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 stones are the objects that slide across the ice during a curling competition. These stones are made out of granite. Curling stones come from both Scotland and Wales. Kays of Scotland is a company that has the exclusive rights to granite from Scotland. In accordance to rules and regulations set forth by the World Curling Federation, curling stones from Kays of Scotland are the only stones allowed in competitions. Curling stones each have a handle and bolt on top. While there is no singular weight a curling stone has to be, there is a range of weights the curling stone must fall in which is 38 to 44 pounds. For youth organizations, there are smaller curling stones that are available to them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cleaning Curling Stones
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.