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Stringing, Dyes and More on the April Monthly Mailbag

Another month, another installment of the Monthly Mailbag here on #TheGopherProject. Thank you all for submitting so many great questions. So, we’ll break these questions into four sections (Stringing, Dyeing, Heads, and Nonsense!).

Stringing

Q: Are sticks with prefabricated pockets bad for lacrosse?

As you see, we start this month off with an easy question….Let’s be clear this can cover many different prefab pockets not just exclusively the Warp (for example, Phantom Lacrosse).  This is a tough question because I can see both good and bad. I think being able to put sticks that are consistent and do not need a lot of maintenance in the hands of inexperienced or intermediate players can be a great tool in advancing them in the sport.  If all the player needs to do is focus on fundamentals and practice instead of trying to figure out what’s wrong with their stick, that’s a good thing. However, if the pocket is so expensive that they cannot afford it, that’s a massive negative. For me, that’s really the minor issue.

Here’s my biggest issue.  Customization. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Kevin, you’ve got stringer bias!”  Not exactly. If I lined up four individuals that all played the same position and similar skillsets strung the same head with identical mesh the same mesh.  I guarantee no one’s pocket would look the same. The pockets would be strung differently and have a different shooter set up as well.

With prefab pockets, you have a few minimal options that you need to adjust to.  That doesn’t even include dyeing/stringing color options. Now if you were able to select customizable options that suit you, that would be an improvement.  Until that happens, it’s hard for me to recommend a one size fits all style pocket.

Q: What is Canadian Mesh?

Quickly put, it’s mesh from Canada…. What separates CM from normal mesh is the thickness of the weave and coating compared to normal hard mesh.   It’ll take longer to break in but once you do, it’ll be more weather resistant and mimic a traditional pocket more over normal mesh. I’d appreciate any reader that can help with finding a good vendor to recommend.

Q: How can I get hold without whip?  

Truthfully, it’s near impossible. Whip IS hold.  There are ways you CAN reduce the amount of whip and increase the hold.  For example, Firethreads or using a true low pocket. However, if you’re a mid to high pocket fan, whip is needed.  Now, whip is not an ugly 4 letter word, learn to embrace the whip a little. You may actually like it. Regardless of where you pocket is placed or the amount of whip, good fundamentals are the most important factor.

Q: What makes a good stringer?  

I think there is a bunch of things that make someone a “good” stringer. First, can you string traditional? I think this is critical, it shows you put time in.  Two, do they ask questions? What’s your age/level? What position do you play? What type of player are you (Shooter vs dodger vs defense, etc)?  This can help build the pocket that will help you succeed. Three, do they explain the different types of pockets/mesh in detail to you? All mesh is different, do they explain what will happen to the pocket as it breaks in with Hero compared to 4x?  Finally, do their pockets perform as you want? Is it good to go or do you have to spend time adjusting it after you get it?

Q: What stringing fad are you happy had a short shelf life?

Meditional…..looked good and played like garbage once the pocket broke in.  The junction where the mesh and traditional broken in a different rate and created a lip.  If you want the look of this and an actual functional pocket, look at the corner pocket. Quicker to string up and very little maintenance.

Q: When did stringing customization begin?

Really difficult to pin point since early on, unless you lived near a store that had lacrosse sticks, you ordered from a catalog and got whatever the factor style was.  Now Ulman, Rock-it Pocket, Bacharach were early pioneers, they were few and far between. For example, I remember when a teammate strolled onto the field with an all black turbo that had a murdered-out pocket but two white leathers down the middle.  There were gasps (not me of course, I played it cool) because it was unlike anything we had seen.

I really believe it was the late 90’s internet boon that brought e-lacrosse and the forums that really started the culture.  Not only did you have an avenue for people to write “how” they did it but also show “pics” to provide a tutorial. For the first time, you had guys like Max, Van,  Kryptic, and a host of other talented stringers leading the way and showcasing some funky new ideas. Where all of them homeruns? Not by a longshot but they provided the inspirational push.   

I still remember seeing Van’s Mesh X pocket for the first time.  It took the Corner Pocket and completely flipped it on its head. It was one of my go to pockets for a while.   E-lacrosse gave way to the Forums then to IG and the ball hasn’t stopped rolling. The more I think about this, the more this needs to have a dedicated few articles….anyone interested in working on this email/DM me.  

Heads

Q: What is one head you’d wish they do a remake?

This one will get a lot of “huhs?” from you all.  Now I could pick the Torque, another Evo, Excalibur but nope.  Old school heads like the SAM or Turbo? Not a chance. They had their day and the SAM would be awful now.  I want a remake of the STX Profile. A personal top-5 head of all-time for me. I bought about 15 when they stopped making them and only have 2 left. Those two will sit untouched on my vintage head shelf. I loved the faceshape, scoop, and everything about it. Only knock was it would either last a few seasons or break on the first GB.  So STX, how about you fire up the 3D printer??? Disagree? Then comment on my post what your head would be.

Q: Do you think the Epoch Purpose can be improved?  If so, how?

First off, I think this is a great head.  It’s right on par with the Crux in my opinion. I had to lean on the Sin for some help with this (a few heads are better than one).  The consensus would be to modify the next version by doing the following:

  1. Alter the scoop slightly, it’s a little wider and could use a tightening
  2. Make stiffer
  3. Make the transition more gradual
  4. Matte Grey….this would awesome….

Q: Dream Head/Pocket combo?

I’m cheating here and picking 2 based off current heads (my mailbag, my rules!)….I’ll give you a traditional and mesh option.  

Traditional would be a white STX Stallion with gopher leathers (all white six-diamond pocket).

Mesh would be the Graphene Rebel with Grey zoned Hero 2.  

Dyes

Q: Heat gun or hairdryer?

Heat gun if you have it.  However, it is not a necessity.   Either works just as well. What you need to do is run quick passes over the vinyl like you were spray painting the head.  Do not hold the heat gun/dryer directly over the vinyl for an extended period of time. This will cause the vinyl to bubble and melt.

Q: Easiest way to remove dried glue from a head?

Rubbing alcohol….takes it right off.

Q: Least favorite dye style?  

Using Pam but that’s just because it never comes out like I’d like.  I know several dyers that get great results from it but I cannot get the consistency that I would like.  I’d rather use webbing spray; I can control the spray and see exactly where the patterns form. Pam is spray and hope.

Nonsense!

Q: Why are yellow leathers so spicy?

Little known fact, yellow leathers come from yellow cows.  These cows are given a strict diet of deli mustard and habaneros while only listening to metal.  This trifecta creates said spiciness.

Thanks for reading!  Remember to tag all string ups with the #thegopherproject to be included in future articles.

See last month’s edition of the Monthly Mailbag here.