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Table tennis veneers - A list of their properties

The number of available table tennis veneers is incredibly large! Considering the total number of table tennis brands which annually introduce new products to the market (and hence also test new veneer combinations), keeping an overall overview is nearly impossible. The most popular table tennis veneers can be found using this link. Also, very exotic veneers are listed in this category.

There are several brands in table tennis. Commonly, they communicate quite openly with respect to their veneer combinations (for example, Joola and Donic provide much details). Others, however, keep such information a secret, mainly due to strategic reasons. If you are particularly searching for table tennis blades, you should take a look at our summary tables containing all important specifications: Speed, control, veneer combinations (if available), and so forth.

Cherry tree - An appealing table tennis veneers, also visually

Wild Cherry trees (Prunus avium) are evergreen deciduous trees belonging to the family of roses (rosaceous plants). These trees can reach a height of up to 30 m (approx. 1,200 in). Its original home are large parts of Europe, but also Turkey, Iran, or in the Caucasus. Its bark is initially greenish, quite smooth, and shiny. Later on, its color changes into brown-red colors and the bark begins to peel. Many wild cherry trees can reach an age of up to 100 years, and free standing trees can develop up to one million of blossoms per year. The fruits are ripe in June or July, and are red or black colored. Nowadays, there are many cultures and cultivations resulting in larger and sweeter fruits, e.g. heart cherries. The fruits are used to make jams, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, or are eaten raw (uncooked). The blossoms are very much liked by bees. The wood of cherry trees exhibits a reddish color, is very hard, medium-heavy, and is primarily used for veneers (furniture, etc.)
Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Cherry 570 (4.76) 10,500 (10.5) 510
Table tennis veneers made of cherry are, for example, suitable in combination with long pimples. This is because cherry provides a relatively flat bounce of the ball, whilst exhibiting a good spin behavior. Hence, cherry is very suitable for a variable game (blocks, counters, long defense, or chopped balls). Furthermore, cherry blades are appropriate for material players: Anti, but also short pimples, and players who want to score using fast, flat topspins / finishing strokes.

Pine - Well known, but what is the role of this tree in table tennis?

Pines are coniferous trees belonging to the family of pines. The home of pines is the northern hemisphere. Those trees prefer a cool and damp climate. One species very common in Middle Europe is the black pine (Pinus nigra), reaching an age of up to 800 years, and a height of 50 m (2,000 in). The needles of this tree can reach a length of 4-24 cm (1.6-9.4 in), a width of 1-20 mm (0.04-0.8 in), and they stay 3-8 years attached to the tree. The cones reach a length of 3-12 cm (1.2-4.7 in), and a width of up to 5 cm (2.0 in). Black pines exhibit a very impressive system of roots, often with a major taproot. During youth, the bark of black pines is relatively smooth, and yellowish to (gray-) brown colored. Later on, the bark starts to develop cracks, and becomes very rough. The wood of black pines is moderately heavy, relatively soft, but very solid, strong, and stable. Especially the heartwood is characterized by yellow to red colors. Its wood is used for masts, pale, boards, construction timbers, and so forth. The resin of pines is also used to produce pitch, turpentine, or colophony.
Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Pine 500 (4.17) 12,000 (12.0) 300
The wood of pines is also used as a material for core veneers for table tennis bats. It is faster than e.g. abachi, but still exhibits relatively little hardness. Therefore, combinations with harder materials, used as surrounding or finishing veneers, result in a good suitability as OFF- or OFF blade. In this case, the game becomes faster with respect to block, counter, or topspin properties. When used as veneer surrounding the core veneer, pine (in combination with e.g. abachi) is applicable, resulting in a decreased speed, and increased control.

