This I know will seem like a dumb question to many, but I've always used one piece sticks and now am interested in trying out a two piece system. Could someone give a quick overview on the process? I've read that the blades are hot glued into the shafts? But do you need to buy a special glue or tool for this? How do you get the blades out when you want to switch if they are glued in? thanks
You do need special glue and it is often pre-applied to the blade, but you'll probably want more so buy some more when you buy the stick . It's heat responsive so when you add heat to it it softens up allowing you to insert/remove the blade. One thing you need to look out for is that some sticks have have tapered hozel(blade end of the stick) so you need to buy tapered blades and some have standard hozels and can't accept tapered blades. so make sure that the blade you buy will fit in the shaft that you have. To remove the blades you just heat up the shaft evenly, melting the glue and pull the old blade out.
Putting a new blade into a shaft is simple with the right tools, although there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure both are the right size, senior or junior, standard or tapered. Use the heat gun to heat up the shaft, holding it a few inches away, aimed a couple inches from the end, and rotating it slowly. It only needs to be heated for about 10-20 seconds; too much heat can cause the finish to bubble and damage the shaft, which may lead to premature breakage. Once the shaft is heated, insert the blade. New blades often have some glue that can be melted with a heat gun. With used blades, I slide them in 3/4 of the way, then apply a couple lines of hot glue on each side of the tenon, and slide it in the rest of the way. This prevents glue from rattling around inside the shaft (annoying!) and the blade from coming loose.
After the stick has cooled for about 10 minutes, test the fit to see if the blade is too loose. Grab the blade in one hand and the shaft in the other and wiggle. If there is any movement or cracking noise, you should heat the shaft again and remove the blade. Try adding a layer of hockey tape to one of the sides of the tenon (length-wise), which will take up some slack. If it's still loose, add another layer of tape. Anything more than two layers indicates a poor fit and you should use a different blade.
If everything fits properly, remove the excess glue by hand and you're all set.
I've experimented with different glues in glue stick form. They have some that require a higher temp made for different uses. The crafts glues are soft and melt easily while the bonding type glues are harder when cooled.
The glue usually issued on replacement blades by the factory melt very very easily and the blade comes loose when playing outdoors. I am sure most of you have noticed this and it doesn't sound crazy.
I remove the glue they use and add a regular glue from a glue stick before even using a new blade.
I have found that the harder glues last longer without giving that blade buzz from being loose while playing in outdoor play.
Here's a video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBcDvbzbTM0
Usually the replacement blade comes with enough glue, but if not I just use plain old craft store hot glue to supplement. It hasn't failed me yet. A heat gun really is worth it, you could damage your nice kevlar stick on the stove and using a hair dryer takes FOREVER.