Monday, April 2, 2012

Making Hockey Sticks in Western China

This is Part 2 in the Chinese Hockey series.  Today I will go over how I made sticks*.

The main thing I needed to get cracking on was hockey sticks.  You need them to play.  Without them you are just playing some sort of miniature soccer game with a tennis ball.

I had the blades sent out a while ago, like 4 years ago when I first tried to get hockey going, as I mentioned here.  In that first attempt, 7 of the 10 sticks broke.  This was disheartening.  This time, I made a key/simple modification that I believe will allow the sticks to survive a little longer.  More on that later.

buying the wood Photo by D_Hendersen
This is me getting wood.  Okay, well that's how it is.  We went down to the outdoor hardware market and purchased 15 lengths of this crappy wood they use to make saw horses and to install doors with.  The wood cost 70 RMB, which is about 11 dollars in Mr. America.  We packed this up and lugged it home.  Buying the actual wood is one of the more annoying parts of the process as the market is far away from my apartment.  I needed to get my friend Dustin to take me over there in his new vehicle.  I felt bad about putting this dirty lumber in his new car but I'm over it now.

wood on the floor

This is the wood on my apartment floor.  Yes, that's right.  No joke.  As you can see by comparing the width of the wood with the bike tire, it is much too thick for a hockey stick.  So, I whittled away on the stuff enough to fit it into the blades.  Surprisingly, I found that an exacto-knife worked the best.  After exactoing them a bit, I used sandpaper for that soft, silky smooth finish.

This is where the modification comes into play.  Well, I guess it's more of a sacrifice in comfort than a modification.  By making the stick fatter, I hope to make it last longer.  I used to carve them down to a normal stick width, but as I said earlier, they broke.  Even though these fatter sticks are a little more awkward to hold, I am confident that they will last at least a little longer.  Here's a closer look at how much I needed to whittle away from the stick.  

The problem I have is that although our apartment is comfortably layered with carpet, cutting and carving at the wood in the apartment is a big problem involving slivers of wood and dust and the watchful eyes of this woman:

Lovely wife Barbara

Her beauty is almost equally matched by her wits, cleanliness, and comradery.  It's a good thing to keep this lady happy, so after a while I moved my little operation out into the stairwell.

The sticks in action photo by D_Hendersen

And that's about it.  I'll keep you posted on the durability of the sticks.  So far, after just one session they seem to be holding up alright.  Tomorrow is session #2, so we'll see how things go.

Tomorrow, I will show you the net I made.

*I should mention here that as I will be talking about 'wood' and 'sticks', many of you perverts will automatically come up with your own jokes, one liners and 'that's what she said' type stuff based on what I am talking about.  Please hold all of your smarty pants remarks in until the end of the article.  And then, if need be, please post them in the comments.

1 comment:

Danny Ouellette said...

hehe.... wood...