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Hockey stick /garden tools. A design contest  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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This is a design contest, to see what useful artifacts can be made from a recycled hockey stick. I'm in Canada, where many yard sales and piles of free stuff on the road, contain a few sticks. I don't anticipate paying very much for my raw materials.

Hockey sticks are light and strong, two properties that are valued in many gardening tools. Goalie sticks are even stronger, and they present a broad, flat surface for attachments.

 Let's explore ideas of what can be made from this abundant resource.

Hoes, cultivators and other light items, meant to till the soil or yank out weeds, could use a hockey stick instead of the traditional rounded handles. I could also see making various slashing tools , simply by affixing a suitable blade for a given task.

A number of detachable heads could be made, should you not have access to multiple hockey sticks. I much prefer a tool to have its own handle, so that no time is wasted buggering around with wrenches or what have you.

Hockey sticks have four sides to their profile. This shape lends itself to flat pieces of metal being simply attached with a few bolts. There's a certain skill to making a round handle fit a rake, hoe, cultivator or hook knife. Although I appreciate the skill, I appreciate simplicity even more.

 The flat sides of hockey sticks also lend themselves to the reuse of flat pieces of metal like machete blades, broken shovels, broken farm implements, and the flat metal that comes from cutting up old oil tanks and other vessels. Flat artifacts like this can be made into many tools, by using a cutting wheel on a grinder, or by using a hacksaw to cut out the shape. Once the basic shape is cut out, all that the maker must do, is sharpen it with a grinder or file.

 It's perfect for my level of metalworking skills. I don't weld and my blacksmithing skills are basic at best. But I can take a piece of flat metal and draw a useful shape on it with a pencil. Then it's just a matter of cutting out the shape, sharpening, and bolting it to the hockey stick.

I'm going to start it off with a wish list. Here are the first few items that come to mind.

1. A U-shaped strip of metal that is attached with bolts. It's used as a Dutch hoe. The same basic shape, but with two corners and a flat bottom , used in the same way.

2. A long-handled hook knife, meant to poke into the soil and slice through tap roots of difficult weeds. Another nearly identical hook knife could be kept out of the dirt, and used in tree pruning.

3.  A billhook knife suitable for hedge laying or fighting knights in armor. The garden-variety could have a handle anywhere from a foot-long to the full length of a hockey stick. If you're looking to drag knights from their horses, seek out an old pole vaulting pole. They are very light , and they are long enough to be used from the side of the road.

There are other sports that have very strong wooden artifact that can become a useful handle. Field hockey sticks , broomball handles, canoe paddles , lacrosse sticks and many other wooden handles from broken or obsolete equipment could be used. The makers of sporting equipment, pride themselves on sourcing the best wood for the strongest handles. If the Oshweken  Demons don't break a lacrosse stick while doing battle, you are unlikely to break it, when it becomes the handle for your Dutch hoe.
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The roughest, toughest sportsmen in Canada. The Oshweken Demons. A small tribe that kicks ass.
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If your stick was signed by Gordie Howe, don't cut it
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Goalie stick
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Metal could wrap around both sides of the flat stick
 
Dale Hodgins
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I forgot to mention that there are prizes. The best entries will receive a new car electronically generated apples.

 They may also get to see their idea manufactured. I will sit down with pen and paper soon, and the draw out a few simple ideas of my own. Yesterday, I found some suitable metal, so I will cut out the shapes at my earliest convenience.

If you have a good idea for some sort of tool, but no metal or aptitude for such work , grab a paper and pencil. Draw the shape, post a photograph and describe how you see it being used.

If you have tools, handles and aptitude, create your own design and post a photo here.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Here are the first two. Both are versions of a Dutch hoe. Small versions could use a regular hockey stick for the handle. Larger ones would need the broad attachment area of a goalie stick.
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Dale Hodgins
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The first one is sharpened all around and is a shoe that is pushed and pulled either on the surface or just beneath, to control small weeds.

The second is a hook knife which could be used either in the soil or for tree work. It would be best to have one for each purpose. They could be long or short handled.
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Dale Hodgins
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The first one is a long-handled device meant to be jammed into the soil , to cut tap roots beneath the surface.

The second one is a cleaver type blade, attached to a goalie stick. The blade is probably too large in this drawing. It could be as little as 2 inches of material attached to the edge of a goalie stick. Used for slashing at blackberry canes etc. By far the most dangerous of the bunch to use.
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Dale Hodgins
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This Russian hoe is quite versatile. http://www.easydigging.com/ploskorez-gardening-hoe.html

I imagine a simpler, homemade version attached to a short or long hockey stick. For something more robust , a field hockey stick for a goalie stick could be used.

