Complete Blade Making Process for Table Tennis
This is a great description of the complete process of all the steps involved in making a table tennis blade by one of the major table tennis manufacturers Yin-He (Galaxy).
Photos and description kindly provided by Yin-He (a.k.a. Galaxy) the manufacturer, and translation provided by OOAK table tennis forum member jixiaolan.
2. In Yin He, raw wood collectors with more than 10 years experience, are able to identify the good and the bad quality wood, simply by judging from the bark of the trees. No fine detail such as age-rings, density and other quality elements can escape their professional eyes.
3. Selecting some portions, and processing them into the squarish shaped pieces for steaming.
4. Some raw woods are cut into 5-10cm pieces, and hung to dry in an open environment for more than a year.
5. In order to shorten the drying time, the wood pieces might be placed in “incubator”. This is the so called “heat baking” technique of the Japanese DARKER. (picture shows the incubator used by Yin He, imported from Germany.)
6. Measuring the dryness of the wood material by using appropriate tool.
7. Slicing the wood pieces.
8. After 1990, the slicing technique was upgraded. The blades processed through such technique are of finer and better uniformity.
9. The slices are then speed steam-dried, so as to eleviate the wood expansion/contraction, ensuring the uniform moisture content, and finally achieving the stability of the blade.
10. Pieces of wood thicker than 0.8mm require large incubating machine to dry. “Solar dried” may be energy-saving and environmental friendly, but is not capable of achieving the uniformity derived by the machine.
11. Secondary material: Quite a sophisticated process that follows the drying step. (picture shows wood slices after the incubating process).
12. The thin slices that were cut from larger pieces.
13. The dried slices are then cut into appropriate core blades (see picture : slices to be cut into core blades).
14. Core blades combining. This process may be machine operated or by hand. The hand operation weakness lies in the paper used in the process: the paper will split after certain period of time, giving rise to odd hitting sound. In some cases, leading to cracked blade.
15. Yin He adopts a more advanced technology: by means of machine, the heat-melted rubber threads were combined on to the core blades, then allowed to cool and harden immediately.
16. Picture shows the S-shaped white-coloured rubber thread on the wood.
This is a better technique: the melted rubber threads are of smaller surface area, and they ” dissolve” in the glue used in combining process. This resulted in the “super binding” of the core woods. Recently, combining machines that require no rubber threads have surfaced in the technology advancement!
17. Rolling : After the secondary materials are prepared according to the specifications, they are roller-spread on the individual core blades. In this process, the glue used is of utmost critical as it affects springiness of the blade, and the transmission of the “feeling” (as we understand).
18. Heat press: An automatic machine press the blades into combined blades.
19. machine-cut: A computerised cutting process where the combined blades are now cut into the designed shape.
20. Handle cutting
22. A process to make the surface shine (may be varnishing!?)
23. Make holes at inner portion of blade.
24. Drilling the slot for brand logo.
25. Combining the handle and blades.
26. Final packing to meet up with the ping pong enthusiasts.