Can You Resurface an Air Hockey Table? 5 Tips and How To

Air hockey is a lot of fun. It is a great way to burn off some excess energy and have fun at the same time. But air hockey tables are like anything else in this world-- they get damaged and need to be repaired.

Can you resurface an air hockey table? From what we have been able to find out, the answer is no you can’t. If you try to pull the laminated surface off the supporting underneath construction material then you may be causing more damage and you will end up replacing the board.

But that does not mean you cannot repair damaged sections of your air hockey table’s surface. It is just not cost effective to try and resurface the whole board. What follows are some tips on how to resurface portions of your table top.

Tip #1: when you resurface a portion of your air hockey table’s surface and some of the air holes get blocked, use your electric drill and 1/32” bit to unclog them.

How Much Does it Cost to Resurface an Air Hockey Table?

It would be cheaper to purchase a new air hockey table surface. The time involved alone would be too costly for a normally employed person to pay for the repair. You could buy a piece of laminate and cut it to size and fit it on your air hockey table.

But the time it takes to drill all the holes and keep them equally spaced would not be the best use of your time. Air hockey manufacturers have special machines that do it for them.

If you try to do it, you may run out of patience and ruin the table top before you are half done.

Tip #2: To keep the larger air funnels from getting clogged when repairing small sections of the surface insert a piece of a plastic straw to prevent it from happening.

How to Resurface Air Hockey Table


As you can see buying a new piece of laminated material is not the best option available. But you can resurface smaller sections of your air hockey table surface and save yourself time and money.

Here are some ways to fix your table’s surface:

Dents: First, when a dent happens get some clear epoxy and fill the dent till it is level with the rest of the surface

Second, let the epoxy dry and set up. Third, after the epoxy has dried and become hard, use extra fine sandpaper to sand it smooth.

Fourth, re-drill the few holes that got clogged with epoxy.

Food & Drinks: First, when this happens, do not turn your air hockey table off. If you do, then the air holes and channels could get clogged and make your cleanup a lot tougher.

Second, with the air blower turned on, wipe up any spill or mess as quickly as possible. Don’t stop till all the liquid or food is wiped off the table.

Tip #3: to keep your air hockey table top nice and clean, you should clean it with rubbing alcohol only.

Making an Air Hockey Table Surface

Here are two ways to make your own air hockey table top:

The three step air hole method

Cut a piece of fiber, plywood or similar material, board to size. It is your choice on materials but go for strength here.

Glue a same sized piece of laminate to the board and when it is dry shape the edges so they are flush

Mark your hole and use a small drill bit, 1/32”, to cut all the way through

Move to a larger sized drill bit, possible 3/32” size, and drill again. This time do not go all the way through

Take a third larger drill bit, roughly 5/32”, and drill again but only for a short distance. You want 3 different widths in the hole

Attach a strong blower and you should be good to go

The simple method

Cut a piece of particle board to size

Attach a similar size of arborite to the particle board and make sure the edges are flush and smooth

You can use a peg board to measure and drill your air holes.

Make sure the air hole surface is smooth and without chips and cracks. A 1/32” bit is all you need.

Attach the blower and you should be good to go

Tip #4: be careful of the amount of pressure you use when drilling your air holes. Thin drill bits do break very easily especially going through tough material like arborite.

Air Hockey Table Surface Material


Good air hockey surface material will be a very smooth and slick surface. Wood will not do here as it can dry out, chip, flake or splinter very easily. You want material that is already laminated or made from arborite to handle the air hockey surface.

Refinish Air Hockey Surface

If you get dents or other problems with your air hockey surface you may not want to throw it away just yet. Some good wax or furniture polish can help you resurface the table top and make it as good as new.

The key is to use a little only and make sure the air holes do not get clogged up with the wax or polish.

Answering your questions

#1. How do I lay out the air hole pattern so that they are equal distances apart?

You may want to draw a grid on the bottom side of the table top. Keep the lines straight and the same distance every time you draw one. You are going to need a lot of air holes to make the game work well

Some Final Comments

While it is technically possible to resurface your air hockey table top, it may not be practical. If there is too much damage, it would be best to simply replace the table top. This is cheaper and won't consume much of your time.

For simple resurfacing tasks, a little furniture polish or good wax will go a long way in making sure the puck slides like it should. Take the simple and effective route and spare yourself any frustration.

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