I'm a big fan of using glue sheets to attach ordinary pimpled rubbers. In my opinion, you can't beat them for getting the job done easily and effectively. Add to that the fact that I can't tell the difference between a long pip OX rubber that's been attached with a glue sheet, and one that has been glued on, and you'll see why I prefer to use glue sheets over glue.
Although it is much easier to attach OX rubbers using a glue sheet, that doesn't mean that you can't go wrong. I've still made my share of mistakes when using glue sheets - and at $4-5 a pop you don't want to get things wrong - because often when you do the glue sheet becomes unusable. I'd like to help you avoid that, so here's my method of using glue sheets to attach OX rubbers to your ping-pong paddle. Take a look at the video first, and then read the written explanation below.
How to Use a Glue Sheet to Attach Your Long Pips OX Rubbers to Your Table Tennis Blade - Step By Step
- Glue sheets aren't cheap, so the main point to remember here is to never let the glue sheet fold up on itself, or the chances are good that it will stick tightly and become unusable.
- If you have old rubbers on the blade that have to be removed, peel the old rubbers off the bat diagonally. Never try to remove a rubber vertically (from handle to tip) since it's possible you might take splinters off the blade, depending on whether the blade is sealed.
- If the blade isn't sealed, I would recommend sealing your blade first before gluing your new rubbers on.
- Wipe the blade several times with your hand or a soft cloth, in order to remove any bits of glue left on the blade - you'll feel the residue easily. A bit of gentle rubbing will get rid of any leftover glue.
- Peel the bottom layer of paper from the glue sheet to reveal the contact adhesive, and gently place the glue sheet on the blade, starting near the handle. Start pressing the glue sheet into position, working from the handle out to the tip of the blade. Press gently as you make sure that there are no bubbles or wrinkles in the glue sheet.
- Once you are satisfied that the glue sheet is in place with no bubbles or wrinkles, press firmly with your palm or a roller to put the glue sheet firmly in place.
- Cut the excess glue sheet from around the edges, then peel back the top layer of paper, taking care not to accidentally peel the glue sheet off as well.
- Take one of the pieces of paper that were covering the glue sheet, and lightly rest it on the blade, leaving a gap of about an inch or so from the handle.
- Pick up the long pips rubber, and gently drape the rubber over the blade, starting with the area near the handle. Press gently on the rubber where it covers the gap left by the paper, making sure to squeeze out any air bubbles by pressing from the handle towards the paper (don't press far enough up to press on the rubber where it overlaps the paper, or you'll stick the paper to the blade). You may need to stretch the rubber a little by pulling gently on the sides of the rubber. Don't press too hard on the rubber at this stage.
- Glue sheets won't cause the rubber to curl up, so it's much easier to get the rubber on the glue sheet without any air bubbles. The downside is that if you do get air bubbles using a glue sheet, they are more difficult to remove. So go slowly and carefully.
- When you are satisfied that you have removed any air bubbles, slide the paper out another couple of inches, and repeat the process. Continue to do so until you have completely removed the paper, and the rubber is fully covering the blade.
- Hopefully by this stage, the rubber should be firmly attached, with no air bubbles under the rubber. If there are air bubbles, you will probably need to very carefully peel the rubber off the glue sheet, and try again. This is why it is best not to press the rubber down too firmly until you are happy with it's placement. If you press too hard you may not be able to separate the glue sheet and the rubber without ruining one or the other (or both!).
- If the rest of the blade is good, but you have one small air bubble that just won't go, and you don't want to lift the rubber off the blade again in case something goes wrong, you can prick a small hole in the air bubble with a pin. Then press down on the bubble with your fingers, and you should be able to get the rubber to stick as the air escapes through the pinhole.
- Once you are happy with the rubber attachment, gently use a roller to press the rubber firmly to the blade. Since glue sheets don't use wet glue, there's no real need to put the bat in a bat clamp.
- Cut the excess rubber from the blade with a sharp pair of scissors (or a Stanley blade or hobby knife). If you are going to cut the rubber with a knife, make sure you have plenty of scrap paper under the racket, so that you don't accidentally cut into your table!
- If the edges of the rubber have pulled up a little due to the cutting process, press them down again with your finger. Try not to leave any bits of glue sheet or rubber overhanging, since it might catch on something and start peeling the glue sheet from the rubber. I would strongly recommend using some edge tape to prevent that happening.
- That's it! Your new rubber is ready to go.
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