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Hockey DIY: Custom Tongues at a Not So Custom Price

Hockey DIY is a blog presented by a hockey repair shop employee giving you tips and tricks to doing your own, simple custom work at home for a fraction of the price and help you feel like a boss.

Hello Gongers, Im finally all moved into my new place and with my first couple of days off from work I’m going to show you how to get the look and flop of custom tongues without the price and wait time you get from repair shops. If your like me and go tongues out for the steez points, or you just do it simply because its comfortable, than this is definitely for you!

Step 1: Here are the skates I’m going to use. They are stock Vapor XXX skates that have seen plenty of ice in their day before retiring to a pair of X:60s and have become my Hockey DIY practice skates (hence the amateur paint job).

Since they’re a stock skate, I think they are a good example of what most of us are skating in and the before/after difference will be best noticed.



This is a picture with what the stock flop looks like.  Not a lot of overhang once the skate gets all laced up so were gonna change that today.






Supply check time. Pretty basic stuff here. All you need is

a) your skates

b) scissors

c) spray adhesive (I use 3M 77 spray thats available at any Rona, Home Depot, or whatever other home improvement store you choose for approx $20/can CDN) and d) some 1/4″ felt (I chose white, you can choose whatever color you want. These pieces are approx 7″ x 7″ in size and you’ll see why in a second).

OPTIONAL: Hand sewing kit. Ill explain why in one of the last steps


Go outside with your glue and felt squares and spray a heavy coating of the adhesive on BOTH (the tongue and the felt). We want this to hold so don’t be too shy with it. If you ever played hide-and-seek as a kid you’ll get this reference, count to “5 one thousands” with your finger on the nozzle covering the ENTIRE surface of each.  With the tongue, start spraying at about the second eyelet and go towards the tip. With the felt cover it all.  This glue needs to sit for about 30 seconds after spraying to get sticky before you adhere the two surfaces. Be sure to read the directions of anything you purchase to use for optimal use.


Now that I’ve waited for my glue to activate, I adhere the two surfaces so that both sides that got sprayed with the glue are together. Double glue, double sticky. Really make sure to get the two surfaces flat against each other (no air bubbles or wavy spots) so that the tongues and the felt can really stick to each other. If your worried you have a bubble, peel the felt off before it can stick and re-spray and re-apply until your happy with the result.


As you can see, the felt is pressed nicely against the tongue. Nothing to do now except wait it out a bit for the glue to harden up. Turn on the TV, crack open a pint, watch some puck and give the glue a period or so to firm up before you move onto the next step. It’s important to make sure you have lots of glue especially on the outside edges of the tongue to keep it from peeling back after an ice time or two (which is why we made sure to cover the ENTIRE area on the felt…right?)

Now that our glue has firmed up a little bit, we want to trace an outline  of what we want our flop to look like. The bottom is where the tongue starts to exit the boot so we want to keep it the same width until it spills out so we don’t change the fit of the skate.  I went overboard here, generally an inch or two is plenty of extra flop, but what you decide to cut out is up to you. Maybe start by going with more than you want, tie them up and go from there, its always easier to trim a little more off than it is to add more.

That’s it! We have trimmed up our tongues (maybe do a better job on the edges than I did here…gimme a break my scissors sucked). Remember to try and keep everything as uniform as possible so that it looks good.






So if you remember, in the list of things you’ll need to do this, I mentioned that having a sewing kit is an optional item, but a highly recommended one. If you have access to a sewing machine, even better, but doing it by hand will work just as well (only take longer). The stitching is good to have on these because it adds a fail safe in case the felt begins to peel. Buy a heavy duty sewing needle and some strong sewing thread (thin stuff is useless, and keep it the same color as the felt that you chose to add) and simply stitch along the outside of the tongue. It’s going to take awhile so be patient and remember to keep your thread as tight as possible as you do it. Also I cant emphasize the importance of knotting the start and finish of your thread to keep everything from unwinding (ask your mom or old lady to help you if you have to, but make sure its done right!)


That’s it that’s all Gongers! Hope some of you try this out for yourselves and those of you who don’t I hope you enjoyed reading it. I know for a fact that Rosey and Foxx are tongues-in type players so this wont be for them haha.

If you do decide to try it out, I want to see. Tweet me your pics (cgrays12) and later on when I have enough of your homemade repairs I’ll do a feature blog post dedicated to all you Hockey DIYers. If you don’t want to do this but have something to show me that you have done, feel free to do so also.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting all us writers for the Gongshow Hockey Blog.