Some players asked me “Should I varnish my table tennis blade?”. I would answer definitely, “Yes, you should”. Blade Lacquering or blade sealing is very important for me. Why? Because the blade is so precious for your table tennis life. It’s considered as a soul of your playing style. You can replace and change several rubbers in a season, but you should keep your blade (the wood part in your paddle) several years.
To Seal or Not to Seal
This is a good question. But don’t hesitate, seal your blade! Trust me!
Because nowadays, every player uses “Water-based glue” to glue the rubber to the blade. And the table tennis blade is made of wood. As you know, blade hates water. I, personally, don’t like Water-based glue for this reason, but I have no choice.
And if you re-glue often your rubbers, you change rubbers every 3 months, you should seal your blade! Seriously!
Some players will say “No, don’t seal the blade. It makes the outer-layer feel harder”.
Listen to me. It’s possible that the thin layer of lacquer can harden the outer layer. But this layer is very thin. I’ve tested it, and I don’t feel any difference. There is no harm in sealing any new blade.
If only you have too much layer of lacquer, it will make the outer plies become harder. But why did you do that? It’s not necessary. Just 1-2 layer of varnish is enough.
Do you want to get the dings on the blade? The face dings are the outer layers wood got sprinted out. It’s so bad for your blade. And not sealing your blade is the big mistake. The blade will last longer with the sealer. The ding can lead to breakage. Along a grain line will start to peel off. Always think about blade care in the long run.
Advantages of blade sealing/varnishing
Sealing the blade gives you some advantages that you should know:
- I would recommend sealing the blade to any serious table tennis player.
- Easier to remove the rubber, and the glue from the blade with no issues.
- Avoid normal wear and tear of the rubber. Avoid your blade from peeling the outer ply when you replace your rubbers.
- If you sweat a lot, you should also seal the handle.
- The blade feels solid and a little faster (but not noticeable for the most player). Seal your blade to make it easier to remove your rubber sheets and prevent the wood from splintering.
- Ideal protection against both the lifting/stripping of the upper veneers and absorption of glue and solvents.
- It is particularly suited for players who use speed glue/ or re-glue often before every training session or players who regularly change rubbers as the varnish offers the best protection for the blade surface.
How to Seal/Varnish a blade
So what is a sealer in table tennis? It’s just a thin layer of polymer (polyurethane) to protect the wood.
Nowadays, I see that people are using water-based glue excessively. This can damage the wood quickly.
So here are my tips to seal your precious blade correctly.
- Apply only 1 to 2 layers maximum. Too thick lacquer will reduce the adhesion of the glue.
- Make sure that the blade surface is clean, without any dust.
- Always seal the blade along from the handle to the head of the blade. Never seal the blade from left to right or right to left. Only from the bottom to the head. Why? Because the lacquer dries very fast, and you want it to absorb along the wood grain.
- It’s like the coating of the wood. The sealer soaks into the blade surface. The polyurethane will reduce the effect of water-based glue, and enhance the blade’s life.
- Let the sealer fully dry, and harden overnight.
You can also use the blade sealing service if you buy a new composition (blade and rubber).
If you want to protect your blade, you can seal your blade. Re-gluing several times, and using water-based glue can damage the outer-ply of your blade. So I recommend you to seal your “precious” blade before gluing. I prefer using Tibhar Clean Coat Lacquer (more info) to seal my blades.
Here is another lacquer that you can use:
- DONIC Holzversiegelung Formula 25 g (check info)
- JOOLA Blade Sealing Varnish 100 mL (suited for coach/shop dealer who seals many blades) (check price/ read review)
Some water-based glues will still pull splinters. It gives you peace of mind that peeling off rubber without damaging the rubber or blade. A must-have for a serious table tennis player.
How often should you seal the blade?
Sealing the blade is crucial nowadays with the water-based glue. I recommend you seal your new blade. And then re-seal every 3 years.
Will lacquering the blade make it bouncier or faster? reduce the dwell time?
No. Not noticeable for the most player.