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Stringing, Dyes, Heads: Monthly Mailbag — #TheGopherProject

Welcome to the newest monthly feature (well, I guess everything is new at this point, but you get my drift) on #TheGopherProject, the Monthly Mailbag.  My goal is to take great questions I find that you submit during the month and answer them here. Now, you may see I’ve edited some of the questions you’ve submitted and that’s because you hit on a topic that may be dedicated to a weekly write up in the future.  So, we’ll break these questions into three sections (Stringing, Dyes, and Heads).


Read last week’s edition of #TheGopherProject here, where Kevin teaches us how to string a six-diamond traditional pocket.


Stringing, Dyes, Heads: Monthly Mailbag

Stringing

  1. If and when do you wet your leathers and pocket as part of the traditional stringing process?  Great question, I’d recommend that you wet the pocket after you’ve strung it and corrected the tension and interlocks throughout the entire pocket.  Make these adjustments first, add shooters, and then dunk the head quickly in a bucket. Wallball and place in a stretcher. If you wet the pocket before correcting the tension, you’re just adding more work for yourself down the road.
  2. Is there an advantage/disadvantage to oiled leathers?  First off, there are many different oils you can use.  I’ve seen people use everything from boot oil to Otter/Mink oil to leather conditioners.  Experiment to see which option (or combo) work best for you. Things to avoid are baby oil or any type of cooking oil.  These will over soften the leathers and make them slick. If done properly, treated leathers are softer and more weather resistant to normal leathers.  That doesn’t mean that your pocket will be weather proof, it’ll just be more consistent when wet than a non-treated leather. You’ll still need to do post game maintenance on the pocket.  
  3. What stringing technique is the easiest to learn?  Which is the hardest?  I think stringing mesh is the easiest to string.  However, to create a functional mesh pocket, it takes practice and time.  If we’re going hardest, I think it’s got to be the Space Commander goalie pocket.  You’re probably asking, what the heck is that? It’s the goalie version of the Rock-It Pocket. Wondering why you don’t see many Well, not many folks can still string them and they weigh about the same as a baby elephant. I’ve strung two in my lifetime and never want to do it again.  However, if you call @955matt…
  4. Shooters!  What are the different styles and how do I properly string them?  Shooters can be made of anything now.  You have shooting cords (thinner than sidewall), hockey lace style shooters (most common), to specialty shooters (Firethread grip printed shooters).  The style and number (as long as they are within the four-inch zone) are completely based on personal preference. For me? Four lace shooters on trads and one shooting cord and one or two laces on mesh. One constant is that the progression of the shooters should be the same.  For example, you have three shooters in your stick. The first should be the tightest, the second slightly looser, the final shooter should be the loosest. When you run your hand up the pocket, you can feel where the ball will snap off the shooters, if you bottom shooter is the tightest, welcome to Whip City, population, you…
  5. Stringing to the inside, how hard is it to learn?  I honestly cannot answer this since I’ve never tried it yet (oh stop with bewilderment). However, there will be two future articles on stringing to the inside. I don’t want to give anything away but it’ll be a Jedi Smashing good time……

Dyes

  1. Top Tips for Rookie dyers? Ask your parents’ permission before you begin.  First and foremost, relax and write an outline of what you are trying to do.  With dyes, the lightest color needs to be done first. Everything is layered on from there.  For example, dyeing blue over red will turn the head purple, not blue and red. It’s additive process, check out this color wheel for more info. Write down the color steps and any decals that go with each step.  Second, before you dye a head, properly prep your work area. Do you have all your materials and checklist?  Third, if it’s your first time at Club Dye, try and use an old or cheap white head. Fourth, there is a good chance your first dye will not be perfect, that’s okay.  The more your practice, the better you’ll get. If you dye goes completely sideways, you can always dye it all black… segue alert.
  2. What dye can I do with a black head?   First, is it a factory black head?  If so, there is really nothing you can do.  As mentioned above, you cannot dye a lighter color over a darker color.  If it was dyed black by someone, the only thing you can do is drop it in dye remover (in a well-ventilated area, really, that stuff could wake the dead) and watch the head turn to a navy/purple tone.
  3. Best advice to cover yellow while dyeing the rest of the head purple without losing the yellow?  This is one of the more advanced steps in dyeing a head.  You need to take vinyl and carefully cover the area leaving no gaps or seams.  I suggest then coating the area with hot glue to double seal the area. Once you’re sure there are not seams that dye can get into, drop in dye and cross your fingers.  
  4. If I don’t have a vinyl cutter, what can I use for decals?  With this you have to go old school electrical tape (spend a few bucks on the better stuff) or buy good vinyl (I use Oracle 651).  You’ll need either a cutting mat or cutable surface and an exacto knife. You’ll either need to trace or hand draw the decal on the cutter and carefully cut it out. Use clear transfer tape to lift the decal from the cutting surface to the head.
  5. I cannot get my decals to properly adhere to the head, what am I doing wrong? First, make sure the head is clean (if dirty).   Clean the head with warm water and soap prior. Use a degreasing spray or rubbing alcohol if stubborn stains remain and let dry.  Second, once you gently apply the decal, make sure you press to the head with equal pressure. Third, get out that hairdryer! Turn the heat on the highest setting and run a few passes across the decal.  Then press the decal (with equal pressure) onto the head. Then cross your fingers and dye…

Heads

  1. Which manufacturer do you feel is innovating the most these days?  Wow, let me tiptoe through a minefield.  These are my own views so this is how I see things.  The easy softball answer is Everyone! However, that is far from the case.  Each company strives to add new technology and features to all their products.  I think the innovative companies focus on how they can improve the industry instead hoping they can.  Confusing? You bet. Here are some current things I feel are innovative:
    1. ECD’s Rebel with Graphene (lighter and stronger)
    2. STX’s Ultra Power (modeled after a jai alai Cesta) (no doubt the balls flies out of this head)
    3. True’s Comp 4.5 Shaft (check out one of my future carbon fiber review for more)
    4. Warrior (Warp aside) their Freeze Cleats (no matter your foot shape or position, these are unparalleled)
  2. What makes a good head?  For me, it’s the blend of face-shape, scoop, string-ability, and finally strength/firmness of plastic.  If one of these are lacking, the entire head suffers. Face-shape, is it as wide as a boat oar? Pass. Scoop, can it scoop equally well on grass and turf? String-ability, how easy is it to string, did they place the holes properly on the head, are the holes easy to get sidewall through?  Strength of the plastic, if they head bends or you can rip a sidewall hole stringing the head, hard pass.

This made me laugh…

Why is Foss (@fossyhola) the funniest human you know?  Maybe not the funniest but in the top tier.

Anyone that has seen Foss at Laxcon knows the answer to this…

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