Yes - Cork is also used as table tennis veneer

Cork is a botanical term for the layer between the epidermis and bark of certain trees. These trees are commonly cork oaks (Quercus suber), or the Asian amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense). In these trees, the cork layer growth up to a thickness of several centimeters. Cork is a natural rigid foam, water-repellent, and consists of dead, air-filled cells, sometimes containing tanning agents to protect from insect attacks. Cork is flame retardant, very elastic, soft, and exhibits a low thermal conductivity. Hence, its application comprises insulation materials, but also as equipment for fishing, as sealing material, as pin boards, flooring, and, of course, bottle corks. The main cultivation area of cork is the Mediterranean region (Portugal, Spain, Italy). The cork layer is removed from the trees, whereas harvesting occurs every 8-12 years.

Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Cork 250 (2.09) 18,6 (0.019) -

Cork as veneer material is still not very common. Considering its soft and elastic properties, we assume that cork results in relatively fast balls, similar to the catapult effect known from balsa veneers.

Basswood - A table tennis blade suitable for defending players

Lime trees (scientific name: Tilia), belonging to the mallow family, are deciduous trees, domiciled in temperate to subtropical climate zones. Linden trees can reach a height of 15-40 m (600-1,600 in), whereas the trunk´s thickness is 1-1.8 m (39-71 in). Linden trees can reach up to 1000 years in age. When blooming, linden trees give off a very pleasant and sweet fragrance. The blossoms are very popular among bees (linden honey). The light wood (also called blond wood, sometimes with reddish or yellowish portions) from linden trees is also called basswood, and is made from little-leaved (Tilia cordata) and large-leaved linden trees (Tilia platyphyllos). Areas of application are the sculpture, carving and woodturning woods, drawing boards, clogs, or furniture. Table tennis blades made of basswood are rare, but exhibit astonishing properties.

Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Basswood (Linden trees) 500 (4.17) 7,400 (7.4) 300

Basswood is not very resistant to various weather conditions, insect attacks, rot, and so forth, and is relatively soft. Therefore, table tennis veneers made of linden trees are soft, and are similar to spin characteristics of alders. With respect to blocks and counters, however, basswood is a bit more suitable due to a lower bounce of the ball. When used as finishing veneers, soft, controlled, and safe topspins are possible. This highlights its suitability for DEF to ALL+ players. Basswood veneers are quite inexpensive, and are a good alternative / choice for beginners, since -as already mentioned- they are known for their good ball control.

Tungwood - Quite rare in its use, but why not?

There are some exceptional cases where tungwood (Vernicia fordii) is used as table tennis veneers. Tungwood belongs to the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). When this plant is hurt (e.g. at the bark), it bleeds secreting a milk-like plant sap. The origins and homes of tungwood are the southern parts of China, Myanmar, and northern parts of Vietnam. Basswood is a deciduous tree, reaching a height of approx. 10 m (400 in). Its bark is very smooth and light-colored. The fruit of this tree contains usually 5 brown-colored seeds, which are the basis for the so called wood oil. This oils was initially used as fuel for oil lamps. Nowadays, the wood oil is used as color additive, varnish, or products to treat woods. Since tungwood is very light, but relatively hard, its wood is often used as substitute for balsa, kiri, or basswood. Because tungwood has a very broad usage (oil and wood), it is cultivated in tropical zones worldwide.

Table tennis blades made of Santos - Quite rare

Santos-Palisander (Machaerum cleroxylum), from the family of legumes, does not belong to the true rosewoods. However, its appearance is very similar so that it is hard to differentiate between them. Santos Palisander grows as a bush or mid-size tree, whereas it reaches a height of 2-7 m (80-280 in) without any branches. The diameter of the trunk can reach up to 0,6 m (24 in). The domicile of Santos is South America (e.g. Brazil, Bolivia, ...). Since Santos-Palisander is very rare and grows quite small, its noble wood is expensive. The heartwood from the trunk is well known for its attracting coloration and grain: There are reddish, yellowish, purplish, or purplish-black colorations that are often changing. Also, this wood is very heavy, hard, and resistant to environmental influences, such as moisture, rot, mold, fungal or insect attacks. Because of its immense hardness, the processing of Santos Palisander needs much force and effort. Furthermore, this wood is prone to develop cracks. Santos is commonly used as veneer material, for high-quality furniture, paneling, handles, woodturning, etc. Used as table tennis veneer, Santos is quite rare. However, its hardness is an argument for further prototypes.

Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Santos 880 (7.34) 10,800 (10.8) 1,780

Because of its visual appeal, Santos-Palisander table tennis veneers are commonly used as finishing veneers. Because of its extreme hardness, Santos veneers are very fast, but still exhibit quite good control. Because such veneers are quite expensive, Santos-Palisander veneers are commonly used by real fans and connoisseurs.

Makoré - Table tennis veneer with lots of potential

Makoré (Tieghemella hekkelii),also called baku, is a kind of tree domiciled in tropical areas of West Africa: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria. Makoré, a deciduous tree, belongs to the family of Sapotaceae, and grows up to 50 m (2,000 in) in height. Its trunk reaches a diameter of up to 2 m (80 in). Because of its popular properties, its wood is a sought-after noble wood. It is exhibits a medium strength, and is very resistant to environmental influences, termites, other insects, and rot. Furthermore, Makoré is quite good processable and results in a fine, smooth surface with a nice red-brown coloration. For these reasons, is is used as veneer for furniture, but also for paneling, boards, parquets, stairs, boats, and so forth. In table tennis, Makoré veneers only play a tangential role.

Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Makoré 780 (6.51) 11,500 (11.5) 620

Makoré is a strong, medium-hard wood, exhibiting an even density and elasticity (especially the heartwood). Its role in table tennis is the use as core veneer, e.g. instead as substitute for balsa, abachi, or pine. Compared to softer woods, such as balsa, Makoré is more direct and faster. We think that Makoré is indeed a wood suitable to try something different in table tennis.

Kevlar - Recently quite popular

Kevlar® is a synthetic aramid fiber which is considerably stronger than other fibers. Kevlar is also called poly-p-phenylenterephthalamid (PPTA), and is a polyamide. Polyamides are so called linear polymers (a chemical substance consisting of very large molecules, so called macro molecules), whereas there are groups of amide along a long chain which repeat themselves over and over again. Kevlar fibers are spun based on a liquid-crystalline solution of polyparaphenylenes therephthalamides in solutin in concentrated sulfuric acid. Kevlar is commonly used as structural material (also for screws, housings, gears, ...) since it is very strong, tough, thermally stable, dimensionally stable, and resistant to organic solvents. Kevlar is also used as clothing, parachute material, balloons, sails, ropes, and so on. As a table tennis veneer, Kevlar is used as a stabilizer in offensive blades. These commonly exhibit a 5+2 veneer structure.

Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Kevlar 145 (1.21) 59,000-127,000 (59.0 - 127.0) -

Kevlar is a typical carbon material, used as additional layer in the middle of table tennis blades.

Texalium - A material increasing the speed of table tennis blades

Texalium® is a material based on glass fibers which metallizes, e.g. with aluminum, hence exhibiting a shiny, metal-like surface of different colors (silver, golden, aluminum-like, ...). These fibers are also put into epoxy or polyester resins (or other solutions) in order to refine them, or to color them. These materials are then processed to fabric / tissue, easy to cut and customize, and quite resistant to shifts. The area of application of Texalium® are flat and laminar coverages for various structural elements, like skis, hoods (bonnets), lids, tabletops, helmets, and so forth. Texalium® was developed in California, and is heavier (but less strong) than e.g. carbon fibers. Texalium table tennis veneers are implemented in some Joola blades.

Density in kg/m³ (lb/gal) Young´s modulus in N/mm² (GPa) Hardness (Janka)
Texalium 1,111 (9.27) >23,000 (>23.0) -

Lymphwood - Used as?

Unfortunately, we could not find any information regarding lymphwood and its use as table tennis veneer. Do you know anything about this wood? Please contact us via email! We would like to complete our article.

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