I make ping-pong paddles

Finished Canary Paddle || exitcreative

This is my newest creation: a lightweight, wood-composite ping-pong paddle consisting of a balsa core, birch plywood frame and face, and a canary wood anatomic handle featuring cherry dowels. I love making ping-pong paddles, and if you want, I’ll make one for you. Just comment and we’ll discuss the details, because of course, they’re 100% custom jobs. Seriously, I’d love to make you one, so don’t hesitate to ask.

The construction of this paddle, I think, is somewhat unique… I’ve been thinking for about a year now of a way to utilize a heavier wood around the perimeter of the paddle, with a lightweight wood in the middle to make it more like a tennis racket (relatively heavy, stiff exterior with flexible center strings), and based on the current ITTF rules (PDF), such a paddle would be completely legal.

Here’s how I made it. Click along the way for bigger pictures at my Flickr:

Canary Paddle Components 1 || exitcreative

I started with 1/8″ 3-ply birch plywood and sketched my paddle shape across the grain. Using wood glue, I created a composite piece of 1/8″ balsa strips to fill the top-center portion of the paddle. The plywood would extend up most of the way along the sides of the paddle to give it rigidity and perimeter weighting for stability. I then cut away the center portion and glued the balsa piece into the center.

Canary Paddle Components 2 || exitcreative

I then sanded the resulting composite blade core to about 1/8″ proud (larger than) the final shape. Then, I cut 1/32″ 3-ply birch plywood faces (with the grain this time) and glued them on both sides of the core. Once dry and stiff, I sanded down the whole thing to the final shape. As you can see, the topmost portion of the paddle core is 100% balsa, giving the paddle a very head-light balance. It was also very brittle before the faces were applied.

Canary Paddle Closeup || exitcreative

Here’s a closeup of the tip of the blade. Once the faces were applied it was very stiff, and very light. The blade without handle was under 75 grams! And it looks pretty cool in cross-section: most times it’s a 9-ply handle, but in the “sweet spot” and tip, it’s 7-ply. Should be a little more playable than my Oak paddle, below. Now for the handle…

Canary Paddle Pre-Dowels || exitcreative

My dad has an assortment of exotic woods, and we chose Canary wood because it was much lighter than the other options (bobinga, tulipwood, etc.) and this particular piece had a great figure, with strong yellows and red streaks. I cut the general shape…

Canary Paddle Pre-Shaped || exitcreative

And then added 1/4″ cherry dowels that were tight without glue, and should help reinforce the handle. They also look really cool. I then took it to the sander for the final handle shape:

Finished Canary Paddle || exitcreative

Just in case you forgot.

My earlier paddlemaking efforts are below.

Oak Paddle || exitcreative

This one’s got an oak blade (5-ply) and a maple handle. I put some cheap Stag rubber on it from Paddle Palace and it actually plays pretty well. VERY heavy… it crushes the ball if you really go for it. Pretty good touch, too. But definitely hard to get used to the weight.

Mahogany/Rosewood Paddle || exitcreative

And this is the Santos mahogany blade, with an oak face (3-ply). I used reclaimed rosewood for the handle. It’s gorgeous but even heavier than the oak paddle. Now I just gotta find a woodshop around here so I can make some more.

Comments

141 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Dalton Hall,

    man that paddle is amazing. if your really offering one you can sign me up. i love ping pong. i play a lot after school. nut i need a good paddle. if you can i would love for you to help me out.

  2. Jeremiah McLeod,

    Alright man. You have got to make me a paddle. That bottom one with the rosewood looks wicked. Table Tennis is huge at my school and I definitely want one. Hit me up!

  3. Loi90opoo,

    I think thats gona be hevy

  4. Pat,

    Do you buy rubber for your paddle faces, or do you make your own rubber face some how? I made my own paddle, but I am wondering how to do the rubber now. I am wondering if there is anyway to do my own rubber surface or if the best bet is to just buy rubber.

  5. Mabel Chan,

    This is a great birthday present because my friend loves playing ping pong. Her stepmom actually trained with the Beijing olympics team. I want to be able to get her a personalized ping pong paddle, with her name engraved on the handle. It would be great if the paddle was good to play with and light.
    Please let me know!

    Mabel

  6. Chris Wonz,

    I don’t know if you’re still taking orders, but that paddle looks beautiful and I would totally be interested!
    I found this post while searching for tips on how to build paddles– right now I’m attempting to refurbish an ancient one that’s been lying around the senior lounge for as long as I can remember. Email me even if you don’t have time for more orders. I’d love to hear more about how you do it.

  7. justin,

    hi I would like to get one my paddles that i made sucks i would love to get one of your paddles and they look cooler than any other paddle too. thank you for your time

  8. Silvan Eggenberger,

    Hey man, the paddle you made there is sick! i’d love to get in touch with you about some prices and whatnot, thanks.

  9. Chris,

    How’s it going man, I saw the paddles you make and I was wondering if you could contact me about prices and such because I am using a killerspin paddle now and I just really like the design that you have created.
    Thanks,

    chris

  10. Bill,

    If I missed the answer buried in these posts, I apologize, but did you ever find a source for the rubber facing material? I am looking for the same for another project. That being said, are you still making these?

  11. Yev,

    Hey, I was wondering how much you charged for you’re paddles. I would love to get one. Contact me at y0shei@gmail.com

  12. Laszlo Menczel,

    The paddles you make look quite professional, good job!

    I also made paddles a few years ago. I experimented with balsa core and very hard wood (e.g. oak) outside. My paddles were not too bad but I could not reproduce the ‘Stiga feeling’ I was looking for. :( I still (re)make the handles of my factory produced paddles, they are much more comfortable this way.

