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Your Own Curling Stone Forum NEW
your own rink
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This page provides do-it-yourself instructions for making your own
curling stones for affordable backyard rink, frozen lake or frozen pond
play. A materials list and step-by-step instructions are included along
with suggestions for curling without painted rings or a "button".
Why make your own curling stones?
The short answer is, to play outside, in the fresh air, and because
"real" stones cost thousands. The long answer: We, The Minden Outers Club,
who meet for a weekend every winter at a cottage near Minden ON
(Canada), wondered if there might be more to winter than staying
indoors playing Euchre. One
year (2003) a few in the group decided
curling might be a pleasant change from playing hockey (the ONLY thing
that consistently took us outdoors) and they
proceeded to: shovel off a rink, mark it with food colouring, and make
"stones" out of frozen jugs of water (Figure 1). Sure it was fun,
champions were proclaimed, but the sustainability of the "stones"
the jugs started getting thrown up in the air so we could watch them
explode on impact (yes,
grown men : |). Some of us decided that maybe we could have more long
fun if we didn't destroy the "stones" at the end of
the game. Much talk ensued within the group about the best approach and
the following were the most serious considerations:
We also consulted the experts - people who actually know how to curl -
at the inthehack
website (now defunct -2009). The expert consensus was to find an old
set of real stones
(though some did make their own prototypes - apparently, with limited
success). Buying up "real" stones proved to be problematic since all of
the curling clubs who were willing to sell off old
stones charged more than we were willing to pay or were too far away to
make pickup or shipping cost effective. Besides, this would avoid the
opportunity to use power tools and duct tape, and why would we deny
- Use frozen jugs like we did the first time around.
- Buy a set of used stones from a curling club.
- Make stones using concrete or perhaps dumbell weight
Our decision and prototype testing process:
After much discussion of the options above, throughout 2003 and 2004,
and even a poll within our group we decided on frozen jugs. However, as
is typical within our group, two of us ignored the others and made concrete-based
prototypes anyway (Figures 2 & 3). At our
2004 meeting no jugs of water were frozen ("Hey, I thought YOU
were going to freeze them!?") and we did not play hockey OR curl, we
made a toboggan run instead...I digress...but we did "test" the
||Click image to see large version.
Prototype 1 (Figure 1) is
of course the frozen waterjug - we have already tested these - fun and
easy to make but fragile (they split) and play nothing like real
curling stones. Prototype 2
(Figure 2) was made from a cookie tin filled with concrete - not heavy
enough and too many edges to catch on defects in the ice - while
prototype 3 (Figure 3) was made from mixing bowls. Prototype
3 was the clear choice. Though a bit wobbly in the
hands of the uninitiated, it had the weight, smooth low-friction bottom
and feel of a real curling stone, it even curled (a
Summary of Materials for Prototype 3 (Figure
3)/Completed Stone (Figure 4)
|$ full set 16
||3 days (to allow for
concrete dry time)
list (one stone)
||- 5 litre stainless steel
mixing bowls - 2 per stone - get the ones with a large flat bottom
- bag quick-drying cement X 1 (I used Quickcrete at about $3/bag)
- 90oelbow X 1/2 inch galvanized pipe X 2
- 4 inch X 1/2 inch galvanized pipe X 1
- 6 or 8 inch X 1/2 inch galvanized pipe X 1
- #8 X 1 inch brass or galvanized machine bolts with nuts X 4
- rubber bumper - e.g., rubber hose - about 2' per stone
- construction adhesive or hot glue stick
- coloured hockey tape (stick tape)
- handyman's secret weapon
- 2X6 X 10feet or something similar X2
||- electric drill
- jigsaw (optional)
- caulking gun
- large bucket or wheelbarrow
- trowel or your spouse's good hand spade (shhh)
- utility knife
- screwdriver and plyers
- safety goggles
How we made them - the Minden Outers Club
method (completed stone)
- Cut a hole in the bottom of the
bowl big enough to snugly slide the 6 inch length of 1/2 pipe through -
i.e. a 1/2" or 5/8" hole. Locate the hole near the edge of the flat
bottom not in the center (Figure 4 or
Figure 5). I scored around the end of a piece of pipe and then drilled
small holes all along the circle and then connected the dots with a
jigsaw. I think this is the kind of thing hole saws are for?
- Smear loctite on the end of the 6
inch pipe that will poke "outside" the bowl.
- Screw on the "outside" elbow that
will receive the handle - i.e., the end on which you just smeared
- Slide the 6 inch pipe through and
screw the "inside" elbow on - the "inside" elbow does not require
loctite and it can face any direction. The "inside" elbow should stick
up higher than the rim of the bowl, this is your "rebar" for
clamshelling the two bowls together with concrete (Figure 6).
- Screw the 4 inch pipe into the
other end of the "outside" elbow to form the handle - no loctite
necessary, but cannot hurt.
||Click image to see large version.
Anti-rotate screw location
Ready for concrete
(don't use this foam)
IMPORTANT prevent handle from pivoting -
make sure the elbow that forms your handle is securely fastened to the
vertical 6 inch pipe, otherwise your handle will pivot and misalign
with use. Rather than use loctite as in step 3 above, I actually
drilled a hole into the elbow through the top of the vertical 6 inch
pipe and put in a screw to stop the handle from turning (Figure 5). If
you use the screw method, do it as your last step.
