Here's how to reinforce an ice hockey stick so you can use it outside without having to buy a new stick or blade all the damn time. You'll need:
- A stick. It might be worth playing with it on a rough surface for a bit first, so the base is sanded down to a flatter surface for sticking stuff on. Be careful if it's a composite blade, you don't want to wear through to the hollow middle.
- Cable ties. They're hard, durable plastic, with a ridged side that conveniently has more surface area for glueing. Be really stingy, and look for discarded ties on the ground wherever they're used.
- Epoxy resin. I really like JB Weld, but Araldite Super Strength also works.
- Paper tape. I haven't found anything that works as well as 3M Nexcare Micropore tape, which is supposed to be for first aid. If you find anything better or cheaper for this, please let me know.
- A sharp knife.
- Hockey stick tape.
1. Cut some cable tie lengths so that they'll fit along the base of the blade. The ideal length seems to be 4-6cm. Too long and flexing of the blade may dislodge the strips more easily.
Use the widest ones possible for each part of the blade; you might want to mix up sizes, or trim corners so the lengths fit on the stick
2. Slather a bunch of pre-mixed epoxy resin along the base of the blade. Be generous.
3. Place the first strip, starting at the heel of the blade. Tape it in place, making sure the strip is in the right spot, and there's enough glue along it and all around. The glue should squish out against the sides of the tape, maybe even through it a little
4. Repeat for the rest of the blade length.
5.Once you've covered as much as you want to cover, slather even more glue over the top. Why not.
6.Give it time to set. Whatever it says on the glue packet, usually 24-72 hours.
7. Trim the dried excess glue / tape off the edges of the blade.
8. Tape over the whole mess with hockey stick tape. I reckon the extra adhesive and support might help keep the strips on longer, who knows. I frequently reinforce the stick without retaping the whole blade, and just run a strip of stick tape along the base. The bottom of the tape will wear off really quickly, but the sides / seams will still be covered.
10. You'll probably find the heel of your blade will wear out quicker than the toe. When re-reinforcing, you might want to just do the bits that need it. If so, try to trim the ends of the cable tie strips so there's not too much of a jagged lump at the end.
Step 4: Conclusion: Should I Even Bother Doing This?
I've been reinforcing my hockey sticks to play in the Perth, Western Australia Street Roller Hockey League (the world's lowest-quality roller hockey league) for 2 or 3 years now. Most people don't want to. That's cool! There's a few reasons why you wouldn't want to.
- It takes time. Maybe up to half an hour per stick? Then you have to wait for it to dry before you can use it.
- It takes money. Paper tape, cable ties, mostly the glue. I don't think there's much of a cost saving over using a two-piece shaft with an outdoor ABS blade.
- You have to keep doing it. The plastic wears through in around an hour of play, I reckon.
- Sometimes the reinforcement falls off before it wears off. That sucks.
But there's a few reasons I do it. PROS:
- You can use a good one-piece stick. It'll be lighter, better balanced, and probably with more appropriate flex than a wood two-piece stick with an ABS blade, and you'll play better.
- You're never stuck with a thinning, half worn out blade while you debate whether it's time to replace it or not.
- Crafting is fun. Catch up on podcasts.
If you do it, and find a way to do this better or cheaper or easier, let me know. I've just been working this out as I go along. Cheers!