21 October 2016

Making Use of A Broken One-Piece Hockey Stick

When presenting something, I was told to never open with an apology and/or disclaimer.  So instead, I preceded my apology with these few sentences.  Now, that I have padded my opening statement...apologies for not taking photos during this process.

First hockey stick, broken.
Okay, hockey sticks.  When I started playing hockey, it was around the birth of the aluminum sticks. My first stick was a wood stick, a Titan TSM 99 I got at Canadian Tire at Danforth and Main, in Toronto, back in August 1991.  I kept this stick for many years and it eventually broke after 24 years.

Like others at the time, I graduated to fiberglass and/or carbon reinforced sticks.  Eventually, I got that coveted aluminum stick, then carbon fiber shafts.  It helped that I worked at an ice rink at the time.

For a long time, I stuck with two-piece hockey sticks.  I recall the introduction of the one-piece carbon fibre sticks.  It was made by Sher-Wood.  While Easton was the innovator for aluminum and carbon shafts, it was Sher-Wood, with the Carbon 2000 that came to the market first...at least in my area.  For those keeping track, the first tapered stick and blade combo was Easton's T-Flex line.  My first one-piece was the Easton Synergy, first generation.

Anyway, I should get to the point of this post.

I had a one-piece stick break on me.  Luckily, the blade broke so the shaft is still good.  Normally, I would chop off the blade and stick a standard blade in the other end and call it a day.  But I had always wanted to try a tapered stick and blade.  Also, most sticks now are engineered with flex points toward the bottom of the stick, low kick point.   So, putting a blade in the top of the shaft, changes the flex.  In reality, I am probably not good enough to notice a difference in flex point locations.

One day, I found some tapered replacement blades for sale.  They were five dollars each.  Yeah, five dollars.  How could I pass this up?  I bought two.

Five dollar replacement blades.
The differences between a standard and tapered blade:  The standard replacement blade fits in a standard shaft, or the top of a tapered shaft.  The tapered replacement blade has a narrower hosel which fits into a tapered shaft.  Also, the distance from heel to tenon shoulder is shorter on the tapered blades.

Standard vs Tapered replacement blades
Where was I?  Oh, so I have this shaft from a one-piece, with a slight tapered.  If I cut the bottom at the area, I will essentially have a tapered hockey shaft.  What?  Yeah, baby!

This is where some math kicks in.  If you want to do this, you will need some calipers.  First measure the width of the tenon at the base, where there is no glue.  You want the bare tenon.  This measurement should be about 0.525" (13.335mm).

Width of the tenon
Now, measure the thickness of the shaft wall of your broken hockey stick, which should be about 0.095" (2.413mm).  Since you have two walls (left and right), double this number:  0.190" (4.823mm).

Add this to the width of the blade tenon, and you should have 0.715" (18.161mm).   This is the 'magic number'.  Take your calipers and set it to this number.  Now slide your caliper up, from the blade, and where it stops...that is where you make your mark and cut.  It is that simple...sort of.

Width of shaft.
I should throw in a disclaimer here.  This should work with most sticks with a rectangular cross section.  For example, this will not work with the Stealth RS, which has an elliptical cross section.  I am using an Easton ST.

Knowing how your stick was made will help.  Most one-piece sticks are actually made in two (or more) pieces...like traditional, wood sticks.  Blades are made separately, then attached. I know that most Easton one-piece sticks are made like their two-piece sticks.  They make a shaft and a blade with tenon and glue it into the shaft.  Running your hand along the bottom of the stick, you can sometimes feel where the joint is, there will be a slight surface change.  If you have a well used stick, sometimes you can see a hairline crack at the seam where the blade and shaft meet.

I believe CCM attach their blades butt up against the shaft, then wrap with carbon.   Either way, cutting the shaft at about 0.715" width should work.

Because of the mortise and tenon construction of my stick, when I cut the shaft, there was left over tenon from the blade blocking the hole.  I had to clean this by drilling out the foam and carbon.  I suggest you wear a mask and use a well ventilated facility when doing this.

Stolen image of cut one-piece

You will see where the tenon ends, that is how far you will need to grind down.  A handheld rotary tool would be very useful for this task.  Again, apologies for the lack of photos.  I stole the photo above from the internet.  You can see that there are two walls, outer and inner.

Basically, you will be cleaning out the left over tenon (inner wall), making sure you do not over grind (outer wall).

Cleaned up tapered end of one-piece stick.

Pro tip:  Use calipers to double check the width of the opening.  Might be a good idea to mark the wall thickness and use as a guide. Small rounded files are good for the corners.

After a few minutes, you should have a clean opening for your tapered replacement blade.

Bam!  You just recycled your hockey stick into a...hockey stick.

Butt plug
Oh, I also needed a butt extender.  In cutting of the original blade and adding a (I assume) shorter replacement blade, I guess I lost a few inches from the stick.  So, I need to make a new butt plug.  Off to the mill.  This was relatively simple, just took some measurements...which are the same dimensions as a standard replacement blade...got a hunk of wood and started cutting and milling.

Always double checking with the opening at the end of the stick.  I finished it off by rounding the corners to match the profile of the shaft.

Near perfect fit
Pop the blade on, shove the butt plug in, and we are good to go.

Like a glove
Time to try it out.  I will either use this as a back up game stick or I will keep it in my office and use as a stick handling training stick.

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