If you are planning to build your own table for table tennis, you may be wondering what material to use to get the optimal bounce quality. Table tennis tables can be built from a few different types of wood, but most people opt for plywood.
The best, most cost-effective plywood for table tennis tables is 3/4-inch-thick, soft plywood. Soft plywood is made from softwood trees like pine, cedar, fir, or spruce. Hard plywood (made from oak, maple, hickory, walnut, or birch) is also great for table tennis, but it is more expensive.
This article discusses why plywood is the perfect material for a table tennis table, what the difference is between using soft and hard plywood, and what other materials can be used. It also explains what steps to follow to build your own table tennis table.
What Type Of Plywood Is Best For Table Tennis?
When choosing the type of plywood to use to build a table for table tennis, there are two options: soft plywood and hard plywood.
You can use either hard or soft plywood to build a table tennis table. Both types make an equally good surface on which to play.
The reason that most people choose soft plywood is that it is cheaper and therefore reduces the cost of building a table for table tennis.
Hard Plywood Vs. Soft Plywood For Table Tennis
Let’s consider the differences between soft and hard plywood and what makes soft plywood a more popular choice than hard plywood for table tennis:
Soft plywood is made from softwood trees like pine, cedar, spruce, fir, or redwood. Hard plywood, on the other hand, is made from hardwood trees like oak, maple, hickory, walnut, or birch.
Softwood is not as dense, so it weighs less than hardwood, and it is more flexible and malleable. Hardwood is denser and, therefore, stiffer, heavier, and more durable.
The biggest difference between using soft or hard plywood for a table tennis table is the cost. There is no major difference in the bounce quality on a soft plywood table versus a hard plywood one.
For an outdoor table, hard plywood does not fare any better than soft plywood. Neither hard nor soft plywood should be used for outdoor table tennis tables. When exposed to rain and sunlight, both types of plywood warp, creating an uneven surface.
How Thick Should Plywood Be For A Table Tennis Table?
Because the thickness of the tabletop has a major effect on the bounce quality, it is important to use the right thickness of plywood for a table tennis table
The thicker the plywood, the better the table tennis table will perform. A thicker table also feels sturdier and of higher quality.
You must use plywood that is at least half an inch thick. Using ¾-inch thick plywood is better, but for optimal bounce, you should use plywood that is an inch thick.
Professional table tennis tournaments are played on 1-inch-thick tables.
How Much Plywood Do You Need For A Table Tennis Table?
There are two standard sizes that table tennis tables come in: standard and ¾ size. The size table you want to build will determine how much plywood you need to buy.
The surface of a standard size table measures 9 feet long and 5 feet wide. A ¾ size table tennis table measures 6.75-foot long and 3.75-foot wide.
Plywood sheets come in standard sizes. The most common dimensions of plywood sheets are 4-foot by 8-foot and 5-by-5-foot.
Therefore, you cannot simply use a single sheet of plywood for the tabletop. To build a standard or ¾ size table tennis table, you need to get at least two 5-by-5-foot sheets of plywood and join them.
How To Build A Table Tennis Table Using Plywood?
Building a table tennis table can be a fun, rewarding project. You do not need to have advanced woodworking skills to build your own table tennis table.
You need the following materials to build a basic table tennis table:
- Two 5×5-foot plywood sheets (3/4 or 1-inch thickness) for the top
- Two 9-foot long 2×2 planks for the frame
- Two 5-foot long 2×2 planks for the frame
- Four 30-inch long 2×2 planks for the legs
- Wood screws
- Wood glue
- Enamel paint – green or blue, and white for the lines
- Masking tape
You will need the following tools:
- Electric drill/screwdriver
- Belt sander or orbital sander
Just follow these easy steps:
- First, assemble the frame for the top of the table using 2×2 planks.
- Cut the two 5×5-foot sheets of plywood into 5×4.5-foot sheets by sawing off half a foot from each sheet.
- Join the two 5×4.5-foot sheets into a single sheet using biscuit joints.
- Attach the tabletop to the frame.
- Sand the tabletop so that it is nice and smooth.
- If you are using a 1-inch-thick top, saw off an inch from each 30-inch table leg. If using ¾-inch thick plywood for the top, saw ¾ of an inch off each 30-inch table leg. This will ensure that the table is exactly the right height (30 inches).
- Attach the legs to each corner of the table.
- Paint the tabletop in green or blue enamel paint.
- Block out 1-inch-thick lines along the edges of the table and the centreline using masking tape and paint them using white enamel.
- Wait for the paint to dry thoroughly.
- Attach the net, and voila – your new table tennis table is ready to use!
You can build a functional, high-quality table tennis table using soft or hard plywood. The type of plywood you use does not matter as much as the thickness.
Use ¾-inch or 1-inch-thick plywood for the tabletop. This will provide the best bounce quality. If you are on a budget, opt for ½-inch thick plywood. Do not go any thinner than this! Remember to sand the plywood down for a nice, smooth finish. This is important for the bounce of the ball.