. I then apply the glue, starting from the middle, brushing it on to make sure you cover the complete surface. I start from the middle to make sure I always apply sufficient glue there, since this is (hopefully!) the spot most often hit. I normally use only a thin layer, but thicker can be used if you require more speed increase.

I then leave the rubber(s) for about 1 hour (but no more) in a quite area with not too much airflow or dust. You can loosely cover it with something to make sure not too much dust collects on the surface. By this time the sponge should have stretched and the rubber changed shape a little. The sponge surface usually is still sticky but does not look very wet anymore. I then put the rubber on the blade, aligning the bottom bit just above the handle first, then gently putting the rest of the rubber on. I gently roll it down with a roller (or wine bottle works well).

If it just curls up and looks like it's not going to stick at all, pull it off again. Put a thin layer of normal glue (or normal speed glue) on the blade. Let it touch dry (usually 5mins), then apply the rubber again. It should now stick better. Even if some of the parts still curl up a little, it should stick well after clamping.

If you're gluing rubbers on both sides, you should then apply the rubber in the same way.

4. Clamping the rubber

A proper clamp is (virtually) a must for those that speed glue. These can be fairly easily made yourself. After you have applied the rubber(s), immediately put the bat in your clamp (make sure the plastic protection sheets are still on there). Tighten it enough so that you can see the sponge is in contact with the blade on all sides. You then need to leave it for at least 12 hours before it becomes most effective. If you use it before this period it may not be performing at it's peak. If you're not playing for another day or more, just leave the bat in the clamp, and this extends the period for which it lasts. After you finish playing and you have cleaned the rubber, put it back into the clamp for the same reason.

5. Duration of speed glue effect

I personally glue the day before I play (24 hours). I find the rubber is a slightly faster the first day, and then remains very effective and consistent for about 4 days. After this the effect is still very obvious, and the sponge still feels softer, but it's definitely slowed down a bit. I find that the effect does not last quite as long on soft sponges rubbers compared to hard ones.

I would not recommend re-gluing until after day 5, as the effect will be cumulative and you may be pushing the rubber too hard. I normally remove the rubber from the blade at least 24 hours before I re-glue, to allow the rubber to 'recover' and return to it's unglued state.

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