One of the most important pieces of equipment in curling is the stone. Each team gets eight stones that are used in each end for a total of 16 stones. Stones are used to calculate the score for teams on ends.
Curling Stone Weight
When you watch curling, you are used to seeing the players push out of the hack with no difficulty. Although it may seem easy, the curling stone does require a bit of effort to deliver. If you had to take a guess, how much do you think a curling stone weighs? A curling stone weighs 42 pounds. No matter where you curl in the world, a curling stone will weigh 42 pounds. Naturally, there are slight variations, which is why you may hear people say a curling stone weighs between 40 to 44 pounds.
Curling Stone Materials
A curling stone is made of granite. Curling stones require a special type of granite, which is much more impact resistant than traditional granite you may see on a countertop. This granite comes from an island in Scotland, Ailsa Craig, that actually looks like a curling stone! In Curling Stone Production, we will discuss how curling stones are made.
Curling Stone Handles
A curling stone handle is made of plastic. These handles can be mass produced in the traditional red and yellow colors that curling stone handles are. Curling stone handles can also be colored blue or green (and are sometimes used at curling clubs), but red and yellow are the most common. After curling stone handles are produced, they can be engraved to have some sort of lettering or message on it.
Curling Stone Stickers
If you have gone to a curling club or watched curling on television, you may have noticed that each curling stone has two stickers on the handle - one is a letter, and the other is a number. This is because each stone has its own, personal set of characteristics. For example, the third yellow stone on a sheet may curl less than the sixth yellow stone on the same sheet. This also allows the skip to keep track of how each rock behaves, making it easier to call the shot.
It is expected that the stones are thrown in order. By having a number on them, it is easy for the thrower to select the correct rock when throwing. At curling clubs, it is typical for the stones to remain on the same sheet of ice the entire time. Therefore, if a stone is on the wrong sheet, it can easily be moved back to its correct sheet, indicated by the letter on the sticker.
PRO TIP: Make sure to wipe the underside of your stone with a broom, glove, or towel before you deliver it. This allows any debris or particles on the stone to be removed, thus creating a clean surface for the stone to interact with the ice.
How is a Curling Stone Made?
Although knowing how a curling stone is produced is not required knowledge to become a curler, it is a cool thing to know about. To give you an idea of curling stone production, we are simplifying the explanation of it. If you want a more detailed explanation, there are plenty of websites and videos that can explain it more technically for you.
As we mentioned earlier, curling stones are made from a specific granite from Ailsa Craig, an island in Scotland that looks like a curling stone. To extract the granite, miners pull chunks of granite off of the island and use a diamond cutter to divide the chunks into smaller pieces. On these smaller pieces of granite, curling stone templates are traced on the granite, and cut out into cylinders. Then, each cylinder can become a curling stone.
Next, these smaller cylinders are grinded and sanded into curling stones. A hole is cut through the center of the stone, where the handle will be attached later. Industrial sized diamond cutters are used to create half of the curling stone at a time, giving the curling stone its unique shape.