This week, I lost my sanity stringing up my version of the Space Commander for today’s installment of #TheGopherProject. While there are several challenging string-ups in the community, the Space Commander is at the top of the hill. Not only is it a lot of time to string (you’ll see below), it’s a giant pain to keep the enormous amount of crosslace straight. I truly blame Matt (955Matt) for all this. I haven’t strung one in about 3 years and was quite happy with leaving it that way. He challenged me at Laxcon and I fell for it…. Matt – 1 Kevin – 0.
Luckily, I have several great resources to lean on for this. Spenny (Coach_laxrat), Travis (redbeard_lax), and Brody (brodyj21). From Spen, I borrowed his STX Guardian that Krytpic strung back in the day for a reference. Matt and Travis provided feedback as I changed the pocket. Brody had just strung one so he was a great sounding board as well.
I know what you’re thinking, “He changed the pocket???” you bet I did. This is my third time stringing a Space Commander up, and I wanted to tweak a few things I thought would be an improvement.
While I am not going to provide a tutorial on this, I’ll give out what I used. I also timed each step so you could get an estimate of how long this took.
Space Commander: #TheGopherProject
Here is what you are going to need:
- Insanity….really, you have to be a little insane
- A Goalie Head. I used the Warrior Nemisis 3
- Leathers, now I do not have Gopher Goalie Leathers, however, my good buddies at Laxroom.com do. If you don’t buy my leathers, these guys are excellent. I spent a good deal of time treating and stretching these leathers.
- Crosslace….a lot. When you think you’ve rolled out enough, add a few feet.
- Sidewall, I used 4
- Shooters, I used 3
Step 1- The Center Track – 55 minutes
Here is the first thing I changed. Originally, I was not going to do the middle coil, why? I was trying to make the pocket lighter and it’s only for aesthetics. However, since there is a center hole in the scoop, the coil allowed me to bring the center track closer together. I estimate that I cut about 12-18 ft of crosslace for the middle and had some left over but it’s better than running 3 inches short. Getting the tension on the top coil took a little bit longer than I planned but after that, this is the easiest part of the head. I used the same number of knots that Kryptic used in Spenny’s head but added one to each side to make the pocket deeper. This part I strung completely flat but once it was done, I used a coffee can like shape to set the pocket and tie off the leathers.
Step 2- Mid Outer Left and Right – 53 minutes
Now that I have the middle depth set, the next two leathers were adjusted to be lower and start to create the pocket. I got the shape I wanted and knotted them off at the bottom and strung this part up. I started on the left and finished the right a few minutes quicker. Here’s where the double interlocks become easier since you’ve already strung 20+. The hard part is keeping the crosslace kink free and make sure you’ve got the tension correct. You have to pay attention on this row because you don’t want the Space Commander pocket looking like a shark fin, it has to be a little wider.
Step 3- Outer Left and Right – 40 minutes
First big change I made was here. I ran another row of double interlocks here instead of starting the twist that run from here to the sidewall. Why? Simple, I’ve never liked how much space that leaves on the original version. Plus, I thought it would shape the pocket better. What’s a little more weight? Worst case is it’s so heavy that Scotty Rodgers uses it to curl with.
Step 4- Final row… left and right – 32 minutes
Another few changes: First, I used paracord for instead of leathers to reduce some weight. Second, in your typical Rock-it Pocket, the twists run from the leather to the sidewalls and back. I started on the sidewalls. Why? I thought that by doing this I could tighten the tension and shape the pocket better. For this, I used my softer crosslace (same as what RP does). I also did not use one string for both sides (never have liked that). I tied each side off on the sidewall.
Current Mood (when I realized I still wasn’t finished):
Step 4- Shooters – 8 minutes
They’re shooters, what can I say? I used a paracord for the first and normal shooters for the next two.
#TheGopherProject – Final Thoughts:
The major difference between my version of the Space Commander and the one Kryptic strung is depth. I wanted to have my deeper and I’ll need to adjust the pocket as it breaks in more. Both heads throw extremely well right now but Krytpic’s pocket receives the ball better at this point in time. As the break in continues, the pocket will soften.
I know the major question now is “How heavy?” without a shaft, the head is almost 1lb. Considering its 320 grams (.70 lbs) to begin with, you’re not talking about a massive weight increase.
Editor’s Note: Check out last week’s edition of #TheGopherProject here, as Kevin Henry teaches us the Galaxy Dye.