- Align your handle and tape the inside of the
pipe to the bowl using the "handyman's secret weapon" (this
also prevents leakage of concrete). You may also need some of the
"handyman's secret weapon" to keep the handle vertical for the concrete
- Turn mould with handle upside down
on 2X6s - the outside handles will dangle below the 2X6, held in place
- Pour concrete into this half (the
upper half) of the stone. Use a slightly
to prevent air
pockets. Fill right to the top of the rim. You should have the "inside"
elbow poking through the concrete once filled to the rim.
inside elbow is what will help cement the two halves together in the
next step (think of this inside elbow as your "rebar" to concrete the
halves together). Peek under
the 2X6s to ensure the handles are still vertical and centered over the
bowl. Let dry overnight.
- Pour concrete into bottom half and
set top half on top while bottom half concrete is wet - again a liquidy
mix for the bottom half is highly recommended. Twist to ensure the
"inside" elbow from your now dry top half is well buried in the now wet
bottom half concrete. Let dry overnight.
- Drill 4 holes where the seams meet
(3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock), to receive the #8 bolts. Insert bolts and
fasten nuts (I did not bother with washer, they didn't fit). These
bolts are the failsafe to ensure the stone stays together.
- Cut bumper (now rubber hose)
to fit around the equator
of the stone. We used foam pipe insulation, which ripped, so
we now have rubber hose. Others have used rubber flooring
(see viewer submissions below)!
- Apply adhesive to foam (Figure 7)
put a liberal amount of adhesive on the inside of the bumper then slip
it over the seam where the bowls meet, fastening the ends together with
a piece of the "handyman's secret weapon" temporarily (Figure 4 or
- Wrap foam with tape (not necessary with
rubber hose If you use foam, I think the handyman's secret
weapon all around would help it last longer. This will detract somewhat
from the look perhaps, but I failed to do this and paid the price.
After 2 days of play with these stones small and large bits of foam
started to come off. That is why we replaced the bumpers with the red
rubber hose pictured in Figure 9b. Unfortunately we have not had good
enough ice for our annual meeting for the last two years to try out the
new bumpers. I know they will be more durable.
- Prevent handle pivot - with the
screw method as described above in step 6 (if you did not use
- Get outside and curl - this is all
about getting outside and getting together with family/friends!
How well do they work?
At 42 lbs, they are almost at the World Curling Federation maximum
allowable weight of 44lbs - blind luck, plain and simple. More
importantly, they work great. The weight ensures they slide well, even
on an unpebbled frozen lake (Figure 10, Movies 1 and 2). We played
several games and the stones all still working fine (though some
repairs on the foam bumpers are needed, see step 14 above - we switched
to rubber hose, see below for how they do it in New Brunswick!). We
did have a lot of fun and plan to for years to come. In the beginning,
yes very rarely they did keel over a bit when the curler accidentally
threw the stone instead of glided it. This problem was easily corrected
with an adjustment in gliding style (don't throw them).
||Click image to see large version OR movie.
11 completed stones
Feel the rumble.
What about rink prep?
We made hacks by drilling holes through each end of a piece of 2X4 and
then we simply pounded 10 inch lag bolts straight into the ice (be see
MD's rink below!). The
freeze thaw cycle makes them very secure, even "permanent", so you
might want to fasten a rope to the hack and shore to retrieve them at
melt time. We did not pebble (got deionized water?). We used food
colouring for a button, but this year we did not bother with the other
two rings. We also played a lawn bowling style game that required no
button at all (see below).
Rather than bother with the painted on "button" in the early going this
year (2005) we threw out prototype 1 (Figure 2) as our
jack/pallino/kitty and used it as the movable button. As many who have
played any of these three related games knows, when the "target" is not
fixed, strategy is different. One guy in our group was particularly
good at moving the jack/pallino/kitty back to put many of his team's
stones in scoring position. This is a really fun way to play.
"Thanks to you and your club. In 2006 I saw your
stuff on-line, and went through some variations in 4 winters since
then. I think the photos speak for themselves. It has been a lot of
fun, and we're getting a fair bit of action out there this season by
young and old alike! Curling is a great sport, so why not do it at home
too? It takes a bit of perseverance, however the result is well worth
the effort. Thanks again for the inspiration. Hope you can get your ice
going this year!"
||Click image to see large version
(MD took it to the next level)
"Hi Guys, I am a Canadian who has been living in Russia
for the last 5 years. We are in a small expat community with folks from
around the world. The group was bored with the long winter nites so
aske me what we do to pass the time. Curling was an activity that came
to mind. Like yourselves we started with the idea of plastic bottles,
not great. I found your page when looking for specs on size shape and
weight etc for curling stones. Making them was half the fun with 8-12
people pitching in. The only problem is lack of cold weather. Normally
-20C this time of year but has been +5C in the day time. The 10 cm ice
surface on our skating rink has virtually gone except the edges.
Have enclosed 3 photos of the folks working and the final test.
Thanks for sharing your super ideas. Th slald bowl was super. (You
neded to change the specs. Each bowl is 2.5 l for a total of 5 l, this
gives the right weight and diameter)"
Bob from Russia
||Click image to see large version
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