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The Excalibur – Stringing a Classic

For the past 20 or so years, I had an original, unstrung, white colored Excalibur head with me. I don’t know how it was kept alive ever since but it would pop up at times during clean ups or organizing my studio office. To me, it was the best stick ever made, and even as a goalie it was treasured more than a standard Goalmaster or Eclipse. Every time I found it, I knew I had to string it some day.

When I also played defense/pole in high school I used an Excalibur, or “Excal” on a titanium shaft. It was feather weight. Ever since owning my first one back in 1993, I probably had a total of 8-10 Excalibur heads all strung up in wide, 6-diamond, traditional leathers with three hockey laces for “shooters”. I broke 3, or 4 Excals and “lost”, like two.

With this empty Excal head that kept on resurrecting every 3 months, I wanted to replicate the exact stick I had and strung up in the early to mid-90’s. This time to keep forever. To match the white plastic, I wanted all strings of the pocket to be colored white, as well, including the shaft, which had to be old school, octagonal, aluminum. And don’t forget the plastic end-cap, too! To use some slang, I wanted to “keep it real” like back-in-the-day, or “OG”, as it’s called.

I found an old, white aluminum shaft and ordered online a white, traditional stringing kit. I was good in that department, but still a couple of months passed doing nothing. I don’t really know what I was waiting for? All those things now were just collecting dust. The answer came on a rainy day, when all outside activities were cancelled. It was time to go to work.

With a Traditree, this device was going to help in making the perfect traditionally strung pocket. It was the second time I was going to use this product, as prior experiences had us using butter knives, or chopsticks from takeout deliveries. I forget that it’s NOT mesh and that there are so many more components in a traditional pocket. To me, this is TRUE stringing!

Patience and a careful attention to details is a must. Sometimes I had to redo a diamond.

As the pocket was taking form I was thinking about the shaft. I almost forgot to make a shout out to Ryan Thayer, of Vintage Lax Brand, whom I asked for the white, plastic end-cap. Big cheers to Ryan for having them – make sure to check him out and really follow what he’s always finding and bringing back to the Vintage Lax World!

Back in the height of my stringing days (high school), it would’ve taken me a bit over two hours to do a traditional. But I went overtime, not because it was a rainy day and I had nothing else to do, rather it was the memories – GREAT MEMORIES that were coming back to me as I was doing the work. With the end-cap on, the ONLY thing I forgot was the metal screw to attach the Excal onto the octagonal shaft. A quick trip to the local hardware store will just do. Hopefully that doesn’t take as long as deciding when to string the Excal.

The smell of the new leathers, the shine of the cross-lace and the symmetry of the rolled shooters brought a familiar smile to my face. If I can be honest, I don’t know if I’m going to use this as I kept on thinking to keep this newly strung Excal in perfect condition. Remember, I broke a handful of them in the past and this product and activity is nothing but a great reminder of a time that manifestly, I cannot go back and relive again.

Traditional stringing, while cumbersome and sometimes frustrating, is also a relaxing thing to do and I’m so happy to have this product back in my hands. I may find the time – or just make time – to do more.

@TheArtofLax

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