If you’re a table tennis player and are thinking of ways to improve your racket, then you must consider sealing your racket. This article is an exhaustive guide to seal your table tennis racket.
Sealing is a good technique to protect your blade from getting rusty and dusty.
What is ‘Sealing’ a Table Tennis Racket?
‘Sealing’ or ‘Varnishing’ a table tennis racket is a technique wherein a thin layer of sealer or varnish is applied across the blade.
This thin layer provides the blade with additional strengthening properties bestowing the racket with an increased lifetime. The lacquer also gives it a shiny coat.
If you are someone who replaces or changes rubbers frequently then, you must consider sealing your racket.
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Why Should You ‘Seal’ Your Rubber? Is It Really Necessary?
You might now know that sealing your rubber gives your racket a coat of varnish, but you might not know its advantages. Here are some.
- Your racket develops additional strengthening. It improves the adhesion, making the rubber more retractable.
- It prevents splintering the blade when the rubber is removed.
- It allows smooth removal and gluing of rubbers.
- It gives a shiny texture to your blade, also improving its active life.
Helpful Tips before Sealing Your Racket
- Take off the rubber carefully. Usually the rubber is to be taken out a particular angle in order to steer clear from any damages on the blade and rubber.
- Avoid using any cheap water-based varnish, as it causes more harm than good to the paddle.
- Water-based sealants are usually wear off after one to two removals. So, I recommend reapplying after every two removals.
What are the Components Required for Sealing you Racket?
- A paddle with a wooden ply. (Obviously)
- A sealer or varnish (like ‘Donic Formula Lacquer’)
- A piece of sponge (cloth can also do)
- A rubber chip (for removing the rubber)
- Water or any cleaning solution (again, obviously)
Step by Step Process of Sealing Your Racket’
Step 1: Cleaning your racket
The first step is to thoroughly clean your racket. Remove any foreign dust particles from the blade as well as the rubbers.
You can try using water and sponge. However, one must remember to not wet the paddle and blade much. Simply sponge out the portions of your racket which you find to be dirty and also clean any dust and oil on the rubber.
Avoid any hard scratching and scrubbing on the rubber. Repeat until the rubber begins to feel tacky again. The paddle must be left to dry.
You can also use cleaning solutions which are available online. Remember to not use any strong or harsh chemicals on the rubber as your paddle will react and cause harm to the ply.
Many people also consider using a toothbrush in order to remove any dust hidden in the ply.
Here is link to our guide to clean your racket in a cheap and effective manner.
Step 2: Removing Your Rubber
Peeling off the rubber from the paddle is challenging and important task. However, following simple steps it can be done right.
Firstly, remove the edge tape from around the racket. Use a rubber chip, to peel away the outer rubber. Tuck the rubber chip onto the edge of the rubber on the side of the racket and start peeling slowly.
Peeling it fast does not allow smooth and even removal. Remove the glue and scrape away any residual rubber.
Gently clean the blade and repeat the procedure for the other side. Now, your blade is ready for varnishing.
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Step 3: Applying your ‘Sealer’
The sealer or varnish can be easily available online. However, I do not recommend using cheap ones as they are not usually meant for rackets and spoil it. Most recommended ones are ‘Donic Formula Lacquer’ and ‘Revolution 3’.
These give you good adhesion and shiny texture on your racket. (These bottles can be expensive)
First, dust off your blade once again in order to remove any dirt as it sticks to the varnish coat and creates an uneven texture. After dusting off, bring your paddle under a well-lit area for sealing.
Now, gently squeeze the sealer bottle onto a piece of piece of sponge. Do not soak the entire sponge with the sealer but only to its surface.
You could also do this directly on to the blade as well but, it is not very recommended as it does not allow even furnishing and you could dent the ply.
Now apply this sealer from sponge onto the blade. Apply it slowly and smoothly in circular pattern. This will ensure even application and smooth surface which will protect your racket.
Spread it across evenly and also onto the edges. Now, repeat the exercise for the other side of the racket. Be sure to cover all the spaces on the blade including the corners and edges.
It is not to be applied onto the handle and the grip After finishing layering on both sides let it rest.
Once the first layer dries, you have to now apply a second coat on the blade in order to ensure that there are no left-over spaces and gaps.
Now finally let it dry until the dry again for 12 hours. Let the blade evenly absorb and soak the necessary amount of sealer, and once it has, you can observe the lacquer on the blade
Note: The blade seems to feel absolutely dry after 5-10 mins of application, but the varnish does not get soaked into the system. It is highly recommended that you leave the racket for a few hours.
After the process of sealing is complete, you will have to give the blade a final cleanse, you can use a dry sponge and dust off any foreign particles, clean any excess sealer from the corner of the racket and also clean the grip.
Now, the process of sealing is complete. You can now glue a new rubber to the blade without any problem.
Here’s a guide explaining how you can glue the rubber to your blade.
A Few DOs and DON’Ts Around Sealing a Table Tennis Racket
- Do not remove the rubber with sudden jerks, it will remove some fibers from your blade
- Do not use excess of sealant. It is not necessary and will end up giving you uneven coating. (You definitely don’t want that)
- Let the blade dry completely, absorbing the required amount of sealer, before gluing the rubber.
- Do not keep the blade away from the rubber for long periods of time after sealing. It will gather and collect unnecessary dust, which can be quite tough to clean.
Remember, sealing protects the racket but does not enhance the racket’s performance.
So, if you are a regular player and often change your rubbers then, ‘Sealing’ is the way to “SEAL THE DEAL”
Hope you have a great time sealing your rubber.