Here's a crude drawing of what I imagine. The cutting edge would be about 2 inches across.

The second drawing shows a billhook knife. The handle could be anywhere between 1 foot and the full length of a hockey stick. Shorter versions could use the handle of an old wooden tennis racket. They have really nice grip.
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Dale Hodgins
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I call this one a weed or grass ripper. It is held so that the metal sits flat against the base of weeds at ground level or just above. A quick yank, either cuts off or pulls out the offending plants. Both inside edges would be sharp.

I often need to rip English ivy roots from the ground. Another version with the same profile but with no sharp edges, could be used like a cultivator to locate and yank the roots. This one might be better, with an old shovel handle or something else quite robust. I currently use a heavy pry bar for this. It requires a tool with some weight behind it.
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Grass ripper. Both inside edges sharp.
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Root ripper. Not sharp.
 
Jay Angler
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Hi Dale,

I want this one:
The first one is a long-handled device meant to be jammed into the soil , to cut tap roots beneath the surface.
It needs to be heavy duty enough that it will push into our clay soil to get Canada thistle roots out further below ground, so that by the time they regrow, the grass is tall enough to discourage the thistle. I bought something like this, (essentially a long-handled dandelion puller, although I have *no* idea why people would want to pull dandelions by the roots when they make such good chicken greens) but it's so darn wimpy that it bent the first time I tried to use it.

As for using hockey sticks, we have two and we use them as is to play duck or chicken hockey..... not as bad as it sounds - if we're trying to herd a group of ducklings or a chicken or two, the sticks extend my reach and help me to keep the animals moving the direction I want them to go.

The in-laws lived in Ottawa and used to pick up broken sticks from trash bins and used them as tomato stakes.

That being said, I will keep my eye out for some, as I've got a couple of shovels that need new handles, and you're right - the hockey stick handles may do the job even though they're not round.
 
Marvin Weber
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Those look good, Dale. I ordered a pair of those ploskorez hoes; they are not very expensive if ordered without the handles. (See thread on these). I think I will look for hockey sticks for those.

I might try making one of those hook knives you pictured. We used to have one from Lee Valley tools - very expensive. We used it to prune out old raspberry and blackberry canes and currant bushes. It saves scratches when reaching into those thorny areas - especially with a long hockey stick handle!
 
Wyatt Barnes
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Dale I have two comments about your posts, one is that Gordie Howe was all elbows and knees in the corners. I remember seeing an interview with a couple of younger hockey players and at least one older talking about Howe in the corners. They all agreed that if you went into a corner with Howe competing to get the puck you would most likely come out with bruises and Howe would have the puck. A great hockey player. Back on topic my comment about hockey stick handles is that you can tell how your tool is oriented by the handle, something that you can't do with a round handle. I used old hockey sticks for years for handles for tools just for that reason. Oh and one from my father, split the end of the stick back the width of a worn mower knife section and rivet the section in. Makes a good cutting hatchet for bale strings etc, cheap easy to build and durable.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Gordie was also known to skate down the ice with his elbows moving back and forth more than most players. I believe that he claimed the pads made him raise those elbows from the normal vertical position to about 45 degrees. This gave him a safe zone. Tough to bodycheck a guy his size, when there's an elbow in the way.😈
 
Dale Hodgins
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On the day that I first thought of using  hockey sticks, I had just finished looking at the Russian hoe. Good to know that they are available without the handle. Most people can figure out a handle, more easily than they can fashion the metal parts.

These hoes are quite well built, and could probably stand quite a bit more abuse than a hockey stick handle would be able to take . They might be better added to an old shovel or rake handle. I plan to make a mini version of some of their tools, that will be suitably sized for a hockey stick handle.

I've been to a few thrift stores since first starting this thread. Every one of them had hockey sticks and old tennis rackets. I won't purchase any of those, because there are many free ones available.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Oh man, our students could recycle your hockey sticks as ... hockey sticks! We've got quite a lot of skates skates, but we can never get and keep enough sticks. But shipping and Indian customs are a nightmare so forget it. Phooey!
 
Casie Becker
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The thing I keep wondering as I see these, are the handles long enough to work for wheel hoes? Seems like whenever I look at the advertising for these, one of the big things is how strong the handles are.
 
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