Introduction: DIY PVC Hockey Sticks
My son plays ice hockey, but he also likes to play hockey in the backyard. However, he does not want to use his ice hockey stick in the backyard on grass, so I figured, how difficult can it be to make some less expensive hockey sticks? I figured out a way to do this with PVC.
- 48″ piece of 1″ PVC pipe (can vary length depending on users height)
- 1″ PVC cap
- 45° PVC elbow 1″ (optional)
- Christie’s Red Hot Blue Glue
- Athletic tape (optional)
- A heat gun
- Block of wood greater than 10 1/4″ long (a 1×4 or 2×4 will be perfect)
- Clamps (the more the merrier)
- An existing ice hockey stick (optional)
- Coping saw or jig saw
- Tape measure
- PPE: work gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection
Step 1: Measure and Mark 1" PVC Pipe
For this step based on my height, I cut a piece of 1" PVC to a length of 48". I then measured from the end 10 1/4" in and made a mark.
Step 2: Heating Up the Blade and Handle Joint (Method 1)
Now there are two methods of making this stick. You can heat up the area with the mark and then bend the elbow in the stick for the blade or you can cut the PVC on the mark and then connect the two pieces with the 45° PVC elbow. For now, we’re just sticking with the heat formed elbow (no 45° elbow piece needed).
After the piece is marked, as shown above, gently start heating the area directly around the mark. As this area softens, it will become rubber-like and very flexible. The PVC will be HOT so make sure you wear gloves to handle it and DO NOT burn the PVC as it gives off carcinogenic fumes.
Step 3: Bending the Blade and Handle
After it has reached a flexible state, go ahead and bend it to an angle similar to that of a hockey sticks heel of the blade. If you have an existing hockey stick available, this is a good template for an angle. If not, look at a picture or try to get it around 135°, also known as a ‘lie’ of 5 (hockey term).
Once the angle has been copied, hold it in this position for a few minutes until it cools and hardens.
After the elbow has hardened, now the blade can be heated, compressed, and then formed.
Step 4: Heat the Entire Length of the Blade and Clamp
Heat the blade section evenly such that the whole length from heel to toe will become rubber-like as the elbow was done before. Once soft enough, use the block of wood and clamps and clamp it to the edge of a table. Once the clamps are secure, leave this area alone for a few minutes while it cools. REMEMBER: There is no such thing as over clamping!
Step 5: While Waiting for Cooling, Attach PVC Cap
While waiting for the blade section to cool I went ahead and attached the 1" cap to the top of the handle. I used the PVC Red Hot Blue Glue to glue the 1″ PVC cap to the end of the stick handle.
Step 6: Release Blade Section From Clamps
After a few minutes of cooling, the blade can be released from the clamps and block of wood. It should look like this.
Step 7: Mark Fillets on the Toe of the Blade
This can be done using a template such as an existing hockey stick or something rounded. You can also eyeball it, really, it does not have to be perfect!
Step 8: Cut Marked Fillets Off
Using a jigsaw or coping saw, cut off the filleted areas. This can easily be done by clamping the blade into a vise. Use caution, jigsaws and coping saws are very sharp! After the fillets are rough cut, use a metal rasp or sand paper to clean up the edges.
Step 9: Heat the Blade Again
This step is to get the curvature as on a real hockey stick. Use an existing hockey stick to copy the curvature. If a hockey stick is not available, just look at some pictures and eyeball it. Again, it does not need to be perfect.
Heat up the blade section as evenly as possible moving back and forth until the blade becomes pliable. Then put the stick on the ground and step on the blade and handle to keep them aligned. Using a couple of fingers, grab the toe of the blade and pull up. This will induce a curve into the blade. Hold this position for a few minutes until the blade cools and hardens.
Compare the stick to a picture or real stick. If the curvature is not satisfactory, just heat and repeat until you get it right.
Step 10: Add Finishing Touches
To look more like a hockey stick, I wrapped some athletic tape around the blade and the handle. After comparing it to previous sticks I made, I felt that the stick was a bit naked so I wrapped some black electrical tape around the handle to give it some contrast.
Step 11: Method 2 of Build (simple Alteration)
As I mentioned, there are two ways of building this stick. Method 2 is even simpler. By using the 45 degree elbow the angle between the stick handle and the blade will automatically become 135 degrees with a lie of 5 (again, hockey terminology). Instead of marking and heating the elbow, just cut the PVC at the 10 1/4 inch mark using a miter saw, hacksaw, jigsaw or coping saw and then glue the blade to the handle with the 45 degree elbow. Once this is complete, just heat and form the blade as it was done in Method 1 above.
As you can see in the pictures, it came out looking pretty good. I think Method 2 looks cleaner and will probably perform better. I have made these sticks before, and speaking from experience, the sticks without the elbow can take a good beating but will eventually break (as did with my 3/4" PVC stick). So far my sticks with elbows have not broke yet and we certainly use them a good deal in the backyard and, keep quiet, in the house sometimes!
Step 12: Final Thoughts
They are just about identical. In reality, this whole stick can be made for between $5-10 if you already have the tools. And honestly, the elbow is only about a dollar so I would just build it with the elbow for a stronger blade and stick joint.
Have fun playing hockey whether on ice or on the grass. Not sure how this stick will handle ice hockey. I’m sure the bitter cold and hard impacts of the ice and puck will not be good to it. It will probably fail pretty quick on ice. It’s probably better to keep this indoors or on a grass field when it’s not too cold or try insulating it somehow and use a fairly light ball or lighter puck for playing with.
This tutorial can also be viewed on my personal blog at Dadaptation.com where you can find other cool projects and builds.
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