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The Independent Committee for the
Preservation and Improvement  
of  Table Hockey *

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* Not in any way affiliated with the Carom company or its Nok Hockey game or trademark.

Warning:  If you don't want way-too-much-detail on this year's preparations, please stop reading now.

Another summer is coming.  Another opportunity to set up for three months of
outdoor Nok Hockey.

(Carom Site Photo)

Whether we think of ourselves as "going green" or "just plain frugal," we still want to reuse what we can.  (For decades, we replaced one or two of our three boards every year.  Starting last year, we repaired and reinforced what we could and bought nothing.)




Starting last year, I used a hole cutter attached to my drillpress to cut out pucks.  No more ordering pucks from the manufacturer.



                                         Also last year, I added reinforcements to the frame bottoms as they were wobbly even then.


Challenges for 2010

Of our three benches, we knew last year that at least one was probably terminally rotten.  In addition, all three Nok Hockey boards were left out in the rain one night at the end of the season and all three boards warped.  Our challenge began!

I took the really bad bench and cut out the rotted portions in hope of inserting some patches.



Unfortunately, after cutting away the rotten timber, only three unrotten slats of wood survived.

(The rest was trash.)



I turned my attention to the Nok Hockey boards.  All were warped.  Most were missing the 45 degree corner guards to facilitate "trick shots."   Also, the eyehooks used to fasten the boards to our benches had cracked most of the frames.


I installed metal "L's to hold together the cracked frames.  Next year, I'll probably replace the frames themselves, but this will do for now.


Using a mitre saw, I cut new corners to restore the "trick shots."


Now to deal with the warping of the boards.  I tried inserting a single piece of plywood the boards could rest on, but the unit's  weight became so heavy that I could envision one of our smaller guards dropping the board on their foot when setting them up in the morning or rushing to put them away at night.

I then tried installed just four slats, but even they were too heavy.  I then cut the slats in half and the warping was resolved while the unit weight is still manageable even by an eighty pound guard.

As some degree of drizzle and wet bathing suits are still a factor, I painted all the boards with polyurethane top and bottom.


By the way, remember the three lonely slats that survived the cutting up of the old bench?

Cut in half, they became six of the board supports.



My attention then turned to the benches.  


As one of the benches needed replacement, off to the lumber store for wood, glue, and screws I went.  

I also thought about how a rebuilt bench might be designed a little better.

An examination of the old benches showed that screw tops showed from the top.  

As the benches aged, the depressions at the screw top collected drops of water and rot would start there.  In addition, as the wood rotted, screws would occasionally work their way out and nick the legs of the kids and parents who sat on them



With the new bench, no screws are visible from the top.
Instead, about a pound of screws hold everything into place from below.




I also made the new table about 8" longer than the older ones to add stability and comfort for the larger parents.


Keeping the boards from falling off of the tables

The next opportunity for improvement lay in how to affix the Nok Hockey boards to the benches.  For many years, the club used eyehooks.  Unfortunately, the hooks would pull from the soft wood of the Nok Hockey boards during the summer.  When that happened, not only were boards subject to tipping over onto the players' bare feet, but the hooks themselves would jab people.  Also, the screws damaged and cracked the frames of the Nok Hockey boards themselves.


The solution needed to be safe, stable, cheap, and allow the boards to be stored inside the maintenance room at the end of every evening or immediately during the day if rain started.

Neighbors were brought in for hours of discussion over alcoholic beverages.  A trip to Home Depot to evaluate various clamps resulted in even worse options.  Every option seemed too expensive, or too heavy, or too cumbersome.

Finally, the idea arose of installing a "cradle of wings" on each table.  Conceptually, such a cradle would require only cheap materials and have no sharp edges.  The Nok Hockey boards should sit on them and be supported so as not to tip over.  Attached via large bolts, if the wings were damaged or broken during the season, removing and replacing them should be able to be done without damaging the bench or the Nok Hockey board.

This is an experiment and if it does not work out, we can remove them completely and not be in a worse situation than when we started.


Each wing was constructed from four pieces of wood two bolts, and glue.

The only impact on the bench was the two holes required for the bolts.  If the experiment fails and the wings are removed, the holes can be plugged and painted over




Sets of wings were constructed for each of our three benches.

The boards fit snugly, yet can be taken out with no notice.

After sanding, there are no sharp edges anywhere.

Not bad.  Not bad at all.


Painting Issues

Last year, each of the three benches had a unique color.  One was blue.  One was red.  One was green.

They all needed priming and painting.  Home Depot was having a sale on paint, so the one gallon I bought meant that this year, they are all green.


My first attempt to paint one showed how incompetent a painter I am, so Susan confiscated the rollers and sent me away.


Nice job, honey.



The subject of Hockey sticks.

All but one of our fourteen sticks were lost last year.  The manufacturer wants $12.99 for a set of two pucks and two sticks.

It's good to want.  

Maybe next next year.


I set out to make the sticks from a piece of scrap wood in my garage.




Using the one remaining stick as my model, I traced the stick, then cut it with a jog saw.



The result had lots of sharp edges and splinters.


I attached a grinding wheel to my drillpress and improvised a grinder.

With only a few minutes work, a smooth and child-safe stick resulted.

(Wait.  I used the words "child-safe" and "stick" in a sentence.  Who am I kidding?)



By using some triple-zero (000) steel wool to sand the final result, an even better product resulted.



I repeated the process 16 more times to create more sticks.  I then added three coats of polyurethene to insure the sticks would hold up to the elements.  (The chlorinated water given off by the kids and the drizzle when the guards are slow to put everyting away.)



I think we're ready for a summer of Nok Hockey.



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