Do you love playing pickleball but don’t like the high price of paddles? Do you want to be able to make your own paddle customized for your own playing style? If so, then this blog post is for you!
In this post, we will show you how to make a pickleball paddle at home using a few simple materials. So whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, keep reading to learn how to make your own paddle. Let’s get started!
In This Post
- How to Make a Pickleball Paddle?
- What You Will Need
- A sheet of plywood (We used a 1/2 inch thick piece)
- A sheet of veneer
- A veneer edge banding
- A sandpaper
- A drill with different size drill bits
- A glue
- A paint roller with a smooth cloth cover
- Assorted sandpaper (Fine, Medium, Coarse)
- An electric sander with a fine grit sanding pad
- Steps to Follow:
- Step 1: Preparing Your Plywood Pieces
- Step 2: Preparing Your Veneer Pieces
- Step 3: Attaching Your Plywood Pieces to the Veneers
- Step 4: Attaching Your Veneer To Your Plywood
- Step 5: Sanding and Making Sure Everything is Smooth
- Step 6: Applying Your Stain
- Step 7: Applying Your Polyurethane Finish
- Step 8: Attachments
How to Make a Pickleball Paddle?
What You Will Need
A sheet of plywood (We used a 1/2 inch thick piece)
Plywood is a type of wood that has sheets of veneers glued together with an adhesive. Good plywood for making pickleball paddles will have a hard outer shell and be flexible enough to bend without breaking.
A sheet of veneer
A veneer is a very thin piece of wood that can be used as a covering for plywood. Since the two pieces are bonded together, they form a strong surface that can be used to make a pickleball paddle. You will need 2 sheets of 1/8” thick veneers.
A veneer edge banding
Veneer edge banding is a hard plastic strip that can be used as a covering for the edge of pickleball paddles. The veneer will then slide into this space, creating an even surface that later becomes the hitting area of your paddle. You will need 1” wide x 18” long x 1/8” thick veneer edge banding.
Sandpaper with a rough grit is needed to sand down the edges of your pickleball paddle. If the edge is not sanded enough, then it could cut your hands when you are playing pickleball with it. Good sandpaper for this would be a medium to fine grit sandpaper.
A drill with different size drill bits
You will need a drill with two different sized drill bits. One bit should be the same as the thickness of your veneer edge banding and another one which is 1/16” smaller than that.
You will need 2 screws which are 1.25” long and a drill bit size that is a little smaller than a screw, to make the holes for the screws in your pickleball paddle.
Any kind of glue can be used but we recommend using a polyurethane wood adhesive or an epoxy adhesive.
A paint roller with a smooth cloth cover
You will need this to apply glue on your pickleball paddle. If you don’t have one, then you can use an actual paint roller instead.
Assorted sandpaper (Fine, Medium, Coarse)
To sand the veneer and the plywood after they are attached.
An electric sander with a fine grit sanding pad
If you want to be very thorough with your paddle then you might also want an electric sander. This way, you can easily get rid of any excess glue which may have been left on the paddle after the adhesive has dried. A belt or orbital sander will work as well.
Steps to Follow:
Step 1: Preparing Your Plywood Pieces
First, take your sheet of plywood and measure out where you want to place the center point for your playing surface. Then drill a hole using the drill bit that is smaller than the screws you are going to use in step 3.
This way, when you attach the veneer and the veneer edge banding to your plywood, then they will be flush with each other. Make sure to measure and mark all 4 corners of your playing surface as well since this will help you line up the veneer and the veneer edge banding later on.
Step 2: Preparing Your Veneer Pieces
Now, take your sheet of veneer and measure out 2 pieces that are the same size as your plywood. One will be the playing surface (The one with the holes drilled in it) and one will be for the edge which you don’t want to cover because you will use this as a guide to line up your veneer pieces.
Step 3: Attaching Your Plywood Pieces to the Veneers
Take your plywood piece that has holes drilled in it and insert 1 of the screws through the hole. Then, place your veneer on top of this plywood piece with the part you used as a guide underneath it.
The idea is for your veneer edge banding on the side that you will attach to your plywood to be flush with the plywood and the center of your playing surface. Once you have done this, use a pencil and trace around where the screw goes and then take it out.
Then, take your drill bit that is smaller than your screws and start drilling a hole in the places you traced. Once you have done this, take the screw and put it through and screw it in.
Then, sand down the edges of your plywood to make sure that they are flush with the veneer edge banding and to remove any small pieces which might be sticking up.
Step 4: Attaching Your Veneer To Your Plywood
First, tape your veneer edge banding that you don’t want to cover with any adhesive and then take it and line it up with the play side of your plywood. Once you have it where you want it, apply a little amount of glue to the edges and clamp them together.
Once you have these two pieces together, take the other plywood piece with the screw hole drilled in it and place your veneer face down on top of it. Take out your hand drill and screw one of the screws into each hole that you drilled.
Once they are screwed in, remove any excess glue which may be between them using your paint roller. Then, sand these pieces in to remove any excess glue which may have come out when you applied the screws.
Step 5: Sanding and Making Sure Everything is Smooth
Next, take your electric sander with a medium grit sandpaper pad on it and go around all the edges of your paddle. This will smooth them down so that they are not sharp to the touch when finished.
Then, take your medium grit sandpaper pad and start sanding in small circles until you have covered all areas of your paddle. Make sure to do this all over the paddle including where the veneer edge banding meets up with the plywood. Then, follow this by using your fine grit sandpaper pad and doing the same.
Once you have finished using your fine-grit sandpaper pad, go around all areas of your paddle with a damp cloth to remove any residue from the sanding.
Step 6: Applying Your Stain
Next, take a clean cloth and spread a thin coat of your dark brown wood stain over your paddle. Use light strokes in the direction of the grain making sure to get all areas including around your screw holes and on the veneer edge banding.
Then, go over it with another clean cloth using a circular motion until you have covered all areas of it. Then, take your clear matte finish and apply 2 coats over the entire paddle.
Step 7: Applying Your Polyurethane Finish
Then, take your fine-grit sandpaper pad and give it a light sanding before adding your first coat of polyurethane finish.
Make sure to do this in small circles until all areas are covered again with the clear matte finish. Once you have done this, go over it with another clean cloth until you have covered all areas of the paddle.
Then, take your other plywood piece that has holes drilled in it and put a small amount of polyurethane finish on the veneer face side only.
Do this by taking an old t-shirt or other rags that are clean and wrapping it around the edges so that you won’t have excess polyurethane finish running down the outside of your paddle.
Once you have done this, take a clean cloth and rub it on all areas until they are completely covered with a nice coat of polyurethane. Use small circles in the direction of the grain making sure to cover all areas of the paddle.
Once you have finished doing this, allow it to dry for 24 hours and then give it another coat in the same manner as letting it dry for an additional 24 hours before using it.
Step 8: Attachments
Once you have finished your paddle, attach a piece of leather to the top and a keyring to the bottom so that you can use it as a keychain. To do this, first, take your key ring and screw it into the hole at the base of where you will be attaching the leather strap.
Once you have done this, attach your leather strap to the top of it using a drill and some screws. Take your wire pliers and bend the end of each screw on the top where they will go into the keyring.
This way, you can take your paddle with you everywhere you go as a reminder of how amazing woodworking can be.
Well, this is the end of my woodworking tutorial on how to make a wooden keychain paddle out of plywood that I hope you have fun with!!! Thanks for Reading!