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How to Build a Ping-Pong Table - Plans for Building Your Own Table Tennis Table

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Photo of Stiga Expert Roller Table Tennis Table

Can You Build Your Own Ping-Pong Table?

© 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Question: How to Build a Ping-Pong Table - Plans for Building Your Own Table Tennis Table
I'd like to build my own ping-pong table, but I'm not sure how to get started. Can you recommend any plans or materials to help me get going? Is it worth the effort? Can I make a high quality table myself?
Answer: Americans being the kind of "can-do" people that they are, the idea of building your own ping-pong table is something I get asked about fairly regularly. Here's my advice on the subject.

Don't do it.

Oh, you wanted a bit more explanation than that? Alright then, here's a summary of the pro's and con's of building your own table tennis table.

Building Your Own Ping-Pong Table - Pros

  • Satisfaction of a job well done (provided you are a competent enough wood worker to do the job well, of course).

  • It's possible to save some money in the cost of raw materials vs a completed table.

  • Bragging rights among your friends.

Building Your Own Ping-Pong Table - Cons

  • Frustration of a job poorly done - if you are like the majority of the population and are only a mediocre woodworker.

  • Difficulty in sourcing materials. High Density Fiber Board (HDF) is expensive, while Medium Density Fiber Board (MDF) is cheaper but not as durable. Plus it is apparently difficult and expensive to get hold of sheets large enough to make up a 9 feet by 5 feet table half, since most HDF and MDF sheets are 8 feet by 4 feet.

    Unless you are willing to pay more (which kind of defeats the purpose of building a cheap ping-pong table), you'll end up having a table smaller than regulation size, or a regulation size table with joins and a lot of wasted offcuts. Plus cutting a large sheet of HDF or MDF precisely can be pretty tricky as well, unless you have lots of bench space to support the sheet.

  • Building a solid, movable, and foldable undercarriage is far from simple. Building a fixed undercarriage is easier, but then you are stuck with a table that's difficult to shift.

  • Trying to get a bounce that is similar to a competition table may be harder than you think, even if you do use table tennis paint.

  • Getting an even paint job on such large areas may be difficult as well.

  • The time you spend in trying to put your table together could be better spent elsewhere - such as in playing table tennis!

Conclusion

In my own opinion, it is likely that the cheapest of any decent brand name table (such as Stiga, Butterfly, Donic, DHS, Kettler etc) will still be an order of magnitude better than anything you can construct, unless you are a master craftsman. So if you would like to build your own table just for the fun of the experience, go ahead. If you are hoping to build a competition quality table and save a few bucks along the way, think again, and then buy a cheap brand name table and save yourself the frustration. You can check out my guide to choosing a ping-pong table here.

For those of you who are looking to build a ping-pong table for fun, here are some links to on-line table plans, some of which are available for purchase for a small amount. I haven't tried them myself, so I'm not vouching for their quality.

Build a Ping-Pong Table (8' by 4' table)
Plans for How to Build a Ping-Pong Table (9' by 5' table)
How to Build Your Own Ping-Pong Table and Save Hundreds (9' by 5' table)
Where to Find Table Tennis Table Paint

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