    As for the composite blade you made, I am not sure if it is legal by ITTF rules. IIRC the rules state that the blade must be of uniform composition (meaning the same at any point of the striking area). Although I have recently repaired a factory made (Butterfly) blade in which strips of balsa and a harder wood alternated in the core. So it might be legal after all. One never knows nowadays (c.f. the ongoing debate and controversial statements from ITTF about speed gluing).

    Best regards,

    Laszlo

  13. connor,

    can anyone give me tips how to make one because i am making one for school

  14. Tom Killick,

    Wow!
    I just stumbled across this site today and I was very impressed. I was wondering, would you like to make me one too? My email is killick_tom@bellsouth.net Email me and we could work something out.

  15. Tom Killick,

    how to you draw the curves for the ping pong paddle? Do you use a template? Could you email me the template: killick_tom@bellsouth.net

  16. jason,

    I’ve been looking for a custom made paddle..we have a ping pong table at work, I’m still undefeated…and keep talking about the new cool paddle I’m gonna bring in. Nows my chance. Could you whip something up? Would be forever grateful.

  17. Keith,

    I stumbled across this, and i must say I am insanely jealous of you. To be able to craft something so well made, so custom, and something to one of my favorite hobbies. After skimming through your latest paddle and seeing the pictures i have thought about maybe trying to do this myself. However I recognize that i have no wood work experience, so I would love to possibly discuss with you about a custom made paddle. Please email me at your earliest convenience.
    Keith

  18. salvador,

    hello, nice done with the paddles, can yo tell me whats the name of the paddles rubber please

  19. it is cool , i love table tennis and i am trying to learn it
    if your paddles are cheap i would like to buy one

  20. Tracy,

    do you still make paddles? I am looking to have one made

  21. Antonio,

    Hey man that is nice work. I am trying to get me a paddle made, and i want something unique and feels personal.. If you still make paddles man, we definitely should talk.

  22. Thien Tran,

    If you’re still making these paddles, do message me, I am very interested in having one!

  23. Pam Cain,

    I would love for you to make paddles to give as groomsman gifts. Can they be personalized? How do we order?

  24. Abbey Cotant,

    Hey my name is Abbey and my boyfriend LOVES playing ping pong…. I would love to pay you to make me a Ping Pong paddel with his name on it. How much would it cost? if you could let me know as soon as possible, that would be greatly appreciated! your work is AMAZING!!!

    Thanks,
    Abbey Cotant

  25. Hey, I want to discuss about making a custom blade, email me please, thank you.

  26. John Farmakis,

    hey i am looking for a pink rubber ping pong paddle . If you can make that then you would be amazing. due to the blah blah blah rules of ping pong they dont make them because of some blah blah blah color rule. Heres the thing , i like ping pong and so does my girlfriend. and she wants a pink paddle. we will not be going on the pro tour so the color guidelines are a non issue to us. please tell me if you can make this. that would be clutch.

  27. Alex Duarte,

    Hey dude, pretty sick paddles. I’m making some paddles right now, im actually making 2. i ordered some rubbers and decided to fabricate the blade, i was wondering myself how to make the core lightweight as you went over. The problem is, i found ONE place around here that sells balsa wood, and its like 1/2 in thick! where do you find thin balsa. im currently making oak ply blade and handle, is it really that heavy?

  28. Arif Wijaya,

    Hi, are you still making paddles? Please do email me if you still making paddles.

  29. Jeb,

    If you’re still making paddles I’m very interested. If you could email me that’d be awesome

  30. Chris,

    Hi paddle God I was wondering if you know where I can by a roll of uncut paddle rubber

  31. Chris,

    Hi paddle God I was wondering if you know where I can by a roll of uncut paddle rubber

  32. Adam r,

    Have you ever made a ping pong paddle out of elephant ivory? and would you if I supplied it?

  33. Jacky,

    Are you still offering to make paddles for people? I’m interested in one, if the price isn’t to high. More so in a custom rubber rather then a custom paddle.

  34. frank sommerer,

    would love to have you make a custom paddle for my son with a sand paper face, please let me know, thanks! Frank rinkrelics@aol.com

  35. These look fabulous. I would like to discuss making a paddle as a trophy for our intra-mural table tennis tournament in addition to making one for my own use. I am the principal of a military boarding school in Mississippi, and table tennis is very popular among the Cadets.

  36. Barb,

    Would you consider making paddle handles for me? The handles are for 6-12 paddles that I am cutting from mirrors. This is for a graphic wall hanging in the play room. Not sure how I will attach the handles. Since they will not be used, maybe I can glue the handles on. Please send me your thoughts and an estimate on how much this would cost. Thanks!

  37. Quan Duong,

    Would you considerto making a paddle for me?
    Please email me if you are

    Thanks

    Quan

  38. Mike Rowe,

    Hey There,

    My work just got a ping pong table and I think I need to get a paddle. I know this post is old, but I was wondering if you are still making these?

    If so, How much do you charge for a paddle without exotic wood handle? Whatever you have on hand is fine for price comparison.

    Thanks in advance,

    Mike

  39. Brian chris,

    Hi, my friends and i are into what we call “Extreme Ping Pong”. I was wondering if you could make a double ended paddle that is a meter long with a six inch handle in the middle.

  40. john shanklin,

    I would like to know how much you would charge for a sandpaper paddle..i used to have 2 that I lost in a storage that I lost..the handle was wood..but the paddle was sandpaper

  41. Hey man, love these paddles! Our company has just invested in a Ping Pong table and everyone has taken to it instantly. We’re all way too competitive. We are having a company birthday soon and were wanting to get everybody a custom Ping Pong paddle if possible? There are 9 of us. Email me if you would be interested! Best regards,

    Jordan.

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