Ice hockey may be a minority sport in South Africa, but that’s no reason not to use its principles – slick surface, skill at speed, skidding puck and swift reflexes – for a board game that certainly doesn’t lack for action. (Though it does, fortunately, avoid the violent bodychecking and lurid red blotches on the white playing surface that characterise the real thing.)
Introduced as Nok Hockey in 1942 by the Michigan-based Carrom Company (pun alert!), this classic game became a hit in North America. It requires driving a puck at the correct angle with the right amount of force – just like ice hockey. Though the players wear no padding, the competition is as fierce as it is addictive. The playing surface of a shop-bought knock hockey game is usually made of particleboard. We chose veneered plywood for durability.
- One 600 x 1 200 mm piece of smooth 12 mm plywood (base); the project shown here uses birch, but you may choose to use anything suitable – even pine – provided that the surface is level and uniform
- 2 pieces of 25 x 100 pine, 1 220 mm long (long rails)
- 2 pieces of 25 x 100 pine, 648 mm long (short rails; the arched goals will be cut out of these rails)
- Two 90 mm squares of 25 x 100 pine; these are cut in half diagonally to form the corner bumpers
- Two 20 mm squares cut from 25 x 100 pine (goal blocks)
- One 63 mm-diameter circular piece cut from 25 x 100 pine (puck)
- Two 300 mm-long pieces of 25 x 100 pine cut to desired shape and size for hockey sticks
Prep the base, cut out the goals and attach one short rail
Use fine (120-grit) sandpaper to smooth out any sharp edges or corners on the base. Prime the top, bottom and sides with latex paint and let dry. Add two light coats of coloured gloss paint to one side of the base and let dry. We chose a bright blue spray paint. You may opt for a brush or roller; just be sure that the finishing coat is uniform so that the playing surface is slick.
On the centre of the face of each short rail, make marks 12 mm from the bottom and 25 mm from the top. Place additional marks 63 mm on either side of the bottom-centre spot. Draw a line connecting the three marks along the bottom of each short rail, and then freehand an arc connecting the ends of that line with the top-centre mark. These are the goal outlines. Drill 10 mm pilot holes at the end of each line, then cut out the goals.
Apply beads of wood glue along the bottom of the inside face of one short rail and along one short edge of the base. Centre and press the rail against the base. Drill two 2 mm pilot holes about 50 mm from the outer edges of the goal, 6 mm from the bottom of the rail. Drive 20 mm 4d galvanised nails into the pilot holes.
Attach the long rails, second short rail and corner bumpers
Apply beads of glue to the bottom and one end of one long rail, and to the edge of the short rail protruding to the side of the base. Press the long rail against the base and the short rail. Drill four pilot holes through the rail into the base. Add three more pilot holes vertically along the edge of the short rail into the end of the long rail. Nail the long rail into place. Repeat on the other side.
Attach the second short rail, using the same method as above. Glue the corner bumpers into the corners.
Affix the goal blocks and paint the blue lines
Mark a spot 230 mm from each short rail, on centre with the goal. Apply glue to the bottom of each goal block, and place one corner flush with each spot. Drill two 3 mm pilot holes through each block into the base, and drive a 20 mm No 8 screw into each hole.
Make two marks 230 mm from each short rail, and mask off a 12 mm space to the side of each mark. Paint, let dry, remove tape.