Ping pong or table tennis, as the sport is called, is played on a table of 9 feet in length, 5 feet in width and 2.5 feet in height, according to the rules of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). The ping pong table should be made from masonite or similarly manufactured timber, having a layer of smooth, low-friction coating. The table is divided into two halves by a 6 inch high net.
Normally, the ping pong table is manufactured as several separate parts that could be easily assembled into a fully functional ping pong table. A standard ping pong table consists of the following components.
- A 5/8 inch black top with edgebanding and striping
- A 2 inch steel support apron
- 1½ inch round steel legs
- 2 inch double wheel castors
- Corner pads for added protection and to prevent snags
- A 66 inch tension adjust performance net and posts
- A paddle pouch
- Playback and storage positions
In a few competition ping pong tables, the steel support apron is made of ¾ inch steel. The steel legs are of 1 inch self-opening ‘U’ type. The chassis is provided with a support panel. Most of them contain a 1 inch tournament grade blue laminate top and a 2¼ inch wood support apron for extra table support and a 2 inch square self-opening legs, as well as 4 inch ball bearing wheel castors for easy mobility. Nearly all the ping pong tables are provided with leg levelers on the bottom of the legs, so that the levelers could be screwed in or out to maintain the height of the table at its standard 2.5 feet above the floor.
The most famous ping pong table manufacturers are Stiga, Joola, Tibhar, Butterfly, Killerspin, and Kettler, as well as the first table tennis equipment manufacturer, Jaques. All of them have several models that suit the level of the player. Learners could use the cheaper models that contain ¾ inch table tops, while the more serious tournament level players could opt for the costlier models that have 1 inch thick tops.
The finish on the table top should be smooth and even, without patches or rough spots. Normally, high density resin laminate tops of melamine are used in ping pong table construction. Further, according to the ITTF rules, the ball should bounce a minimum of 23 cm in every spot of the top, when a standard ball is dropped on the top from a height of 30 cm.
If you wish to construct your own ping pong table, there are several sites on the Internet that provide details of the construction as well as the tools and materials required for the construction. Even the large-scale retailers like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot have all the supplies required for the construction of a ping pong table. Such a ping pong table could be home-constructed for about $75 or even less. The main tools required for ping pong table construction are a circular jaw and an electric drill. The do-it-yourself ping pong table construction details are available on the Internet for about $10 and they provide step by step format that are easy to follow and execute, with ample illustrations of color photographs and diagrams.