Since we could no longer go to the gym last spring, my stepson and I began playing ping-pong several nights a week. I have an assortment of rackets, and started out with one with Gambler 4 Kings rubber, but as our skills progressed, I switched to a sticky rubber called Blütenkirsche, which has a German name but is made in China for a Japanese company. It gave me much more control for spins and loops. I had installed it on one side of an inexpensive 42-year-old Harvard racket. On the other side are the rotted remains of a Yasaka Tornado sheet I bought in about 1980 before the rule that rubber must be black or red. (You can see where I carved the handle to make it more comfortable for my penholder style.)
That old racket is not very lively, so I hunted online and found the Palio Energy 03 that has four carbon layers and many great reviews and costs only $15. The Blütenkirsche Tokyo rubbers are also $15 each. I will use the non-tacky one for the back of my paddle.
To attach the rubber, a water-based contact glue is applied with a foam applicator to both the wood and the sponge backing of the rubber.
When it has dried to the point of being transparent, the rubber can be attached to the wood, beginning carefully at the handle and rolling it out from the bottom upwards.
The rubber is then cut, following the edge of the racket. I used a new utility knife blade, but would have been better off with a good X-Acto knife. (As you can see, I wasn’t careful enough while gluing and the black rubber ended up a bit crooked.) I left the protective film on until I was finished, to avoid damaging the rubber’s surface.
I look forward to trying my new racket, but don’t know when that will be. My stepson is not as eager to play now that the gym has reopened.